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Megan Rapinoe slams anti-trans bills for claiming they protect the interests of women athletes

"I know that the threats to women’s and girls’ sports are lack of funding, resources and media coverage; sexual harassment; and unequal pay," Rapinoe said and not trans girls or women.

Megan Rapinoe slams anti-trans bills for claiming they protect the interests of women athletes
HARRISON, NEW JERSEY - MARCH 08: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States looks on against Spain at Red Bull Arena on March 08, 2020 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

There has been a slew of anti-trans bills that have been passed or in the process of being passed in several states across America. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there are at least 28 states considering anti-trans bills, reported CNN. These fall under two categories, firstly removing trans girls' ability to participate in girls' sports and secondly, restricting young trans peoples' access to gender-affirming health care. Following her testimony before Congress about the gender pay gap that exists for men and women in sports, Megan Rapinoe is now speaking up against these anti-trans bills. She expressed her opinion about the same in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

 



 

 

In the article, she wrote about the life-shaping experience a child can have, being a part of a sports team. "Every child deserves to have that experience. That’s why I believe that all kids, including transgender youth, should be able to participate in sports they love," Rapinoe wrote. The US Women's National soccer star, who is an Olympic gold medalist, and a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion attests to the fact that sports can "shape life's path" and teach many lessons, on and off the field. It can also be a source of great joy, as it was for her, and no child should be denied of this.

 



 

 

Rapinoe rightly notes, that "these bills are some of the most intense political assaults on LGBTQ people in recent years." These bills allow the transphobic agenda to now extend its hand into the avenue of sports. A community that has already been subject to a lot of systemic discrimination and challenges will have yet another hurdle to overcome. As per a report by The Trevor Project, transgender youth reported significantly increased rates of depression compared to their cisgender peers. One in three transgender youth reported attempting suicide and almost one-third have reported being a victim of sexual violence.

 



 

 

Rapinoe also points out how these bills are trying to "solve a problem that doesn't exist." The bills claim to be protecting women in sports. It prohibits trans girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said of the provisions of the bill that it would "ensure that young girls in Mississippi have a fair, level playing field in public schools." Rubbishing these proponents, Rapinoe wrote, "As a woman who has played sports my whole life, I know that the threats to women’s and girls’ sports are lack of funding, resources and media coverage; sexual harassment; and unequal pay."

 



 

 

The bills will also exacerbate transphobia on a daily basis and have become a cause for concern. Katy Binstead, a Mississippi resident has expressed fear that the law will make her transgender daughter's life harder and she already “faces bullying on a daily basis.” Even though her daughter wanted to join the girl's basketball team, the school principal informed her that because of the gender on her birth certificate, she would have to join the boy's team. “My daughter isn't comfortable playing with the boys, because she's not a boy, and she never has been a boy,” Binstead said, as reported by NBC News.

 



 

 

"Trans people deserve dignity, respect, and opportunity," Rapinoe wrote. "These bills are an attack on the humanity and belonging of trans people, and that’s why this issue is important to me as a member of the LGBTQ community." She further assured every transgender kid that "they can live their dreams and be true to who they are." Last year, Rapinoe along with tennis legend Billie Jean King, and WNBA star Candace Parker were among 176 other athletes in women’s sports who came together to support equal opportunity to participate in sports for trans girls and women.

 



 

 

“There is no place in any sport for discrimination of any kind,” Billie Jean King said. “I’m proud to support all transgender athletes who simply want the access and opportunity to compete in the sport they love. The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes.” 

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