Cis Fragility

These Transphobic Utah Parents Just Took “Sore Loser” to a Whole New Level and the Result is Horrifying

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. 

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.”

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. 

To make matters worse, Utah already made trans discrimination in school sports legal in March of this year.

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