The Tennessee General Assembly determined that girls in sports shouldn’t have to fear lost opportunities or bodily harm due to transgender athletes. The House passed House Bill 3 on Monday, after a debate lasting nearly half an hour.
In the House, the bill passed largely along party lines: 71 to 16, with 5 persons abstaining their vote. Only one Republican voted against the bill: State Representative Eddie Mannis (R-Knoxville). Only two Democrats voted for the bill: State Representatives Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) and John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).
Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) defended the merits of the bill simply. He refused to address the nuanced concerns introduced by Democrats against the bill. Cepicky would only reiterate that his bill seeks to maintain competitive balance, safety, and opportunity for scholarships for young women.
State Representative John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) proposed an amendment that would essentially render the bill an option for schools to administer. He said that the bill would thwart the “most courageous thing” that a child could decide to do in their lifetime, or anyone else would do in any of their lifetimes.
State Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Memphis) said that this legislation was unwise for a variety of reasons. She contended that it would only bring lawsuits to the state, and wrongful discrimination against transgender individuals.
State Representative Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) brought up the example of Mack Beggs, a transgender male, who was prohibited from competing on a men’s wrestling team in Texas and went on to win undefeated in women’s wrestling through high school.
“You’re creating a problem for a solution that is not needed, so what do you do in that situation?” stated Mitchell.
To all of these contesting arguments, Cepicky would merely repeat the same three premises for the bill: competitive balance, safety, and opportunity for girls in sports.
State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) criticized those against the bill for telling individuals all year to follow the science concerning COVID-19, but not for this issue.
Faison cited a hospital’s research of biological male Air Force members that underwent hormone therapy and testosterone blockers, and were discovered to have retained a 12 percent advantage over females.
“Members I would encourage you on this bill to follow the science. I’ve heard the naysayers say there’s no difference, no advantage [..] but when you follow the science you’ll find a different story,” stated Faison. “[Y]our emotions and how you feel are not real.”
As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this month, the Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly.
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