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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

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.

Biden warned Putin of specific "consequences" if Russia invades Ukraine

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."

Senate leaders sell members on debt limit deal

Sen. Chuck Schumer (L) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are urging their respective caucuses to back a deal that would clear a path to raising the debt ceiling.

Driving the news: The agreement, negotiated by the two leaders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), involves Congress passing a law allowing a one-time rule change so the Senate can raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, rather than the 60 typically needed to overcome the filibuster.