Transgender athletes should be allowed to fully participate in youth and college sports

Karly Kiefer, Reporter

Not everyone is given the equal opportunity to play in the sport they are passionate about. According to AP News, youth ranging from K-12 and college adults who are actively taking estrogen or testosterone to transition to either female or male are not allowed to participate on sport teams based on what state they reside in.

According to The Texas Tribune, on Oct. 25 2021 Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 25 which goes into effect Jan. 18. This bill requires student-athletes who compete in interscholastic competition to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Personally, I disagree with this bill. Transgender student-athletes should have the right to fully participate and choose the team they identify with.

Junior Dylan Gallagher, former member of the California Lutheran Regals Lacrosse team, is an individual actively taking hormone therapy, and he could not be a part of college sport games and practices once he started.

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a trans female treated with testosterone suppression medication may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one year of testosterone suppression treatment.

“When you come out as transgender you risk losing your family, your friends, and possibly your job. You go through all these additional steps so you can medically, physically, and legally transition but I don’t think anyone will do that just so they can be in the same locker room as women,” Gallagher said.

We are living in a changing world where traditions are shifting with each generation. I believe we should be more inclusive and respectful in allowing everyone the opportunity to participate in sports for their mental health.

In high school, sports helped me create a stronger sense of community and provided me with long lasting friendships. School can be difficult enough and adding negative barriers for transgender individuals is unjust.

According to the National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.

“Respect people’s gender identities and don’t ban them from sports just because they were born one way and identify as the other,” Gallagher said.

It is most important for LGBTQ identifying people to feel accepted and not face discrimination or bullying for wanting to be involved in their passions. With such a small population of American adults who identify as transgender including 0.6% , I don’t think we should let politics and competition be the reason for exclusion.

Most controversy stems from the argument of an unequal playing field when transitioning males undergoing estrogen want to play on the women’s sport teams.

According to the New York Times, 10 US states have enacted laws to prohibit or limit transgender women and girls from participating in female sports to protect the fairness of women’s sports.

Transgender athletes should be allowed to exist without the government imposing on their daily activities, especially activities that are deemed normal for their classmates and peers. I can’t imagine being denied the possibility to play sports in high school because it provided me a safe space and something to look forward to.

“These bans they put into place I don’t think are actually put into place for the reasons that they are saying they are. It’s honestly coming from a place of ignorance and possibly hate,” Gallagher said.

According to The Mercury News, Dr. Jack Turban, a fellow in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine said, “It seems quite clear that these legislative proposals are driven by transphobia rather than any real issue in women’s sports.”

It is crucial to look at who is receiving the worst effects of these decisions and that is the LGBTQ community. High school and college are already a tough environment for finding yourself but when your true gender identity is not acknowledged, the effects on your mental health can be disastrous. How can LGBTQ identifying people feel safe existing in a non-supportive atmosphere daily?

Our world should not be built strictly for cisgendered people, but made inclusive for those who identify as nonbinary or transgender. Starting with our youth is a way to create new experiences and engage in our athletic passions unapologetically. Identifying as transgender should not prevent you from experiencing that.

This Article was updated on Nov 2. 2021 at 5:58 p.m. to include links to referenced articles.