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[Details about such bills in each state will be updated under ‘Support.’]
While international sports organizations like the International Olympic Committee have attempted to remove some anti-trans barriers in sports, last year nine states passed laws preventing trans youth from participating in sports, bringing the country’s tally to 10.
Now there are at least 41 active or pre-filed anti-trans bills attacking trans youth’s access to this healthcare in 23 states. These are bills that have either carried over from the last legislative session, or been introduced in the new one.
Most lawmakers and sponsors behind anti-trans sports bans, don’t know of any trans athletes in their states, but use bio-essentialist, white supremicist-patriarchal ideas that mold non-trans women and girls into a category that needs ‘protection.’
The arguments quoting ‘science’ to uphold differences based on “biological sex”, fall apart the more you dig into the details of how genes, gonads, and hormones keep sex subject to change: “The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change,” Neurobiologist Dr. Simón(e) D Sun writes in the Scientific American.
These attacks often follow a common theme: in 102 anti-trans bills, the word ‘transgender’ appeared only eight times – a tactic erase trans youth’s existence within and outside courts, the 19th reports.
Excluding trans athletes from participating in sports has negative outcomes for trans and non-trans youth through policing of gender by invasive procedures and tests that have been used against Black athletes like Caster Semenya.
The ability to participate fully in school is critical for student-wellbeing and 56% of LGBTQ team members report feeling a positive sense of belonging in school, according to GLSEN.
While some mainstream news outlets have been reporting on these bills, the coverage doesn’t always analyze how each bill is a system of erasure by politicians making trans youth’s lives a political gambit, attacking them year after year.
This space hopes to be an ongoing thread that critically analyzes the bills banning trans youth’s right to sports, beyond the numbers and sensationalization.