Rep. Singleton’s bill seeks ban on transgender athletes in Georgia girls’ school sports

Dozens of student athletes in Georgia girls’ sports joined state Rep. Phillip Singleton (at podium) to support his bill banning transgender participation on Feb. 4, 2021. Photo/Beau Evans of Capitol Beat.
Dozens of student athletes in Georgia girls’ sports joined state Rep. Phillip Singleton (at podium) to support his bill banning transgender participation on Feb. 4, 2021. Photo/Beau Evans of Capitol Beat.

Legislation blocking boys from playing in girls’ sports in Georgia and giving athletes cause to sue in court over violating that ban is up for debate in the General Assembly, sparking outrage from transgender rights advocates.

By | Feb 4, 2021 | Capitol Beat News Service

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phillip Singleton, R-Sharpsburg, would prevent “biological males” from playing in school sports with “biological females,” halting children of different sexes or gender identities from playing in the same leagues.

It would also allow students who are deprived of athletic opportunities or face “direct or indirect harm” due to teams violating the proposed boy-girl split in Georgia sports to seek damages in civil court.

“Allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports spells the end of girls’ sports,” Singleton said at a news conference Thursday at the state Capitol. “If we ignore biological reality and we ignore the science, our daughters will get hurt.”

Critics argue the bill discriminates against transgender athletes, marking the latest move by some conservative state lawmakers and religious groups to trample on LGBTQ rights. Transgender advocates condemned a nearly identical bill Singleton sponsored last year that sought the same gender divisions in Georgia sports but stalled.

Singleton represents eastern Coweta County and a portion of Fayette County north of Ga. Highway 54 and west of Ga. Highway 74 in Peachtree City.

Advocacy groups Georgia Equality and the nonprofit Athlete Ally also argued the bill would run afoul of transgender athlete inclusion rules for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that could jeopardize Georgia’s changes for hosting future college sports events — as well as the state’s bid to land the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

“This is a shameful attack on Georgia’s transgender youth and young adults,” said Georgia Quality spokeswoman Shannon Clawson. “The proposed legislation does nothing to protect or support girls’ sports, rather it serves only to spread hateful stereotypes and endangers children and their ability to fully participate in important extracurricular activities.”

Singleton dismissed accusations his bill targets transgender student athletes, tying that criticism to “identity politics.” He framed the issue as a question of competitive advantage, noting two Connecticut transgender runners sparked controversy in 2018 by winning top prizes in girls’ track.

The Georgia High School Association, which sets rules for the state’s school sports teams, already does not permit boys to play on girls’ teams. It does let girls to play on boys’ sports teams “when there is no girls’ team offered in that sport by the school,” according to the association’s bylaws.

Gov. Brian Kemp appeared briefly in the Capitol Thursday to take photos with Singleton and about three dozen young Georgia women currently participating in girls’ sports. Kemp declined to comment on whether he supports Singleton’s bill, citing his office’s policy not to endorse pending legislation.

The bill has several Republican co-sponsors including Rep. Jodi Lott, R-Evans, who is one of Kemp’s floor leaders in the Georgia House of Representatives, and state Rep. Todd Jones, R-South Forsyth, who chairs the House Appropriations Education subcommittee. Georgia Senate Education and Youth Chairman Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, also appeared at the news conference supporting the bill. — This story provided by Capitol Beat News Service

<b>Gov. Brian Kemp (left) takes a selfie with student athletes after a news conference to support legislation banning transgender participation in Georgia girls’ sports on Feb. 4, 2021. Photo/Beau Evans of Capitol Beat News Service.</b>
Gov. Brian Kemp (left) takes a selfie with student athletes after a news conference to support legislation banning transgender participation in Georgia girls’ sports on Feb. 4, 2021. Photo/Beau Evans of Capitol Beat News Service.


  1. Gender is not “assigned”, it is created. Regardless of your belief of creation by God or by Science, you are created at conception and you are what you were created as. You by choice can dress as you please, act as you please, marry as you please, take hormones if you please- all personal choices. However, you ARE what you ARE. You may be a person created as one gender but choose to act/identify as the other. This is acceptable and has a name, transgender. The sport is either a female or male sport, dictated by your creation. A transgender person is still allowed to play on the team that he or she matches genetically. A boy can wear lipstick during his football game, a girl can forego ponytails while cheerleading, but it is discriminatory against the intended sex to allow genetically opposite sexes to share the locker room, take a space on the team, etc. Choose to be different, wear it proud, but don’t force it upon others. We all have limitations, accept them.

