This bill would exclude transgender students from participating on interscholastic, intramural, or club sports teams consistent with their identified gender in K-12 public schools, charter schools, and private schools participating in a parental choice program.
Excluding trans students from participating in sports teams consistent with their authentic gender identity is unfair and discriminatory. Transgender athletes want to participate in school sports for the same reason as anybody else: to find a sense of belonging and social engagement, to be a part of a team, and to challenge themselves.
But states and schools across the country are trying to exclude trans people from enjoying the benefits of sports on equal terms with their cisgender peers. Not only do these proposed laws discriminate against trans youth in ways that compromise their health, social and emotional development, and safety, they also raise a host of privacy concerns.
Being transgender does not give girls an inherent advantage over girls who are not transgender. This alleged concern oversimplifies the biological and environmental factors that impact athletic success.
Despite decades of participation by trans athletes at all levels of competition, there is simply no categorical dominance by trans athletes. Trans people, like all people, have varying athletic abilities, and shutting them out of sports does nothing but send exclusionary and discriminatory messages about trans people not being “real” men and women and suggesting that cis people need to be protected from their trans peers and colleagues.
Transgender people comprise 1.6% of the human population. Of that fraction, even less play sports. Only 36 trans athletes have openly competed in U.S. college sports to date and fewer make it to the professional level. The largest disparities in sports fairness come from the socioeconomic disadvantage of marginalized populations, not trans participation. Proximity to privilege predicts success in sports, not testosterone levels or biological markers.
The ACLU of Wisconsin vehemently opposes this legislation and is firmly committed to defending the rights of trans Wisconsinites. Trans youth deserve to live and thrive as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and political attacks.