Tenn. lawmakers push for collegiate transgender athlete ban

Mar 30, 2022, 1:26 AM | Updated: 2:37 pm
FILE - The Tennessee House of Representatives meets Oct. 27, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee la...

FILE - The Tennessee House of Representatives meets Oct. 27, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee lawmakers have confirmed the governor's appointment of a businessman to the State Board of Education despite lawsuits over his company's sale of ammunition online, including the bullets used in a mass shooting at a Texas high school. The Republican-supermajority General Assembly gave its final approval to Jordan Mollenhour in a 71-14 House vote Thursday, March 17, 2022. The Senate approved the pick last week. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee would ban transgender athletes from participating in female college sports under legislation gaining traction inside the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly.

The measure is one of 17 bills that have been introduced this year in Tennessee targeting LGBTQ people — more than any other state in the country, according to civil rights activists.

“Even amid one of the most extreme time periods for anti-LGBTQ politics in our country’s history, lawmakers in Tennessee have distinguished themselves with one of the most anti-LGBTQ legislative agendas in the country,” said Sam Ames, director for advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, in a recent statement.

Last year, no other state enacted more laws targeting transgender people than Tennessee. That 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 cleared key legislative hearings Wednesday in both the House and Senate despite objections from Democratic lawmakers.

Separately, in the Senate, a committee advanced a bill that would let teachers and school districts use the pronoun that a transgender student does not prefer, exempting teachers from facing employment punishment and protecting schools from civil liability. It could get a Senate floor vote in the coming days, but still requires more committee work in the House. Meanwhile, a bill that would impose penalties on public K-12 schools that violate the transgender athlete ban also advanced out of legislative committees a day before.

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has not publicly weighed in on either bill, but he has previously declared that allowing transgender athletes to participate in female sports would “destroy women’s sports.”

Scrutiny over transgender athletes has come to the forefront once again after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas started smashing records this year. She was on the men’s team her first three years, but she is competing for the women this season after transitioning.

The NCAA adopted a sport-by-sport approach in January for transgender athletes, but Republicans in a handful of states have decided to push for strict bans. Supporters argue such prohibitions are needed to ensure a level playing field.

“Yes, the (NCAA) does have rules but we’ve seen instances in college athletics where a biological male competing against women and won several medals. We feel like they have an advantage,” said Sen. Joey Hensley, a Republican from Hohenwald and sponsor of the higher education transgender ban.

Also on Wednesday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a similar transgender athlete ban for middle and high school sports, as well as college.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Mattise contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper reacts after being hit by a pitch from San Diego Padres' Blake ...
Associated Press

Phillies’ Harper has broken thumb after being hit by pitch

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper has a broken left thumb after being hit by a 97-mph fastball from Blake Snell in the fourth inning Saturday night against the San Diego Padres. The team announced the injury to the reigning NL MVP, who will be out indefinitely. He will undergo further evaluation […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Ogwumike scores 24 to lead Sparks past Storm 85-77

SEATTLE (AP) — Nneka Ogwumike scored 24 points to lead four players in double figures and the Los Angeles Sparks clamped down in the fourth quarter to beat the Seattle Storm 85-77 on Saturday night. Ogwumike hit 12 of 18 shots from the floor for Los Angeles (7-10). Katie Lou Samuelson added 17 points for […]
22 hours ago
Mississippi's Tim Elko (25) celebrates as he runs toward home, as he was driven in by Kevin Graham ...
Associated Press

Pitching, power lift Ole Miss over OU in CWS finals opener

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Jack Dougherty knew for 24 hours he would get the ball for Mississippi in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Saturday night, and he didn’t want to jinx himself. “I tried not to think about it too much,” he said. “I wanted to go out there and be myself. […]
22 hours ago
Atlanta Braves' Marcell Ozuna through on a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during ...
Associated Press

Ozuna’s 2-run homer in 8th powers Braves past Dodgers 5-3

ATLANTA (AP) — Marcell Ozuna says he’s beginning to see evidence of his work to regain his timing at the plate after missing most of last season. The Braves outfielder backed up that claim with his biggest hit of the season. Ozuna hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and Atlanta recovered after blowing […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Phoenix tops Dallas 83-72 in first game without Charles

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 26 points, Diana Taurasi added 18 and Phoenix beat the Dallas Wings 83-72 on Saturday in the Mercury’s first game without Tina Charles. The Mercury announced earlier Saturday that they have parted ways with former MVP Tina Charles after just 18 games. “After discussions with Tina and her […]
22 hours ago
Colorado Rockies pitcher Carlos Estevez gestures as he walks to the dugout after completing the sev...
Associated Press

Archer, Twins bullpen combine on 1-hitter vs Rockies

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chris Archer kept his strong June going with five scoreless innings, and three Minnesota Twins relievers closed out a one-hitter in a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night. A day after being shut out themselves, Luis Arraez and the Twins had 10 hits in a dominant victory. Arraez — […]
22 hours ago
Tenn. lawmakers push for collegiate transgender athlete ban