As Daily Kos has continued to cover, we know that Republicans absolutely love to find any distraction they can to keep people outraged and occupied. The nation (and the entire globe) is facing a literal global pandemic, but what do Republicans want to focus on? Trans kids playing sports, of course. And it’s not only athletes playing at the most elite levels, but kids as young as kindergarten.
It’s about sports-—and it isn’t. While Republicans in favor of these discriminatory, anti-trans legislation are eager to say their mission is about protecting women’s sports, it’s really about excluding trans folks. Pushing trans people out of the general community is a way of othering trans people and keeping people in the closet. It’s also a way of further demonizing trans people and making them seem dangerous or threatening to cisgender people (especially cisgender women). Sadly, a new brief from The Trevor Project suggests that many queer youth, including trans youth, are already avoiding sports because they fear harassment and bullying, as highlighted by LGBTQ+ outlet, them.
According to data from the Trevor Project, a non-profit LGBTQ+ organization, an average of one-third of LGBTQ+ respondents said they participate in sports. That’s below average compared to the general population of people under 18, where more than half of youth say they participate in a sport. The data includes more than 35,000 LGBTQ+ people between the ages of 13 and 24 in the United States.
Notably, it’s not a lack of interest that keeps many LGBTQ+ youth from participating in sports. One respondent told researchers she avoided sports because girls in her class didn’t want her in the locker room with them, suggesting she would stare at them because of her sexual identity. Another respondent said they avoided sports “out of terror” rather than disinterest because the locker room and athletes were nightmares.
This point is especially sad because youth who participated in sports reported many positives, such as building bonds and community, making close friends, and a better sense of personal wellness. In the big picture, we also know that sports can be a means for students to explore scholarships or college opportunities or make money as a part-time or summer job. Sports (and similar activities, like theater or chorus) can also keep students involved in the school community and serve as an incentive for students to attend class and keep up a minimum GPA.
Even if you’re not a stellar athlete or the star of the varsity team, for example, you can still take away plenty of positives from participating in a team. Sadly, few LGBTQ+ respondents reported feeling welcome. Just over 15% of LGBTQ+ youth said they’d heard their coach speak about openly queer people in a positive way. About 18% of respondents said they’d heard a coach or member of their school’s athletics program speak negatively about queer people. Less than 5% of respondents said they felt safe speaking to a coach to seek support.
Trans youth deserve every bit of autonomy, dignity, and opportunity as their peers, but studies and personal accounts tell us that many of these young people don’t actually get it. Trans youth are more likely to report being harassed or bullied at school and are more likely to leave high school without a diploma. Trans youth are also more likely to become homeless.
Even in addition to the crusade to keep trans youth out of sports, Republicans are launching anti-trans attacks that center on birth certificates in an effort to make it harder for trans folks of all ages to update and correct the legal document, as well as trying to make it harder (if not impossible) for trans folks to access safe, age-appropriate, gender-affirming medical care.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.