US Women’s football star Megan Rapinoe has called bills banning transgender children from sports “another avenue to attack” trans rights.
In an opinion piece written for The Washington Post, the renowned footballer vocalised her opinions on trans rights and support LGBTQ+ youth.
“These bills are attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Transgender kids want the opportunity to play sports for the same reasons other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Rapinoe wrote.
“Proponents of these bills argue that they are protecting women. As a woman who has played sports my whole life, I know that the threats to women’s and girls’ sports are lack of funding, resources and media coverage; sexual harassment; and unequal pay.”
The footballer continued to explain how access to sports as a child and taught her “so much”.
“[sports] brought me so much joy. Every child deserves to have that experience,” she said. “That’s why I believe that all kids, including transgender youth, should be able to participate in sports they love.”
Data shows 26 state legislatures introduced over 40 bills to exclude trans youth from sports teams according to ACLU’s tracker. More shockingly, these figures reflect the first two months of 2021.
The wider societal impact of these bills can be felt at grassroots levels. Transgender youth are feeling more vulnerable and targeting due to their identity.
The Trevor Project reported, prior to the pandemic, 1 in 3 transgender youth reported attempting suicide in 2019.
The two-time FIFA world champion called out anti-trans legislators and politicians for introducing bills that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ youth.
“I know what it feels like to be singled out and treated differently. No one should be treated unfairly because of who they are — and that is especially true of kids,” she explained in the article.
More than 20 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting trans youth according to Axios. 2020 saw more than 40 bills focused on trans youth.
“These bills are an attack on the humanity and belonging of trans people, and that’s why this issue is important to me as a member of the LGBTQ community,” the athlete wrote.
Adding: “For some, discrimination is the point. But we can celebrate all girls and women in sports while ensuring trans people aren’t discriminated against.
“That is why all women must stand up and demand that exclusion is not done in our name.”
The football star concluded her statement offering acceptance to trans youth, writing: “I want the trans youth in our country to know they are not alone.”
Rapinoe closed the article with a powerful final say on diversity and acceptance in the sporting industry.
“Discrimination hurts everyone. We’re stronger as teams, and as a country, when all people who love sports have a chance to have their lives changed for the better, just like I did,” Rapinoe wrote.
“I want every transgender kid out there to know that they can live their dreams and be true to who they are. For them to realize those dreams, they need to be allowed to play.”