Here are the facts about participation in trans women’s sports



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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of guest columns by Dana Rasmussen aimed at advancing understanding of transgender people and the issues they face in Pennsylvania. Rasmussen (She / Her / Hers) is a member of the board of directors of TransFamily of NWPA. This column deals with participation in trans women‘s sports.

Are there enough issues with the participation of transgender girls / women in sports to justify a law governing trans lives and hampering their social development? Let’s discuss three common questions on the topic:

1. Do trans girls / women have an unfair physical advantage in sport?

Before you begin: Can you name a college-aged trans girl or athlete who dominated her sport after being taken out or starting her transition?

The effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and puberty inhibitors replace or reduce testosterone production in trans women to levels similar to those in cisgender women. Without higher levels of testosterone, our strength declines quite quickly. It is diminishing so much that the International Olympic Committee allowed transgender athletes to compete starting in 2004.

Can you name a trans girl or woman who has dominated her sport at the Olympics since 2004?

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) transgender guidelines stated in 2011: “Transgender women exhibit a lot of physical variation, just as there is a lot of natural variation in height and physical ability in women and men. non-transgender. Many people may have a stereotype that all transgender women are unusually tall and have big bones and muscles. But this is not true. A male-to-female transgender woman can be short and light, even if she isn’t taking hormone blockers or estrogen. It is important not to over-generalize. The assumption that all male-bodied people are taller, stronger, and more skilled in a sport than all female-bodied people is not correct. “

Can you name a trans girl or woman who dominated her sport during her NCAA eligibility?

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) makes these statements in its policies and procedures guide: “(PIAA) is committed to the principles of equality of opportunity and treatment for all involved in interschool athletics. PIAA believes that all boys and girls, coaches, competition officials and athletic administrators should have equal opportunities to participate, coach, officiate and administer at all levels of interschool athletics and athletics. receive equal treatment, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin. “

“When a student’s gender is in doubt or uncertain, the principal’s decision as to the student’s gender will be accepted by PIAA.”

The 2017 report titled “Age of People Who Identify as Transgender in the United States” from UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute, estimates that there are 5,250 trans Pennsylvanians between the ages of 13 and 17. Assuming that about two-thirds of them are trans girls, that gives us 3,465 trans girls. The Pennsylvania Department of Education lists 394,438 girls enrolled in 2016-2017. The website reports that 38% (150,250) participated in sports. Applying this percentage to the number of trans girls, we arrive at 1,316 or 0.01% of Pennsylvania’s 12.79 million people in 2017.

Can you name any of those 1,316 trans girls from Pennsylvania who have dominated her sport since 2017?

2. Do trans women sexually assault other girls and women in the locker room or bathroom?

Girls and trans women are generally unable to perform the masculine functions necessary to commit these acts. Hormone replacement therapy and puberty inhibitors bring testosterone to an extremely low level, affecting libido and the ability of sexual function. Without the ability to have typical male sexual function, the likelihood of a trans girl or woman being capable of such an attack becomes minimal.

Girls and trans women are often affected by gender dysphoria to the point that the idea of ​​taking on the role of a typical man for sex is so extremely uncomfortable that we would walk away from the situation as quickly as possible.

3. Are women’s sports threatened by trans girls / women’s participation?

On March 31, 2021 (coincidentally the 12th annual Transgender Visibility Day), reported on a letter from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “More than 465 everyday superstars and feminists have added their names to the letter opposing the targeting of transgender women and girls.” Among the signatories were members of the United States’ national women’s football team: Megan Rapinoe, Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris.

One of the letter’s strongest statements was: “We all need to tackle the unnecessary and unethical barriers placed on transgender women and girls by lawmakers and those who co-opt the feminist label in the workplace. name of division and hatred. Our feminism must be expansive without any excuse so that we can leave the door open for future generations.

Trans girls / women are girls / women. Medical and mental health professionals have said so. University researchers have said so. Sports organizations have said so. Shouldn’t we be listening to the experts?

Dana Rasmussen (she / she) is a member of the board of directors of TransFamily of NWPA.


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