Laws requiring genital examinations for transgender youth have no place in sports or society

Chris Mosier called attention today to a staggering statistic: 17 states are currently mulling bills that would discriminate against transgender athletes. A genital-inspection mandate is already on the books in Idaho.
Chris Mosier called attention today to a staggering statistic: 17 states are currently mulling bills that would discriminate against transgender athletes. A genital-inspection mandate is already on the books in Idaho.
Photo: Getty Images

The conversation around transgender girls competing in sports is growing every day.

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Lawmakers in states like Mississippi and North Dakota passed bills last week that limit transgender youth from participating in sports that align with their gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign said last Wednesday that it was tracking 22 bills in 17 states that would impede the ability of transgender individuals to participate in sports.

Hall of Fame transgender athlete Chris Mosier took to social media this morning to draw attention to some of the insane legislation that is being proposed and passed nationwide.

Invasive practices such as the forced examination of transgender athletes’ reproductive organs, as Idaho lawmakers signed into law last year, have no place in sports. Such “examinations” are embarrassing and an infringement on anyone’s right to privacy.

A new women’s group, the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group (WSPWG), which includes sports leaders like tennis legend Martina Navratilova, past Olympic gold medal winners, and five former presidents of the Women’s Sports Foundation, is seeking to “safeguard” girls and women’s sports, while still desiring to “accommodate” trans athletes.

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According to WSPWG’s website, the group rejects “both the effort to exclude trans girls and trans women from girls’ and women’s sport and the effort to disadvantage biological females by forcing them to compete against athletes with male sex-linked physical advantages.”

The group advocates for separations for these individuals because of “science-based” specifications and asks for their sports accommodations to be fulfilled in other ways. The problem is that there is no actual scientific evidence when it comes to any advantage transgender girls have over cisgender girls. If there were, lawmakers would be waving it high overhead for all to see.

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President Biden signed an executive order that banned discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in school sports as well as other areas. The WSPWG is looking to exempt women’s competitive sports from the executive order.

This is no doubt a complex issue. As more young children realize their gender identity, including these individuals in sports and allowing them to feel safe must be a priority.

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We can’t do this with policies that allow for invasive practices such as mandating genital exams.

Making sure that there will be fair competition in women’s sports will be tough enough in the future without including practices that harm certain groups.

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The NCAA mandates that male-to-female transgender athletes have to take gender-affirming hormones for a year before competing. The International Olympic Committee said that the athlete would have had to declare themselves as a female for at least four years, their total testosterone level in serum has to be below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least a year prior to their first competition, and total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility in order to compete as a female.

These policies are also controversial and could likely change in the future.

Many LGBTQ+ advocates fear that thwarting transgender girls participation in sports could open the door for discriminatory legislation to be passed against the transgender community. In Montana, one day after a Bill was passed that restricted athletes to competing as the gender they were assigned at birth, another piece of legislation was proposed that would prohibit medical professionals from giving hormonal treatments or gender-affirming surgeries. This bill is now off the table.

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Mosier said on Deadspin’s The Ladies Room podcast that a state high school association official in Montana said participation of transgender girls has never been an issue.

There is a lot more left to be discussed on this topic but what we don’t need to talk about is examining children’s private parts. Let’s all do the work it takes to make sure that transgender athletes can compete in fair competitions.

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We don’t need to add anything else into the mix.