A bill in the Tennessee General Assembly would require that middle school or high school students’ biological gender determine whether they may participate in interscholastic sports specifically tailored either for males or females.
Supporters of the bill told The Tennessee Star Friday they believe the bill will pass both the state house and the state senate.
State Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and State Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) are the bill’s primary sponsors, according to the Tennessee General Assembly’s website.
Cepicky was unavailable for comment Friday. Hensley, in an email, told The Star his bill has already passed the subcommittee and the full committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Members of the Tennessee Senate will vote on the bill next week, he said.
“It just passed through the Senate Education Committee this week. The purpose of this bill is to protect women’s right to compete on a level playing field,” Hensley said.
“Allowing biological males to compete in sports with biological females puts young women at a significant disadvantage. It goes directly against the original intentions of Title IX, which was established in 1972 to provide female athletes with equal opportunities to compete.”
Tennessee Eagle Forum President Bobbie Patray, meanwhile, said Friday that her organization “very much favors the bill.”
According to its website, the Tennessee Eagle Forum promotes individual liberty, family integrity, public and private virtue, and pro-family policies.
Patray said women “shouldn’t have to compete against men regardless of how they classify themselves now.”
“It is being problematic all over the country,” Patray said.
“I don’t know why the feminists who worked so hard to get Title IX in place aren’t protesting this [men competing against women], but they don’t seem to be.”
The Star asked Hensley if he sees a court challenge, assuming legislators enact his bill into law.
“I do not know if this legislation will be challenged through the judiciary. It is important legislation to pass, so that is an issue we would resolve if that time came,” Hensley said.
“This bill is all about fairness for our female athletes in middle and high school to ensure they are able to participate in equal competition. It is not to discriminate against anyone. We feel that this enhances Title IX protections for women and does not discriminate against any particular group.”
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