One of the most egregious bills passed by the 2022 Kentucky legislature was SB83, “AN ACT relating to athletics.”  The last entry of the act, on page ten, states: “This Act may be cited as ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.’”  Of course, the act is really a pandering to a very small segment of a conservative electorate that is obsessed with sexuality.

By now, you probably understand that the act being referred to is the one that bans transgender students from participating in primary and secondary school sports.  But only in girls’ and women’s sports.  Isn’t it interesting that there is so much effort to restrict participation on the side of female sports activities but nothing similar regarding male sports?

Yet there is something even more interesting (disturbing?) about this act. 

Section 1(2)(g) states: “The state board or any agency designated by the state board to manage interscholastic athletics shall promulgate administrative regulations or bylaws that provide that:

  1. A member school shall designate all athletic teams, activities, and sports for students in grades six (6) through twelve (12) of the following categories: a. “Boys”; b. “Coed”; or c. “Girls”.
  2. The sex of a student for the purpose of determining eligibility to participate in an athletic activity or sport shall be determined by:  a. A student’s biological sex as indicated on the student’s original, unedited birth certificate issued at the time of birth; or b. An affidavit signed and sworn to by the physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, or chiropractor that conducted the annual medical examination required by Paragraph (e) of this subsection under penalty of perjury establishing the student’s biological sex at the time or birth;
  3. a. An athletic activity or sport designated as “girls” for students in grades six (6) through twelve (12) shall not be open to members of the male sex.

What makes it interesting is what is included in the rules stated by the KHSAA, rules that the bill sponsors apparently didn’t know about or simply decided to ignore them in order to pander.

KHSAA Rules for Transgender Athletes Participation state:

a. Each student-athlete shall participate according to the gender as listed on their birth certificate unless they were legally reassigned.
b. Reassignment may be demonstrated through the use of a birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, or other certified medical record as verified to the member school.
c. Each member school is responsible for making this initial determination for its student-athlete.
d. A student-athlete who has undergone sex reassignment is eligible to compete in the reas-signed gender, provided such is not precluded by additional adopted bylaw or policy, when:

  1. The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment before puberty, or
  2. The student-athlete has undergone sex reassignment after puberty under all the fol-lowing conditions:
    a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy;
    b. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competition; and
    c. If the student-athlete stops taking hormonal treatment, they will be required to participate in the sport consistent with their birth gender.

The key sponsor of SB83, when testifying before committee, admitted that he knew of no instance in which the issue of transgender athletes had been revealed as a problem (and he, most assuredly, has absolutely no idea what a gonadectomy is). In fact, the number of transgender athletes in Kentucky is so miniscule that the very existence of the act (and the rules by KHSAA) is an abomination of Kentucky law and deprives a small number of kids from being who they really are.

So much for our vaunted legislature and its ability to address real problems in this state.

Laverne Cox will be honored as advocate of the year at the upcoming 2022 Webby Awards.

The actor and producer will be recognized by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS) for her LGBTQ advocacy work around Black trans lives and rights.

“Laverne Cox understands the true power of showing up by example,” Webby Awards president Claire Graves told Variety exclusively on Tuesday morning. “She is a clear, consistent and powerful voice advocating in defense of Black trans lives, and we are so proud to recognize her as the 2022 Webby Advocate of the Year, selected by a committee chaired by the NAACP and IADAS.”

Hosted by comedian Roy Wood Jr., the Webby Awards will take place May 16 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The ceremony will be presented by Verizon.

The evening will feature the awards’ signature five-word winner speeches.

Cox, best known for work as Sophia on “Orange Is the New Black,” is an Emmy nominee who has also been honored by GLAAD, The Transgender Law Center, Out, Time, Glamour and Ebony.

In addition to Cox, others special achievement honorees include Megan Thee Stallion, Drew Barrymore, Takashi Murakami, “Severance” star Adam Scott, organizers of Florida’s “Say Gay” movement and NFT inventors Anil Dash and Kevin McCoy.

Previously announced Webby Award winners include Savage x Fenty, Gordon Ramsay, “Sesame Street’s” YouTube channel, the Smartless podcast, The 1619 Project, “The Laverne Cox Show,” “The Queen of Basketball,” Billie Eilish x Beat Saber for Oculus Quest 2, “The Roxanne Gay Agenda,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” “Lilly Singh Celebrates Diwali Traditions and New Beginnings With Johnnie Walker,” The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live! Mean Tweets” and “The Problem With Jon Stewart.”

