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Photo: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Monday that transgender girls should be banned from playing on middle and high school sports teams, claiming trans athletes will "destroy women's sports," AP reports.

Why it matters: His comments come as the Tennessee GOP attempts to pass legislation requiring student-athletes to provide "original" birth certificates in order to participate in school sports. They argue that trans girls have an edge in athletics because they were assigned male at birth, but research has shown there is no automatic advantage.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Jeff Tracy: There’s very little evidence to suggest that trans women hold a competitive advantage over their cisgender counterparts, but there are significant findings regarding the benefits — including higher self-esteem and fewer depressive symptoms — that athletic participation has for trans youth.

  • Decreased muscle mass, decreased strength and body-fat redistribution are three standard effects for trans women who receive estrogen through hormone replacement therapy, per UC San Francisco's Center of Excellence for Transgender Health.
  • It also varies on a case-by-case basis.

What he's saying: "It will ruin the opportunity for girls to earn scholarships," Lee said. "It will put a glass ceiling back over women that hasn’t been there in some time. I think it’s bad for women and for women’s sports."

The big picture: The Supreme Court has ruled that LGBTQ people are protected under the Civil Rights Act, and in an executive order, President Biden prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in school sports.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Feb 10, 2021 - Economy & Business

A million American mothers are out of work

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly a million American mothers have left the workforce during the pandemic — and many of them might not return.

Why it matters: We've dialed the clock back decades in terms of women's workplace progress.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say. 

The U.S. coronavirus vaccines aren't all the same

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The U.S. now has three COVID-19 vaccines, and public health officials are quick — and careful — to say there’s no bad option. But their effectiveness, manufacturing and distribution vary.

Why it matters: Any of the authorized vaccines are much better than no vaccine, especially for people at high risk of severe coronavirus infections. But their differences may fuel perceptions of inequity, and raise legitimate questions about the best way to use each one.