- My daughter is bad at sports, but still, she has been banned from school sports in 18 states.
- It all boils down to being trans.
- I feel that the government officials who are anti-trans don’t really understand trans girls.
At the beginning of high school, our daughter was tiny — 4 feet 10 and 75 pounds. However, 18 states in the US, including Florida, Texas and Arizona, perceive it to be such an athletic force that it is banned from all sports before a trial.
In fact, she is barred from testing.
Here’s the kicker: She’s an awesome athlete. It cannot serve. He’s bored on defense. She doesn’t like putting her face in the water to swim.
Our daughter happens to be transgender and that is why she is banned from playing sports in these states. She also happens to be smart and funny and grew up in a family of athletes. Her father was a Division I college athlete and her older brother just finished a career at a Division III college. Her other two brothers excelled on the football field. In high school, I was the second leading scorer on my field hockey team.
When Republican-led lawmakers ban trans athletes, they ban their idea of what a trans athlete can be, largely because so few of them know trans kids or their families. And their imagination is strange and confused.
I have a feeling they’re envisioning a strappy athletic boy in a dress. In fact, their comments often show that they are not imagining someone who is transgender, but some kind of con artist who wants to dominate girls’ sports teams while pretending to be transgender.
Trans athletes are rare in the same way that great athletes are
If you look at the general population of high school students, great athletes are rare. This also applies to transgender students. While much attention has been paid to the rare outstanding trans student-athlete, almost no one talks about the vast majority of trans students, those who do not excel in sports but who may be kids who just want to make the typical high school experience of being in a team — fresh air, exercise, new friends and a love of a lifelong sport.
While Republican lawmakers didn’t think about trans girls like my daughter, who no one would ever assume are trans and who aren’t a threat to anyone’s playtime, they also didn’t think about how their laws might affect girls who are not trans. They did not imagine the athlete who is accused of being transgender because, perhaps, she is a little taller and broader in the shoulders than her teammates and dominates a sport.
In Utah, this happened when the parents of two girls who didn’t win a sports competition accused the winner of being transgender. Utah High School Activities Association officials looked into the winning student’s school records dating back to kindergarten, and it was confirmed that she had been assigned female at birth, so she had always been a girl. the winning student and her parents were not informed that she was under investigation or that strangers were digging for incriminating evidence for a transition.
The US loves school sports
As a culture, we love high school sports. We idolize what they do for our kids and I think playing a sport, especially on a team, can be incredibly important.
What transgender high school students are denied when we ban them from playing a sport is all the things we say we believe about the importance of sports. They miss out on what many people consider the best part of their high school experience. They lose a team, lifelong bonds, community, friendships and a coach who believes in them. They lose the sense of contribution, of use, of school spirit. they miss out on lessons in resilience and self-confidence. They lose the connection to physical activity and the opportunity to build lifelong healthy habits.
The risks of depression and suicide for this community are surprisingly high. Fully aware of these facts, schools further isolate transgender children and remove one of the strongest recommendations for positive mental health – exercise.
As for my daughter, she lives in a state that has had an uproar over banning transgender students from sports, but it hasn’t become law. He studies in a private school where sport is compulsory because the school believes in all the positives of being in a team, just like me.
Without being prohibited by the law, she reluctantly took up tennis. While still flashier, she enjoys sport and has made friends and feels more connected to her school community. He’s out there on the field, smiling and joking and having fun. One could say she is pursuing happiness, which should be her right as an American.
Carolyn Hays is an award-winning, critically acclaimed and best-selling author who chose to publish “A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter” under a pseudonym to protect her family’s privacy. Her novels have been published by Hachette, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins.