Groups that support LGBT individuals are speaking out against the Georgia High School Association banning transgender students from playing on the school sports teams that match their gender identities.
The Association, the main athletic association for Georgia high schools, voted on the measure Wednesday. It now only allows a student's sex listed on their birth certificate to determine their gender.
It comes after Georgia lawmakers couldn’t agree on a law banning transgender students from playing on sports teams matching their gender identity. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp then signed the Protect Students First Act into law, giving the Association the power to make the mandate. The act also bans teaching certain racial concepts.
"I really think they acted very hastily," Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Georgia Equality, said. "And unfortunately, this will have a negative impact on not just transgender kids, but LGBT kids in general, as well as kids that are very supportive of their friends," he said.
The bill, however, seems to call for an oversight committee to conduct an evaluation on the athletic association as a whole, and present its findings before a decision is made regarding transgender athletes.
“We had really hoped that GHSA would follow the legislation that had been passed and actually have a thoughtful process towards looking at this very, very complicated issue," Graham said.
Kemp, however, tweeted Wednesday that the Association voted to "protect fairness in school sports," and he's "proud to have championed this effort in Georgia."
“The vast majority of kids that participate in extracurricular sports activities, they're not doing it to develop a professional career, or to establish scholarships or to win awards. They're doing it for the camaraderie, the health benefits, and to learn the examples of team and ship, and to deny those to a specific group of students is just wrong," Graham said.
South Georgia Pride issued a statement regarding the ban. It reads as follows.
"South Georgia Pride stands with it's trans brothers and sisters against all injustices. We see this as an attack on the community, and condemn the decision made by GHSA ...This decision is based on misunderstandings and falsehoods. There is no unfair advantage for someone who has undergone gender-affirming therapies. Supporting this ban would be submitting to destructive ideologies, a step back in time for everyone."
First Coast News reached out to the association, and we are waiting to hear back.