Trans people belong in sports — school or otherwise

Trans people belong in sports -- school or otherwise

Beck Iannucci

For centuries, people have rallied behind sports. Cheering for our favorite teams is a chance to bond with like minded individuals and make friends. Athletes learn a lot about teamwork and communication, making sports a way for shy students to break out of their shells. Everyone can find a sport that they connect with and has the potential to change their life. 

We live in a world that’s diverse. We all know that sports aren’t just for cis het white people. Yet queer people are continuously knocked down when attempting to enter these spaces. Recently, the trans sport debate has exploded in the United States. Currently, state to state, laws are being debated and pushed forward, despite the absurdity of them. An idea that was proposed is mandatory checking of a students genitals before they are admitted or a check when someone is suspected to be trans. It’s also important to note that nonbinary people fall under the trans umbrella, though nonbinary people have even less of a place in sports, due to sports being separated by gender.

The question is: Why would cis people be so determined to kick out their fellow athletes? Many debate that being trans is an unfair advantage because ¨a trans girl has more testosterone¨. There are so many ways to break this down. Firstly, many places are banning health accessibility for trans kids. In Texas, quite a few transphobic laws are being pushed through, making this whole situation ironic. Trans girls can’t play because they don’t have estrogen, right? Then the laws being proposed will make giving estrogen to anyone under 18 illegal and gender affirming parents will be labeled as abusive. Meaning that supportive parents will be jailed and trans kids have no access to health care. The girls’ lack of estrogen is not an excuse since it’s been taken away by the same people that take this stance. It’s a never ending cycle that people want to point to so they don’t seem transphobic. You set out guidelines for these girls to play and then take away everything they need to meet the requirements.

Let’s venture further down this argument. ¨It’s an unfair advantage.¨ Firstly, there are many unfair advantages in sports. Take a basketball player that’s six feet tall. This player can tower over others because of their height. That doesn’t mean they should be kicked out of sports. What about someone with a healthy heart or healthy lungs? An athlete with asthma is at a severe disadvantage.

Dr. Eric Vilain, pediatrician and geneticist, has been studying the difference in athletes based on biological sex — not gender. Dr. Vilain had this to say on the phenomenon: ¨…on average [cis men have] an advantage in performance in athletics of about 10% to 12% over [cis] women, which the sports authorities have attributed to differences in levels of a male hormone called testosterone. … Are trans athletes winning everything [as a result]? [No,] that’s not the case. And higher levels of the male hormone testosterone are associated with better performance only in a very small number of athletic disciplines: 400 meters, 800 meters, hammer throw, pole vault — and it certainly does not explain the whole 10% difference.¨ Since trans athletes don’t actually have a high percentage of beating their cis peers due to testosterone alone, as Dr. Vilain points out with the test group, there are no real disadvantages. 

Due to there being no unfair advantages, these bans should be lifted and sports completions should begin accommodating trans athletes. More than thirty states have proposed this ban and many have already been passed and many have progressed. Florida, Arkansas, Alabama have passed the sports ban. While Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas are all working on passing the ban, as they slowly advance. You have to sign petitions and make your stance known. Speak out against these unjust bills and let lawmakers know that their claims have no substance and encourage your peers to educate themselves on this topic.