Thursday, April 20, 2023

Throwback Thursday - USA Today article makes strong case that attempts to ban trans athletes are based on lies and misrepresentations


On Thursday, the Republican led House of Representatives passed a nonsensical bill which they claim would protect girls and women in sports. What it does is exploit and amplify lies about how trans female athletes have an advantage over cis female athletes. No Democrat voted for it.

The bill isn't going anywhere and they know it. The Democrats control the Senate and it won't even come up. But should an ugly miracle happen and it does come up and get passed, President Biden has already said he would veto it. And the Republicans don't have a veto-proof majority. Still, however, the GOP and its allies are bragging in press conferences and Twitter about how they voted to "save women's sports."

This is from a party who is trying to push a national abortion ban and thereby subject women to negative health consequences. The hypocrisy is so bad you can practically smell it. 

Anyway, in "celebration" of the GOP's performative bullshit, I am reposting a piece I ran in June 2021. It's how the USA Today investigated the claim that trans female athletes are cheating cis female athletes. The investigation found that the claim was basically not true. Unfortunately, with all of the talking points about "girls being cheated" and the deceptive pics of trans athletes which underscore stereotypes, the article was forgotten.

But not too forgotten:

From June 30, 2021:

In an exceptional piece of journalism, The USA Today took a look at the efforts and groups behind statewide attempts to ban trans athletes and found a lot of lies and misrepresentation. 

It shouldn't surprise those of us in the know because every effort by religious right groups to denigrate LGBTQ people or deny us rights has been a smorgasbord of cherry-pickings, distortions, and out-and-out lies.  Exposing the anti-LGBTQ industry and calling out their history of lies is how this blog made a name for itself since 2006. 

In the spirit of all of that, I simply have to say that The USA Today article,  Conservatives want to ban transgender athletes from girls sports. Their evidence is shaky by Rachel Axon and Brent Schrotenboer is a goddamn masterpiece worthy of a Pulitzer.  

Yes, it's that good. I'm going to post snippets of it and highly suggest that folks read and share the entire article.

Excerpt 1

Grace Waggoner told lawmakers in February 2020 that her team had lost the first state tournament game it had played in decades to an opponent with a transgender player. She blamed an “unfair” Arizona Interscholastic Association policy that allows students to join teams consistent with their gender identity after going through a review. Waggoner offered few details on the athlete’s impact on the game, but bill sponsor Rep. Nancy Barto accepted it as evidence of a problem in her state.

 . . The game Waggoner referenced in her testimony turned out to be a state tournament play-in game in 2019 that Scottsdale Christian Academy lost to Heritage Academy, 16-6. Heritage Academy coach Steve LaDrigue said his team did not have a transgender player. What Waggoner didn’t say is that she’s the daughter of Kristen Waggoner, general counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom – a conservative, legal nonprofit that has pushed transgender sports bans in states across the nation. When pressed for details about the game, an ADF spokesperson said in an email, “The widespread understanding on the team – including the coach, parents, and players – was that the athlete was male.” LaDrigue guesses the suspicion fell on the team’s catcher, his daughter, because she has short hair.

Editor's note - The Alliance Defending Freedom is the group behind efforts to ban trans athletes

Excerpt 2

Across the nation, state lawmakers supporting transgender athlete bans have painted a picture that girls sports teams will be overrun by athletes with insurmountable physical advantages. But a USA TODAY investigation of the lobbying effort shows that narrative has been built on vague examples that have been overstated or are untrue, and lawmakers have accepted them as fact with little effort to verify their accuracy. The more than 70 bills lawmakers have offered in at least 36 states would suggest a bigger problem facing girls sports, but that didn’t check out either. 

Instead, USA TODAY could find few transgender athletes participating and even fewer complaints about them. In South Dakota, the sponsor of a bill said a transgender girl who played basketball was “consistently scoring 25 points above females” in high school and that the Sioux Falls district alone had three transgender athletes competing in 2019. But the state association responsible for approving participation of transgender athletes says only one transgender girl has competed since 2013, and she was an average athlete who didn’t live in Sioux Falls.

Editor's note - That's just one of the cases the USA Today article revealed that those attempting to ban trans athletes misrepresented.

Excerpt 3

During a discussion at the influential Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Milstead joined former Southern Utah University runner Linnea Saltz to speak about the issue – and Saltz referred to a transgender athlete who has gained mythic status among supporters of these bills. June Eastwood, a University of Montana runner, became the first openly transgender cross-country runner in major college sports in 2019-20 after undergoing hormone therapy for a year to suppress testosterone, as required by NCAA rules. But bill proponents often exaggerate Eastwood’s accomplishments or take them out of context.

Those are three examples of religious right distortions and misrepresentations made against trans athletes in an article filled with examples. This is the type of article I hoped to write when I began this blog - the one I wish was published during the time I was attempting to come out. 

Please read and share it.

'Trans youth are fighting back against right-wing media's culture war on their lives' & other Thur midday news briefs

Trans youth fight back as right-wing media’s culture war robs them of their childhood - Fight the good fight, y'all. I'm with you. 

Caitlyn Jenner Launches PAC To “Stop Rainbow Mafia”​ - Caitlyn obviously has money issues. Careful who you turn your back to. We aren't the ones brandishing the instrument which will be buried in it. 

Florida Board of Education approves ‘Don’t Say Gay’ expansion - Poor DeSantis. Disney embarrassed him, Trump slapped him around, he bungled a question about the Ukraine, that abortion bill he signed is chomping down on him, he's losing donors and endorsement. So he is going back to what brought him to the dance - picking on LGBTQ people.