Vote NO on HB1689 on March 10

I am writing to ask members of the K-12 subcommittee to vote NO on HB1689 on March 10 and for all the co-sponsors to withdraw their support for the bill.

I oppose the exclusion of transgender students from school athletics.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate and draw on their strengths and talents.  The law should not be used to stigmatize a group of students, nor should it be used to micromanage school athletics.

This bill would create a bureaucratic and legal quagmire for schools as they try to maintain student privacy while using birth certificates or genetic testing to establish a student's gender. 

Birth certificates--Many students move to Tennessee from other states.  The states have varied policies on amended birth certificates.  In some states, the amended birth certificate becomes the only birth certificate available. 

DNA or genetic testing--Just like obtaining a birth certificate, there is a cost for the student's family to have a DNA or genetic test.  We should not add to a family's financial burden.  Schools will have to put in place new policies and systems to maintain records of birth certificates and genetic test results.  There is a strong risk that these student records will be used for purposes other than athletics and result in privacy violations.  The Legislature needs to weigh these risks with respect to HIPAA and FERPA, too. 

Texas has tried this policy with failing results. Consider the example of transgender wrestler Mack Beggs.  Though he wanted to wrestle in the boys' division, he was forced to wrestle in the girls' division, where he won two state titles, because his birth certificate said he was female.

This bill is detrimental to students and creates numerous headaches for school personnel.

Thank you for considering my views.

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