I don’t play many sports. I’ve never been much of a football or basketball player- never touched a hockey stick or a baseball bat. Mind you, I love me some mini golf and laser tag (those count right?). Well this morning at 4:30 AM, while I was stressing out over some research papers I still needed to write (we won’t go there) I saw something pretty interesting on the news. Mark that; very interesting. Now maybe it was just a lack of sleep and my brain wiggin’ out – but on a station who’s other top stories for the morning were about potholes and the weather, I thought I heard the words transgender and high school sports slipped in. Gonna go out on a limb and say they don’t talk about that very much on the Harrisonburg news.
Well, needless to say my ears perked up as the reporters (p.s. Morgan Donnelly rules) covered the newest updates on a rule that the Virginia High School League for sports [VHSL] had passed. Apparently, for the first time in Virginia, transgender athletes are allowed to compete in high school athletics! And to my surprise, the bill actually passed 27-0, with a unanimous victory. That’s a pretty amazing victory for the LGBTQ community, right? I mean, Virginia isn’t exactly the most forward thinking state out of the 50, so I was surprised when I did a little research and noticed that only 18 states have something like this in place for high school athletics.
My surprise didn’t end there though. Apparently somewhere along the line, there were some stipulations slipped in to the rule- things like:
A. A student‐athlete will compete in the gender of their birth certificate unless they have undergone sex reassignment.
B. A student‐athlete who has undergone sex reassignment is eligible to compete in the reassigned gender when:
The student‐athlete has undergone sex reassignment before puberty, OR
The student‐athlete has undergone sex reassignment after puberty under all of the following conditions:
a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.
b. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender‐related advantages in sports competition.
c. If a student‐athlete stops taking hormonal treatment, they will be required to participate in the sport consistent with their birth gender.
So. So so so. An athlete must compete as your birth gender (regardless of identifying as transgender) unless they have sex reassignment surgery (mandatory) AND if they had it after puberty, then they must take verified hormone therapy until “gender-related advantages” are minimized. Now I get it, the VHSL doesn’t want someone taking advantage of the rules. I understand that part of it- but that’s a lot to put on an athlete who just wants to compete as the gender they most identify with.
Does it make sense to force all of these qualifications on someone who identifies as transgender, just so high school sports can continue to be fair? Don’t get me wrong- I still think this is an awesome step in the right direction for high school athletics in the state of Virginia, and an important breakthrough for the LGBTQ community. BUT, part of me feels a little uncomfortable with how they went about it. Let me know what you think!