Georgia bill would make transgender youth compete as gender identified at birth

A group of girls stand behind Georgia Rep. Philip Singleton as he introduces House Bill 276 during a press conference Thursday at the Georgia Capitol Building in Atlanta. The bill would ban transgender girls from participating in sports for biological females at public facilities. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
A group of girls stand behind Georgia Rep. Philip Singleton as he introduces House Bill 276 during a press conference Thursday at the Georgia Capitol Building in Atlanta. The bill would ban transgender girls from participating in sports for biological females at public facilities. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

A Republican lawmaker has filed legislation that would ban transgender girls from competing in single-gender sporting events if it doesn’t align with their gender identified at birth.

State Rep. Philip Singleton, a Sharpsburg Republican, introduced similar legislation last year, but it gained no traction.

“There is no place for identity politics or discrimination of any type in sports,” Singleton said. “This is about biology and physiology, not psychology or sociology. This is about protecting our daughters, our sisters and our mothers.”

Jen Slipakoff, who has a 13-year-old transgender daughter, said she was disgusted by Singleton’s bill. Her daughter, who is a seventh grader at a private school, is on the girl’s lacrosse team this year.

“I just feel like in the time that we’re in right now — in a global pandemic — we’re going into our second year of being in lockdown and our elected officials have nothing to do other than worry about what’s in someone’s underpants,” she said.

According to Singleton’s proposal, House Bill 276, a young athlete whose gender was male on their birth certificate, but identifies as female, could not participate in girls sports in public k-12 schools or universities. A young athlete who could prove she was deprived of an opportunity that was given to a transgender girl, or was harmed by a transgender girl while playing a sport, could then sue the school or school system for damages.

He said his proposed legislation would have no impact on team sports, so it would not stop a girl from playing on a football team, for example.

Shannon Clawson with Georgia Equality, an LGBTQ rights organization, called Singleton’s bill a solution in search of a problem.

“You can’t claim to be supporting women’s sports when you’re trying to isolate transgender girls from sports,” Clawson said. “You’re attacking and further isolating transgender youth and keeping them from participating in sports that would allow them to learn very important principles about leadership and teamwork.”

Singleton stressed that transgender girls could still play sports, but only on boys teams.

With the backdrop of more than a dozen Republican lawmakers and about 50 female student-athletes, Singleton’s 10-year-old daughter Emma encouraged legislators to support her father’s bill.

“I don’t think it is fair for girls who are playing in girls-only sports to have to play against boys,” Emma Singleton said. “The boys are naturally born stronger than girls and can usually beat the girls. I would know, I have three brothers.”

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