Bill would have schools determine gender of athletes - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Bill would have schools determine gender of athletes

A Dillon County football coach has introduced legislation that would limit which sports teams transgender students can try out for. (Source: WMBF News) A Dillon County football coach has introduced legislation that would limit which sports teams transgender students can try out for. (Source: WMBF News)

DILLON, SC (WMBF) - The bathroom bill in both North Carolina and South Carolina has spawned a heated debate about transgender people using certain bathrooms.

Now, one local lawmaker is bringing that same debate to high school athletics with a new bill he has proposed.

Jackie Hayes is the coach of the Dillon High School football team and he's also a state lawmaker representing Dillon County. Hayes has proposed a law that would limit which sports teams’ transgender students can try out for.

The proposed bill would require the school to determine the student’s gender based on a birth certificate before the student can participate in athletics.

"I started doing some research about two or three years ago how other states were starting to have this happen in their state, and I said we want to get ahead of the game," said Hayes.

Policies concerning the discrimination of transgender students has been an issue that schools have been tackling more and more lately. However, Hayes doesn’t think it’s a concern; it’s a fairness issue.

"For instance, if we have a girls' tennis team and a boys' tennis team, the gender on their birth certificate is what we're going to require them to play as," Hayes said.

One of Hayes' players also feels gender plays a role in fair play.

"A guy can't just go out and play softball whenever he wants too just because he has the athletic ability, I think you should still go by the birth certificate," said DHS football player Victor Mincey.

Shaundra Scott, the executive director for the American Civil Leaders Union, said this proposed legislation, along with the bathroom bill, infringe on basic civil rights and transgender people deserve equal protection like everyone else.

She also questioned how such a law would be enforced, asking if students would have to carry birth certificates with them. Scott also doesn't think using the argument that may apply to football is strong enough to apply to all sports.

"What we're trying to do is make sure we keep the playing field level and make sure we have some rules and regulations in place,” Hayes said.

Hayes introduced the bill in January. It is currently being considered in the House Committee on Education and Public Works

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