Show highlights will be available on webbyawards.com and on Twitter and Instagram using #Webbys.

WEDNESDAY, May 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Kids who feel their true gender identity doesn't match the sex they were given at birth are sometimes given the chance to adopt the lifestyle and characteristics of the opposite gender, in a process known as "social transitioning."

It involves no treatments or surgery, yet some people question whether kids who socially transition at a very young age might end up regretting the decision, raising the risk for a traumatic re-transition. But new research finds that's rarely the case: Among children under age 12, investigators found that more than nine in 10 stuck with their initial transition decision as much as five years out. And the few who re-transitioned back did not typically find the process traumatic.

"Social transitioning refers to a change in pronouns, first name, hairstyles and clothing," explained study author Kristina Olson, a psychology professor at Princeton University, in New Jersey. It's "the 'social' part of gender."

Such transitions may be the first step families take in tackling the distress often experienced by children who feel that their gender identity doesn't match their assigned gender.

Social transitions are distinct from medical transitions "that can involve the use of gender-affirming hormones or surgeries," Olson explained.

Olson said only one other small study — involving just four children — had explored long-term re-transition risk. That study found none of the kids had returned to their birth-assigned gender.

But to dig deeper, Olson and her team focused on more than 300 children who had undergone a social transition.

About two-thirds were transgender boys, meaning boys who had been assigned a female gender at birth; about one-third were transgender girls.

All were enrolled in the TransYouth Project between 2013 and 2017. The project tracked transition experiences over a five-year period, with children being between the ages of 3 and 12 when first socially transitioning.

Though Olson's focus was on social transitioning, she noted that some of the children had embarked on a medical transition as well, though she emphasized that was only the case among the oldest kids, given that "youth are not eligible for medical transition until after the onset of puberty."

Specifically, nearly 12% had begun taking puberty blockers during the study period. (After the study period ended, however, 190 kids ultimately began taking blockers; nearly 100 of those children also started taking gender-affirming hormones, Olson noted.)

Solely on the social transition front, Olson noted that over five years only about 7% of the children transitioned back at least once.

By the end of the study period, 94% of the kids continued to identify as the gender they had embraced when first socially transitioning. (That figure includes the just over 1% who had at one point re-transitioned back to their birth gender, before then returning back again to the gender to which they had initially transitioned.)

Of the 6% who did not stick with their initial transition, a little more than 3% described themselves as non-binary by the end of the study period, while just under 3% said they identified with their birth gender. (Identifying with one's birth gender was notably more common among kids who had socially transitioned before the age of 6.)

"Interestingly, we are not finding that the youth who re-transitioned in our study are experiencing that as traumatic," Olson noted. "We've been finding that when youth are in supportive environments — supportive in the sense of being OK with the exploration of gender — both the initial transition and a later re-transition are fine."

The study findings were published online May 4 in the journal Pediatrics, but Olson said her team plans to keep tracking the study participants.

Meanwhile, a couple of experts not involved in the study hailed the effort to date.

The findings are already "important," said Dr. Jack Turban, chief fellow of child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University's School of Medicine, in Palo Alto, Calif.

"The main takeaway here is that gender identity, for binary transgender children, appears to be quite stable," he said.

And Turban — whose research focus is on the mental health of transgender youth — stressed that "social transition has value, regardless of the ultimate gender trajectory."

That, he said, is because "prohibiting a social transition can send the message to a child that their identity is wrong or invalid. And this can drive shame and damaged relationships within a family."

Indeed, "socially transitioning youth are [simply] making the same 'decisions' that cisgender children are making, in that they are seeking clothes, hairstyles, names, accessories, activities and playmates that reflect their gender identity and the resources in their community," said Matt Goldenberg, a psychologist in adolescent medicine with the Seattle Children's Gender Clinic.

And empowering children to explore their gender identity in an environment that "honors their authenticity and wisdom" is all a "healthy and normative aspect of human development," Goldenberg added.

And Turban — whose research focus is on the mental health of transgender youth — stressed that "social transition has value, regardless of the ultimate gender trajectory."

