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By the students, For the students

The Navigator

By the students, For the students

The Navigator

Transgender Women in Women’s Sports

The Underlying Challenges With a Ban

D’Angelo Wallace, one of my favorite YouTube creators, recently posted a video discussing an internet conspiracy theory that claims all celebrities are transgender. The video—reviewing an article written by Vice News—explores the history of accusing celebrities of being transgender, using “evidence” rooted in racist and misogynistic ideology. This phenomenon might seem unrelated to the recent controversial issue of transgender women competing in women’s sports, but the two are actually thoroughly connected. The intention of this article is not to prove that trans women should be in “women’s” sports—that topic is incredibly nuanced and something I won’t dare try to evaluate at my young age—but rather, an argument against the idea that trans women should be banned from “women’s” sports.

Last week I had two separate experiences discussing transgender women, sparking my inspiration to write this article. The first was a ten minute long debate that my classmates and I had in AP Government and Politics. We were assigned to create bills, just as Congress people do, present them in front of the class, debate about our topic area, and then have the class vote on whether or not it should pass. One student—whom I admire for their thorough research and ability to defend their stance—created a bill that banned trans women from “women’s” sports. The bill outlined how Olympic athletes, and any other athlete who participates in public sporting events, would be required to have their hormones tested to ensure they were “female.” Trans women who had transitioned past puberty—even after having taken hormones—would not be allowed to compete in the women’s division. After some heated debate the class voted, everyone except me voted to pass the bill. Although my peers might have moved on, forgetting about our discussion that day in class, the arguments that were made have continued to circulate in my mind. The second moment that has urged me to write about this topic was when I was sitting in class and noticed a students scrolling through an odd looking Instagram page. I asked them what they were looking at and they humorously explained how the account wrote about conspiracy theories such as “all celebrities are secretly transgender,” and “giants built the Sistine Chapel.” Obviously, this student was not taking anything this account was saying seriously, but it worried me how easily accessible this false information was—especially to young minds who might not be as literate as Newman students. This conversation has continued to worry me, and as I have ruminated about my classroom discussion within AP Government and Politics, I’ve been able to see the conjoining of these two issues.

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that I have no intention to “call out” students or accuse anyone of being “problematic,” rather, I’d like to offer a different perspective on the issue. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

Thus, today’s article will take place in two parts: first, discussing the tangible and material issues of banning trans women from “women’s” sports, and second, the problematic underlying beliefs and assumptions that might influence actions taken if a ban was instated. (I have put women’s sports in quotations, because I find it difficult to call a sport something for women and then continue to ban trans-women from the activity. I believe that trans women are whole-heartedly, without a doubt, women, and deserve to be perceived and accounted for as such.)

The Material Problem with Banning Transgender Women from Women’s Sports:

The fundamental issue with legally banning—i.e. instating a law through the United States Federal Government—trans women in “women’s” sports is that it increase Federal control over trans people’s bodies, risks governmental abuse, breaches the consent and privacy of the individual, and can cause violence. If we look at the history of the United States, we can see time and time again how it has exerted governmental control over people’s bodies—causing abuse and death. The Tuskegee experiment was a study conducted in 1932 with the purpose of finding a cure to syphilis. The promise of free health care lured nearly 600 Black men to join the study, in Macon County Alabama. Despite the fact that fifteen years into the study penicillin was the recommended treatment of the illness, these Black men only received placebo medication. The disease began to spread—from these men, to their wives, and their children—resulting in serious health problems and a large percent of them dying. In the process these researchers provided no adequate care, and even went as far to conduct even more unethical experiments under the guise of “finding a cure.” Although this occurred nearly one-hundred years ago, it’s not far fetched to believe that the Federal Government could do this again. MK Ultra, for example, was a CIA conducted experiment in which they would bribe prostitutes to slip unsuspecting males LSD, to document the effects of said drugs during intercourse. This experiment, having taken place during the 1950’s, is just another example of the medical abuse that has—and can still occur—when the Federal Government over-reaches into people’s bodies. Many reading this article might be quick to say: “The Government would never do that now,” but why? The Federal Government overturned the right for women to have an abortion, it continues to sponsor militarized police that commit horrendous acts of violence, and hold close allies with unethical countries like Saudi Arabia for the purpose of protecting the U.S.’s economic interests. Therefore, it’s not too far fetched to believe that Federal Government is capable of abusing trans women, especially at a time where alt Conservative leaders are in power, and rapid misinformation is on the rise.

