Every bill that targets transgender children and bans them from participating in youth sports is heinous, of course, but it's also particularly telling that the conversation surrounding trans participation in sports is centered almost entirely around girls.
Republican critics of transgender rights center all of their rhetoric on girls and most legislation against trans participation in sports specifically targets girls. Transgender boys also exist, but they're almost never a subject of debate in state legislatures or on cable news.
Some people would tell you that transphobia is just the last acceptable form of homophobia -- and it is that -- but the rhetoric and effort to specifically target girls is transmisogyny. It's based on the idea that women and girls are particularly weak or vulnerable and must be protected, but protecting them actually means controlling them. Transgender women and girls are subjected to both homophobia and misogyny; as if we're all dangerous predators but also too weak or stupid to make our own decisions. Legislation that targets transgender girls assumes they don't know what they're doing while also assuming that cisgender girls and women can't handle it. Lawmakers want to control all girls by controlling what they're suppose to look like.
Republicans who control Florida's state House of Representatives met yesterday evening and passed a bill that explicitly bans transgender girls from participating in youth sports while allowing participation for transgender boys.
The legislation also calls for inspecting the genitals of any girl whose physical appearance raises suspicion in some manner and does not meet unspecified standards.
HB 1475, sponsored by Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid, would enact a blanket ban on transgender athletes competing in scholastic girls’ and women’s sports in Florida. Transgender athletes would still be allowed to compete in boys and men’s sports.
The bill, which is modeled after an Idaho law that was temporarily struck down by a federal judge last year, allows a school or competitor to lodge a complaint about an athlete competing in a girls’ or woman’s sport. If the party complaining suspects the athlete was not assigned the female gender at birth, the athlete in question will have to prove their birth gender — via a genetic test, a test of their testosterone levels or an examination of their reproductive anatomy by a medical professional — in order to compete.
Hello, we're the Republican party. We don't believe in free markets, or progressive taxation, or public health, or environmental safety, or national sovereignty threatened by foreign actors who support us. We only care about preserving white supremacy, suppressing minorities votes, and banning kids from playing soccer and closely scrutinizing what's in their pants if necessary.
That reads like snark, but it really isn't.
Any piece of legislation that targets kids because of their appearance or physical characteristics will inevitably be used against cisgender kids more than transgender kids because trans kids are a tiny minority. It will discourage transgender kids from even trying to live a normal life and could also harm cisgender girls who are judged to be too butch or too large by parents of other kids or other schools.
Transphobic lawmakers have done such poor homework, and so sloppily written their laws, there's little doubt in my mind that each of these laws passed in GOP-controlled state across the country will be struck down in court. But a considerable amount of psychological damage will be done to transgender youth in the meantime. It's also taxing on older adults like myself because we have to speak up for them or no one else will.