Transgender Athletics: It’s A Matter Of Fairness
It has become a polarizing issue with major political overtones and emotional debate. Florida has become the latest state to approve a bill banning transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for students born as girls. Plus more than two dozen other states have introduced similar bills which would prevent athletes from competing in anything other than their biological sex at birth which would mainly impact transgender girls and women competing on the high school and college level.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association policy allows students to participate in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity. Under those guidelines transgender students are eligible to participate in accordance with either their birth sex or their gender identity, but not both.
The argument on both sides is fairness. Those opposed state what they believe is fact and that is transgender athletes competing with other females have an inherent competitive advantage which is unfair to other girls and women. Supporters dismiss that and claim not only are attempts to ban them discriminatory but it makes the changes they are dealing with that more difficult. 27% of transgender teens feel unsafe at school and sports give them an outlet often needed. Former Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner came out last month against allowing transgender athletes to participate in women’s sports saying, “It just isn’t fair and we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
I’m going to quote a line from a well-known beer commercial from many years ago….”I feel strongly both ways.” Transgender athletes should have the right to compete in sports but if my daughter lost out to an athlete born as a male I would be furious. Somewhere we need to find middle ground on this one which I guess you could say about nearly everything else in our country today.
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