Tennessee governor signs collegiate transgender athlete ban

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican Gov. Bill Lee on Friday signed off on legislation banning transgender athletes from participating in female college sports.

Last year, no other state enacted more laws targeting transgender people than Tennessee, as GOP lawmakers consistently dismissed concerns that they discriminate against an already at-risk population. Those measures included banning transgender athletes from playing girls public high or middle school sports.

This year, lawmakers returned to the Nashville-based Statehouse looking to expand that ban to colleges and universities. The proposal easily cleared the Republican-controlled Statehouse, where GOP members also approved a separate bill that will add harsh penalties against public K-12 schools that allow transgender athletes to participate in girls' sports.

Republicans this year also pushed to let teachers and school districts use the pronoun that a transgender student does not prefer, but that effort eventually got spiked during the last days of the legislative session.

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