Decorah trans athlete wants ‘to be part of the team,’ even if Iowa ban won’t let her play

cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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Gavy Smith is a five-sport athlete at Decorah High School.


She hasn’t been a star in any of the sports she’s tried so far, including volleyball, softball, track and bowling, but she enjoys learning new things and playing with her peers.


“I just like doing the sports. I just like trying them,” said Smith, 15. “I’ve never done golf. I don’t know if I’m good at it. I’m not even good at mini golf. (What matters is) to be part of the team, to be included.”


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That’s why a new Iowa transgender athlete ban signed into law March 3 is so painful. Because the law prohibits biological boys from competing on girls teams, Gavy, born as Gavin, is limited to being the manager of the girls golf team rather than a player.


Gavy and her mom, Tiffany Smith, went Feb. 10 to Des Moines to speak at an Iowa House Education subcommittee meeting against the ban. It was the first time Gavy talked publicly about transgender rights.


“Since it’s something I really believe in and something that truly hits home with me, I knew it was something I should do,” she said.


Going public has put Gavy in a spotlight that makes her mom proud, but nervous.


“I should probably just not look at the comments people make because they are just very hurtful,” Smith said about online comments on the topic. We’re just trying to humanize this a little bit more. For some people who haven’t seen it, it may be an odd thing and hard to grasp. We’re hoping if Gavy gets out there and they see her, it will open up people’s hearts and minds a little more.”


“We just have to keep using our voices,” Gavy added.






Gavy is like many other teen girls. She wears small silver earrings, a hoodie and her long brown hair in a ponytail. She works in the produce department at Fareway. A perfect evening at home would include sushi and “Gilmore Girls.” Gavy has two brothers — one older and one younger — and gets along with her parents most of the time.


By third grade, Gavy felt like she was different from the boys she knew. Most of her friends were girls, she didn’t play with the same toys as her brothers and one day she decided to wear a dress to school.


“They contacted my mom and asked questions,” Gavy said.


Smith picked up the story.


“When they called me, they wanted to meet to talk about what they’d seen and get a feel for how things were at home, what direction we were going and how to continue on,” she said. “They were really good to work with. It was nice.”


When Gavy went to middle school, she started using the girls locker room to change clothes for gym and sports. Until a parent complained. Then the school asked Gavy to change in the nurse’s office, which continued for a year until she was allowed to go back to the locker room, Gavy said.


“The girls were a little bit more supportive,” she said. “Already before that most of my friends were girls. They did have questions and stuff. I do remember sometimes they (boys) were not as supportive and I did get bullied sometimes.”


Fair competition​


The argument for prohibiting trans girls from competing on girls’ teams is they will take away starting spots, medals and scholarships from biological girls, who generally aren’t as big and strong as boys.


A speaker at the Feb. 10 legislative meeting cited news reports about Lia Thomas, a transgender woman breaking records as part of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team. Thomas competed as a male swimmer before undergoing hormone treatment as part of her transition, the Washington Post reported.


Gavy said her situation is the “complete opposite … because I’ve never been the best on the team. Ever since I started volleyball I’ve always been on a lower team. I don’t say it’s because I’m transgender and they want to put me on a lower team. I just think I’m not that good to be put on a higher team.”


House File 2416 requires any Iowa schools that get public funding to designate sports programs as one of the following: open to biological females, open to biological males or coeducational.


The law, which passed with only Republican support and was signed into law by GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, went into effect immediately. It spells out that only female students, based on their sex — which may be verified on birth certificates — may participate in any “team, sport or athletic event” designated for girls or women. It does not have the same requirement for boys.


The Iowa High School Athletic Association, which governs boys’ sports at the high school and middle school levels, will continue to allow girls to compete on boys’ teams if there is not a girls’ team of that sport.


“We do not believe the law prohibits this,” Association Executive Director Tom Keating said.


As far as schools designating sports as co-ed to avoid the trans athlete ban, Keating has not heard of districts considering this. The state’s only sanctioned co-ed competitions now are the state golf and state tennis meets.


The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union did not respond to attempts by The Gazette to seek comment about how schools and students are being affected by the new law.


What’s next?​


Gavy and Tiffany Smith don’t know exactly what comes next. Gavy has started golf practice, meeting with the team in the yard of her coach, Scott Pierce, until the golf courses open for the season.


“I have a large yard with a target green we can hit to as well as a sand trap that I dug in many years ago,” Pierce said in an email. “I have a hitting mat and hitting net that the kids can utilize and I built a raised putting platform as well a number of years back.”


Gavy is welcome as team manager, which Pierce thinks is in line with the new law.


“She can participate fully in all practices with the meets being a different situation,” he said. “She can be a part of our team.”


