Tennessee Governor Signs Collegiate Transgender Athlete Ban

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) on Friday signed legislation to prevent transgender women from competing on college sports teams consistent with their gender identity, building on a set of existing laws prohibiting state schools through high school from allowing young transgender women and girls to participate in athletics.

via: AP

Last year, no other state enacted more laws targeting transgender people than Tennessee, as GOP lawmakers consistently dismissed concerns that they discriminate against an already at-risk population. Those measures included banning transgender athletes from playing girls public high or middle school sports.

This year, lawmakers returned to the Nashville-based Statehouse looking to expand that ban to colleges and universities. The proposal easily cleared the Republican-controlled Statehouse, where GOP members also approved a separate bill that will add harsh penalties against public K-12 schools that allow transgender athletes to participate in girls’ sports.

Republicans this year also pushed to let teachers and school districts use the pronoun that a transgender student does not prefer, but that effort eventually got spiked during the last days of the legislative session.

While Lee did not issue a comment explaining why he signed the legislation, the Republican has previously declared that allowing transgender athletes to participate in female sports would “destroy women’s sports.”

The bill will go into effect July 1.

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