Texas offers sledgehammer solution for a thumbtack problem

Posted on 27 Oct 2015 at 10:20am

Leslie McMurrayThere is a vote coming up that you may not have heard about: The University Interscholastic League’s legislative council is asking Texas school superintendents to vote on a new policy that if passed, would make Texas one of the most restrictive and unfriendly places for transgender students.

The U.I.L. sets rules and eligibility requirements for high school music and athletic participation.

The measure being voted on would define “gender” by what is on a student’s birth certificate. Not permitting transgender students to participate in a sport because of their gender is wrong on a whole lot of levels.

First of all, it’s just plain sexist. I’m assuming that the U.I.L. believes male students are better at some sports than girls?

According to the Transgender Law and Policy Institute guidelines for creating policies for Transgender children in recreational sports:

“Gender segregation in sports is based, in part, on a concern about unfair physical advantages. Most existing policies for adult transgender athletes focus on the competitive advantage that male hormones may provide due to their effect on the musculoskeletal system. Those policies require that adult transgender athletes compete in the gender role consistent with their hormonal make-up.

“In pre-adolescent children, however, hormonal levels do not differ significantly between the sexes. Therefore, no hormonally-based advantage or disadvantage between girls and boys exists. Prior to puberty, boys do not have any physical advantages over girls because of their physiology. Gender segregation in children’s sports is purely social. It is not based on any significant physiological differences.

“From a medical and physiological perspective, there is nothing about being transgender that gives any particular child a physical advantage over others. Transgender children display the same individual variation in size, strength and athletic ability as other youth. There is no reason based on considerations of fairness that would justify preventing a young person who is transgender from playing sports in the child’s affirmed gender.”

It’s also unfair because different states have different rules for the correction of information on a birth certificate. Thank goodness I was born in California; that wonderful state has updated my information, and I have an original birth certificate stating that I was born female.

If I was born here in Texas, I would be unable to do that. So, since different states have different rules, I guess transgender students born elsewhere have an advantage in being able to be included and welcomed in ways Texas born students aren’t.

Isn’t that a fine way to treat your native sons and daughters!

Which brings me to my next point: Exactly how many transgender kids even want to play high school sports in Texas? My guess is, not many. Is it really going to be all that disruptive? Exactly what do you think is going to happen?

According to the best guess at the trans population (since the government doesn’t even care about us enough to include us in the census), we make up about .3 percent of the population. So, for a 5A school with 3,500 kids, 10 might be transgender. Is that really going to be a problem?

Are we really that big of a threat to everything sacred in the state of Texas that we need to hold a vote to exclude us from one more thing?

Fifteen states, including my beloved California, have policies that permit transgender kids to participate fully, and I’ve not heard of a single problem associated with that nice bit of inclusion.

The next point is this: Gender doesn’t live on a birth certificate. Sex does.

My birth certificate got it wrong. California, at least, was willing to correct it. Denying anyone their identity is cruel; to do it to a child at their most vulnerable age sends a damaging message: “You are not welcome; you are not accepted. We don’t respect your identity.”

Schools are charged with educating students, and this isn’t the kind of education we should be giving them.

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Legislative Council Member Greg Poole of Barbers Hill ISD said his sole interest in the rule was “fair and equitable competition” and not to “cast stones at anyone’s personal choice.”

There’s that word again! Ffor the billionth time, it’s not a freaking choice! It’s who we are!

According to the U.I.L. website, “The initials UIL have come to represent quality educational competition administered by school people on an equitable basis.”

If the upcoming vote supports this initiative, that statement will need to be revised.

Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.

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