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Tennessee’s transgender athlete ban passes legislature overwhelmingly

Proponents of Tennessee’s transgender athlete ban cleared one last legislative hurdle Monday night as House lawmakers passed the measure 71-16.

The legislation now will head to a governor who has expressed support for the measure. If it becomes law, the bill would effectively bar transgender students from competing in middle and high school sports under their gender identity.

A spokesperson for Gov. Bill Lee said Monday the governor will respect the legislature’s decision. Lee previously signaled his support by saying he believes transgender athlete participation would “destroy women’s sports.”

“The Governor has been clear about concerns around this issue and the negative impact on women’s sports,” Lee spokesperson Casey Black said Monday.

The legislation — one of the most controversial measures during this legislative session — has drawn sharp criticism from transgender Tennesseans, LGBTQ rights advocates and scholars, who deem the measure discriminatory against transgender youths and a move targeting a problem that does not exist in Tennessee. 


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