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Across in American Sports: The Hard Struggle for Equality

Status: 04/14/2021 8:38 a.m.

About 30 US states have laws in the making, or already in place, that prohibit transgender girls from playing the sport of girls. Republicans know the emotionally charged issue resonates with their constituents.

From Catherine Brand
ARD-Studio Washington

Terry Miller and Andraia Yairwood dominated the running competition at Connecticut High School three years ago. They won and broke records – which were of no significance outside of New England. But the two young 16-year-olds were transgender women. In other words, the gender of the male was determined at birth, and they did not come out as girls until later. Connecticut laws allow them to compete in school sports as girls.

Catherine Brand
ARD-Studio Washington

Bianca Stanescu, the mother of one of the defeated athletes, thought this was unfair. Stanisco told ABC that female athletes are at a physical disadvantage compared to trans girls. Millers and Wirewoods deny: Terry and Andraia were by no means winning, says Catherine Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign, who advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ community. And besides: this is the case in sports: “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s what makes the challenge and the fun – and the frustration.”

Transgender women in sport, this is the latest battleground in the American Culture War. Which is more important: chromosomal sex or live sex? And: Who determines the rules, the minority or the majority?

The topic resonates with Republican voters

For the country’s conservatives, the issue is clear. “In sport, biology is the only thing that matters,” says Matt Sharp of the conservative Freedom Defense Alliance. The “biological sex” is recorded in every cell of the body. This means: He who has the sex of a male at birth plays sports with the children. Goal.

About 30 states have laws in place, or already in place, that prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports at school. There isn’t a single known conflict situation in many countries, but conservative politicians know this issue will resonate with their constituents.

Because the new administration of US President Joe Biden is heading in exactly the opposite direction. Biden has a law in place, the “Equality Act,” which will prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, for example.

Catherine Oakley, LGBT activist, feels she is in good hands: The President has already said that transgender rights are human rights. But so far, Biden has stayed out of the sports debate.

Participation with testosterone blockers is legal

In college sports, there have long been rules regarding allowing a trans woman to participate in a female’s sport, that is, when she uses drugs to keep the testosterone hormone low in her body. The NCAA Sports Association explicitly supports transgender athletes. It has just threatened once again to withdraw from countries that pass discriminatory laws.

How to find a solution in this ideologically charged climate? It’s tough, says law professor Dorian Coleman, who has been involved in women’s sports for decades. To do this, one must pay attention to science, but also “pay attention to our moral and ethical obligation to be an inclusive society.”

But being inclusive, and welcoming everyone, is very difficult for everyone in the United States right now.

Kulturkampf in sports: when is a woman a woman?

Catherine Brand, ARD Washington, April 14, 2021, 7:56 am