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A bill by Democratic Representative Sam Kong, attempts to use Title IX – a law protecting people from ‘discrimination based on sex in education programs’ – as a basis to discriminate against trans girl athletes by banning them from high-school sports.
The misinformed notion that girls who are transgender have an ‘advantage’ because of testosterone levels, ignores the double standard of how 10 percent of women have polycystic ovarian syndrome (which elevates testosterone levels) but they still allowed to play sports, researcher Jack Turban explains in the Scientific American.
“Transgender girls on puberty blockers, on the other hand, have negligible testosterone levels. Yet these state bills would force them to play with the boys,” Turban writes.
Legislation that disguises itself as a ‘savior’ womanhood, is a reproduction of bio-essentialist hierarchies that perpetuate white-supremicist patriarchy invites a policing of all bodies by institutionally imposing the gender binary in law to ban trans youth from participating in sports.
Researchers Turban and Jules Gill-Peterson describe how the refusal to acknowledge that trans women are not cisgender men, is an attack on science: “Unlike cisgender men, transgender women face dramatically elevated rates of bullying, harassment and subsequent anxiety and depression -- all of which make it difficult to train and succeed in athletics from a young age. In short, these anti-sports bills don't just deny scientific and social reality, they pretend to reverse it,” they write.
Protecting ‘women’s sports’ would mean creating equitable access for women and femme folks with different lived experiences to participate and compete. But these bills attempt to gatekeep ‘womanhood’ rather than centering women’s narratives on what womanhood means to them.
The harm created by this bills extends far beyond sports – 85 percent of trans and nonbinary youth said in a poll, that their mental health was negatively impacted by last year’s record-breaking legislative attacks on their identities.
There is no equity if gender is defined by patriarchal systems that are designed to restrict everyone. There is no equity if women who are trans are excluded.
HI HB 1304 has been carried over from last year’s legislative attacks.