Georgia Senate passes bill that bans transgender athletes from school sports

ATLANTA — The Georgia Senate voted Thursday to pass a bill that would ban transgender athletes who were assigned male at birth from playing sports against biological girls.

Supporters insist it’s about fairness. Critics called the bill “monstrous.”

Critics told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that the bill is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. But the bill’s author still insists it’s not fair to expect biological girls to compete against biological boys.

That provoked some strong feelings on both sides.

Atlanta Democratic Sen. Sally Harrell was moved to tears talking about her daughter and the transgender athlete bill.

“I’m the mother of a trans child,” Harrell said. “It’s hard to stand up here and say that because it hurts. It really, really hurts.”

Senate Democrats couldn’t stop passage of a bill that would prevent transgendered athletes assigned male at birth for playing sports against biological girls, even though there’s not a single recorded instance of that happening anywhere in the state.

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They believe this bill is nothing more than election-year campaigning by Republicans.

“Ostracizing vulnerable children to get votes is despicable. More than that, it’s pathetic,” state Sen. Elena Parent said.

Tyrone state Sen. Marty Harbin sponsored the bill and insists it’s about keeping female athletes safe, mentally and physically.

“This bill is about fairness,” Harbin said. “It’s simply not fair to force girls, biological girls, to compete against biological boys, and it’s currently not fair to expect women to endure the immense social pressure against them if they speak up for themselves.”

After the bill passed, Jeff Graham of Georgia Equality said the bill would only hurt transgendered students.

“This is not about fairness in sports because there’s nothing fair about this bill,” Graham said.

The bill passed along party lines. It now heads to the Georgia House for a vote.

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