Poe’s Perspective: Restricting trans girls from sports is ridiculous

first_imgDue to the perception of the type of body that is “best” at sports, most people who make this an issue center the discussion on trans women who compete in female sports divisions. Thus, the debate mainly targets trans women, easily one of the most persecuted and discriminated groups out of our entire population. It wasn’t those tall girls’ fault that I didn’t make varsity. It wasn’t my fault, either. They were born into their bodies, and I was born into mine, and that was OK. I played JV for two years, made friends who I never would’ve talked to without basketball, and my parents got to come to every single game. I had fun. Regulating trans bodies without regulating all other bodies is discriminatory, period. That part of this argument is rather simple. But the more complex issue is the moral side of it — the fact that we, as a society, are even discussing keeping a kid out of sports. When it comes to the debate of how to classify trans athletes, I wish this was the focus of more conversations. Stop worrying about who wins the high school track meet. Focus more on who gets to play ball. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union published an article detailing why it is both illegal and immoral to ban trans girls from school sports. When I saw the headline, I was shocked to find out that banning young girls was even a consideration. Most people grew up playing sports. Some loved it, some hated it. Some got picked last in gym, some went on to become varsity captains. For a lot of people, sports were just a way to kill time when they were young — pick-up games at recess, recreational teams in elementary school, cross country in high school to stay in shape. But many of us loved sports when we were younger, which is why we love them so much today and why sport remains one of the most powerful industries in the world. In reality, I shouldn’t have been surprised. This debate is at the forefront of many intersectional discussions of gender and sport. Martina Navratilova — an LGBTQ+ icon in sports — even took time earlier this year to speak out against transgender athletes competing against cisgender athletes, citing the “unfairness” of the situation. I played junior varsity basketball in high school. I played JV because I was 5-foot-10 on a good day and played post against girls who towered over me by three or four inches. Most games, I just did my best to front the girl I was defending and keep her from getting the ball. I fouled out. A lot. I did my best to compensate with speed and skill, but I wasn’t quick enough, and my hook shot wasn’t reliable enough to balance out my size.center_img Honestly, who are we to tell a kid they can’t play at the elementary, middle or high school level? Who are we to take one of the greatest parts of being kid away from someone just because of the body they were born into? I remember what it was like to be little and just love sports. I wasn’t the greatest athlete as a kid — my dad still swears I didn’t learn how to run properly until middle school — but I was strong and stubborn enough to keep up with most of the girls and even some of the guys in my class. There was nothing better than kickball at recess or dodgeball day in gym class. This conversation is only getting started, and I guarantee that over the coming years it will be brought into legislative and legal battles. But as we continue to move forward in this discussion, I hope we can focus on the humanity, not the trophies, that are connected to it. Think of the kids first, the kids who just want to play ball. At the end of the day, they’re what matters most. The trans girls who this debate focuses on can’t help it either. They were born into their bodies, and that’s not their fault. They just want to play. Maybe they just want to be part of a team, a strong group of girls who they can confide in and rely on. Maybe they do want to compete at a higher level. Maybe they just love to play, the way that many of us have loved to play sports our whole lives. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. The fact that only trans women are targeted by this debate is only one of the biggest holes in its logic. There are a lot of parts of this discussion that frustrate me and confuse me and just make me want to cry. The main issue, however, is the concept of denying children’s access to sport.last_img

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