- Estelle Monti
Considering the Ban of Transgender Women in Women's Sports
In the past week, dozens of U.S. states have started to consider banning transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports, according to Rachel Savage at Global News. These recent debates were sparked by President Joe Biden’s executive order that focuses on advancing protections for LGBTQ people. The order states that “children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
High school governing bodies, rather than state laws, have determined most of the current policies about transgender student-athletes. At the older level, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) limits trans women to compete on women’s teams unless they have suppressed their testosterone levels for at least one year. Additionally, trans men taking testosterone are not allowed to participate with women. As of 2014 in Maryland, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) says that for Maryland public schools, transgender students may compete on the team of the gender with which they identify.
According to Savage at Global News, Idaho became the first US state to ban transgender women and girls from participating in women’s sports in schools and at the college level in March 2020. This law was challenged and suspended in court on the basis of being discriminatory, but 42 similar bills have been introduced in 25 other states, according to a legislative tracker cited by Savage. On March 1, 2021, South Dakota passed a law to prompt “fairness in women’s sports,” and Mississippi similarly passed the Mississippi Fairness Act. In a tweet, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves claimed that Joe Biden’s executive order encourages transgenderism in children, and he signed this bill to “ensure young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for opportunities.” Many other Republicans argue that trans girls have a physical advantage over their competitors and should be banned from girls’ sports. Trans advocate and spokeswoman for the National Women’s Law Center, Gillian Branstetter, says, however, that in the 16 U.S. states with trans-inclusive high school policies, trans athletes have not consistently outperformed other athletes.
Triathlete Chris Mosier is the first trans man to represent the US internationally. He told Savage, “These are very dangerous bills that are attempting to serve as an entry point to larger scale discrimination.”