Media watchdog group, Media Matters For America (MMFA), found Fox News has aired more segments on trans athletes in 2021 than it has done in the past two years, as a wave of anti-trans bills sweep across the US. 126 segments discussing trans athletes have been aired from January 2019 – March 2021, 72 of which took place in the first three months of this year. Throughout all segments, only 9 trans athletes were referenced, none of whom were dominating their field.
The two trans athletes mentioned most often – Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller from Connecticut – were targeted by anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, and a group of parents which filed a court case seeking to prevent them from competing. In response to the findings, MMFA said: “Fox’s obsessive coverage of trans athletes illustrates how anti-LGBTQ+ ideologies are spread through a predictable pipeline, in which anti-LGBTQ+ groups can push an agenda that is picked up by right-wing media and finally proposed as harmful policies by conservative lawmakers.”
In 2021 alone, over 30 US states have proposed anti-trans regulations, the majority of which target young trans athletes. Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia have all passed such laws this year, with Florida expected to follow shortly. While Title IX prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ+ school students, a 2021 study found 92% of national athletics departments lack comprehensive policies to protect trans people. Out of 357 US schools that play in Division 1 sports, only 10 achieved a perfect score of 100 on LGBTQ+ inclusion