Civil rights groups sue Tennessee for banning trans athletes from school sports

Nov. 4 (Reuters) – Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday to challenge a Tennessee law that restricts the participation of transgender students in school sports, arguing it is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

“Today Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee filed a lawsuit against a Tennessee law prohibiting transgender youth from participating in school sports,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed into law SB 228, which requires public middle school and high school students to participate in sports based on the sex listed on their original birth certificates. Lee’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the trial.

Supporters of such legislation say it aims to protect fairness in school sports by eliminating what they see as a physical competitive advantage inherent in transgender athletes playing on women’s teams.

The lawsuit is on behalf of a state student who says the law prevents him from trying for his school’s boys’ golf team.

“SB 228 was not passed to protect female athletes but to marginalize transgender people. The law amounts to a simple desire to harm a politically unpopular group, which is an unacceptable government goal and fails at all levels. equal protective review, “said the lawsuit, filed with the United States District Court for the Central District of Tennessee.

At least 35 bills to exclude transgender youth from athletics have been introduced in 31 states this year, up from 29 in 2020 and two in 2019, according to a tally taken earlier this year by the National Conference of State Legislatures. .

Equal rights advocates denounce these restrictions as discriminatory and whose real purpose is to energize social conservatives. Read more

“The emotional cost of this law for transgender student athletes is enormous,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee.

Report by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; edited by Grant McCool

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