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Sport Opinion: Extremists are using sports to discriminate against trans athletes. We can't let them.

14:26  18 november  2021
14:26  18 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a law in March called SB 354. It bans transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

The law is the very definition of seeking a problem that didn't really exist. There isn't a groundswell of trans athletes competing in youth and high school sports, either in Arkansas or really anywhere else. It was clear what Hutchinson was doing. He was using trans kids as a political prop. He was using sports to attack them.

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What Hutchinson did was one of many manipulative and, frankly, bigoted moves that uses trans kids as political chips. It's designed to use fear to gain political power.

As we note Transgender Awareness Week, the sports world remains a place that continues to be used as a way of attacking trans kids. It feels like that point has been forgotten. It shouldn't be. It should never be.

Trans kids, like other kids, just want to play the sports they love.

"My daughter deserves that same freedom to participate free from judgment or discrimination," wrote Dmitri Keating, a competitive cyclist and the father of Stella Keating, a youth advocate with GenderCool and the first transgender teen to testify before the U.S. Senate. "She needs to know that she’ll have the same rights and protections as everyone else, regardless of where she might go to college or which other states she may visit.

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"It’s time for our lawmakers to stop pedaling backward. They should put an end to pointless anti-transgender sports bans and focus on passing nondiscrimination protections, like those in the Equality Act, to provide consistent protections for transgender people who simply want to live their happiest and healthiest lives."

Hutchinson was far from alone in going after trans kids. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem similarly attacked trans youth when in March she issued two executive orders designed to limit participation on women's and girls' school sports teams to people assigned female at birth. Like in Arkansas, the move was strictly political and an attack on a vulnerable group from a bully.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill in April banning transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams that align with their gender.

This led to MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle setting phasers to heavy stun and obliterating Justice in an interview where he couldn't cite one singular instance of a trans child trying to gain a competitive advantage.

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“But sir, you have no examples of this happening," Ruhle said. She added: “Why would you take your time to do this? Let’s talk about other things that I can give you examples of in your state. According to U.S. News & World Report, West Virginia ranks 45th in education, 47th in health care, 48th on the economy and 50th in infrastructure. If you cannot name one single example for me of a child doing this, why would you make this a priority? I just named four things that would seem to me like a much bigger priority.”

The priority, as in other states, isn't to protect anyone from anything. It's an assault just for the sake of assaulting.

These attacks on transgender kids have been ongoing for years and they remain notable because they haven't stopped.

The politicians pushing these laws see sports as an entranceway to push fear, and attempt to gain power, since sports are something so many people understand, and have their kids participate in.

It also needs to be pointed out that while it's true there aren't large numbers of trans kids participating in youth and high school sports, that shouldn't matter. If a law is unjust to just one person, or a small group of people, it's still wrong.

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Even if the number of trans athletes is small that shouldn't matter either. They are there and need to be acknowledged and respected.

That's why this week is so important. It's a simple reminder at a brutal time for trans kids as politicians attempt to take their humanity and dignity.

And they are using sports to do it. We can't let them.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Extremists are using sports to discriminate against trans athletes. We can't let them.

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usr: 2
This is interesting!