A Utah athlete was investigated after the parents of her school competition accused her of being transgender because of her big win.
Transgender might be the single most important term in conversations regarding public schools right now. Last year, a record number of states passed legislation restricting students who identify this way from joining school sports teams that didn’t align with their birth sex. Much of the frenzy over this was raised following transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ NCAA title. Amid heated debates, a Utah athlete somehow became caught in the crosshairs, as a school secretly investigated her gender identity following complaints from the parents of females she had beat.
According to reports from The Associated Press, a Utah athlete was investigated by the state’s athletics association following complaints that she might be transgender. This was done without the high school student or her parent’s knowledge. The probe was conducted after the parents of students she had beaten in competitions questioned whether she might be transgender because she won by a large margin. Similar investigations have been opened simply because some students didn’t look feminine enough.
Possibly violating the family’s privacy, a spokesman for the athletic association said that they chose not to inform the Utah athlete and her parents about the investigation in order to shield them from any possible embarrassment. Speaking with the Salt Lake Tribune, David Spatafore noted they decided to “ keep the matter private” in order to comply with the state’s laws regarding transgender sports.
Utah is one of more than a dozen states that now ban transgender female Utah athletes from playing on sports teams in schools. The state’s Republican Gov. initially vetoed the bill last year, citing high LGBTQ+ youth suicide rates. But a majority overruling in congress by Republican lawmakers forced it into law.
The parents of the Utah athlete’s competition – who finished both in 2nd and 3rd place in the unknown sporting event – brought their complaint to the athletic association. They alleged she must have been transgender because she beat the other girls by a “wide margin”. Obliging, the association scoured her school records all the way back to kindergarten. After all records depicted that she had been listed as a female throughout her entire school carer, the association asked schools to double-check.
Because of the new law restricting transgender students, the association noted that they have had to undertake other similar investigations against Utah student-athletes and their gender identity. Some complaints were documented with reasons such as because the students didn’t look “feminine enough.” With mental health issues among trans and other LGBTQ+ students being as high as they are, these acts will only serve to further those struggling to cope with adolescent stressors.
While opponents that want to ban transgender females from participating in girls’ sports call for these laws as a means to protect naturally born females’ opportunities in sports, others see this legislation as putting a negative target on a minority of children. When the new transgender law went into place, the state only had one Utah athlete registered as a transgender female. This new finding received extreme criticism from some.
Gov. Cox berated the investigation, saying that it “crossed a line.” “We’re living in this world where we’ve become sore losers, and we’re looking for any reason why our kid lost.” While he acknowledged that fairness in sports is important, however, he added that allegations like this are “disturbing.” As of now, the new transgender Utah athlete law is being challenged in a state court.