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The so-called “Fairness in Women's Sports Act” by Republican Senator Elaine Morgan attempts to ban trans girls and femme athletes from sports in Rhode Island, by re-imposing patriarchal concepts of femininity that uphold the women as inferior, pitiful subjects in need of men’s protection.
“The legislature finds that there are ‘inherent differences between men and women,’ and that these differences remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual's opportunity,’” the proposed act states, in a clumsy attempt to defend a gender binary that has never existed.
The bill proceeds to dismiss women athletes, claiming that their talent, commitment and grit will never match up to men: "Boys and girls are not similarly situated as they enter athletic competition," it argues.
In line with 75 bills this year that attempt to ban – or have already banned – trans youth from sports, Rhode Island’s bill attempts to reduce all student athletes to their bodies, through a white supremicist suggestion on how there are certain ways to look like a ‘man’ or ‘woman’.
If a student’s gender is ‘disputed’ and they want to participate in sports, the act would need them to provide an invasive physician’s statement based on an analysis of the student’s anatomy, hormone levels and genetic make-up.
Excluding trans girls and femme youth from participating in sports has negative outcomes for all youth. It reproduces white-supremicist patriarchal concepts of toxic masculinity that associate femininity with fragility, through a practice of systemic transmisogyny and anti-Black racism.
These anti-trans sports bills disguise themselves as ‘saviours’ of women, but are practising the exact opposite – they create a violent cisgender gaze that would police all athletes through invasive procedures and tests that have been used against Black athletes like Caster Semenya.
You don’t need to read in-between the lines, the bill is quite clear about its gender essentialist intent: “This act would categorize women by their biological identity at birth,” it states.
RI S 2501 was introduced and referred to committee on March 1st, 2022.