Correcting myths about transgender girls in Iowa sports

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
70,102
49,561
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Veronica Lorson Fowler
Feb. 24, 2022 4:14 pm

Misinformation and stereotypes are dominating the conversation surrounding transgender girls in sports. With legislation rapidly moving through Iowa Legislature that would ban transgender girls from participating in high school girls’ sports, it’s time to address some of them.

  • Myth: Trans girls participating in girls’ sports will ruin athletics for others.

There is a long history of schools excluding specific groups of people from sports because they're different and predicted to spoil sports programs: 70 years ago Black people were excluded from sports for that very reason; 50 years ago women were excluded from sports programs. More recently, there has been resistance to openly gay students participating in team sports. Athletic programs included these groups and have thrived.
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The bottom line is that trans girls are girls. They are not boys and they are not an "other" that should be excluded. They should be treated like all other girls, and welcomed into girls sports

  • Myth: Trans girls will completely dominate girls’ sports.

Trans girls in Iowa have already been able to compete in high school sports legally for the past 15 years, with the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union providing guidance for including trans girls in girls’ sports since at least 2014. Their participation has been hardly noticeable.

Athletes come to their sports with a variety of talent, body sizes, physical strengths, genetic makeup, and mental drive. Many girls, for example, are extremely tall or have exceptional muscle mass, which could give them an edge. Correctly, we do not exclude those girls and we should not exclude trans girls.

Also, just 1 percent of high school students identify as transgender girls, based on CDC data. And only a fraction of those will choose to participate in girls’ sports, hardly a large enough group to “dominate” sports programs.

  • Myth: Trans girls participating in high school sports will take away opportunities from other girls.

People perpetuating this myth often point to a specific athlete, like Lia Thomas (who has the formal support of many women in athletics). But the fact that a particular trans person is succeeding in a sport should not be used to exclude all trans athletes.

This is especially true when talking about high school sports. Consider the reasons why we offer high school sports programs. Few people would say it’s to cultivate a small number of students so they can get significant money for college and position themselves for a professional career. We put enormous amounts of time and money into school sports programs because they teach kids important, lifelong lessons about physical fitness, setting personal goals and achieving them, teamwork, and respect for others.

It's not unlike school music programs. We don't sponsor them just so a select few can get high-dollar scholarships or become a pro. We do it to develop personal musical skills, to teach setting and reaching goals, and to cultivate a lifelong appreciation for music.

Efforts to exclude trans girls from playing on Iowa high school girls’ sports teams are discriminatory and harmful. They hurt kids and need to stop.

Veronica Lorson Fowler is the communications director of the ACLU of Iowa. She was offered a college volleyball scholarship and is the mother of three children, including a cisgender girl who played volleyball.

 
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gohawks50

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Opinion: Preserving girls sports does not mean excluding transgender athletes

Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney
Guest columnist

My name is Ashlyn Keeney, and I am a senior high school student highly involved in the sports of track and field and cross country. I am writing to give a perspective as a female high school athlete regarding the debate of transgender women in sports.

I want to explicitly state that I in no way wish to invalidate or demean the opinions and concerns of others, and that I respect those who disagree with the ideas stated below. I strongly believe that it is necessary to handle disagreement with consideration for others and with a willingness to learn.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities provided by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and wish for all girls to have access to them. The first paragraphs on the website for the IGHSAU contain the following statements:

“Our mission is to govern fair, safe and sportsmanlike interscholastic competition that emphasizes the educational enhancement of all participants.”

“This website helps provide athletes, coaches and administrators news, information, forms, policies, guidelines, rules, scores, schedules and more to aid in the promotion and success of every Iowa Girl.”

Many people have drawn attention to the word “fair” in this mission statement — maybe to the detriment of the rest of the IGHSAU’s mission. Notice the words “all participants” and “every Iowa girl.” If these phrases are truly at the heart of this organization, then this includes transgender women. Transgender women are women. They deserve the same respect, support, and opportunities as all other women. The opportunity up for discussion here is the most basic one: the inclusion of transgender women in sports.

High school sports should be centered around inclusion, education, and participation. Excluding a group of people disrupts these values and harms those affected.

Many people advocating against transgender athletes in sports seem to believe that trans women have transitioned because they were not good enough when competing with men so they decided to compete against women.

