A new report by the Centre for American Progress (CAP) has found trans inclusion in school sports poses no threat to cisgender youth, despite the increasing number of bills which aim to limit trans athletes from participating in sporting categories which align with their gender identity. The 41-page report, conducted and written by Shoshana K. Goldberg, found depriving trans youth of sports also limits their access to the various health benefits of athletes, such as improved mental wellbeing and decreased rates of drug use.
The report argued there is no evidence to “support the claim that allowing transgender athletes to participate will reduce or harm participation in girls’ sports” and suggested anti-trans rhetoric relies on “scare tactics, stereotypes, and unwarranted claims that transgender women have a physiological advantage over cisgender women.” Evidence from states that already have pro-trans policies found girls’ sports participation may even increase after the implementation of inclusive regulations. The report also interviewed a handful of trans athletes, who all emphasised the benefits of physical activity, and noted mental health improvements when they had access to gender-affirming sports.
The report concludes nationwide regulations should be implemented which “allow transgender athletes to compete in accordance with their gender identity.” It also suggested that school athletics coaches should be provided with specialist training to ensure a trans-friendly environment. The report comes after 20 states proposing anti-trans bills, many of which target trans athletes. The most recent bill was filed in Georgia by state representative Philip Singleton, with the aim to ban trans girls from participating in school sports.
The state bills contradict a recent order by president Joe Biden which prohibits discrimination against trans students, thus ensuring them access to single-sex spaces and sports facilities, saying: “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. It is the policy of my administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.” This means states which continue to discriminate against trans youth could risk the loss of federal funding.