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Georgia becomes latest to pass bill barring trans students from competing against opposite sex

On Thursday, a measure passed in the Georgia Senate that requires students to participate in high school sports in line with the sex that appears on their birth certificate. Bills with similar language have been proposed in recent years, but this is the first time a measure of the sort has made it to a vote by a full chamber. The state Senate passed the bill, also known as Senate Bill 435 on a party-line vote of 32-22, as Republicans voted in favor of it. State Sen. Marty Harbin, a Republican representing Tyrone, said that the bill will allow a fair space for girls who play sports in Georgia schools. “It is our responsibility as legislators and as adults with common sense to resolve this issue and ensure that Georgia’s girls aren’t robbed of time on the field, a chance for character building, athletic accomplishments and invaluable scholarship,” said Harbin. The bill’s supporters said that transgender girls have an unfair advantage against biological females, as they pointed to some cases in Connecticut where two transgender girls won first and second place in track competitions in 2018 as well as 2019. Additionally, SB435 would prevent schools from letting transgender girls participate in the sporting teams that align with their identified gender unless no equivalent sport exists as offered by the schools. State Sen. Kim Jackson, a Democrat from Stone Mountain who also is serving as the first openly LGBT senator in the chamber, recalled her time in youth sports as a gay woman as she criticized the bill. “In the early 2000s, adults said really cruel things to me about gay athletes,” Jackson recounted. “They made straight athletes feel afraid by suggesting a gay athlete would touch them inappropriately during games.” As the bill goes to the House for its consideration, other critics say it will lead to increased suicide attempts by transgender children.

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