Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Banning Trans Athletes From Female Collegiate Sports

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
May 7, 2022 Updated: May 7, 2022

Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee signed legislation on May 6 that will ban transgender athletes from competing in female sports at the college level.

The HB 2316/SB 2153 bill prevents biological male students from taking part in any intercollegiate or intramural sports that are designated for females. The educational institution must determine the sex of a student as listed in his/her original birth certificate which was issued at or near the time of birth.

“Under this bill, if an institution of higher education violates the above provision and the violation deprives a student of an athletic opportunity or causes direct or indirect harm to the student, then the student will have a private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages, and other relief, plus costs and including attorney fees,” a summary of the bill states.

The bill also bans government entities, licensing or accrediting organizations, or athletic organizations from taking any action against an educational institution that keeps separate athletic teams for female students; or retaliating against a student who reports any violation of the bill. The new legislation is expected to come into effect on July 1.

In April, Lee signed into law House Bill 1895, which pulls out funding from state schools that refuse or fail to determine a student athlete’s gender using their original birth certificate.

Last year, the Tennessee governor signed into law legislation that mandates students beyond the fourth grade to offer legal documentation which displays their birth sex in order to take part in school sports competitions. Lee said that he had signed the bill to “preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”

Women’s groups have been protesting against biological males being allowed to compete in female college sports. In February, a group of 16 members from the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team and their family members issued a letter to the university and Ivy League asking that they prevent transgender teammate Lia Thomas from taking part in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) events, stating that Thomas has an “unfair advantage” in the competition.

“We have trained up to 20 hours a week, swimming miles, running, and lifting weights. To be sidelined or beaten by someone competing with the strength, height, and lung capacity advantages that can only come with male puberty has been exceedingly difficult,” the letter stated.

Thomas was eventually allowed to take part in the NCAA swimming championship under the female category and emerged the winner in the 500-yard freestyle competition.

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.