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Fair Play for Trans Girls and Women in School Sports

Key Takeaways

  1. Lawmakers in 33 states have introduced legislation to curb the rights of transgender people nationwide.
  2. The newest attack: banning trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams.
  3. NEA will continue to advocate and fight back against these hateful attacks on students.

Rebekah is a 14-year-old girl who loves school, reading, hanging out with her friends, and playing field hockey. She describes herself as a “big nerd.” Rebekah is a transgender girl and some lawmakers in states across the country are attempting to pass legislation that would stop her from playing school sports with her friends.

“Sports is something that I really like doing,” she says in a video produced by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “I’m so much more than trans [and] that doesn’t make me less of a girl. It doesn’t make me less of a human, either. I’m just me.”

“The idea of banning any child from playing sports and doing what motivates them to come to school and that brings them joy is a horrible thing to do to students-or to anybody,” says Amy Biancheri, a teacher of 19 years at Batavia Public Schools in Illinois and is co-chair of the LGBTQ Committee for the Illinois Education Association.

Yet, certain lawmakers in 33 states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people nationwide. The newest attack: banning trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams.

Florida the Latest State to Ban Transgender Athletes

On June 1, the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law that bans trans girls from playing girls’ and women’s sports. He joins with other governors (Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Tennessee) who have passed similar bans of their own. More states are expected to follow suit.

The ban on transgender female athletes participating in school-based sports impacts students from elementary schools to colleges and universities. Other governors and elected officials are only looking at high school and beyond.

These laws, and proposed legislation alike, require school-based athletic associations to set up their sports program specifically for female, male, or co-ed athletes. Plus, they stipulate that male athletes cannot participate in female sports, explains Rebecca Yates, a civil rights law fellow for NEA.

“What they’ve done is define sex in these incredibly narrow ways to make sure that trans female athletes do not qualify as girls and women under the state statutes,” says Yates. “And to be clear: This is not because there was some huge epidemic of transgender female athletes pushing cisgender female athletes out of sports-that’s not a problem. This law creates a problem and it’s https://hookupme.net/asian-hookup-apps/ done to keep this controversy in front of everyone.”

HRC plans to sue the Florida governor over its new law. The American Civil Liberties Union and its allies are also planning lawsuits to overturn anti-trans sports ban laws.

“Transgender kids are kids; transgender girls are girls. Like all children, they deserve the opportunity to play sports with their friends and be a part of a team,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement.

Biancheri, a parent of three children, two of whom are transgender, adds: “I don’t understand why people would try to pass these harmful, horrific laws just to score cheap political points off kids. If you knew transgender kids, you would know they’re wonderful, beautiful people who get so dehumanized by this debate and ignorance. There are no positives to these laws for trans or cisgender people, athletes, or otherwise.”

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