Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The White House Promotes Transgendered Women Playing in Female Sports



         On January 20th, 2021 President Biden signed an executive order that promoted the equality of everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This executive order states that “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.” While the executive order does not explicitly say that it was expanding Title IX to include transgendered women in female sports, many however drew upon the connection and soon became very concerned. A reporter asked Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, what council the White House would give to K-12 schools in light of the executive order Biden had just signed. Jen Psaki responded by saying, “The president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights, and that’s why he signed that executive order.” 


Transgender sports debate polarizes women's advocatesIt has been assumed, while not explicitly stated, that schools may lose federal funding for not allowing transgendered women to play in female sports, because it would be a violation of Title IX. Therefore, according to Freedom for all American, around 20 anti-transgender sports bills currently across the United States. This is the mere beginning of a much larger problem, for both sides of the debate have important attributes to them. One side argues, as does the three girls who filed a federal discrimination complaint against Colorado over consistently losing to transgendered females, that allowing biological males to compete in female sports robs the biological women of their training and hard work. However, the other side argues, as does Andraya Yearwood, that being a transgendered women does not take away their love for the sport, and to continue playing with men would be saying they are still male, not the gender they believe to be. Therefore, in order to better understand this topic, it is necessary to analyze a particular issue within this very important question. 




    Intersectionality is the concept that attributes like one’s race, gender, class, and sexual preference intersect to create further privileges or disadvantages depending on the person’s attributes. For example, a white cis-man will have more privileges and benefits in life than a black transgender woman. The attributes which suffer the most disadvantages are those which break gender norms. Gender norms are the ways in which society has accepted men and women to look and act; therefore, when these rules are broken, those who break them suffer from being seen as the outcasts in society. 

         The difficulty in addressing this problem is that it is dealing with two marginalized groups. The first marginalized group consists of women participating in sports. Traditionally, women are unathletic and focus on looks as opposed to physical capabilities. This is demonstrated clearly in the gender pay-gap that exists in professional sports. An example of this is the Women’s U.S. soccer team who bring in more money than the men’s national team, but still make less money. While there has been a lot of progress for women over the last few decades, there is still a large road ahead of them to become equal with men’s sports.   


         The other marginalized group is more easily identifiable, transgendered female athletes. Roughly 0.7% of the population is transgender, and only a small portion of that group participates in athletics within K-12 or collegiate sports. Andraya Yearwood shows the seriousness of this problem. She is a black high school athlete that runs in track and field; however, she was born a man. Many girls filed complaints against her and spoke out against her to the media because she continually beat all the other girls. While she was able to keep running, there was enough persecution to make her feel as though she shouldn’t try to win because she was robbing the other girls. This led to her falling further and further behind the other girls. 


         Through each of these examples, understanding the concept of intersectionality is crucial to understanding the broader issues at hand. In one area females are being mistreated by society because they are being quantified as less important through their income, all because of gender norms associated with femineity. Allowing biological males to participate in female competitions could put further stumbling blocks on the road for women to becoming equal. With that being said, to do that would necessitate the further disadvantaging of female transgendered athletes, especially in such a volatile part of one’s life. This would be another area in which transgender feel they are not wanted or accepted in society. 




While President Biden’s executive order officially changed nothing in the policy applications of Title IX, it did set values by which states should aspire when implementing Title IX. With this unclarity in what is law and what is recommendation, questioning what is best for everyone is necessary to creating the best world we can. While extremes on both sides of this debate have tried to morph the talking points, it is necessary to focus on the core premise of the question. This core premise focuses on how we as a society can help all people become equal and feel involved. If that is our goal then middle of the road solutions can come to fruition. This is not an article arguing for one policy point of view; therefore, I will not address what those solutions can look like. However, it is important to recognize what each side is arguing and how both sides are dealing with discrimination from their intersectional traits. 

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