This is simply untrue.

The levels of discrimination and hatred transgender youth and adults face is astounding. No person would go through that for a medal or a record. As a cisgender person, I cannot comment on the feelings and thoughts of transgender people, but I know that everyone wants to be included and that transgender individuals transition to become their true selves.

Every day, trans youth experience harassment, exclusion, and oppression. According to Dr. Jason Lambrese, an adolescent psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic, because of “the stress and discrimination that trans youth face, they are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidality.” It is well known that sports are a healthy outlet for many high schoolers, and that shutting transgender athletes out of sports will only add to their struggles. The Trevor Project, reporting on a survey, said that “LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.” The safe space high school sports hold for many teenagers should be open to all adolescents.

I will admit that I have a lot more learning to do on this topic. It may be necessary to have specific requirements such as waiting periods, monitoring of hormone levels, and physiological standards, especially for higher-level athletics. I am not discussing this topic in the context of higher-level competition (collegiate and professional), though, and I am not focusing on the creation of regulations, as I feel that I am not qualified to speak on this. I am simply focusing on high school sports and the inclusion of all high school teenagers.

We can preserve the fairness of high school girls sports with methods that do not include exclusion.

Even if I were to encounter a teenage athlete with a competitive advantage, I would rather be beaten by a transgender girl at a high school meet than for her to be excluded from the sport she loves.

That being said, one thing is certain: There is no threat that dozens or hundreds of cisgender boys are going to suddenly decide to join girls sports teams in Iowa to wipe our achievements from the record books. The concern relating to fairness and transgender girls’ participation in Iowa girls sports is overridden by the values of participation and education for all.

Fair means fair to all. You can care about both cisgender women and transgender women: They are all real women and deserve to be treated as such. In fact, caring about making sports as fair as possible for cisgender people should mean caring about making them fair for transgender people, too. Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney of North Liberty is a senior at Iowa City Liberty High School. She has won multiple titles at the Iowa state track meet and was named Gatorade’s Iowa Athlete of the Year in 2019 and 2021.

247a563e-5f39-465b-98a5-2c82cb80cf18-keeney.jpg

 

CoachH

HR All-State
Jun 26, 2001
893
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Sorry but boys competing with girls is unfair. In states where this has occurred the biological boys are dominating. Personally, I think they should be ashamed of themselves for basically cheating to make themselves feel better.
Please.
 

FAUlty Gator

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Oct 27, 2017
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Post all the trans girls in Iowa exploiting this advantage then.
Yeah, person from Tarpon Springs, Florida! Post all of the Iowa High School trans athletes you know that are winning. And don't do what we know you're gonna do and forget to mention the ones form Ankeny, Bettendorf, Decorah and Elgin!
 
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gohawks50

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 28, 2010
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Sorry but boys competing with girls is unfair. In states where this has occurred the biological boys are dominating. Personally, I think they should be ashamed of themselves for basically cheating to make themselves feel better.
You think transgender women are just a bunch of men that couldn't compete successfully with their own gender so they transition to compete against girls?
 
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jasonrann

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So somebody run me through this.

I am a 6'2", 230 lb. college-aged male in some type of sport with my stats back then. 52" chest, 34" waist, 315 lb bench, 8 minute mile. What happens to me if I were to convert? My size, strength, endurance?
 

gohawks50

HR Heisman
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Dec 28, 2010
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So somebody run me through this.

I am a 6'2", 230 lb. college-aged male in some type of sport with my stats back then. 52" chest, 34" waist, 315 lb bench, 8 minute mile. What happens to me if I were to convert? My size, strength, endurance?
Mayo Clinic doesn't give numbers, but this is their list of the effect of hormones.

Feminizing hormone therapy will begin producing changes in your body within weeks to months. Your timeline might look as follows:

  • Decreased libido. This will begin one to three months after starting treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Decreased spontaneous erections. This will begin one to three months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within three to six months.
  • Slowing of scalp hair loss. This will begin one to three months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Softer, less oily skin. This will begin three to six months after treatment.
  • Testicular atrophy. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to three years.
  • Breast development. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to three years.
  • Redistribution of body fat. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to five years.
  • Decreased muscle mass. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Decreased facial and body hair growth. This will begin six to 12 months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within three years.
 
