Next month, the Connecticut Republican Party is supposed to honor three students that are suing their high schools to prevent transgender and transexual athletes from participating in girls’ sports. Although Connecticut is a state that promotes inclusion and integration, this topic has become highly controversial, as it is evident that male athletes who have transitioned to female are dominating Connecticut female rankings. Yet, the current rules and regulations disadvantage cisgendered athletes, primarily girls.
Terry Miller and Andrea Yearwood are two transgender athletes that participate in Connecticut high school track and field. According to The Hartford Courant, Miller won the State Open 200-meter title for the second straight year in 2019 and won the Class S titles in the 100 and 200, as well as the New England 200-meter championship. Yearwood, who is also transgender, finished third in the 100 meters in Class S and fourth in the 100 in the State Open.
While the current Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) rules mention the inclusion of transgender athletes, it does not mention anything about the use of hormone blockers, dosage, consistency of use or any milestones for a student athlete to reach in order to create a fair competition for the cis-gender females. According to the CIAC, current regulations state that “the school district shall determine a student’s eligibility to participate in a CIAC gender specific sports team based on the gender identification of that student in current school records and daily life activities in the school and community at the time that sports eligibility is determined for a particular season.”
I’m an athlete; I understand the power sports hold in young women’s lives, but I’m a cis-gender female athlete, so I can also understand the desire for a fair competition. I support the LGBTQ+ community, which is why I find it difficult to voice my concerns, as I fear it will make me appear homophobic or disapproving. Having an inclusive and equal opportunistic sports organization is clearly very important, as all athletes should be given a chance to compete in their desired category.
Beyond the physical advantages, there are also hormonal advantages that MTF transgender individuals still have. Creating criteria that is comparable to cis-gender athletes will help bridge the gap between competitors of the diverse range of physical builds and keep sports events competitive.
So while sports should be inclusive for everyone, they should also be fair and give everyone an equal opportunity to win. Clearer guidelines, more categories and the addition of progression scales can help breach the gap of our current bylaws. Creating an equal and fair playing field for all athletes in all aspects should be one of the top priorities of all sports organizations.
Being fair should not mean being exclusive; it should simply mean giving all participants an equal and unbiased opportunity to compete and play in any sport or activity. In many sports, physical stats are important.
We consider weight, height and muscle mass, but for some reason, hormone levels have become very taboo. The regulations and creation of requirements should be taken as seriously for hormone levels as they are for these other physical factors. Through more specificity and clarity in the guidelines, sports will become more inclusive and remain competitive.