Joining their colleagues in more than a dozen states around the country, Republicans in Georgia last week introduced a bill that would bar trans girls in high schools and public universities from participating in sports according to their gender identity, defining “gender” as based solely on “a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” Now, as a companion to that bill, six Georgia Republicans have filed another bill that lays out how exactly officials would determine a student’s “reproductive biology” and “genetics at birth”—by forcing student athletes to submit evidence of their “reproductive organs” and chromosomes to a state panel.
Here’s what the latest bill, HB 372, proposes for students who want to challenge the ban—they would have to submit “a written petition which shall include, at a minimum, information regarding the student’s gender based on the student’s reproductive organs, genetic makeup, and other medically relevant factors. The governing body of the athletic association shall appoint a panel of three physicians to review such petitions and make recommendations to the athletic association for responding to the petition.” If the creation of a panel of adults tasked with scrutinizing a girl’s genitals seems like a horrifying cruelty and invasion of privacy meant to only further dissuade young trans girls from even thinking of playing sports, well, you’d be right!
HB 372 seems modeled off of Idaho’s HB 500, a ban on trans athletes in high school and college sports signed into law by Republican Governor Brad Little in 2020. That legislation similarly demanded that students who wished to challenge the ban open themselves up to invasive genital exams as well as chromosomal and hormone testing, including a provision that “a student may establish sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement” that would focus solely on “the student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy,” “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone,” and “an analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.” HB 500 is currently tied up in litigation after the ACLU sued the state and a federal judge issued an injunction preventing it from being implemented.
As the ACLU noted in its lawsuit against Idaho’s HB 500, the potential impacts of gender verification tests based on one’s sex assigned at birth—which have a long and discriminatory history in women’s sports—go beyond just targeting trans girls. “We’re suing because HB 500 illegally targets women and girls who are transgender and intersex and subjects all female athletes to the possibility of invasive genital and genetic screenings,” said the ACLU’s Gabriel Arkles in announcing the lawsuit.
According to the website transathlete.com, Georgia’s current policy guiding the participation on trans high school athletes is already one of the most restrictive and discriminatory in the country.