ATLANTA – The Georgia High School Association’s executive committee has voted unanimously to require transgender students to participate in school sports based on the gender identities on their birth certificates.
Wednesday’s unanimous vote followed the passage of legislation by the Republican-controlled General Assembly last month that handed the issue of a transgender sports ban to the association.
“I’m proud to have championed this issue in Georgia,” GOP Gov. Brian Kemp posted on Facebook after the vote.
Transgender rights advocates blasted the vote as the result of a secretive, rushed process that will do real harm to transgender students who already are disproportionately victims of violence and suicide.
“At no point during the General Assembly’s debate of bills that would have had a similarly devastating impact were supporters of this change able to present a single example of how allowing transgender students to participate in athletics harmed other students in Georgia,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman Max Flugrath accused Kemp of playing politics with the lives of transgender students.
“Kemp’s advocacy for this dangerous policy and gloating upon its enactment underscores the cruelty and level of extremism that has defined his time in office,” Flugrath said. “He’s always put his extreme partisan politics and his political career above our best interests, even if it means hurting our kids and dividing our communities.”
The governor and Republican legislative leaders defended the legislation as ensuring that girls born female can compete on a level playing field in sports.
“I’m so proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made in girls’ sports here in Georgia,” said state Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, a candidate for lieutenant governor. “That’s why we can’t let the craziness of the Woke Mob destroy girls’ sports.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.