Earlier this year, Missouri’s House of Representatives joined more than 20 states in introducing legislation controlling transgender student-athletes’ participation in interscholastic sports.
According to an April inquiry, the Missouri State High School Activities Association approved one application for the 2020-21 school year.
Since the board policy on transgender participation was approved in 2012, MSHSAA has approved six applications.
In March, an Associated Press report illustrated how few issues transgender athletes have generated. Most lawmakers cannot cite a local controversy, and offered only sparse numbers of transgender participation.
South Carolina: zero. Tennessee: zero. Kansas: five. Ohio: nine over the last five years.
Why is it so important to inconvenience less than one student per year?
At the risk of humoring a non-issue debated for political gain, even if trans participation was more widespread, many arguments against it have no merit.
Some suggest trans athletes present a physical danger to their cisgender opponents. I invite them to the Kaysinger Conference Soccer Tournament, where multiple teams feature co-ed rosters.
If players were at risk of any more harm inherent to the fitness requirements of a soccer match, because girls and boys are sharing the field, I do not believe our local coaches would allow players to take the pitch.
Others claim these bills protect the integrity of girl’s and women’s sports in hopes of preventing a scenario similar to what occurred in Connecticut, where two transgender girls combined to win 15 championship races over three years.
My reply to any male student considering transition with the sole intention to immediately dominate in a girl’s field is to do it. I do not believe reaching championship status will be an easy task, nor will it require any less practice or commitment to the activity.
Unfortunately, I believe students will face more social adversity and unwanted attention on and off the field. Not to mention the rigors of surgery, hormone treatment — of which at least one year is required by MSHSAA for a boy to transition and join the girl’s game.
Heck, even if they do win a state championship, a lawsuit may follow, just as it did after Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood collected their titles in Connecticut.
Then, in a political climate that challenged their identity, likely as the only transgender student-athlete in the state, they have the rest of their lives ahead of them.
Things are going to be hard enough. The least we could do is let them play ball.
Alex Agueros can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.