  2. This is the danger of being able to call something “hate speech”. If you disagree with someone, instead of winning a rational argument with facts to back up your claims, you can just label it hate speech and all the liberals will dogpile on and cancel you. And soon you’ll be able to have someone charged for a hate crime because of “hate speech”. If you don’t think it’s coming – you better hold onto your horses. Liberalism and the far left hate freedom and hate choice. It’s their way or the highway.

    So Henry, let me get this straight……I’m being hateful because I disagree with you and because I (and the vast majority of people) don’t buy into your flawed logic and believe the bill of goods you want to sell us? Wouldn’t that make you hateful for attacking me and disagreeing with me, too??

    Yes, Henry, gender dysphoria is a mental illness. Why are suicide rates amongst trans teens as high as 50% – exponentially higher than non-trans teens? These kids are miserable and suffering and it’s not because they’re confused about their gender and lack acceptance from culture. It’s way deeper than that. There’s a sadness and a brokenness that comes from childhood wounds that no sex change or cultural acceptance of your lifestyle choice is going to cure.

  3. Y’all are some ****[EDITED]**** TERFs. If you’ve read anything about what it’s like to take estrogen you would know that transwomen lose a ton of muscle and in a many cases get shorter by about an inch. That’s the case for women who transition as adults If they take hormone blockers during puberty and start estrogen shortly after that, they for all intents and purposes are indistinguishable from ciswomen. Transwomen are women and should compete with women. Y’all are just recycling the same anti-gay and lesbian rhetoric from decades past. Worries about “gays in bathrooms” have now been replaced with worries about “trans in bathrooms”. Get new material.

    FROM THE EDITOR: Keep it civil.

    • Henry,

      That’s one small portion of trans individuals that undergo hormone replacement therapy HRT and those effects you mentioned (loss of muscle, decreased height) are not as common as you think. The exact medication and effects from HRT vary from case to case so what you stated above isn’t exactly accurate. Additionally, there is a wide discussion in both the political and medical world regarding minors and HRT designed to “block” puberty. This correlates to the subject at hand as I believe we will see very few many transwomen school athletes that started HRT prior to puberty in the near future.

      However, we will see an abundance of transwomen that have not or choose not to undergo HRT treatments and wish to compete as a female. You’ll be hard pressed to find a medical professional who agrees that females and males in high school puberty levels are biologically equal. This argument and legislation is to preserve the fairness and equality of sports. I do think this will engage further gender definition discussions at the personal, political, and scientifically levels, as it should. Until relevant progress and steps have been made in those realms, its best for now to preserve in fairness to the sport and it’s competitors.

      This isn’t about recycling harmful rhetoric, this is a new discussion that is less about identity/politics as it is competitive biological equality. Transwomen have a physiological advantage over a biologically born female. I’m not sure what you identify as or if you played competitive sports…but as a former (emphasis on former, lol!) athlete and now father with daughters that play, I couldn’t imagine the gagged frustration and perhaps feelings of betrayal for some of these female athletes in stories of a transwoman defeating them.

      • As a woman who wrestles competitively on a women’s team but often practices and fights men, I think that this legislation is discriminatory.

        I disagree with you in that those side affects are less common than I would think, because those are the reasons you would be taking estrogen in the first place. If you stayed muscular and masculine, you wouldn’t be taking hormones, would you? Shots aren’t fun and if they don’t do anything, why take them?

        Also, I would personally divide sports into two categories, strategic and pure athleticism. Athleticism is required to play any sport, but the degree to which it affects each sport is different. For example, I would consider track more of a pure athletic sport and tennis more of a strategic sport. I don’t particularly see why men or trans women who don’t take hormones or puberty blockers’ muscle mass would give them a massive advantage in more strategic sports, since it’s more about skill and reflexes than strength. And when the sport is based on pure athleticism, why would it be unfair if it’s already built to gauge your strength and speed, especially if it’s only a couple of kids out of hundreds or thousands competing in the same competitions? Many women have naturally higher testosterone than cis men. Would it be reasonable to prevent them from playing sports based on their physiology too?

