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May 15 2017
by Elizabeth Robinson

7 Texas High School Students React to the Texas Law That Essentially Bans Transgender Student Athletes

By Elizabeth Robinson - May 15 2017
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Last Wednesday, the Texas state legislature passed a law banning the use of any and all steroids, even for medical and transitioning purposes, among University Interscholastic League (UIL) athletes. Previously, steroid supplements were allowed for medical purposes. The new law will make all steroid use, medical or otherwise, illegal in UIL high school sports. 

The law was proposed and passed in response to Mack Beggs winning the state wrestling title. Beggs is a trans male but was required by law to compete in the division of his birth sex, against female students. The complaints from competitors' parents that testosterone supplements gave Beggs an unfair advantage quickly made its way to the Texas senate. 

The law has been criticized by many as a hidden ploy to effectively ban transitioning and transgender students from sports altogether. Fresh U caught up with seven students of various gender identities who attend Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. All students chose to remain anonymous. Their responses are as follows:

Female Freshman:

I can understand not wanting to let transgender students into the gendered sport that they identify as because of size reasons and such, but I also believe that high school is such an impacting time in a person's life, and it’s important for transgender students to feel accepted. If they try out and are good enough for the team, they should be on the team, regardless of sex at birth. If that’s how they identify, then they should be treated as such.

Female Senior: 

If they wanna play, then just let them play. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to.

Non-Binary Sophomore: 

The creators of the bill are using religious preferences to dictate what kids can or cannot do. This directly infringes on our first amendment rights. It also spreads ignorance that can be passed down to younger generations.

Male Senior: 

Why would they not be allowed? If they made the decision to be that gender, they should be allowed to participate in all that entails.

Female Junior: 

Despite psychological gender, their physical gender can give them unfair advantage, such as biological males having more upper body strength and a higher muscle ratio in general, and biological females having a higher fat ratio and strong leg muscles, etc. So it makes it unfair for the athletes if one person because of physical gender has an advantage or a disadvantage, and it's also unfair for the other athletes or team members. I’m just explaining why they don’t let athletes play as their psychological gender: they just want people to have a fair time with no unearned advantages or disadvantages.

Female Junior: 

They made the change, which means that they should be able to do whatever they want to do with their lives. We can’t control them, they are still human beings. We are all human beings and we may not like what others do with themselves, but what does it matter to them what others think? They should be proud to be themselves, and not scared to show their true colors. But they let girls play football now, so why can’t trans?

Agender Senior: 

I never did sports, but I personally think that students should be able to go into whatever sport they want, and shouldn’t be limited to whatever sex they were born with. Their identification matters.

Interpretations of the motives behind the law vary, presenting us with an interesting debate with multiple stakeholders. On one hand, the law would effectively make it illegal for students transitioning with steroids from competing in UIL sports. On the other hand, many argue that it is unfair for students taking testosterone supplements to compete. This also draws into question the current Texas law that requires students to compete in the division of their birth sex. It is important to not simply side with one end of the argument based on ideology, but to consider practical possibilities that will satisfy both sides, or otherwise remove the initial cause of confusion. 

Lead Image Credit: Leslie Plaza Johnson via ESPN.com

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Elizabeth Robinson - University of Texas at Austin

I'm a sophomore at UT Austin majoring in Dean's Biology. I've loved writing since elementary school and published my first novel in high school. I love reading, writing (obviously), foreign languages, doggos, martial arts, anthropology, theater, and watching far too much YouTube. I dream of being a fiction author and geneticist after graduate school, hopefully combining my two loves to change the world. Follow me on Twitter @MetokaPublishi1, Instagram as BlackPage13, or (best option) visit my website, www.MetokaBooks.com!

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