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Tipsheet

Tennessee Gov. Signs Law Penalizing Schools That Allow Transgender Athletes

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, enacted another provision to a law this week that prohibits transgender student-athletes from competing on a team that does not align with their biological sex. The provision punishes schools that allow transgender athletes.

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Lee signed House Bill 1895, which pulls state funding from schools that allow transgender students to play for sports teams that are not their biological sex. The measure added to the existing law will take effect July 1. 

The measure will require the state’s education commissioner to withhold a portion of the state education funds from school districts that do not determine a student-athlete’s gender using the student’s original birth certificate. 

Last year, Lee signed into law a requirement for students in fourth grade and older to provide legal documentation of their biological sex to participate in school sports. In a tweet, the Governor wrote that the law would protect the integrity of women’s sports. 

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In recent weeks, several GOP governors have recently signed legislation to protect women's sports, such as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. This comes after a biological male transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, Will “Lia” Thomas, competed against women all season and won at the NCAA swimming championships.

On the other hand, GOP governors Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Spencer Cox of Utah vetoed similar legislation protecting women’s sports. Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also vetoed similar legislation.

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