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Trans Athletes Could Be Banned from Louisiana Women’s Sports

An early April proposal filed by Republican legislators in Louisiana poses an additional threat to trans people's rights. The bill proposes banning young transgender athletes from participating in girls' sports at public schools. 

This is not the first state to propose legislative restrictions on trans people's lives, however. This bill was even "inspired" by several other laws that have recently been introduced throughout the country—also barring trans girls and women from participating in women's sports. Proponents of these bills nationwide insist that it's "not fair" for women's athletic teams to be composed of people who weren't "biologically females." Republican representative Beryl Amedée, the lead sponsor of the proposed bill in Louisiana, went as far as to say that it "isn't fair to let people who are biologically male compete against females on women's teams," completely invalidating the experience and identity of trans women worldwide by referring to them as "biological males" in contrast to "females." 

Furthermore, when Rep. Amedée was asked to provide examples of when the participation of trans women in sports has caused a problem in Louisiana—she couldn't name one, further insinuating that these proposed laws are rooted in transphobia rather than genuine concern for women's sports. She publicly said, "I'm sure we've had some instance of transgender students playing on teams, but apparently it hasn't risen to the point where it's caused a problem," and then later claimed that the bill is a proactive measure to prevent "future problems." 

Like Rep. Amedée's statements, the bill asserts that trans girls are naturally "stronger, faster, and bigger" than people who were assigned female at birth. However, there was nothing mentioned of trans boys playing on boy's sports teams. If passed into law, this would impact many students as the CDC has estimated that 1 in 50 high school students identify as transgender. Furthermore, this law will most prominently hurt children from kindergarten to eighth grade—as the law will be regulating public school sports. 

The president of Louisiana Trans Advocates—Dylan Waguespack—has claimed that this bill is just one part of a greater political agenda to strip further an already marginalized minority group (trans people) of their rights. He further claimed that it would hurt trans youth because sports, athletics, and physical education are foundations of keeping kids healthy in the country. They also serve to instill some discipline in them by being part of a team, which will later help them develop qualities and characteristics that will be useful to them in their professional life. Most of all, transgender children should not be excluded from this (almost staple) right to American children based on gender identity—they're equally deserving of these opportunities and of the chance to experience a productive and healthy childhood. 

This bill began to be considered during the Louisiana legislative session that started on April 12th, 2021. It's being viewed with various other proposals, further limiting the freedoms of trans people. One of these bills will require transgender minors to receive written consent from both parents/guardians before receiving gender-confirming healthcare, which includes hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and even gender-affirming therapies like counseling or psychotherapy—as well as various other treatments. However, Waguespack has said that easy access to these treatments has lowered the suicide rates among trans youth. Another bill proposes the outright ban of these healthcare services (gender-confirming) and even drafted potential punishments of up to two years in prison, or $10,000 in fines, to health care providers who continue to offer these services (except people born with ambiguous genitals, irregular chromosomes, or ovarian/testicular problems). What's worse is that Louisiana has already implemented transphobic legislation. For example, the Louisiana High School Athletics Association requires trans athletes to undergo surgery or sterilization if they want to compete in athletic events. This law is directly correlated to the fact that there are currently no transgender athletes competing in any sports teams at higher levels because minors are not recommended to undergo these procedures. 

Despite the widespread transphobia and hatred across Louisiana and the country, it's unlikely that any of these bills would be written into law. It's most likely that they wouldn't survive legal challenges because it is clear that federal law protects the rights of transgender people. Furthermore, the only similar law banning trans women in sports was in Idaho, and a federal judge struck it down in August. Nevertheless, it's clear from the actions of these politicians (who lack experience working with transgender people) that their intentions are rooted in transphobia and have the sole purpose of making the lives of trans people harder. Other precedents must take place federally and across various states to protect the lives of trans people, especially when transphobia is becoming increasingly apparent in politics (despite it being a "time of progression").

Amal Ahmad

St. John's '24

Hi everyone! I'm a legal studies major hoping to go into criminal defense in the future. I'm from Queens, NY, and have a strong passion for writing!
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