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Huey Grey

HR Legend
Jan 15, 2013
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Yeah, person from Tarpon Springs, Florida! Post all of the Iowa High School trans athletes you know that are winning. And don't do what we know you're gonna do and forget to mention the ones form Ankeny, Bettendorf, Decorah and Elgin!
Seems like a punt on your part.
 

JMNSHO

HR Heisman
Mar 11, 2010
7,457
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Get the government out of the business of officiating and administrating amateur sports leagues if “fairness” of competition must take priority over unfettered access.
 
Mar 11, 2020
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So somebody run me through this.

I am a 6'2", 230 lb. college-aged male in some type of sport with my stats back then. 52" chest, 34" waist, 315 lb bench, 8 minute mile. What happens to me if I were to convert? My size, strength, endurance?
You would be an all American.
 

paednoch23

HR MVP
Oct 23, 2009
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Mayo Clinic doesn't give numbers, but this is their list of the effect of hormones.

Feminizing hormone therapy will begin producing changes in your body within weeks to months. Your timeline might look as follows:

  • Decreased libido. This will begin one to three months after starting treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Decreased spontaneous erections. This will begin one to three months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within three to six months.
  • Slowing of scalp hair loss. This will begin one to three months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Softer, less oily skin. This will begin three to six months after treatment.
  • Testicular atrophy. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to three years.
  • Breast development. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to three years.
  • Redistribution of body fat. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within two to five years.
  • Decreased muscle mass. This will begin three to six months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within one to two years.
  • Decreased facial and body hair growth. This will begin six to 12 months after treatment. The maximum effect will occur within three years.
Please tell me where is a law that you have to take feminizing hormones to call yourself transgender. Identifying as a woman is all that is needed. Please point me to the rules that say otherwise. Luka Garza could have identified as a woman and demanded to play for the womens team last year. All you have to do is say "I identify as a woman"
 
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Mar 11, 2020
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Please tell me where is a law that you have to take feminizing hormones to call yourself transgender. Identifying as a woman is all that is needed. Please point me to the rules that say otherwise. Luka Garza could have identified as a woman and demanded to play for the womens team last year. All you have to do is say "I identify as a woman"
Nothing like that WNBA money.
 
Mar 11, 2020
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Of course it adds up. This isn't a real problem, which is why you at best only have half a dozen cases nationwide.
You recognize however it is becoming more common and will lead to an increase in prevalence?



(May the record show I actually dont give a shit for any sport other than MMA or Boxing so I don't actually care about high school sports. I have zero interest in watching a bio male beat the shit out of a female.)
 

Huey Grey

HR Legend
Jan 15, 2013
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You recognize however it is becoming more common and will lead to an increase in prevalence?



(May the record show o actually dont give a shit foe any sport other than MMA or Boxing so I don't actually care about high school sports. I have zero interest in watching a bio male beat the shit out of a female.)
You have no evidence it's becoming more common. The fact that you have to use the entire nation to find cases, have to use every sport, and have to use multiple years only proves that this isn't a real thing.
 
Mar 11, 2020
18,695
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113
You have no evidence it's becoming more common. The fact that you have to use the entire nation to find cases, have to use every sport, and have to use multiple years only proves that this isn't a real thing.
You don't think there is evidence to prove gender transitions are happening at a higher rate and earlier than ever before?
 

gohawks50

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Dec 28, 2010
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Please tell me where is a law that you have to take feminizing hormones to call yourself transgender. Identifying as a woman is all that is needed. Please point me to the rules that say otherwise. Luka Garza could have identified as a woman and demanded to play for the womens team last year. All you have to do is say "I identify as a woman"
No Luka could not have played on the women's team last year.

2011 NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation

The following policies clarify the participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:

1. A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.

2. A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.



Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender.

• A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.

• A trans female (MTF) transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.


Starting this year new requirements have been added as follows:

2022 Updated Transgender Athlete Policy

From the NCAA news release: "The policy is effective starting with the 2022 winter championships. Transgender student-athletes will need to document sport-specific testosterone levels beginning four weeks before their sport's championship selections. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, transgender student-athletes will need documented levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months after the first. They will also need documented testosterone levels four weeks before championship selections. Full implementation would begin with the 2023-24 academic year."

