Tennessee became Friday (26 March) the third US state to cruelly pass a bill banning trans girls from playing in middle and high school sports as their correct gender.
Under the ban, student-athletes in Tennessee will be required to prove what sex they were assigned at birth to participate in school sports.
It follows Arkansas and Mississippi passing similar prohibitions which are part of a 25 state-strong wave of Republican legislatures bulldozing imperilling anti-trans laws. More than 20 statehouses have similar anti-trans sports bills in the docket.
As Lee signed a law curtailing the rights of trans people, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee advanced a bill seeking to ban LGBT-inclusive textbooks and teaching materials from schools.
Bills banning trans teens from school sports, activists have been at pains to stress, are ones rarely grounded in, well, reality itself.
Republican lawmakers have often struggled to provide statistical data where an apparent issue over a trans athlete has arisen.
This is, in part, because there is no service or agency that tracks the number of trans athletes in the States.
While such a figure can be difficult to precisely pin down, a Gallup survey this year found 0.6 per cent of American adults are trans.
In fact, when two dozen state sponsors were asked by the Associated Press to provide an example, any at all, of a trans teen causing the level of mayhem they make them out to cause, the news agency said most could not “cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation has caused problems”.
Even Tennessee’s house speaker Cameron Sexton, the outlet reported, admitted that there likely aren’t even any openly trans youth taking part in middle or high school sports.
Instead, many of those supporting the bills ignore the advice from school sporting administrators and medical experts who unequivocally say there is no problem with trans folk taking part in sports.
Around 73 per cent of Americans also support trans children participating in sports, according to a recent poll from the Human Rights Campaign, regardless of how much a hot-button issue it has been made out to be.
The frenzied moves from the GOP to stop, er, trans teens playing track and field is one that voting tacticians say is part of a nationwide drive to turn trans teens into a “wedge issue”.
In doing so, they suggested, Republicans are angling for gains in the 2022 midterms.