If you thought that transphobia just affects trans people, think again.
In one Utah high school, parents were so outraged by a teen athlete who won out over her teammates in a 2020 competition that they went out of their way to try and “prove” the athlete was trans. If it sounds insane, that’s because it absolutely is.
What happens when you cross youth sports parents with state-sponsored transphobia? Gender policing by sore losers https://t.co/DXq5AM0mgl pic.twitter.com/3dcWfkM6ij
— Zinnia Jones sssss🐍 (@ZJemptv) August 18, 2022
The inquiry went all the way to the Utah High School Activities Association, which promptly initiated an “investigation” into the athlete’s birth gender.
Per the Deseret News, a representative said that said “the association — without informing the student or family members about the inquiry — asked the student’s school to investigate.”
This resulted in pulling the student’s records dating back to kindergarten to confirm that the student in question was a cis woman.
2022 has been a year of aggressive anti-trans legislation on the level of education, access to care, and participation in sports. The war on trans women athletes, of course, has been ongoing. Back in the 1970s, pioneering trans tennis champion Renée Richards was the subject of bigoted speculation and anti-trans sentiment that still thrives at the Olympic level.
The ability of upset parents to attempt to disqualify cis athletes by trying to “prove” their transness, however, is new, and more than a bit unhinged.
According to the same representative who spoke out initially, the inquiry followed claims and complaints from other parents that “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough.”
As expected, trans panic is causing cis kids to accuse other cis kids of being trans, triggering investigations. https://t.co/hIXKbLKnzP
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) August 18, 2022
If that sounds scary and painfully familiar to you, you’re not alone. Back in 2009, South African middle-distance champion Caster Semenya was placed under humiliating, painful trials to determine her general “fitness” for competing in women’s sports after the IAAF decided that she had too much of an “advantage” over other female athletes.
Speculation around gender—and who is and is not fit to compete in a certain category—still mars many careers today, and remains far from just a trans or intersex issue. The policing of gender in sports has always been around, but we’re seeing a new, more vicious side of it in the wake of so many anti-trans policies regarding participation school sports.
Y’all hate trans people so much that y’all believe that the ONLY way you can be beat in a competition is based on what you deem to be an “advantage.”
Then, boom, the athlete turns out to be cisgender and you realize you just weren’t good enough. https://t.co/5pGxHnLDUP
— Preston Mitchum, he/him (@PrestonMitchum) August 18, 2022
This outcome – state officials investigating a high school-aged girl for not “looking feminine enough” – is exactly what trans people and trans-inclusive feminists said would happen as a result of these anti-trans laws. https://t.co/x322pxfTJl
— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) August 18, 2022
To make matters worse, Utah already made trans discrimination in school sports legal in March of this year.
With the way Utah’s HB11 from earlier this year became a full sports ban, it wouldn’t surprise me if this became a full trans healthcare ban by March.
Especially if it’s already backed by the Senate president and House speaker. pic.twitter.com/d8ziOo56rX
— Chlöe, without the umlaut (@ItsChloeNow) August 17, 2022