January 20th marked a huge victory for young transgender athletes. During his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued lots of new executive orders. One of these orders gives transgender athletes the opportunity to participate in high school and university sports as the gender they identify as.
Last year, the US supreme court decided to expand the definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination. Biden’s order ensures federal agencies will enforce this decision- including in the area of high school and university/college sports. Biden’s department of education will also investigate violations of transgender student rights, based on the federal law that forbids discrimination in federally funded schools, resulting in legal action and could lead to the loss of education funding.
Idaho governor, Brad Little, signed a law last March forbidding transgender student athletes who identify as girls/women from playing on high school and college women’s teams. Supporters of this law argue that transgender women have advantages in terms of strength, endurance, and other physical abilities useful in sport. However, beyond the lack of consistent evidence of these claims, they were not thinking about the emotional and physical harm put on these transgender athletes. Everyone deserves to have a safe place to belong in.