A Win for Tennessee’s Female Athletes: House Passes Bill Protecting Girls in Sports, Now Heads to Governor for Approval


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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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send tips to [email protected].






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6 Thoughts to “A Win for Tennessee’s Female Athletes: House Passes Bill Protecting Girls in Sports, Now Heads to Governor for Approval”

  1. Cannoneer2

    Tennessee didn’t have a problem with this before the legislation was passed, did we? Even if the problem DID exist, it wouldn’t affect more than a few hundred people at most. We need a unicameral Legislature that meets every other year. They obviously don’t have enough to do.

  2. Horatio Bunce

    Why do public schools discriminate against so many students and not let everyone play on the sports teams (and get a scholarship)? Why do public school sports cater to such a small minority of the students while they spend everyone’s tax dollars? Aren’t all students equal? Is that fair Democrats?

    These bills mean nothing if the Republican super-majority continues to ignore the Constitutional abuses by the executive branch and unconstitutional, and therefore illegal, executive orders emanating from it. They believe the current governor can just decide on a whim what occupations are essential, which businesses can be closed by fiat, what unlicensed medical “doctors” like Deborah Birx can prescribe medical devices for the entire state’s population, or pretend to grant powers that don’t exist to county mayors or health departments.

    What is stopping any governor or county mayor or school system (or apparently, unelected health departments) from just over-ruling their legislation with an executive order? Nothing has been stopping them for over a year now.

  3. william delzell

    How will you be sure that the girls are not trans-girls? Will you require them and their parents to sign affidavits swearing that they are cis-girls? Will you violate these girls’ privacy the way the Olympics used to do when it screened female athletes by forcing them to parade naked in front of so-called “experts” who supposedly could tell the difference between cis-females and trans-females? Finally, where to trans-BOY athletes figure into this picture? Will they have to settle for playing only in girl athletic events since their birth certificate lists these trans-boys as FEMALE? The devil is in the details.

  4. 83ragtop50

    It is amazing that it requires legislation to declare when a male is male and female is a female. I applaud the legislator for finally doing something worthwhile. I had almost forgotten that they did anything more than coddle criminals and spend taxpayer money.

  5. Joey Verge

    I wonder what Jill thinks of this? Is she still giving the silent treatment?

  6. CMinTN

    Good, we don’t need to be enabling their mental illnesses.