Arizona bill openly discriminates against trans-students

Arizona bill openly discriminates against trans-students

A bill was passed on February 2nd by the Arizona State Senate and later passed by the House on March 4th that would effectively ban transgender students from participating in AIA-sanctioned athletic competitions.

Transgender students have been fighting for equality for years, and with the recent bill passed in several states, including Arizona, transgender students can no longer participate on sports teams that match their own gender identity.

The so-called “Save Women’s Sports Act” was recently introduced by Republican representative Nancy Barto and passed by the Arizona State Senate.

Although the bill mainly targets transgender women in sports, it also includes the banning of all transgender students from participating in school sports – including trans men.

The bill argues that “there is a sports performance gap between males and females, such that the physiological advantages conferred by biological sex appear, on assessment of performance data, insurmountable.”

There is no cited evidence that supports these claims nor are there any documented examples of students feigning transgender status in order to gain an advantage, but this has not stopped the legislature from acting.

The passing of this legislation will likely result in outing a lot of transgender students – putting them in potentially unsafe positions in school and at home – when all they want to do is be a part of something they enjoy doing.

In a recent interview with ACLU Nationwide, a transgender student in Arizona, Daniel Trujillo said, “It’s just really frustrating and sad to know that people in my state government are so committed to taking away the things that make me and so many other kids happy, and keep us safe.”

“I just want to be a kid and hang out with my friends,” said Trujillo.

This legislation is making it more and more difficult for transgender youth to live a carefree and happy life – something that shouldn’t be taken away from any kid.

Casey Pick, Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project – an American nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ+ youth – explains that, “we can promote both women’s sports and transgender inclusion at the same time — they are not mutually exclusive, as some politicians would have you believe”.

Taking away basic rights from transgender individuals is unreasonable and extremely harmful towards the people in the community.

Not only is it unreasonable, the legislation has almost no effect on the surrounding competitors/ teammates.

Junior Ellie Frye said, “I have played sports for most of my life and have never had any conflicts regarding trans women or nonbinary people competing with or against me.”

According to a recent poll conducted by the Trevor Project, 85% of transgender and non-binary youth and 66% of all LGBTQ+ youth say that the recent  specifically aimed towards transgender women in sports has crucially and negatively impacted their mental health.

“While Arizona lawmakers are devoting energy to a divisive solution in search of a problem, we know that transgender and nonbinary young people are struggling and continue to face increased risk for bullying and suicide,” said Pick.

The Trevor Project’s past research also concludes that the majority of the LGBTQ+ community (68%) have never participated in any school sports or school clubs in fear of the possibility of getting bullied or discriminated against.

And when asked about the new sports restrictions aimed towards transgender students, 74% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 57% felt sad, 43% felt stressed, and nearly 1 in 3 felt scared.

And to make matters worse, the legislation additionally states that students would only be allowed to change their gender through a sworn doctor’s statement detailing the student’s “internal and external reproductive anatomy”.

These hurtful statements can create a less safe environment for these students and continually make it harder for them to express their true selves.

Although the legislation has taken a huge toll on LGBTQ+ youth recently, this is not the first occurrence of anti-trans bills being passed in our country.

Last April, North Carolina legislature passed a bill to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors.

There has additionally been recent controversy surrounding Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s statement on how gender-affirming surgeries and health care are considered “child abuse” – making it the second attempt to harm the trans community in Texas.

In late October of 2021, Texas joined the anti-trans ban regarding transgender students playing on school sports teams along with states like Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Florida, and now Arizona.

The constant attacking towards the trans community is making it more and more difficult for them to gain equality in their everyday lives.