Sports teams are often an important part of children’s development, as they not only teach life lessons such as the importance of perseverance and teamwork, but also provide a setting to develop long-lasting social bonds. However, politicians are currently trying to restrict certain children from participating in team sports.

In the first six months of 2021, over 100 anti-transgender bills have been introduced across 38 states, including 28 bills that will ban transgender children from participating in sports that match their gender.  Many of these bans masquerade as ways to provide fair opportunities for women in sports. For example, the South Carolina legislation is named the “Save Women’s Sports Act” and in Florida, the “Promoting Equality of Athletic Opportunity.” However, the more likely motivation behind these bans seems to be using children for a political agenda that aims to exclude and discriminate against the transgender community.  If lawmakers really cared about women in sports, wouldn’t they ensure that professional women’s sports teams were paid equal to the men’s teams?  Wouldn’t they ensure that women had the same access to competitive opportunities and participation in sports as men did? Would they not work towards funding women’s and men’s sports programs equally?

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Furthermore, there is no scientific basis for excluding trans children from participating in team sports. Places with trans-inclusive policies have not had any issues with trans athletes dominating sports in comparison with their cisgender counterparts. Evidence does not suggest that testosterone aids athletic performance. Even if it did, some cisgender women have high levels of testosterone and many young trans girls are on puberty blockers which would diminish their levels of testosterone.

Transgender youth are much more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts than their cisgender counterparts. Participating in school sports has so many proven benefits that are especially important for children who struggle with mental health. To deny them this opportunity will further ostracize and harm these students.

These bills are hateful and refuse to acknowledge transgender children for who they actually are. We cannot allow lawmakers to discriminate against children who identify as a different gender than they were born as. These children deserve to be heard, respected, and allowed to participate in the same activities that their cisgender peers do. Sign this petition to demand state governors support trans youth by vetoing anti-trans school sports legislation!

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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