Opinion: Missouri trans student-athlete bill has right idea


Chloe Baker

A proposed Missouri bill would require transgender high school student-athletes to compete based on their assigned sex at birth rather than the gender they identify as.

Reggie Brown, Staff Reporter

Missouri has joined in on the national debate over transgender student-athletes.  State Senator Cindy O’Laughlin (R-Missouri) has proposed a bill that would prevent them from competing against other students of the gender they identify with. The bill would most likely upset transgender athletes. 

The issue of transgender athletes is a very slippery slope on which to operate. On one hand, it’s unfair to discriminate people who identify as a gender different than what they were assigned at birth. On the other hand, however, there’s a common belief that it is unfair for those who are genetically born as men to be competing in the athletic arena against women.

Therefore, I believe that O’Laughlin is correct in proposing that in athletics, people should compete against gender-alike athletes. So, while it’s true that transgender athletes deserve equality, they should still be required to participate in sports against athletes the same  gender they were born as. As a male, I cannot speak for female athletes; however, I’d imagine a cisgender female wouldn’t be very keen on competing against athletes who were born as males.

Missouri is only the fifth state that is considering this type of proposal. O’Laughlin said she takes issue with athletes who were born as females regularly being beaten by athletes who were born as males in athletic competition—and I couldn’t agree more. 

The problem is that most of the arguments about with which gender athletes should compete are more focused on making the issue about people being uncomfortable with transgender people in general and potential issues with lockerroom use and conflicts with team dynamics.  The true issue is more basic. It is just about fairness on the field in competition. 

Many people believe they should be treated as the gender they identify as, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The issue comes when transgender athletes are consistently not just winning their competitions, they’re dominating the competition repeatedly. 

Take Connecticut transgender track stars Terry Miller and Andreya Yearwood, for example. They were winning their events in such a dominating fashion that three female track and field opponents filed complaints against the runners where they claimed they were prevented from being considered for scholarships because of how much they were being overshadowed by the transgender athlete.

The bill in question would only affect Missouri transgender athletes. However, the bill, if put into effect, would set an example for more states to better handle issues like this one. 

The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) currently deals with transgender athletes on a case-to-case basis. Passing this proposal would allow consistency for the association, which would allow them to move past the debate.

Regardless of what happens with the bill, someone will be unhappy. In life, people tend to have varied opinions and it’s impossible to please everyone. However, I believe this bill being passed would actually make the vast majority of people happy.

I’d like to reiterate that once again, I disapprove of discrimination in any form possible, whether it’s towards someone because of their race, religion, sexual preference or anything of the sorts. In situations like this, I don’t think it’s discrimination against transgender athletes as there are glaring biological differences between men and women that can not be looked over.