Gov. Bill Lee signs bill banning transgender athletes

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A major anti-transgender bill has now been signed into law.

Governor Bill Lee tweeted Friday he signed the anti-trans athlete bill, saying the bill will “preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”

Student-athletes in middle and high school will now be required to prove their sex at birth in order to play school sports.

On Monday, the bill passed the Tennessee House on the third consideration with a 71-16 vote; five people did not vote. The bill had advanced in the Tennessee Senate earlier this month.

The ACLU has already threatened to sue the state following passage into law.

“This hateful and unconstitutional bill is unnecessary — the bill sponsors have admitted that they do not know of a single instance of a Tennessee student facing any harm from a transgender athlete playing sports,” said Executive Director Hedy Weinberg, in ACLU’s statement. “Protecting women’s sports is important, but transgender girls do not threaten them. The vast majority of transgender students are not elite athletes. They just want to play sports for fun, with friends and classmates, to feel a sense of community and camaraderie, and to learn to respect and work together with coaches and teammates…”

The Tennessee Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus and the Tennessee Young Democrats LGBTQ Caucus are also condemning the decision:

“The Tennessee Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus and the Tennessee Young Democrats LGBTQ Caucus condemns Governor Bill Lee’s decision to sign SB228, known as the Anti-Transgender Student Athlete bill, into law earlier today. TNDP LGBTQ Caucus Chair Shayne Bilbrey commented on Lee’s signing and said, “Governor Bill Lee’s decision today to sign this bill into law will do more harm to our transgender youth, than good. Transgender kids are still kids, and they should have the same opportunities to compete in school athletics like their cis-gender peers and friends. We continue to stand with and fight for all Transgender Tennesseans, and we will work with our leaders in both chambers to stop the damage even further.”

The caucuses believe the Governor’s signing of this bill will also have a negative economic impact on the state’s economy, and it could also possibly risk Tennessee losing Federal education dollars as well. The Governor’s decision to sign this bill, will almost certainly lead to a lawsuit.

The caucuses want to thank our Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate that voted against this bill, and we will continue to work with leaders in both chambers on combating the rest of the Slate of Hate.”

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