Becky Smith, who is executive director of the LGBTQ youth advocacy organization Iowa Safe Schools, told reporters March 3 she thinks the new state law violates federal law that prohibits gender discrimination.


Tiffany Smith said she plans to talk with a lawyer at the ACLU of Iowa, but “nothing (is) certain.”


“I don’t have a lot of information about what step we’re going to do next, but we’re not done,” she said. “We’re not going to stop and take this.”


“Once we’ve started, we won’t be stopped,” Gavy added.

 

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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It’s not a “private” life when you join a public team. Be trans all you want, it’s your life. But you can’t change the rules of biology and science based on what you feel and beat up on women in the UFC because you want to.
If you honestly believe that someone would go through gender reassignment simply so they could "beat up on women,"I'm afraid that there is no hope for you whatsoever.
 
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Dr. Spaceman

HR All-American
Jun 22, 2009
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It’s not a “private” life when you join a public team. Be trans all you want, it’s your life. But you can’t change the rules of biology and science based on what you feel and beat up on women in the UFC because you want to.
This 15 year old is going to be beating up women in the octagon? Ok..
 
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onlyTheObvious

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Jan 3, 2021
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I don’t care why she did it.

I just hope it was the right decision for the person long term.

athletics is short term and boys vs boys and girls be girls according to science. Real science.
 
Dec 31, 2014
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At least Tiffany didn’t raise a completely self-absorbed narcissist. Checks notes, scratch that.

Where does whether the other children are comfortable playing with and competing against a former boy come into consideration? It doesn’t and it won’t. It’s all about Gavy.

I don’t blame the child for what he has become, a confused teenager, I blame Gavy’s mom and the delusional enabler liberals.
 
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cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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At least Tiffany didn’t raise a completely self-absorbed narcissist. Check notes, scratch that.

Where does whether the other children are comfortable playing with and competing against a former boy come into consideration? It doesn’t and it won’t. It’s all about Gavy.

I don’t blame the child for what he has become, a confused teenager, I blame Gavy’s mom and the delusional enabler liberals.
:rolleyes:
 

CaboKP

HR All-State
Nov 21, 2006
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This scenario will be much more common than the Lia Thomas situation.
People going through life with gender identity issues have it hard enough. At the high school level and below I am all for her competing.

At college, I am not so sure. I do expect this to be much more rare.

My opinion is gay women are more likely to be drawn to sports than transgender athletes.
 
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BlackNGoldBleeder

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Jun 23, 2017
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I skimmed the article. Did it say whether he/she has had a full transformation? To me, unless a biological male has had a full transformation, they should not be allowed to compete against girls.
 

jellyfish10

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Aug 10, 2009
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At least Tiffany didn’t raise a completely self-absorbed narcissist. Checks notes, scratch that.

Where does whether the other children are comfortable playing with and competing against a former boy come into consideration? It doesn’t and it won’t. It’s all about Gavy.

I don’t blame the child for what he has become, a confused teenager, I blame Gavy’s mom and the delusional enabler liberals.
Dad?
 
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Mar 11, 2020
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If you honestly believe that someone would go through gender reassignment simply so they could "beat up on women,"I'm afraid that there is no hope for you whatsoever.
If you don't think there are males who cannot compete at the highest of levels that would consider doing this for Olympic medals or to play pro you are an idiot.
 
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Menace Sockeyes

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Sep 2, 2010
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It’s not a “private” life when you join a public team. Be trans all you want, it’s your life. But you can’t change the rules of biology and science based on what you feel and beat up on women in the UFC because you want to.
Yeah, look at that BRUISER. Sure to dominate.
Sounds like Gavy just wants to be part of a team. Great, Gavy can join the boys team.
Yes, join one of the countless boys volleyball programs in Iowa. Good idea.
 

FAUlty Gator

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Oct 27, 2017
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Once again, there are lots of things you have to sacrifice in life when you make a gigantic decision like becoming the opposite gender. “Not being able to compete in sports against the weaker sex” should be baked into the cake and something to consider before making that decision.

The re-assignment doctor should literally say, “OK, you sure you want to do this? You know you won’t be allowed to compete against girls in sports due to your built in advantage. Are you going to be ok with that? If not, I’d suggest we hold off until your athletic career is over. Or, just give up sports the same way you’re giving up peeing standing up and other things.”

Why is that such a bad thing to have happen?
 
Mar 11, 2020
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Good response! How could I debate such an intellectual heavyweight? 🤣
She shouldn't get a pass because she is terrible. The rules need to apply to everyone or else we are now making a line as to who is to good too play with the girls.





There are several sports I would have played In high school I didn't have access to, sorry you don't have mens volleyball, try something else.
 
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