Transgender Athletes Are Not a Risk to Sports

Ella Sharrers

There has been a long-standing debate of allowing transgender athletes to participate in sports not as their assigned gender but as their identities, regardless of sex. The answer to shutting down this debate is simple — transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in sports under divisions different than their gender assigned at birth. Despite the worries of hormonal advantages, there is no reason why trans athletes should not be allowed to compete in the division they identify with. The main critiques come from closed-minded individuals, usually other athletes who happen to have lost a match or game to an athlete who happened to be trans, and they claim that transgender women are at an unfair advantage due to their natural amount of testosterone levels. Having higher testosterone levels does not automatically make you a better athlete. More capable in some aspects, sure — with higher muscle mass, larger hearts, and larger lungs — but if everyone who was assigned male at birth is so naturally good at sports, then why do they not all play professional football? Tom Brady is not good at football because he is a man. Tom Brady is good at football because he is an incredible football player. Put him up against another athlete, say Cristiano Ronaldo or Michael Phelps, and due to their talents in their respective sports, Brady is toast. How funny would it be to watch Brady try to beat Phelps in a freestyle race? Exactly. 

People are only starting to care about transgender athletes because cisgender people are losing to them. Take Olympian Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weightlifter who happens to be trans. Hubbard competed in the Tokyo Olympics this past summer under the female categories. Despite not being able to complete any of her lifts (how is that for hormonal advantage?), Hubbard is a trailblazer for trans athletes. Considering the fact that she did not trample over her competition, I think it is fair to assume that Hubbard had just as much of a chance as everyone else. Many states have inducted transphobic laws against trans athletes over the last few years and there is no other word for these laws than incompetent. A writer for the Daily Nebraskan says that transgender women being allowed to compete with cisgender women is problematic, because these trans athletes are causing cisgender ones to lose titles and championships. While I can recognize that putting a cisgender female athlete and a  cisgender male athlete against each other may be unfair due to the higher lung capacity of male bodies, discriminating against trans competitors solely for the purpose of defending one beloved cis athlete’s title is downright ignorant. Transgender people do not choose this life. They do not choose to be discriminated against and beat down for every little thing. America prides itself on being progressive and accepting and yet states everywhere create more and more anti-trans laws every single day, relating specifically to both trans athletes and to transgender people overall. 

America is only equal when accommodating other individuals does not put a damper on the white, cisgender, heterosexual men who will always have more power than those who do not fit into that “box.” For trans folks, every day is a competition. Trans people fight for their rights to exist every breathing minute. I ask you to imagine yourself in the position of a trans athlete. Imagine having a passion for something so strong, but everything you work for is stripped away and ignored for you to get belittled and judged for not identifying as your gender assigned at birth. You are not smiling at this thought, and this thought of yours is what trans athletes live through every day. It is time for America to live up to the societal progression this country swears by and let transgender athletes compete as the gender they identify with.