How Does the Debate on Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sports Affect M-A?

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This year, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would ban transgender women from participating in female athletic competitions, practices, and other sports activities. Despite not currently being effective as a law in the U.S., the act defined gender as a person’s sex, rather than their identity. 

Currently, M-A’s policy on the inclusion of transgender athletes is based upon the rules of California’s Interscholastic Federation (CIF), California’s governing body for high school sports. The CIF allows transgender and gender non-conforming athletes to participate in sports that align with their gender identity. Steven Kryger, one of M-A’s athletic directors, said, “We make sure our coaches are familiar with CIF’s rules and bylaws we discuss during our preseason meetings.” 

In an effort to protect the well-being of transgender athletes, some Democratic representatives strive to protect marginalized athletes by arguing that further discrimination targeting the LGBTQ+ community can result in an increase in suicide attempts. Representative Mark Takano, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, said, “We know transgender students already face widespread bullying and discrimination. Adding to their pain by targeting their participation in school sports is both wrong and dangerous.” 

Republican Congresswoman Lisa McClain argued that it is unfair for transgender athletes to compete with cisgender teams because of the “biological advantage” they possess over opposing cisgender players. So far, there is limited research regarding whether there are advantages for transgender women in sports. Over 18 states have passed laws prohibiting the involvement of transgender athletes in competitive sports. Currently, California permits transgender athletes to compete in school-wide sports. “We say, ‘Whatever gender you identify with, that’s the team you can try out for,'” Kryger added. 

As well as the M-A athletic department supporting transgender involvement in sports, clubs around campus support trans rights and representation. Senior and president of the Gender and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) Lillen Montague-Alamin described the GSA, saying, “We talk about all the laws and acts that go into the rights you have as a queer student.” Presentations at meetings cover topics regarding queer history and current events of the LGBTQ+ community, including the involvement of the queer community in student activities.

Currently, M-A strives to include all queer students participating in sports and provide a safe environment for athletes to express themselves. “We will always be respectful of our transgender athletes,” Kryger said. “We will always involve students who want to participate in sports of their preferred gender.” 

Isabel is a sophomore at M-A beginning her first year of journalism. She is excited to write about exciting events and subjects. Outside of school, some of her hobbies include playing tennis, water polo and swimming for M-A, and reading, drawing, and writing.

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