That, he said, is because "prohibiting a social transition can send the message to a child that their identity is wrong or invalid. And this can drive shame and damaged relationships within a family."

Indeed, "socially transitioning youth are [simply] making the same 'decisions' that cisgender children are making, in that they are seeking clothes, hairstyles, names, accessories, activities and playmates that reflect their gender identity and the resources in their community," said Matt Goldenberg, a psychologist in adolescent medicine with the Seattle Children's Gender Clinic.

And empowering children to explore their gender identity in an environment that "honors their authenticity and wisdom" is all a "healthy and normative aspect of human development," Goldenberg added.

Two MU student organizations rallied to protest Missouri anti-transgender legislation on Tuesday afternoon. 

The protest comes just a day after Missouri’s GOP-led House voted to limit which public high school sports teams transgender athletes can compete on.

Oasis and Mizzou Young Democratic Socialists of America held a rally at Speaker's Circle on MU's campus to bring attention to the harm the pieces of legislation could bring to transgender youth across the state. 

May Hall, president of Oasis, organized the rally on Tuesday. Being a student athlete herself, Hall understands how the legislation being passed can change things for her. She was denied to compete in a fencing competition. 

"It was disheartening," Hall said. "To read that was really disheartening and disappointing because I do love to compete. But I'm simply not comfortable  with either the identification of competing in a men's league and also there's safety concerns for me."

Missouri representatives are once again part of a national movement of statehouse conservatives pushing for restrictions regarding transgender youth and athletics. 

Rep. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport) is one of multiple legislators attempting to add amendments on a bill before the May 13 deadline to get bills to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

"We're going to try and be what we think is best for our constituents," Basye said.

Basye's amendment to House bill 2140 would allow school districts to vote to prohibit transgender girls attending K-12 public schools from being members of girls’ sports teams.

"It's an uncomfortable thing to talk about for a lot of school board members and administrators," Basye said. "But I think that this would be jumped on in a heartbeat by many, many districts, and they would put this on the ballot."

The amendment passed on Monday is sponsored by Rep. Ron Copeland (R-Salem). It has similar intentions of Basye's amendment but only allows trans athletes to participate in athletic contests "organized for persons of the same biological sex included on the student's birth certificate," according to the amendment text

“I think it's good policy," Bayse said. "I don't think that a biological male should be competing in sports that are designed for females. I don't think it's fair.

 

Penn's women’s swimming and diving team released a statement on Tuesday expressing support of transgender swimmer and teammate Lia Thomas, the College senior at the center of national controversy regarding the participation of transgender athletes in sports. 

"We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition. We value her as a person, teammate, and friend,” the team said in the Feb. 1 statement, as first reported by ESPN. The statement referred to a Fox News interview with an anonymous member of the women’s swimming and diving team who opposes the University's decision to allow Thomas to compete.

“The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds," the team's statement read.

Penn Athletics declined to comment on the women’s swimming and diving team in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Thomas broke several records at the Zippy Invitational in December, where she qualified for the NCAA championships after winning the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. Thomas, who has undergone more than two years of hormone replacement therapy, made the best times in collegiate women's swimming for two events this season. 

Shortly after Thomas' wins, which led to widespread media coverage, the NCAA delegated rules associated with transgender involvement to each sport’s governing bodies. 

The newly adopted standard by the NCAA now states that guidelines on the eligibility of transgender athletes will be determined by the national governing body of each individual sport. 

Amid the controversy, USA Swimming released a new policy on Feb. 1 establishing eligibility guidelines on transgender athletes' participation in elite events. The policy will apply to transgender athletes who are seeking to set records in the 13-14 age group and older, or those who wish to set American records, according to USA Swimming Rules & Regulations.

"The development of the elite policy therefore acknowledges a competitive difference in the male and female categories and the disadvantages this presents in elite head-to-head competition," USA Swimming said in a statement.

The Athletic Inclusion, Competitive Equity and Eligibility Policy by USA Swimming establishes that transgender women must maintain a concentration of testosterone in their serum at less than five nanomoles per liter for at least 36 months before the date of application, and also provide evidence that they do not have a competitive advantage over cisgender female competitors. The Olympic standard for transgender athletes is 10 nanomoles per liter, double the new US Swimming standard.  

USA Swimming's updated guidelines come just weeks before the NCAA championships, which are scheduled for March. 

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