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I am writing to ask you to oppose HB1689 when it comes before the House Education Committee on May 28 and HB1572 when it comes before the House K-12 Subcommittee on May 26, if you are also a member of it.
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.
To advance these bills during the COVID-19 crisis would also paint a national target on Tennessee at a time when we need to attract tourism, business, and conventions. We don't want to undo our own recovery efforts by risking boycotts.
This bill would create a bureaucratic and legal quagmire for schools as they try to maintain student privacy while using birth certificates or other methods that would concern parents and students.
Many students move to Tennessee from other states. The states have varied policies on amended birth certificates. There is also the issue of expense for families in obtaining them.
Schools will have to put in place new policies and systems to maintain records of birth certificates or other forms of documentation. There is a strong risk that these student records will be used for purposes other than athletics and result in privacy violations.
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, thereby depriving girls of winning first place.
This bill is detrimental to students and creates numerous headaches for school personnel.
Thank you for considering my views.