Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Wednesday that the inclusion of transgender participants would “destroy women's sports.”
A requirement that student-athletes prove their sex matches their “original” birth certificate is being advanced by Republicans in the state legislature.
"I do believe that transgenders participating in women's sports will destroy women's sports," Lee told reporters, according to The Associated Press, adding that "it will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships. It will put a glass ceiling back over women that hasn't been there for some time, and I think it's bad for women and women's sports."
The AP noted that similar bills are going through more than a dozen other state governments.
Lee reportedly did not confirm whether he would sign the Tennessee legislation if it reaches his desk. A similar bill passed the Tennessee House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate.
Democratic state Rep. John Ray Clemmons has come out against the bill, telling local news station WSMV it would be illegal and a violation of Title IX.
"Title IX is very broad," Clemmons told WSMV. "A lot of people think of it in terms of athletics, but Title IX is a very broad piece of legislation in which I've worked on as an attorney, and if you really understand it and gender and sex are protected under law, this is a blatant violation of that."