The truth about Anti-Trans Youth Sports Legislation....
Anti-Trans Youth Sports Legislation targets young children K-12, NOT COLLEGE OR ELITE LEVEL ATHLETES!
Most people don't realize that these bills have nothing to do with college or elite-level sports. These elite levels have their own governing bodies and sets of rules and regulations for transgender participation.
These bills target vulnerable children that just want to play with their friends.
Trans kids K-12 have an attempted suicide rate over 50% because of how difficult society has made it for them to live as their authentic selves.
Sports have proven to be a "safe haven" for many transgender kids by allowing them an opportunity to keep physically active, make friends and build self-esteem while learning important life lessons such as determination, leadership, and sportsmanship.
The FAQs below will help to explain facts about current state legislation and why transgender kids should always be allowed to participate in sports as the gender in which the identify.
Why is there State Legislation targeting transgender youth in sports?
When discussing State Legislation targeting transgender youth and sports, people often reference professional or collegiate athletes, but these categories are irrelevant here.
State legislatures have NO jurisdiction in the NCAA, the Olympics or any professional sports. These governing bodies have their own set of rules and regulations regarding the participation of trans athletes in sport.
So, when discussing this issue on the state level, we are referring to kids ranging in age from about 4-18 years old who are participating in local sports or school sports programs.
These anti-transgender sports bills are about young children, and there are NO significant biological differences in children before puberty (around 13 years old) except for the presence or absence of specific genitalia.
Even when physiological differences begin to arise when puberty hits, they really don’t matter unless the athlete is competing in elite-level sports – and, at elite-level sports, there are already regulations in place to manage hormonal differences in trans athletes.
Furthermore, when transgender children receive affirmative care in the form of puberty blockers and hormones, they never go through the puberty of the gender they were assigned at birth and will therefore never develop the secondary sex characteristics that are causing unsubstantiated concerns about any “perceived advantage” (characteristics such as a spike in height, broad shoulders, greater muscle mass in transgender females).
If all transgender children had access to affirmative care, people would have a lot less concern about this issue.
Remember that most kids are NOT playing sports to be Olympians, or even to win. Most kids play sports to have fun and to belong somewhere. And trans kids deserve this, too.
To be clear, there are very real threats to women’s sports — racism, pay inequities, sexual abuse, and lack of athletic opportunities in schools, to name a few — but trans athletes competing is not one.
Women’s sports are stronger when we prioritize equity and inclusion.
Do transgender children have a competitive edge over their peers prior to puberty?
Prior to puberty there are no measurable athletic differences between boys and girls.
Epidemiologic observations that report otherwise are confounded by societal bias and by access to athletic opportunity.
Thus, there is no reason for transgender children who are prepubertal to do anything other than to participate in sport in the sex category that makes sense for them socially.
How many transgender kids play K-12 sports?
There are very few transgender kids who choose to play sports, oftentimes because of the fear of scrutiny they will receive if they play on the team of the gender in which they identify.
Transgender people make up less than 1% of the entire population, and a very small percentage of transgender youth participate in sports. Even fewer play at elite competitive levels. To date, there have only been two transgender athletes who have participated at the Olympic level, and neither were even close to medaling (if they did medal, however, it would have been because of their hard work and training).
We are talking about a handful of transgender athletes…and for some of these kids, sports is their only lifeline where they experience friendships and a true sense of belonging. The fact that any transgender child has the courage and motivation to engage in competitive sports in such a critical and oftentimes heartless world, is an amazing feat all by itself.
Why is it critical to allow transgender youth to play sports?
Transgender youth have an attempted suicide rate close to 50%, not because they are inherently transgender, but because of the anxiety, depression and abuse they face in a society that continues to tell them that they “don’t fit in,” that they are “less than” and “not good enough.”
One could argue that to “truly” level the playing field, cisgender (non-trans) athletes should somehow be subjected to the same amount of damaging scrutiny and bullying that many transgender youth receive on a daily basis, along with the anxiety and depresson that comes along with it. Trying to compete effectively while living with this type of stress is incredibly difficult and poses extreme challenges that cisgender athletes do not experience.
Participation in sports has proven to provide all children with many benefits including development of character, social skills, friendships, stress/anxiety reduction, teamwork, decision-making, depression reduction and more. These traits help children to function in their everyday lives more effectively and with less stress.
Considering all of the above, It makes complete sense to not only allow, but to encourage and welcome transgender youth to participate in sports.
It really comes down to respecting a child’s humanity and right to participate in “life.”