WASHINGTON — When you think of sports, you may not think of the Oval Office or the West Wing. But when President Joe Biden signed an executive order on "Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation,” a political action became news in the sports world.
That's because of the clause that stated, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
REACTION FROM COMMUNITY
"This was a huge win for the community," Shawn Turk, who transitioned in 2014, said.
"It has been a long time coming," Taylor Small, who transitioned in 2016, said the order suggests transgender women, who were born biologically male, could now play female sports and vice versa.
"I would have loved to have played sports and been on teams with folks who identify the same way as I do," said Small, who is now a state representative in Vermont.
IMPACT ON SCHOLARSHIPS
Dr. Linda Blade, a sports performance specialist, is expressing some worry over the order and potential impact on female sports.
"If a coach doesn’t win, he’s gone," Blade said.
Blade's concern is that coaches of female sports will begin recruiting transgender athletes, taking away scholarships from other women.
"There is no comparison, especially between adult females and males, males are just more dominant. They are stronger," Blade said.
But the NCAA, which has permitted transgender athletes to compete in their preferred gender, has rules in an effort to level the playing field. The rules state: “A trans male student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.”
“A trans female student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.”
Turk and Small brushed off Blade’s critique.
"The community as a whole only makes up a small percentage, Turk said, noting there has never been a transgender Olympian.
"This is just one step in the right direction" Small added.
Scripps station KIVI in Boise, Idaho, has profiled the case of some transgender athletes struggling with playing sports. Transathlete, an advocacy group, ranks how each state handles the issue here.