USA Today: Banning transgender girls from sports doesn't protect anyone, it promotes hate
By Nancy Armour
No matter how craftily it’s dressed up, no matter how disingenuously it’s spun, bigotry is still bigotry.
Mississippi sprinted to the front of the pack of states using transgender kids to score political points with passage of a bill Wednesday that would prohibit trans girls and young women from playing sports. Never mind that this is very much a solution in search of a problem, and that bills such as these have the very real potential of putting kids who already have an elevated rate of suicide and mental health issues further at risk.
Backers of the flurry of bills – the HRC says of the 71 bills already filed this year to legalize discrimination of transgender people, 35 relate to athletics – say they’re trying to “protect” girls and young women because their ability to compete is being hijacked by transgender athletes. The argument is designed to sound noble, as if these legislators and the far-right legal groups egging them on are the last line of defense against boys and young men overrunning girls’ sports because they can’t compete against their own gender.
Which is nonsense. Hateful nonsense, at that.
Transgender kids have been playing sports for years and it hasn’t resulted in anything close to a takeover of podiums or teams. In fact, when The Associated Press asked the lawmakers in more than 20 states who are sponsoring bans on transgender girls competing in high school sports to give specific instances when this created problems, very few could.
“Excluding them just because of personal prejudice is not fair,” said Dr. Timothy Roberts, fellowship director of the adolescent medicine fellowship at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “They don’t really have an advantage. They’re just another person who wants to play.”
Roberts’ opinions are particularly noteworthy because they’re based in science, not hysteria. Echoing other medical professionals, Roberts said there is no inherent athletic advantage for any gender until puberty.
“Absolute bans, there’s not a justification for that,” Roberts said. “That’s just discriminatory for no good reason. And harmful to the people you’re excluding. And once they get through the initial period (on hormones), it doesn’t have a benefit for the people they’re trying to `protect.’”
Read the full story via USA Today
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