A Tennessee lawmaker is offering “controversial” legislation that protects the identity and specialness of female athletes, and the LGBT community and its defenders are outraged, reports NBC News.
The aim of the legislation is simple: prohibit transgender athletes from playing on a team that “matches their gender identity.” That is, boys and young men cannot declare themselves female (as if that is all it takes to be female), enter women’s sports contests and beat all the actual girls and women.
Tennessee House Bill 1572, if it is passed, will require public schools to “ensure that student athletes participate in school-sanctioned sports based on the student’s biological sex as indicated on certificate issued at time of birth.”
Introduced on Dec. 9 by Republican Rep. Bruce Griffey, the bill also imposes a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for any official who intentionally does not comply.
The move has aroused an array of responses online, including from professional athlete and Olympian Chris Mosier, who identifies as transgender and founded thetransathlete.com. Others on Twitter have sounded off calling the action “transphobic” and “insulting.”
In a statement to the Tennessee Star, Griffey said, “We are seeing more and more transgender athletes competing and posting victories in traditionally gendered sports competitions, and doing so to the detriment of girls and women biologically born female. Boys and men, due to testosterone levels, bigger bone structure, greater lung capacity, and larger heart size, have physical advantages in sports relative to girls and women.”
The problem of transgenders invading women’s sports has been increasingly in the news.
The International Olympic Committee guidelines from 2015 allows athletes who transition from male to female to compete in the women’s category without surgery.
The IOC has been working towards a stricter standard for transgender athletes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but has been halted due to disagreements with scientists involved.
The Tennessee legislature reconvenes on Jan. 14.