Respect Equality

Georgia High School Association issues ban on transgender student athletes

The high school association on Wednesday in a unanimous vote barred transgender students from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) participates in a gubernatorial Republican primary debate, Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Atlanta.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) participates in a gubernatorial Republican primary debate, Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, Pool)

Story at a glance

  • The Georgia High School Association during a meeting Wednesday morning voted to amend its constitution to clarify that a student’s sex shall be defined as that which is listed on their original birth certificate.

  • The decision comes a week after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into a law a bill barring transgender student athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity.

  • Including Georgia, 16 states have laws in place to prevent transgender athletes from participating in athletics.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) on Wednesday voted unanimously to ban transgender student athletes in the state from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

The move comes just a week after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into law House Bill 1084, or the “Protect Students First Act,” which, among other things, creates a 10-member oversight committee to determine whether transgender students in Georgia may compete on sports teams that match their gender identity. 

Kemp during a signing ceremony last week said the measure will “protect fairness in school sports.”

“I want every young girl in this state to have every opportunity to succeed in the sport they love,” he said. “That should not be controversial.”


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During a meeting Wednesday morning, the GHSA passed a motion to add to its constitution that “a student’s sex is determined by the sex noted on his/her certificate at birth,” according to meeting minutes.

Currently, the GHSA’s constitution and by-laws for the 2021-2022 school year state that the high school association will “honor” a student’s gender identity as it is recognized by their school, and the GHSA itself “will not make gender identity determinations nor entertain appeals of the member school’s determination.”

Kemp shortly after the meeting celebrated the GHSA’s decision on Twitter.

“Following my signature on HB 1084, the Georgia High School Association today voted to protect fairness in school sports by unanimously approving youth to compete according to the sex determined on his/her birth certificate,” he wrote. “I’m proud to have championed this effort in Georgia!”

The conservative political organization Frontline Policy Action, which has helped lead the charge against transgender athletes in Georgia, also commended the GHSA for amending its constitution.

“Biological males should not and WILL NOT be playing girls sports in Georgia!” the group, which bills itself as a “biblical organization,” said Wednesday on Facebook.

But some have accused the GHSA and Kemp of discriminating against transgender young people in the state in “prioritizing politics over children.”

“This decision is absolutely devastating to families like mine,” Jen Slipakoff, a Georgia resident and parent of a transgender student, said Wednesday in a statement released by the Human Rights Campaign.

“The cruelty that goes into going after the most vulnerable children is truly astounding,” Slipakoff said. “The painful consequences are going to be detrimental to every trans child’s mental health, and they will be negatively impacted for years to come, if not for the rest of their lives.”

Including Georgia, 16 states have laws in place that ban transgender athletes from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity. In nearly every state, guidance released by the state’s high school athletic association either bans or restricts transgender students’ participation in athletics.


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