Bills Targeting Transgender, Intersex Athletes Purport To Maintain 'Fairness' In Women's Sports
Renée Richards became the first openly trans athlete to compete at a professional level in 1977, after a win at the New York Supreme Court allowed her to compete against other female athletes.
But in the decades since, transgender athletes and allies have faced considerable pushback on efforts to transform the sex-segregated nature of sports.
Bills have been filed in more than 20 state legislatures — including Texas' — that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools, despite a lack of evidence that their participation has been problematic.
Arguments for not allowing trans and intersex athletes to perform alongside athletes of a similar gender identity are often framed as a fairness issue, while trans-rights advocates say these policies are discriminatory and based on a tired understanding of sex and gender.
How does the issue affect competition at professional, collegiate and K-12 levels? What regulatory approaches have been taken by international and national sports governing bodies?
Why are experts conflicted about who should compete in women’s sports? Do transgender athletes have an unfair advantage? What does the science say?
Are opposing “fairness” versus “inclusion” positions irreconcilable, or is there room for compromise? What are the biggest regulatory challenges?
- Joanna Harper, trans researcher and athlete, author of “Sporting Gender: The History Science, and Stories of Transgender and Intersex Athletes," and a former adviser to sporting federations including the International Olympic Committee on transgender and intersex athletes
- Gillian Brassil, sports reporter for The New York Times
- Vikki Krane, Ph.D., sports psychologist and professor in the School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University and author of "Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in Sport"
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, March 9.