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Transwomen athletes will continue to play

GAYATRI DEVI

Lock Haven

I am writing to express my strong reservations against the purely speculative and hysterical comments against transwomen athletes made by State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz, R-76th, in the article, “Borowicz, others seek to ban transgender girls from sports,” in The Express on April 6.

Rep. Borowicz admits that an award she received as an MVP when she was 17-years-old “boosted her confidence as a woman athlete.”

That is absolutely right.

Athletics and sports are life-savers for young people.

Especially, as many transgender athletes from Andraya Yearwood, Terry Miller, Rachel Mckinnon et al have consistently pointed out, gender-queer athletes look towards their sports for sustaining them through all the hate, the exclusions, the denials, and the damages that an ignorant, homophobic and transphobic society throws their way on a daily basis. Their ability to play a sport oftentimes becomes their only safe space. These young men and women fight terrible odds to achieve what they do.

Why, in the name of protecting women’s sports, does Rep. Borowicz want to take away an experience and a community from young transwomen athletes that clearly boosted her confidence as a woman when she was 17-years-old?

The five Pennsylvania Republican women lawmakers who have sponsored this bill claim that their objective with the Fairness in Women’s Sport Act, House Bill 972 is to “protect gender equality in sports and ensure a level playing field for girls and women.”

This is indeed an admirable mission.

If Rep. Borowicz and her fellow women lawmakers are interested in leveling the playing field for girls and women, there is indeed much for them to do.

They can start with strengthening legal protections against the sexual harassment and sexual abuse/assault of women in sports, offer proportionately more or equal athletic opportunities for girls and women in secondary and higher education, allocate equal funding resources for women’s sports as for men’s sports, improve equity in coverage for women’s professional sports as for men’s, train and recruit more women sports writers and sports broadcasters, arbitrate for equal pay for women coaches, and advocate for more women in coaching and sport administration jobs.

Women’s equity in sports is not being destroyed by transgender athletes. Transgender athletes are not guaranteed to win just because they show up at a game.

Rep. Borowicz paints a rather hysterical picture when she comments on her successes as a volleyball player that, “I probably would not have reached that level of success or contributed to winning three straight state championships if my team had to compete against biological males.”

Is the representative saying that soon there will be entire women’s volleyball teams made of transwomen competing against ciswomen and defeating them?

What is the point of this slippery slope argument?

Rep. Borowicz describes her involvement in the bill as the “perfect opportunity to cancel something so disconnected from the highest ideals of American culture and athletic competition,” presumably referring to President Biden’s executive order prohibiting gender based discrimination in school sports and elsewhere.

Perhaps Rep. Borowicz remembers that once upon a time, under the highest ideals of American culture, women athletes were not allowed to compete in sports. But women showed up to play, to compete, just like Rep. Borowicz did and her fellow lawmakers did.

Oppressive rules and legislations are just that: rules and legislations. Everything manmade can be changed and will be changed.

Women athletes showed up and showed up and showed up through every challenge thrown their way, and they played and played and played regardless of every arrow of humiliation shot at them, until even Rep. Borowicz became a beneficiary of the persistence of a whole generation of brave women athletes who went before her.

Likewise, transwomen athletes will continue to show up and they will continue to play.

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