Transgender athletes could be barred from competing in collegiate sports under new legislation filed in the Tennessee General Assembly. Last year, state lawmakers passed legislation that bars transgender students from playing sports at public K-12 schools.
Republican leaders are now throwing their weight behind legislation targeting colleges. House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, says it protects the integrity of sports.
“When you see Michael Phelps come out and say there needs to be a level playing field in swimming based on what’s happening in the Ivy League, I think people are looking at it and taking a look,” Sexton said. “It’s nothing against a transgender athlete. It’s about basically people being able to compete in similar fields. And whether men should compete against men, and women compete against women.”
Olympian Michael Phelps recently commented on Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. She’s broken multiple records for the women’s swim team.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is suing the state over its ban on transgender students in K-12 sports. That lawsuit is pending in federal courts.