ATLANTA — Republicans at the State Capitol are putting some muscle behind a new Senate bill that would preclude transgender high school students from participating in women's sports. Republicans behind it are calling it the “Save Girls’ Sports Act.”
Supporters said that it strengthens women’s sports by excluding transgender athletes who were assigned male at birth.
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'We separate athletes by their weight in wrestling or their age group or size," said state Rep. Philip Singleton (R-Sharpsburg), who introduced a similar bill in a previous legislative session. "Their biological sex is a category in which they’re separated so that there is parity on the athletic field."
The Senate bill introduced this week said an athlete’s “gender means a person’s … reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
Though it may be less of an issue on the athletic field than it is on conservative news sites, Gov. Brian Kemp gave the issue his backing with a brief mention in his state of the state speech.
"I strongly support [legislation] to ensure fairness in school sports," Kemp said in January.
"I feel like these bills are really manufacturing a problem that really doesn’t exist," said Jen Slipakoff of Kennesaw. She said her 14-year-old daughter transitioned around kindergarten – and now plays girls' lacrosse at a private school.
"I think that trans kids are already walking through their life feeling like all eyes are on them, feeling like they’re different, feeling like they don’t belong. And what are we doing? We’re enacting a law that literally says you don’t belong," Slipakoff said in an interview with 11Alive.
She said her daughter's gender transition is no secret among her friends, and that it's never been an issue at her school or on the lacrosse field. She added her daughter is a smaller-than-average player with average athletic ability.
The Senate bill has 25 Republican cosponsors and the support of the governor in an election year.