If a bill that banned Trans women from “women’s” sports forced all athletes to take blood tests, or even go as far as to “look at” and “check” competitors bodies’ to ensure they were male or female, this could risk medical violence just like MK Ultra, or the Tuskegee Experiment. Not just medical violence, but also interpersonal and psychological violence. Forcing someone to go through medical procedures or physical checks without their full consent can create a sense of unease, and discomfort—and even gender dysphoria, for those who might not be deemed “male enough” or “female enough.” Gender dysphoria is incredibly violent, and can cause poor mental health. Under the guide of standard procedure, governmental agencies could hypothetically forcibly review medical documents, and force women into unsafe situations. Thus, these are the material consequences of a ban, which must be kept in mind.

The Problematic Underlying Beliefs and Assumptions that Can Influence a Ban:

The Vice article: The Conspiracy Theorists Who Think All Celebrities Are Secretly Trans, discusses how conspiracy theorists use phrenology, pseudo science, racism, and sexism to justify transphobia. These internet insanities overlay photos of celebrities with skull and skeleton diagrams to “prove” that certain celebrities are transgender. Obviously insane, but this phenomenon holds a much darker undertone. Historically, phrenology has been used to justify racism, often what is called “scientific racism.” When enslavement was a rapid business, scientists would measure the size of Africans skulls, arguing that because their bodies and heads often had different shapes they were somehow “less intelligent” and the “less civilized species” (If you’ve read Beloved, by Toni Morrison, or Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, you might remember this). Thus, the usage of phrenology here still holds its roots in scientific racism—it’s Black women who have been historically accused of being Transgender online because they might not have the same European features of white women—a perfect example of this is when the comedian Joan Rivers accused Michelle Obama of being a Trans women. Because our society is steeped in eurocentrism, we often assume European—or white—beauty standards are what is “really” feminine, therefore shaping who these online conspiracy theorists believe are really women. Those who might break certain gender norms, and those who don’t fit society’s expectations of what it means to be a man or a woman can also face accusations of being trans. This is just another ploy to ensure that traditional gender norms are solidified and that trans people are not regarded as deserving of respect or dignity.

These ideas and underlying assumptions could definitely influence the actions taken if a ban were to be put into place. Athletes that aren’t transgender but don’t have “traditional” masculine or feminine features (whatever that means) could risk being accused of being trans—therefore causing investigation, defamation, and even destruction of one’s career. Many people reading this might argue that an accusation of being transgender wouldn’t cause this—but, I don’t believe that. The raids on January 6th, and often violent hate crimes, are committed because of conspiracy theories and rapid misinformation. If we were to instill a ban on trans women in “women’s” sports it would give transphobic, racist, and sexist people an excuse to accuse athletes of being transgender, and then allow for the federal government to “check” these people’s bodies. This creates a vicious cycle of accusation and surveillance, which undermines athletes accomplishments, and pushes the focus off of their skills, and onto their gender identity and natural born sex. It’s important to keep in mind these issues and problematic beliefs that circulate the internet before implementing a radical policy, such as a ban.

In Conclusion, I have a difficult time agreeing with and promoting a ban on Trans women in “women’s sports” because of the violence it could cause. I think it’s important to note that all people are entitled to their opinion, and that all people are deserving of respect and humanity dignity. When promoting and voting on bills it’s important to do your research and fully understand what you are advancing in order to protect all people.


The Conspiracy Theorists Who Think All Celebrities Are Secretly Trans by: Hayden Vernon,

The CIA’S Appalling Human Experiments With Mind Control by: Brianna Nofil,

Tuskegee Experiment: The Infamous Syphilis Study by: Elizabeth Nix, 


Editor’s note: This newspaper is a platform for student journalists to analyze news and share their carefully researched opinions. We welcome input from multiple viewpoints and we acknowledge that some topics are more polarized than others, but we want the Navigator to be a space for everyone to share their views. Please contact the Navigator editors if you have any questions or want to contribute your opinion to this (or any other) topic.

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About the Contributor
Grace Carmody
Grace Carmody, Writer