Tenn. House passes bill to withhold funding from schools if athletes compete outside birth gender

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 8:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill Thursday to withhold money from school districts that fail to determine a student’s gender based on their birth certificate.

HB 1895 passed with a 66-22 vote. The bill would lead to a loss of funding for any Tennessee school district that allows students to compete in sports without determining their gender based on the student’s birth certificate.

“We passed a bill last year that required boys to play boys and girls to play girls K-12, and this bill is putting teeth into it,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Rogan (R) of Oak Ridge.

The bill is a follow-up to a law that went into effect last year that required districts, called Local Education Associations or LEAs to determine a student’s birth gender.

However, this bill adds financial consequences to school district’s that don’t oblige.

Shahin Samiei, with the Tennessee Equality Project says the bill is detrimental to Tennessee transgender youth.

”Tennessee Equality Project vehemently opposes this bill. We cannot see really a worse combination of two pieces of public policy coming together, which is to say discrimination and cutting funding from school districts,” Samiei said.

The vote happened with no discussion on the House floor, and it comes on the same day as International Transgender Day of Visibility.

”It’s shameful, it’s problematic. Our state needs to be finding ways to lift up the transgender community as with all Tennesseans, not trying to tear them down,” Samiei added.

The bill does not specify exactly how much money would be withheld by the state.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

If passed, it would have to be signed by Governor Lee to go into law.

For more about the TN Equality Project, click here.

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