Trans Athletes Deserve to Play

trans athletes
Transgender athletes deserve to play; the arguments against them amount to bigotry. Credit: ACLU

Trans Counts

They always say that sport brings us together.

It is a microcosm of society.

Sports brings out the best in us.

Who you are is irrelevant, as long as you can play the game.

Well, if you are transgender, you don’t count.

Beginning in 2019, politicians have introduced 19 anti-trans bills in 11 states, among them Georgia, Arizona, West Virginia, and South Dakota, to name a few.

These bills have the intention of systemically denying transgender people opportunities to participate in sports.

The bogus argument is that they are trying “to protect and preserve the sanctity of women’s sports.”

It is highly unlikely that these people have been championing women’s sports their whole lives and, more likely than not, don’t give a damn about women’s athletics.

Unfair Advantage?

Another tiresome argument is the idea that transgender women, in particular, have an “unfair advantage” based on “biology.”

The truth of the matter is that there is no evidence to suggest that.

By the way, Michael Phelps, undoubtedly the most excellent swimmer of all time, has a higher lung capacity and long arms. Isn’t that an unfair advantage?

Also, Usain Bolt has tremendously long legs, isn’t that an unfair advantage as well?

This movement is simply a backlash to the ever-growing acceptance of LGBTQ sisters and brothers in society. It’s also opposing the achievement of greater rights and protections over the past decade.

Whenever America takes steps forward toward equality, there is always a tiny but loud segment of the population who will do what it takes to deny specific populations opportunities.

Given the realities of what it means to be transgender in America, especially at this time with rights and protections rolling back, discrimination, bullying, harassment, and violence, sports provide a haven for many trans sisters and brothers.

Sports As An Outline

Sports is about unity, teamwork, friendship, companionship, more so than just winning the game.

It is an outlet to showcase one’s talent, individuality, and the freedom to be unapologetically oneself.

That is what Andrya Yearwood, Terry Miller, CeCe Telfer, Chris Moiser, JayCee Cooper, Kye Allums, Patricio Manuel, Fallon Fax, Lauren Hubbard, and so many others have done.

Amid all the bigotry and prejudice, they have proven to succeed on their terms while staying true to one’s self.

They have shattered barriers and open doors for others to follow.

In the end, love, justice, equality, and acceptance will triumph as it always does.

Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder of the Center of Diversity and Ethics and Sports and a renowned scholar and activist on sports and social justice, described the symbolic nature of the “huddle.”

In that huddle, it doesn’t matter what race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, ability, or immigration status one possesses, in that huddle, we come together and work together to win the game.

That is sport in a nutshell.

To all transgender athletes, You Can Play.

To learn about LGBTQ athletes and the need for equal and safe spaces in sports, look into these organizations:

Athlete Ally: https://www.athleteally.org/

You Can Play: http://youcanplayproject.org/

OutSports: https://www.outsports.com/

Zachary Draves
About Zachary Draves 45 Articles
Anti-Violence Educator, Activist, MSW Student at Aurora University, Adjunct Professor of Social Justice and Civic Engagement at Dominican University, Aspiring Filmmaker, Alliance for Social Workers in Sports, Volunteer You Can Play Project

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