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  • Writer's pictureEmily Berry

Transphobia is not protecting female athletes.

In several states - the latest came today in Iowa - lawmakers have banned transgender girls from competing as part of girls’ teams. This type of legislation passed through the state Assembly last year in Wisconsin, but thankfully did not advance further.

You should know that I will always support transgender students’ full participation in every aspect of school, including participation in athletics according to their own gender identity.

The Iowa and Wisconsin bills are part of a wave of transphobic legislation fueled by fear and misinformation and cloaked as a defense of female athletes.

I cannot comprehend how state lawmakers who fail to support girls’ athletics with adequate funding - and indeed fail to fully fund schools at all - take the time to regulate this nonexistent problem of transgender girls posing unfair competition to cisgender girls.

If a ban on transgender athletes doesn’t bother you, consider how schools will potentially verify an athlete’s gender. Do you really want school staff or athletic conference officials checking genitals or running DNA tests on your child before she can run track, swim or play volleyball? Did you know that there is a long history of racism and transphobia intersecting, putting black female athletes under special scrutiny around their gender?

These are just a few reasons to oppose any effort to bar transgender athletes from competing. I hope you join me in hoping that girls are welcome as athletes at every level. Transgender girls are girls, and transgender boys are boys. All kids should have access to full participation in school athletics.

Read more on this issue here:

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