New Tennessee bill would require students to play sports as gender-identified at birth

New bill would require Tennessee students to play sports as gender-identified at birth

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new Tennessee bill would require students in the state’s public elementary and secondary schools to play sports based on their gender assigned at birth – not what they currently identify as.

The controversial bill is House Bill 15-72, or the Girls Athletic Protection Act.

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The Republican state representative who’s sponsoring this bill said females are at a disadvantage because of transgender athletes.

In December, state Rep. Bruce Griffey proposed the Girls Athletic Protection Act – or the GAP Act.

“Yeah, I think it’s an appropriate bill. I think saying you play based on your birth certificate is a good thing,” said Cameron Sexton, the speaker of the Tennessee House.

Sexton was in Collierville meeting with local leaders.

“I think it’s a relatively new issue. I think 20 years ago or 30 tears ago when I was in high school, it wasn’t an issue. And so its becoming a type of an issue. Rep. Griffey has filed the legislation, and I’m in support of it,” Sexton told WHBQ-TV.

WHBQ reached out to Griffey. He said over the phone that the bill isn’t meant to be any kind of attack on the LGBTQ community, but that it’s supposed to “protect biological girls who want to compete against other biological girls in sports.”

“It’s to maintain fairness in competition. I don’t know that it’s a huge problem in Tennessee right now, but I want to be proactive so we don’t have a bunch of controversy down the road,” Griffey said. “I want, if an issue comes up or a lawsuit is filed, I want a judge to say, ‘Here’s the policy for the state of Tennessee.’”

Stock photo of a person playing soccer.
Stock photo of a person playing soccer. (Pornsawan Sangmanee/EyeEm/Getty Images)