Georgia High School Association endorses ban on transgender athletes

The Georgia High School Association voted to require student-athletes to play on teams determined by the sex on their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.

The vote comes after the passage of a state bill that deferred the decision on how to handle transgender student athletes to the state athletic association. The GHSA vote took place during a executive committee meeting Wednesday morning.

The GHSA said girls who want to play a sport not offered to girls, such as football, can do so.

The rule takes effect immediately, according to GHSA executive director Robin Hines.

“I just think associate is concerned with competitive balance and fairness in the sport,” Hines said. “I just want to be clear, the Georgia High School Association doesn’t want to discriminate against anyone, and that includes girls. It’s definitely only on a competitive level.”

The vote is in response to a new Georgia law. HB 1084 made its way through the General Assembly at the end of the 2022 legislative session. The bill passed the House and then, after midnight, the Senate.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, compared the decision to how the NCAA regulates transgender participation in college sports.

“We’re going to let them make those decisions,” Ralston told reporters after lawmakers adjourned for the year. “And we have an oversight committee on that. But that’s really where those decisions have to be made.”

Democrats felt the legislation and subsequent GHSA vote was rushed.

“I am very disappointed that Georgia High School Associated took the plunge and acted before following the process dictated by the Legislature in HB 1084,” said State Senator Sally Harrell, D-Atlanta. “This bill requires the creation of a special committee to investigate the matter and decide whether or not action should be taken. Instead, the GHSA has decided to target these children without taking the time to determine if this action is necessary at this point in time.

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