Should Trans Kids Be Allowed To Compete In High School Sports?

Cooper Endo, Feature

Should transgender students be allowed to compete in high school sports against their cisgender peers? The question has been a long-standing debate.
“I believe everybody should have the opportunity to compete in athletics, regardless of gender identification,” Kalani High School’s sports director, Gregory Van Cantfort says. “But I guess the question is, at what point could a transgender have an athletic advantage?”
Van Cantfort touches upon the question that is largely the cause for debate because many believe males are naturally more athletically inclined. Would a person who transitions from male to female, a trans woman, have an athletic advantage?
Morrison brings up the main argument as to why trans people should not compete in sports against cisgender individuals. Particularly with trans women, the biological differences could be considered unfair. This fact is the cause for many controversies, but counterarguments have been presented.
Some do believe it to be an unfair advantage, while others disagree.
For example, Eliana Sueoka (9), who uses gender-neutral pronouns and considers themself to be part of the queer community, thinks it’s unfair to keep trans kids from participating in sports.
“I can see the reasoning behind not wanting trans kids to participate in sports, but I think it’s really unfair to the kids themselves,” Sueoka says. “Banning trans kids from sports teams is completely uncalled for. There [have] to be other solutions for this.”
Sueoka themself, however, does not plan on joining high school sports.
High school athlete Kiana Morrison presents a different stance on the issue.
“Although someone may classify as a woman, they are still biologically a man and have the build of a man, muscles, athleticism, growth, etc.,” Morrison says. “Biological males playing in women’s sports would jeopardize the opportunities that high school girls may strive for such as college scholarships, titles, etc.”
Eren Des Pres believes that trans girls have an advantage; “that’s biology.”
“But we should acknowledge the fact that it’s unfair for AFAB (assigned female at birth) girls who are above average also have an advantage, and they’re not being told they can’t play,” Des Pres says.
Des Pres acknowledges the biological differences between those born males and those born female; however, he says all girls have different physical characteristics. The same goes for boys — the exact argument presented to keep trans people from competing in sports yet doesn’t apply to cis people.
“Unless you believe that AFAB women who have heightened testosterone should also be excluded in women’s sports, I don’t think you should be able to comment on trans women’s eligibility,” Des Pres says.
Another point that Morrison has brought up is that if a person really cares about their sport, it shouldn’t matter who they are competing against.
“I think that if someone loves to play a specific sport, it shouldn’t matter about having to switch leagues because you play to play the sport that you feel such enthusiasm for,” Morrison says.
However, Des Pres had a different view on it and brings up gender dysphoria.
“While it’s not a big thing for some people, for others, it’s crippling,” Des Pres says. “To use myself as an example, it plays a big part in my life. Sometimes I find myself nonverbal at inconvenient times because I can’t handle the sound of my voice. I’ll deny hanging out with friends at the mall in fear of being perceived. Part of the reason I’m on the fence about joining a sport is I fear for how my mental health will be affected.”
So, the topic is a difficult, emotional one. It is also a question of fairness and acceptance. And it seems that for many trans people, security in their identity is just as if not more important than their participation in sports.
“Trans rights should be human rights, including this trivial freedom in sports,” Sueoka says.