President Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination of the LGBTQ community in athletics, specifically federally funded athletics. The ruling allows new possibilities for womxn, including transgender athletes.
The Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination based on Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation covered a wide array of topics. The order asked for equality among all communities.
“Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love,” Biden wrote in the order. “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
All in all, it is an order for members of the LGBTQ community to be treated with respect. Biden cited the constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide the basis for it.
“Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation manifests differently for different individuals,” Biden said. “It often overlaps with other forms o prohibited discrimination. For example, transgender Black Americans face unconscionably high levels of workplace discrimination, homelessness, and violence,” he continued.
A conversation sparked by the order was that federally funded schools must allow transgender girls to join girls’ sports or face federal action. Additionally, the order required all discrimination in every area to cease.
“[It’s] the most substantive, wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity ever issued by a United States president,” said The Human Rights Campaign.
The executive order caught the attention of many and was the source of debate throughout women’s sports.
State by state
The policy for trans participation in youth sports is determined by the state.
Currently, ten states are “trans exclusive,” meaning participants must match their gender assigned at birth.
Seventeen states and Washington, D.C. are “trans-inclusive,” which allows trans girls to play with cis girls regardless of transition.
On the other hand, 17 different states are “trans-inclusive (if).”This permits trans girls who have been taking gender-affirming hormones for a year to play with cis girls.
The remaining six states have no policy regarding trans participation.
Discussion of whether trans women have a competitive advantage in women’s sports is not new. The debate has studies on either side.
Few studies show there is no competitive advantage, but others show the opposite. The topic is highly nuanced and a reminder that full inclusion seems easy on paper, but the battle is prejudice.
Some high-profile women sports leaders, including gold medalists and former presidents of the Women’s Sports Foundation, like Martina Navratilova, proposed legislation to exempt girls and women’s sports from the order.
In an interview with USA Today, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a Title IX attorney and one of the Women’s Sports Policy Working group leaders, supports the order for ending discrimination but is asking for a more scientific approach to trans inclusion in female sports.
“Competitive sports are akin to pregnancy and medical testing,” Hogshead-Makar told USA Today. “These areas require a science-based approach to trans inclusion. Our aim has been protecting the girls’ and womens’ competitive categories while crafting accommodations for trans athletes in sports wherever possible.”
Hogshead-Makar also said Biden’s order was “fuzzy” and caused the transgender community “no favors.”
The group wants to accommodate their participation in separate events, however, the entire point of the executive order is so that members of the LGBTQ community do not have to feel as though they are “othered.”
Hogshead-Makar’s proposition (among others) misses the point of inclusivity. Trans women are women and should not be treated as otherwise. Period.