Georgia High School Association Weighs in on Transgender Athletes

AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, File

When it comes to high school athletics in Georgia, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) rules the roost. Most public high schools and some private schools belong to the GHSA, and their rules are the ones that school athletic programs must follow.


The GHSA had an executive committee meeting on Wednesday, and the board did the best thing it could possibly do — it weighed in on the transgender athlete controversy.

Axios Atlanta reporter Emma Hurt barely hid her bias with a headline that reads, “Georgia association bans trans athletes from high school teams that match gender identity” and an animated graphic of a transgender symbol with animated sports balls rotating within the open circle.

“The association, which governs athletics and activities for more than 450 public and private member high schools, voted to change its bylaws to limit a student’s gender to the sex assigned on their birth certificates,” Hurt writes.

She also quotes Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, who unironically cites the impact the ruling could have on the mental health of transgender student athletes.

Graham calls the decision a “severe restriction that is also taking away the local control of independent schools and school districts,” despite the fact that the Georgia general assembly voted to give the GHSA this authority in this year’s session.


Hurt hides this gem of a sentence near the bottom of her piece: “Graham said he’s not aware of any transgender high school students participating in Georgia high school athletics.”

The executive committee changed paragraph “b” of GHSA by-law 1.47 in their decision. Formerly, that paragraph read, “The GHSA will honor a gender determination made by a member school. The GHSA will not make gender identity determinations nor entertain appeals of the member school’s determination.”

When the by-laws are updated to reflect this week’s decisions, the paragraph will read, “A student’s sex is determined by the sex noted on his/her certificate at birth.”

The motion passed unanimously.

As the uncle of two young athletes, I’m grateful to the GHSA for protecting girls’ sports.


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