"The updated NCAA policy calls for transgender participation for each sport to be determined by the policy for the national governing body of that sport, subject to ongoing review and recommendation by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports to the Board of Governors. If there is no NGB policy for a sport, that sport's international federation policy would be followed. If there is no international federation policy, previously established IOC policy criteria (2015 Consensus Statement) would be followed."

 
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Hawki97

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Dec 16, 2001
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Iowa City, IA

Opinion: Preserving girls sports does not mean excluding transgender athletes

Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney
Guest columnist

My name is Ashlyn Keeney, and I am a senior high school student highly involved in the sports of track and field and cross country. I am writing to give a perspective as a female high school athlete regarding the debate of transgender women in sports.

I want to explicitly state that I in no way wish to invalidate or demean the opinions and concerns of others, and that I respect those who disagree with the ideas stated below. I strongly believe that it is necessary to handle disagreement with consideration for others and with a willingness to learn.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities provided by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and wish for all girls to have access to them. The first paragraphs on the website for the IGHSAU contain the following statements:

“Our mission is to govern fair, safe and sportsmanlike interscholastic competition that emphasizes the educational enhancement of all participants.”

“This website helps provide athletes, coaches and administrators news, information, forms, policies, guidelines, rules, scores, schedules and more to aid in the promotion and success of every Iowa Girl.”

Many people have drawn attention to the word “fair” in this mission statement — maybe to the detriment of the rest of the IGHSAU’s mission. Notice the words “all participants” and “every Iowa girl.” If these phrases are truly at the heart of this organization, then this includes transgender women. Transgender women are women. They deserve the same respect, support, and opportunities as all other women. The opportunity up for discussion here is the most basic one: the inclusion of transgender women in sports.

High school sports should be centered around inclusion, education, and participation. Excluding a group of people disrupts these values and harms those affected.

Many people advocating against transgender athletes in sports seem to believe that trans women have transitioned because they were not good enough when competing with men so they decided to compete against women.

This is simply untrue.

The levels of discrimination and hatred transgender youth and adults face is astounding. No person would go through that for a medal or a record. As a cisgender person, I cannot comment on the feelings and thoughts of transgender people, but I know that everyone wants to be included and that transgender individuals transition to become their true selves.

Every day, trans youth experience harassment, exclusion, and oppression. According to Dr. Jason Lambrese, an adolescent psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic, because of “the stress and discrimination that trans youth face, they are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidality.” It is well known that sports are a healthy outlet for many high schoolers, and that shutting transgender athletes out of sports will only add to their struggles. The Trevor Project, reporting on a survey, said that “LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.” The safe space high school sports hold for many teenagers should be open to all adolescents.

I will admit that I have a lot more learning to do on this topic. It may be necessary to have specific requirements such as waiting periods, monitoring of hormone levels, and physiological standards, especially for higher-level athletics. I am not discussing this topic in the context of higher-level competition (collegiate and professional), though, and I am not focusing on the creation of regulations, as I feel that I am not qualified to speak on this. I am simply focusing on high school sports and the inclusion of all high school teenagers.

We can preserve the fairness of high school girls sports with methods that do not include exclusion.

Even if I were to encounter a teenage athlete with a competitive advantage, I would rather be beaten by a transgender girl at a high school meet than for her to be excluded from the sport she loves.

That being said, one thing is certain: There is no threat that dozens or hundreds of cisgender boys are going to suddenly decide to join girls sports teams in Iowa to wipe our achievements from the record books. The concern relating to fairness and transgender girls’ participation in Iowa girls sports is overridden by the values of participation and education for all.

Fair means fair to all. You can care about both cisgender women and transgender women: They are all real women and deserve to be treated as such. In fact, caring about making sports as fair as possible for cisgender people should mean caring about making them fair for transgender people, too. Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney of North Liberty is a senior at Iowa City Liberty High School. She has won multiple titles at the Iowa state track meet and was named Gatorade’s Iowa Athlete of the Year in 2019 and 2021.

247a563e-5f39-465b-98a5-2c82cb80cf18-keeney.jpg


She’s one hell of a runner!
 
