ACLU, Transgender Boy Sue Tennessee Over Anti-Trans Sports Law
High schooler Luc Esquivel wants to play boys' golf.The ACLU and Lambda Legal are suing Tennessee over its law excluding transgender youth from participating in school sports, they announced Thursday.
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.
29. Dolphins (30): Maybe it's too little, too late, but they don't face another team with a winning record until Week 16.
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28. Jaguars (27): How about return man extraordinaire Jamal Agnew reinventing himself as Cordarrelle Patterson-lite. Agnew has 21 catches after totaling 16 during four years in Detroit and threw in a 66-yard TD run Sunday. Weapon X.
25. Falcons (23): Their social media department is on fire, poking fun at Sunday's 28-3 first-half deficit, and their uniforms will be straight fire Thursday night when they go with the 1990s-era throwbacks. Otherwise, Dirty Birds and their battered roster seem on verge of steady descent.
24. Washington (28): Their best win of the season, a surprising upset of the Bucs, was diluted by the loss of their best player after DE Chase Young tore his ACL. Welp, should help them rise up the draft board to fix their QB issue if nothing else.
23. Seahawks (19): You'd have to say Sunday was the worst game of QB Russell Wilson's NFL career -- it was definitely the first time he'd been shut out as a pro. Unless Seattle rips off six wins in the last eight weeks, this will be the worst season of Wilson's career -- meaning his first below .500.
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22. Broncos (17): On other side of bye, five of their final seven games occur against AFC West foes. Denver's fate doesn't look pretty, but at least players have a chance to control it.
21. Eagles (22): Good luck figuring them out. Philadelphia is 4-2 on the road with an average margin of victory of three TDs, but 0-4 at Lincoln Financial Field -- though three of the defeats are by six points or fewer. But keep an eye on this team, which owns the NFC's easiest schedule the rest of the way.
19. 49ers (21): Their last two home wins have come against the Rams ... though they occurred more than a year apart. But now just a half-game out of playoff picture, Niners look set up to make a run with four of their next five games against teams with losing records.
18. Saints (14): Currently the NFC's sixth seed, they can't expect to maintain that spot -- amid a two-game losing streak without QB Jameis Winston -- if the defense continues to fade, special teams keep faltering, critical penalties mount, and RB Alvin Kamara doesn't play.
17. Panthers (26): As prodigal son Cam Newton prepares to reclaim QB1 status in Carolina, you have to wonder if injured Sam Darnold -- he's guaranteed nearly $19 million in 2022 -- is already entering the backup phase of a career that doesn't yet span four seasons.
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16. Colts (20): They've clawed back to .500 following a 1-4 start ... and now face games at Buffalo and against Tampa Bay for their trouble. Indianapolis will be in survival mode rest of the way.
14. Browns (13): "We never had a chance," DE Myles Garrett said of the defensive performance in Cleveland's 45-7 loss at New England. "I mean, we need to be better." No truer words given six of his next seven games will be against teams with winning records.
10. Chiefs (11): He may not be the most dominant blocker ever -- yada, yada -- but Travis Kelce's argument as the best tight end in league history continues to gain steam now that he's surpassed Rob Gronkowski with his 34th 100-yard receiving game, most ever.
9. Ravens (7): Prior to their 22-10 upset loss at Miami on Thursday, they'd never scored fewer than 14 points in QB Lamar Jackson's first 45 starts -- nine games better than the next-best quarterback (Rodgers) at the start of his career.
8. Patriots (9): Not only have they won four in a row to vault themselves back into the thick of the AFC playoff race, the average margin of victory during this hot streak has been 25 points. Next up? The Falcons, who are coming off that 40-point beatdown.
6. Bills (8): They improved to 3-0 in divisional games with a nice bounce-back effort against the Jets ... which should help against the hard-charging Patriots, who might ultimately regret that Week 1 loss to Miami.
5. Buccaneers (2): WR Mike Evans pulled even with former Tampa Bay FB Mike Alstott (71) for the most career TDs in Bucs history Sunday ... but they needed him to break that record to avoid being what Bruce Arians deemed "a very dumb football team."
3. Titans (4): No Derrick Henry and yet ... they're the second team to craft a five-game winning streak against playoff teams from the previous season -- are actually 7-0 against 2020 playoff clubs -- and have their longest winning streak (six games) in 13 years. The AFC's projected top seed will also now face what is, by far, the easiest remaining schedule (.336 opponents' winning percentage) in the league.
2. Cowboys (6): High cotton for a team that probably played its most complete game in decades after throttling Atlanta by 40. But as nearly insurmountable as Dallas' 3.5-game lead in the NFC East looks, four of the next five are on the road -- starting in Kansas City.
1. Packers (3): For now Green Bay gets the nod for the top spot, flawed as this team is ... just like everyone else. But the Pack pitched their first shutout in three years, have picked off a league-best five passes in the end zone and rank third in both total and scoring defense. Oh, and QB Aaron Rodgers is back, while sophomore RB AJ Dillon gets his shot to make an impact going into a pair of tough games – Minnesota on the road before the Rams come to Lambeau Field.
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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