Tennessee bill aims to require student athletes to play sports based on gender at birth

A Tennessee lawmaker proposed a bill to make sure transgender students play sports based on their sex at birth. / (MGN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WVLT/WTVF)-- A Tennessee lawmaker proposed a bill to make sure transgender students play sports based on their sex at birth.

State Representative Bruce Griffey introduced House Bill 1572. Griffey said the idea of the proposal is for Tennessee transgender students to participate in the sports categories based on the sex on their birth certificate, WTVF reported.

Griffey said the bill is to ensure there is fairness in sports competitions throughout the state.

"There’s no ill will intended toward anyone regarding this legislation. What it’s simply trying to do is, I think science and experience and just society. We all know that traditionally males generally have bigger hearts, bigger upper body strength, and that can give them a genetic advantage when competing against women in a number of sports," said Griffey.

Advocate for LGBTQ rights said the bill is an attack on the transgender community.

"Some members of the General Assembly have not made an effort to understand that trans youth are a part of our school population and we need to serve and protect them like all students," Chris Sanders, executive director with the Tennessee Equality Project, told WTVF.

Griffey said there is no intention to punish or discriminate when it comes to the bill. He said the bill is all about fair competition.

"We’ve split up sports into male and female competitions, to begin with for a sense of fairness; and if we’re going to begin blurring the lines we’re really defeating the purpose of having fair competitions, to begin with," said Griffey.

According to the bill, any elementary or secondary school that willfully or intentionally violates the guidelines would be "immediately ineligible to continue to receive public funds of any type from this state or a local government."

The bill would impose a fine up to $10,000 on any school or state official who violates the ban. If the bill becomes a law, any official accused of violating the law would have to leave their office and be ineligible to hold public office, school administration positions, or principal positions for five years.

Copyright 2019 WVLT via WTVF. All rights reserved.