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Dec 14, 2002
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Opinion: Preserving girls sports does not mean excluding transgender athletes

Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney
Guest columnist

My name is Ashlyn Keeney, and I am a senior high school student highly involved in the sports of track and field and cross country. I am writing to give a perspective as a female high school athlete regarding the debate of transgender women in sports.

I want to explicitly state that I in no way wish to invalidate or demean the opinions and concerns of others, and that I respect those who disagree with the ideas stated below. I strongly believe that it is necessary to handle disagreement with consideration for others and with a willingness to learn.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities provided by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and wish for all girls to have access to them. The first paragraphs on the website for the IGHSAU contain the following statements:

“Our mission is to govern fair, safe and sportsmanlike interscholastic competition that emphasizes the educational enhancement of all participants.”

“This website helps provide athletes, coaches and administrators news, information, forms, policies, guidelines, rules, scores, schedules and more to aid in the promotion and success of every Iowa Girl.”

Many people have drawn attention to the word “fair” in this mission statement — maybe to the detriment of the rest of the IGHSAU’s mission. Notice the words “all participants” and “every Iowa girl.” If these phrases are truly at the heart of this organization, then this includes transgender women. Transgender women are women. They deserve the same respect, support, and opportunities as all other women. The opportunity up for discussion here is the most basic one: the inclusion of transgender women in sports.

High school sports should be centered around inclusion, education, and participation. Excluding a group of people disrupts these values and harms those affected.

Many people advocating against transgender athletes in sports seem to believe that trans women have transitioned because they were not good enough when competing with men so they decided to compete against women.

This is simply untrue.

The levels of discrimination and hatred transgender youth and adults face is astounding. No person would go through that for a medal or a record. As a cisgender person, I cannot comment on the feelings and thoughts of transgender people, but I know that everyone wants to be included and that transgender individuals transition to become their true selves.

Every day, trans youth experience harassment, exclusion, and oppression. According to Dr. Jason Lambrese, an adolescent psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic, because of “the stress and discrimination that trans youth face, they are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and suicidality.” It is well known that sports are a healthy outlet for many high schoolers, and that shutting transgender athletes out of sports will only add to their struggles. The Trevor Project, reporting on a survey, said that “LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide.” The safe space high school sports hold for many teenagers should be open to all adolescents.

I will admit that I have a lot more learning to do on this topic. It may be necessary to have specific requirements such as waiting periods, monitoring of hormone levels, and physiological standards, especially for higher-level athletics. I am not discussing this topic in the context of higher-level competition (collegiate and professional), though, and I am not focusing on the creation of regulations, as I feel that I am not qualified to speak on this. I am simply focusing on high school sports and the inclusion of all high school teenagers.

We can preserve the fairness of high school girls sports with methods that do not include exclusion.

Even if I were to encounter a teenage athlete with a competitive advantage, I would rather be beaten by a transgender girl at a high school meet than for her to be excluded from the sport she loves.

That being said, one thing is certain: There is no threat that dozens or hundreds of cisgender boys are going to suddenly decide to join girls sports teams in Iowa to wipe our achievements from the record books. The concern relating to fairness and transgender girls’ participation in Iowa girls sports is overridden by the values of participation and education for all.

Fair means fair to all. You can care about both cisgender women and transgender women: They are all real women and deserve to be treated as such. In fact, caring about making sports as fair as possible for cisgender people should mean caring about making them fair for transgender people, too. Gender identity shouldn’t play a role in the opportunities we are allowed. Everyone deserves equality, respect, and support, values that lie within the heart of Iowa girls sports.

Ashlyn Keeney of North Liberty is a senior at Iowa City Liberty High School. She has won multiple titles at the Iowa state track meet and was named Gatorade’s Iowa Athlete of the Year in 2019 and 2021.

247a563e-5f39-465b-98a5-2c82cb80cf18-keeney.jpg



I wonder what would happen if 1 "cisgender" boy did want to compete in the girls division? If they declared themselves transgender (a girl) I would think the state's hands would be tied, right? Otherwise, I'd see a huge potential civil rights violation and lawsuit. It would be interesting to say the least.
 
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Morrison71

HR Legend
Nov 10, 2006
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Being trans is not a choice. That is a myth a lot of you need to figure out apparently. A lot of ignorance in this thread.