Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a
Republican, on Friday signed a bill that extends a transgender high
school sports ban to colleges.
House Bill 2316/Senate Bill 2153
extends a high school ban approved last year to transgender college
students. The law specifically targets transgender women.
According to Axios, the bill states
that colleges “must rely upon the sex listed on the student's
original birth certificate issued at or near the time of birth.”
The bill also allows students who believe they have been harmed by a
violation of the law to sue for damages.
Supporters of such bans say they are
needed to ensure fairness in women's sports. Opponents point out that
backers are unable to provide evidence showing transgender athletes
have an unfair advantage.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, criticized Lee's signing of
the measure, noting that Tennessee is a leading state for anti-LGBTQ
“2022 is on track to surpass a record
number of anti-transgender bills filed in state legislatures this
year, in large part because of the efforts by Governor Bill Lee and
the Tennessee lawmakers who, law after law, year after year, continue
their legislative assault on the LGBTQ+ community, particularly
transgender people,” said HRC Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley. “Other
governors, including Republicans, have decided to lead with
compassion, but not Governor Lee. The Human Rights Campaign condemns
his actions, and those of the anti-equality legislators in the state
house in the strongest terms.”
HRC added that such bans deny
transgender girls and women the “social, physical, and emotional
benefits of sports.”