Birmingham-The Governer of Alabama, Kay Ivey, signed a bill requiring Alabama athletes in K-12 public schools to compete in sports according to the gender they were assigned at birth. Why was this bill made? Do trans athletes provide such an advantage that a bill needs to be passed? Why are people for and against this bill?
People who are for the bill say that the bill gives cisgender women more equal opportunities to compete. Do these trans women really have an unfair advantage? Madison Kenyon, a sophomore runner at ISU, said to ABC News, “I’ve seen them [biological males] beat some of the fastest girls in the nation.” Lindsay Hecox is a trans woman, she competed in running before and after her transition. Hecox took hormone replacements for a year, and she said that her athletic abilities were changing to better match those of cisgender women. If hormone replacements could change how trans athletes compete, why not let them compete in sports that align with their gender identity?
Even so, there are other genetic factors that give athletes an advantage. Joana Harper, a trans-woman athlete told ABC News that, “ it’s not uncommon in baseball for left-handed players to have some advantages over right-handed players. Athletic abilities vary regardless of the gender someone is assigned at birth.” Should those players be banned from competing because of their genetics?
People who are against this bill say that it’s excluding trans athletes from having the same experiences as any cisgender athlete. President of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, told CNN that the Alabama legislation is, “nothing more than a politically motivated bill designed to discriminate against an already vulnerable population. By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children. Let’s be clear here: Transgender children are children. They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers. Simply put, Alabamans deserve better than lawmakers who legislate against the health and safety of all kids for cheap political gain.” In a different interview, Harper said to ABC News, “I would suggest that it is never the right response to outright ban trans athletes, there is some set of solutions that can be implemented … and still allow for trans women to be integrated within women’s sports”
This bill claims to give cisgender female athletes a fair playing field, but it doesn’t seem to treat trans athletes the same. By giving cisgender athletes an equal chance, it excludes those who deserve the same chances. I hope that in the future trans athletes are given the same consideration as anyone else.