Gone Too Far? The Heavy Hand of Youth Sport Politics Gets Heavier.
New legislation would ban or require transgender female athletes to join male or co-ed teams. The burden of proof then becomes very controversial.
Restoring the fun into youth sport is becoming harder and harder. Participation levels are declining rapidly, and the repercussions to our youth’s social, emotional and physical well being are well documented.
The joy of play, the self-regulating skills that youth had yesteryear in impromptu games of ball hockey, stick ball, tag and the like have given way to over structured, parent led competition pushing the fun right out of the activity.
No news here.
What is news is that the long arm of adult regulation of youth sport is growing tentacles in the form of alarming legislation. Said legislations are being introduced in at least 30 US states that would ban or limit transgender girls and women from high school or college girls and women’s sports.
At a very fundamental level, these policies are set to regulate sport participation and would do much harm. How could transgender athletes not feel inferior, second-class, and do not deserve the same rights as others?
In Ohio, a recent bill has been passed and is off to Senate for review to law and would require transgender female athletes to prove their biological sex if questioned by an opposing coach, parent or athlete.
The topic is challenging on multiple levels. There are many layers to get our head around and the solutions are not clear.
However, some solutions do not seem right, and putting the burden of proof via physical exams is one of them.
Should transgender females be allowed to participate with binary girls? Is there any proof of competitive advantage to warrant a stance one way or the other? If there was proof, would it transcend all age groups and sports?
A recent edition of Youth Sport Reimagined by Grady Congleton addressed the issue of how difficult it was in youth sport for LBGTQ to participate in facing higher incidences of bullying and hostile attitudes towards them.
Is this a real or perceived problem in youth sport? Referring to the Ohio legislation, there was 1 documented case in the entire state of a transgender female participating in youth sport with binary girls.
Is it the government’s role to legislate such a thing?·We can do an entire book on this topic alone.
Forgetting the discussion around where and how transgender athletes should compete, how is an pelvic exam as legislation morally and ethically even considered?
Forget putting doctors in this position for a moment. By the way, doctors do not normally have a medical reason for pelvic exams of minors. The difficult situations due to assault or abuse of a minor are handled to highly trained specialists.
Let’s get to the potential trauma to the young person. With all that is being discussed and put forward around building strong mental and physical health in our young people, would this not be completely contrary to that?
The other troubling aspect to the particular legislation in Ohio is the open-ended nature of requiring the exam. Being questioned by an opposing coach or parent?
"She’s way too tall. She's way too good. She doesn’t look like a girl to me. She doesn’t ever wear dresses.” A young athlete excelling would open the door to being questioned as transgender?
Again, the topic is complex.
But the solutions being brought forward seem to violate human rights.
And I am not the only one who thinks so ….as the below viral twitter thread will attest: