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Kentucky became the 15th state to ban transgender girls and femme athletes from school sports when the state’s legislators overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto on the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” last week.
“Transgender children deserve public officials’ efforts to demonstrate that they are valued members of our community through compassion, kindness, and empathy, even if not understanding,” Beshear said in his veto message.
But Republicans are committed to leading with an unscientific hate that will continue to perpetuate patriarchal femininity and toxic masculinity: in line with the 238 bills attacking LGBTQI+ youth this year, Kentucky’s new law comes from a fear-mongering strategy that baselessly claims women’s sports is under ‘threat’ while facts reveal otherwise.
“There is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition,” according to a Sports Medicine journal reviewing 8 research studies and 31 sport policies.
Moreover, Kentucky’s new law will have detrimental effects for all youth: it attempts to reduce all athletes to their bodies by requiring through a violent imposition of an unscientific gender binary rooted in anti-Black racism, transphobia, and the erasure of intersex people.
“It isn’t necessary to understand what it means to be transgender in order to understand that kids want to be able to play school sports on a team where they can be included and celebrated for being who they really are. On the other hand, the Kentucky General Assembly chose to politicize these kids, to isolate them, to prevent them from being included and to prevent them from being able to play with their friends - and all without addressing the actual challenges facing women’s sports programs, like chronic underfunding. Kentucky's legislators should never forget that they are culpable for the harm that they are causing,” HRC State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley said in a statement.
Athletes will only be allowed to participate based on their birth certificate: a gender essentialist piece of paper that is inaccurate in its attempt to determine a person’s gender according to leading medical organizations like the American Medical Association.