On Friday, the governor of Tennessee signed a bill into law that will prohibit trans athletes from competing in sports according to their chosen gender identity.
The bill, SB0228, requires student-athletes to prove their biological sex to participate in middle and high school sports.
“This bill requires, for the purposes of participation in a middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event, that a student's gender be determined by the student's sex at the time of the student's birth, as indicated on the student's original birth certificate,” a summary of the legislation states.
“If a birth certificate does not appear to be the student's original birth certificate or does not indicate the student's sex at birth, the student must provide other evidence to indicate the student's sex,” it continued. “The student or the student's parent or guardian must pay the cost associated with providing evidence.”
Earlier this month, the bill passed through the state senate in a vote of 27-6.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee explained that he signed the bill in order “to preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”
"This legislation responds to damaging federal policies that stand in opposition to the years of progress made under Title IX and I commend members of the General Assembly for their bipartisan work," Lee tweeted on Friday.
I signed the bill to preserve women's athletics and ensure fair competition. This legislation responds to damaging federal policies that stand in opposition to the years of progress made under Title IX and I commend members of the General Assembly for their bipartisan work.— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 26, 2021
As with the previous signings, the Tennessee bill was opposed by trans advocacy groups.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a leading civil rights advocacy group for the LGBTQ community, has created a petition to combat the legislation.
“Governor Bill Lee has signed SB 228 into law, prioritizing attacks against trans kids over real relief for the people of Tennessee,” the HRC wrote on Friday. “These bills don’t reflect our values, and we need to put a stop to them.”
Sam Brinton of The Trevor Project, a national group providing transgender youths with crisis prevention services, dismissed the measure as “discriminatory” and “illegal.”
Governor Bill Lee has signed SB 228 into law, prioritizing attacks against trans kids over real relief for the people of Tennessee. These bills don’t reflect our values, and we need to put a stop to them. https://t.co/Rpnf7TRohB pic.twitter.com/UT5d6Z7Xtt— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 26, 2021
“The Trevor Project is here 24/7 to support trans youth in Tennessee and across the country who feel hurt and invalidated by these purely political attacks,” he told the Tennessean.
In a separate effort, a Tennessee Republican lawmaker recently introduced a bill banning the use of textbooks and instructional materials containing LGBTQ+ content from public schools.
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Chng/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.