Monday, November 29

Texas says excluding trans kids from school sports is about “fairness.” It is not | Alana McLaughlin


SPorts are a concept almost as old as civilization itself. From the Olympics of ancient Greece to the lacrosse and pitz games played by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, humanity has devoted itself to sport. Throughout history, sport has always been an integral part of our social experience. Participation in these physical activities has served many purposes, from simple exercise and play to forging and strengthening social bonds. Sport strengthens and inspires us. They encourage us to grow. Sport can be a battlefield, both literally and figuratively, and in sport, conflicts are resolved and statements made.

Today, there are many people who lament the perceived politicization of sport, but politics and sports are inextricably intertwined and have been since their inception. When athletes make political statements, we listen to them. Politicians, coaches and commissions lead the conversation about where sport occupies in society, who benefits and how, and who can participate. The New York State Athletic Commission suspended Muhammad Ali’s license and stripped him of his heavyweight title for his stance against participation in the Vietnam War. More recently, the NFL blacklisted Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest at police killings of African Americans.

And now, governors like Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are spearheading the movement to prevent transgender children from participating in school sports. Under the guise of “security” and “justice,” these politicians and the people they represent seek to deny trans children access to an incredibly important part of public life. However, their arguments deny scientific experience and their intentions go beyond the supposed concern for women’s athletics. The same people who insist that excluding trans athletes is necessary for fairness and safety do not care at all about the health and safety of trans people, and demonstrate with their rhetoric who they feel deserves to be safe and who does not. . Bills like TX HB 25, recently signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, are blatantly discriminatory and part of a broader effort to remove trans people from public life.

Proponents of this discriminatory legislation will claim that trans girls should be kept out of the female sports categories, citing the effects of testosterone on their athletic performance, but the same folks have pushed for a gender-affirming health care ban for students. transgender, including puberty. Blockers that would make this problem irrelevant.

Last year, more than one hundred anti-transgender bills were introduced in U.S. state legislatures. These bills seek to prohibit us from not only participating in sports, but also accessing public and healthcare facilities such as restrooms and changing rooms. Taken in context, it is clear that bans on transgender participation in sports are just one part of the overall strategy followed by the Republican party to demonize and politicize transgender identity. From the mythical “bathroom predators” to imaginary dominance in sports, the political right has created a convenient foe to unite with.

While overt discrimination against black people and other racial and ethnic minorities has become less politically acceptable, the same tired tropes and dehumanizing arguments used to exclude non-white identities have now been applied to trans people. The same embarrassing bone structure and density tests once given to black athletes they have been cut and pasted into pieces of thought against trans athletes. The fairy tale of transgender women preying on cis women in toilets has echoes of the reactionary fear of immigrants and black men before that.

This exclusive and inflammatory rhetoric should be unacceptable in the corridors of government and the pages of public media, but the political right perceives transgender people as easy targets. The fact is, we are statistically underrepresented in sports. There is no widespread transgender dominance in some sport anywhere in the world.

The intentions of right-wing politicians like Abbott and DeSantis are clear. They are using transgender children as a scapegoat and compromising their health and safety to score political points with their party and their constituents. Trans kids deserve the same access to sports. Trans people deserve equal access to public life. We deserve love, safety, and inclusion, and make no mistake: We will win this fight and history will not kindly remember dinosaurs like Abbott and DeSantis.


www.theguardian.com

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