A recent issue has risen in the world of sports and has caught the attention of government officials. Many legislatures have proposed to ban Transgender Athletes from participating in the sports that their gender identity aligns with. More specifically, the concern is with transgender girls and women playing on female teams and leagues. The claim is that there is an unfair advantage for these transgender girls that is “harmful” or “dangerous” to “real” girls.
Now, I do not have authority to speak on behalf of transgender women, so I will urge you to learn from someone who can. I came across this article TRANSITIONING TRIATHLETE: THE WORLD RUGBY BAN that can give more insight from the perspective of a trans athlete. I want to use what they have to say to extend the conversation, bring their article into a broader sense and address our current political climate on the matter.
A second outside source I encourage you to read if you are lacking knowledge on this topic is MYTHS ABOUT TRANS ATHLETES. It answers the most common misconceptions people have about trans athletes.
I have become somewhat invested in finding-out what the big deal is about it all and have been following the news on it. Utah and Mississippi bills have passed in the Senates that ban transgender girls from playing on female sports teams. The Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge s also seeking out support to get a bill passed. She said “”This bill will ensure the integrity of girls and women in sports.” , prior to this statement it has been said that she does not even know of any transgender athletes playing in high school sports in Arkansas and made a snarky comment about “political-correctness”. My question is, in what way is this harmful to anyone and how is it ensuring integrity if it is not including all athletes, it is simply discriminatory against these young girls who want to play. (PeopleMagazine)
Just in the past week the Biden Administration has withdrawn government support from a federal lawsuit in Connecticut that was intended to ban transgender athletes from participating in high school girls’ sports. (NBCNews)
The solution they offer is having specific transgender girls and boys teams for these athletes. But, that is doing the complete opposite of what all trans people are trying to do and that is fit in with their appropriate gender. This singles them out entirely and prevents them from being with the people they want to and being the person they want to be. At a young age sports can become apart of a kids identity, it helps them to grow. If biological females and males can have a love for a sport, why can’t transgender youth, too?
“Transgender girls have a scientific advantage over biological females.” Okay, if we are concerned about advantages, let’s talk about all the other ones. Money: some kids do not have the money to play as frequently as others, therefor those kids have less experience. Money again: higher class families can pay for personal training for their children whom they want to see excel over the competition, therefore giving them more of an advantage. Or they pay for premier, advanced teams for their kids to play on, that other people cannot afford. Money a third time: some places and people put more funds towards their kids sports in general, schools, clubs, and other associations can greatly affect the type of athletes they produce. Location: inner city vs rural vs urban all change what sports are available to play, how many kids play, what type of coaches do they have, support from the community, and so on. Pure skill, talent, and drive effect the athlete as an individual. There are more influences than you can imagine on what makes an athlete.
So, where are all the bills and bans on those things if we are trying to be “equal”?
I guess the question is, what am I getting at here? In my female athlete opinion, I think that it is a wild misjudgment on the government officials part. It goes back to women’s rights over their own body. Who’s to say what someone can and can’t do with their body besides that person. And I do not think there should be laws banning people from playing sports, especially young kids. Sports and being apart of a team give you experiences that no other type of education can, so why are politicians banning people who are “different” from enjoying what all other kids do?
There are many opinions on this issue and I do not intend to force mine on anyone, but instead offer another look to make you rethink what these laws mean for others. It might not affect you in any way, but it will affect the transgender youth and community.
Jason Duaine Hahn February 23, & Hahn, J. (2021, February 23). Arkansas attorney General Proposes bill to Ban transgender athletes from Girls’ sports. Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://people.com/sports/arkansas-attorney-general-announces-bill-to-ban-transgender-athletes-from-girls-sports/
Press, T. (2021, February 24). Biden administration withdraws from Transgender Athlete case. Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/biden-administration-withdraws-transgender-athlete-case-n1258723