The debate around transgender athletes is a fierce and unpleasant one. Pro-trans supporters point to the stringent qualification regulations imposed by sporting authorities. They also argue that we should treat people with respect and dignity, not call them groomers or similar. Those on the opposite side of the issue largely rely on their belief that transgender individuals are simply pretending to be the opposite gender to one they were assigned at birth. They claim "men" have a biological advantage over "women" and that transgender women make it unfair to "real women".
Anti-trans advocates point to the likes of former NCAA swimmer Lia Thomas. Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA title. In 2022, she won the women's 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA National Swimming Championships. In response, pro-trans defenders point to literally every other race and event where a cisgender person beat a transgender person. Furthermore, the issue recently made headlines once again. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing at any educational institution that received federal funding.
Brittney Griner Calls Trans Exclusion "A Crime"
WNBA veteran Brittney Griner spoke to the media on Friday as part of the Phoenix Mercury's training camp. The press conference was also part of a launch of a campaign between the Mercury and the Bring Our Families Home campaign. Bring Our Families Home seeks to help free American political prisoners held overseas. Griner was recently freed after spending nine months in a Russian jail on drug charges. Furthermore, her imprisonment, which occurred days before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was widely seen as a political detention.
Griner, who is a cisgender woman, has long been an advocate for the rights of transgender athletes. When asked about the recently passed House bill, Griner said that she "definitely will be speaking up against that legislation and that [trans ban] law expected to be passed.” Continuing, Griner said “Everyone deserves the right to play. I think it’s a crime to separate someone for any reason.” While not segregated because of her gender, Griner has experience on what it is like to be yourself. Identifying as lesbian, Griner was reportedly told by her college coach Kim Mulkey to not be openly gay while on her Baylor Bears squad.