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Save Girls Sports Bill Act Advances to the House


The state of Georgia is making national headlines with a proposed Senate Bill that is considered quite controversial. The Save Girls Sports Act (Senate Bill 435) was approved with a 34-22 vote total in late February of this year. Senator Marty Harbin is the primary sponsor of the bill that is now making its way to the State House to be voted on during the second half of the session.

The bill states, “it shall be unlawful for Georgia public schools or participating private schools whose students or teams compete against a Georgia public school to operate, sponsor, or facilitate athletic programs or activities that permit a person of one gender to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for persons of the opposite gender.”

The bill later defines gender as, “a person’s biological sex which shall be recognized solely based on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”

The bill is an attempt to ban transgender athletes from competing in sports in the state. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, the state’s largest advocacy group on LGBTQ issues, is unaware of any transgender girls competing in girls’ sports in the state.

“This is a solution in search of a problem,” Graham told the AJC.

While a similar bill (Bill 266) was proposed last year, Bill 435 has found more success. Organizations such as Frontline Policy Action have backed the bill as well, lobbying it throughout its long journey.

Beatrice Shakal, Director of Alliances at Frontline Policy, believes in a fair level of play for biological girls in their high school sports. “When I was in high school, I competed with the girl’s tennis team. I competed against other girls, played with girls on my team, and that is it,” Shakal said. “That not only made me feel comfortable, but it made me feel safe, and it gave me a level playing field.”

The supporters of the bill believe that student athletes’ biological makeup should not be taken advantage of. Shakal said, “I have a baby, and I am the only one who can feed my child and birth my child, but my husband can’t. We have strengths and weaknesses. Boys have different biological makeup; they are just stronger and maybe faster in different things. That is our whole point with Save Girls Sports.”

Pete Fuller, Chairman of the Democratic Party in Jackson County, doesn’t think this bill is worth the many hours it has and will need to spend in legislation. “As far as I can tell, it is taking on something that is a hypothetical threat at the expense of our kids’ mental health,” Fuller said. “Legislature started off the year really well with a nice mental health bill which is looking to do a lot of great things, and they are taking a huge step back with this for purely political purposes.”

Fuller believes this bill is nothing more than a publicity stunt for officials up for reelection. “I think the main impact you are going to see is a bunch of ads in November by politicians that are pushing this that have probably never been to a high school girls basketball game, that don’t give a wit about swimming, or diving, or any other sports that this will impact.”

While there are actions being taken at the state capital by your representatives and senators, it is highly encouraged that citizens reach out to their representatives and become more involved as a community.

“We have got to be more active citizens is what it comes down to. These ads only have power because we as citizens in a lot of ways have abdicated our responsibilities as citizens to be involved.” – Pete Fuller

If you would like to know who your representatives are and contact them, follow the steps in the link below.

Find Your Representative |

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Save Girls Sports Bill Act Advances to the House