        I think this is mainly an excuse to be transphobic. As a woman in a predominantly male sport, I know what it’s like to be discriminated against because of my gender. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, especially since my trans sisters have already worked so hard against transphobia to be able to openly be themselves.

        This legislation is gender-based discrimination, and could lead to harming not only trans women, but cis women with hormonal disorders or who are just naturally more inclined to be muscular. I think that that is cruel and impolite, as well as a form of body-shaming that men aren’t criticized for to the extent that women are. You would never see legislation preventing men with naturally unusually high levels of testosterone from competing, so this extends to be a women’s rights issue and a form of misogyny as well.

        Sorry for the long comment, it just really grinds my gears to see male politicians policing women’s bodies.

      • IDK, any transwomen who don’t want to go on HRT. It’s more an issue of access and affordability. Most insurance policies don’t cover transition procedures and as we all know without insurance healthcare is absurdly expensive. No one is claiming that a pre transition transwomen is physically equivalent to a ciswoman. Post transition, transwomen are much closer to ciswomen than cismen physically.

        What is fair in sports anyway, should taller kids be handicapped because of their physiological advantage when playing basketball? I think we can all agree no, that would be ridiculous. Why should transwomen be excluded from participating in sports with the gender they identify as just because they were assigned male at birth? We’ve already had these discussions. Transwomen are women, that’s the end of it.

        I have played sports and in college my club team competes against a lot of varsity teams. I imagine it’s similar to that, they have money to offer scholarships to better players and have funds for better training equipment and coaches. I’m not gonna say we need to level the playing field by redistributing funding. It’s the same thing with transwomen. They have a bit of an advantage, but it’s not insurmountable. On my club team we beat D3 schools and put up a good fight against D2 schools, by playing to our strengths.

        • “Transwomen are women. That’s the end of it.”

          No, they are not. They are biological men, who have decided to call themselves women. Men born men remain men. Women born women remain women. (Not referring to the incredibly small % of babies born with both/neither reproductive organs – that’s a different conversation and a data outlier). Yes, there can be varying degrees of masculinity and feminimity, but peel back the layers and biologically they are men or women, no matter what they “feel” like. Facts remain and facts don’t care about your feelings.

          Go ahead and brand me as hateful. I don’t condemn anyone who wants to dress up or pretend they’re something they’re not. I pity them for their mental disorder and lack of waypoints and lack of knowledge of who they truly are. I do condemn your mentality of shoving your scientifically-lacking opinion of what a man is and what a woman is down everyone else’s throats and forcing your misguided beliefs on every else, destroying women’s sports in the process and exposing biologically (dare I say “real”) girls and women to harm and injury by competing against biological males.

          By the way, I also played college sports so your argument from authority carries no weight.

          • “Men born men remain men. Women born women remain women.”

            Exactly there are subset of men and women, Cis and Trans. Cis people identity as the gender they were assigned at birth. Trans people identify as the opposite gender as they were assigned at birth. There are also non-binary folks who identify as neither man nor woman, but somewhere in-between.

            Despite what you might think trans people know who they are. No one wants to deal with stigma of being a trans person and many people deny that they are trans because they’re afraid of how the people closest to them will react. The whole reason people transition is because they have such dysphoria as the gender they were assigned at birth that despite the all the stigma and how people will act weird around them, they feel better after transitioning.

            You are absolutely being transphobic and it is not a mental disorder to be trans. Transpeople know who they are that’s why they transition. It’s not that complicated. Transwomen are women and transmen are men. Simple as that. They aren’t harming anyone. Get out of here with your *****EDITED AGAIN***** hate.

  4. As a woman I feel this is discrimination.
    We can not compete with the physiology of men.We will never hold titles again if transgenders are able to compete. Look at the recent titles… there is no fairness in this at all.

  5. Nothing equal about biological male competing in female’s sports. Just because you changed your appearance does not change your DNA. If transgender community wants to participate in sports. either join your biological category OR make your own category, and work on it.. Can not be hard. Nobody is denying anybody’s rights here. Female has the right for level field. Transgenders don’t belong there no matter how loud you make noise, still they do NOT belong in females sports until their DNA says they are female.