Transgender and nonbinary youth athletes can participate in interscholastic activity without discrimination in Colorado

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 9:11 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -In the U.S., 22 bills were written to ban transgender girls and women from joining female sports teams, six others also include boys’ and men’s teams.

Eight states have passed their versions of these bills into law proving that transgender issues remain controversial across the nation.

In the state, the Colorado High School Activities Association “recognizes the right of transgender student athletes to participate in interscholastic activities free from unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Even though Colorado is considered to have friendly state guidance on the inclusion of transgender and nonbinary students, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been push back from some state leaders.

Recently Rep. Lauren Boebert took to Twitter to express her opposition to New Zealand’s transgender weightlifting athlete saying her participation in the category is unfair.

We tried to get into contact with Rep. Boebert however, our phone calls and emails brought no response.

Rep. Boebert isn’t the only person who has concerns with transgender athlete participation in sports. Aidan Key says he travels across the U.S. to address such apprehensions.

Key is a speaker, author and educator who works with the organization, Gender Diversity. He also worked with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to help create the first transgender K-12 inclusion policy in the U.S.

“What I can say is 14 years ago we stepped into that conversation and we talked about a way to start and we started,” said Key. “I remember the first interview that was done about that policy was 10 years later and after 10 years we can report on how it was going, and how it went was just fine. Yes there were and are trans athletes participating in K-12 sports and they’re winning and they’re losing. They’re part of their teams. The embracing of their presence is happening.”

Key said the things to worry about are not inclusion programs but how these bans will impact those they limit.

" I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that not only these bills about sports but the other ones targeting physicians offering affirming care to these children, the measures attempting to criminalize parent support of their child’s gender identities are all going to have a body count,” said Key. “these children, a number of them will die as a result of these horrific measures.”

Even though he does not support the bans being presented in some states, Key said he is grateful for the conversation they have opened.

“I think that if we step in and actually have the conversation we need to, we will start to recognize somethings,” said Key. “We will recognize that yeah we’re actually a little intimidated by this conversation, so lets acknowledge that and step in and say how do we do this... We didn’t have the visibility that we have of trans children like we do today, so how can we even begin to know how to be inclusive? Well, we’re learning. Is that learning scary? the reality of it isn’t, Stepping into it is the scarier part.”

“What I’ve found even in those communities like Montrose and Ridgway and other places I’ve been all across the nation is the intimidation factor goes away. The confidence really builds and it’s amongst the adults in the community because if we look to the children, they don’t understand why there’s so much distress.”

Kacee-Lyn Hahn went through her transition in college and was apprehensive about continuing the sport she enjoyed so much but she said the support she received from her program made her realize she does belong in sports.

“They were very receptive and welcomed me with open arms which was super empowering for me,” said Hahn.

She says if more programs provided the support she received then transgender women and men in sports might not be so controversial.

“If we were to change the sports industry and include more inclusion we would really start to change society over time and I truly believe that.”

Hahn has a message for transgender youth hesitant to join a sports program.

“Through your transition, you are going to have a lot of awkward moments,” said Hahn. “People are going to judge you and talk behind your back. That’s their business. It’s not your business. There are so many other trans women fighting right now for your right to compete in sports in general...understand that you also deserve the right to compete in sports no matter your gender or preference.”

When we asked the Colorado High School Activities Association about the bans being implemented in some states, commissioner Blanford-Green said “our policy is in place but remains fluid based on the final outcomes being considered at the state, federal and international levels. Our position has always been that this is a student privacy matter and that schools will determine eligibility. The Association would only enter into these discussions if asked or necessary once the initial decisions at the local level have been made. Protecting students privacy is critical therefore local educational entities is our student’s starting points.”

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