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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Opinion

Transgender kids should not be kept from school sports


Transgender kids shouldn’t be kept from school sports

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a new bill preventing transgender kids from joining school sports teams of their identified gender. This law, based on transphobia and misogyny, will be harmful to these kids.

Kids will now have to join sports teams corresponding to the sex defined on their birth certificate because of this idea of  “protecting” women. People are afraid that if a trans girl joins a team, it will be unfair to the cisgender girls they are competing with or against. This is based on the idea that females are naturally weaker than males. 

Sure, male bodies tend to have more upper body strength than female bodies but there have been numerous times when a woman beat a man in an athletic competition, such as Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs in a famous tennis match.

This idea of male superiority was pushed in one famous video released in 2019, where high school track athlete Selina Soule claimed it was unfair she had to compete against trans athletes. She argued these athletes took scholarship opportunities away from her.

However, scholarships aren’t usually based on placements in competitions but on students’ personal bests. In fact, Soule had some better times than one of the trans athletes she was targeting. Soule ended up being able to do track in college, so there was not much to worry about.

This has happened to another trans athlete who did hurdles, Cece Telfer.

Competitors complained Telfer’s testosterone put her at an advantage. However, Telfer was on hormone blockers and wasn’t producing the amount of testosterone a male normally would. She wasn’t at a physical disadvantage.

Competitors brought up she was tall but being tall in hurdles isn’t always an advantage as it can be difficult to find time to sprint between the hurdles. Also, many women are tall, especially in athletic circles. Just look at the WNBA

Many cisgender women have higher testosterone levels than normal anyway. Caster Semenya was not allowed to participate in the Olympics unless she lowered her natural testosterone levels due to new rules in place for women athletes. The idea of a woman having a certain type of body does not just hurt transgender women. 

It’s also important to note that this new Texas law extends to school sports teams as young as kindergarten age. Five-year-olds haven’t even hit puberty yet so the testosterone advantage argument really isn’t relevant as kids that age have similar hormone levels regardless of sex. 

Additionally, sports are more than just about winning. They are often about creating camaraderie among kids in schools. Sports should be about friendly competition.

This law will be harmful to trans kids. Forcing a demographic of kids to socialize themselves as the gender they feel uncomfortable with is not a good idea.

Transgender kids are at high risk for suicide and they’re often viciously bullied. Putting a trans girl with boys who will bully her for a feminine appearance is potentially putting her in danger. 

Medical research shows physical and social transitions for trans people help with their mental health. This law prevents them from fully transitioning socially since they can’t join the team corresponding to their gender. 

This new law is based on misogyny and transphobia. It will harm the mental health and well-being of transgender kids in the future. This shouldn’t happen. Let the kids play sports.

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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