As I share this story, I must admit that I have, in the past, debated whether or not competitions were fair between trans athletes and cis-gender athletes. This is in no way a bias or prejudice, nor is it meant to imply that trans athletes have not worked just as hard as their cis counterparts. However, the trans athlete, in most cases, has been assisted by science and medicine to achieve their transformation. The transition for female-to-male athletes would include testosterone therapy. So the debate persists: does that give them a medically-assisted advantage in sports?
All my personal pondering aside, Trump hat-wearing, freshman state representative for Paris, Tennessee, Bruce Griffey recently introduced a bill that would require transgender students to compete in sports only if they do so based on their birth gender and not their post-surgery gender. I do not agree with this effort because it seems to be focused on excluding trans students in general as opposed to the notion of preserving fairness in sports.
Griffey claims that there is nothing transphobic or anti-LGBTQ in his actions and that he only wants to advocate for fairness in high school sports. On one hand, I don’t fault him for raising the debate however it’s hard to take him at his word though when he has a history of ultra-conservatism, and just last year introduced a bill that would force transgender students to use the bathroom that is aligned with their birth gender. Yea, there’s nothing transphobic about that, at all.
Griffey didn’t stop with just the trans student sports ban and bathroom assignment matter. He also proposed that any schools that violate the proposed rules would be fined up to $10,000 and any official involved in the violation would be forced to resign and banned from holding a school position for 5 years. That’s not only anti-LGBTQ, but it’s also malicious and seemingly designed to punish anyone who might advocate inclusion.
Griffey is not alone in his perspective about an alleged trans athlete advantage. As reported by Pink News,
“Last year, lesbian tennis player Martina Navratilova sparked controversy when she wrote a column for The Sunday Times arguing that trans athletes should not be allowed to compete in competitive sport. LGBT+ sporting organization Athlete Ally subsequently cut ties with her and released a statement debunking her claims.“
We will have to see how this plays out but if the state’s rejection of Griffey’s past bill proposals is any indication, hopefully, this bill too will be dead on arrival.