Jun 16, 2022 - News

Fighting Georgia's trans youth sports ban

Illustration of a ref holding a whistle and a red penalty card with the transgender symbol on it.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A month after the Georgia High School Association voted to effectively ban transgender youth from competing in sports that align with their gender identity, a death threat forced a group of Georgia youth and transgender activists to cancel a planned Sunday rally.

What's happening: On Wednesday, the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition held a Zoom news conference instead. They've organized a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures seeking to overturn the new policy.

  • The group's communications director and University of Georgia student Zeena Mohamed said it is "dangerous, it is discriminatory, it is divisive and it is outright wrong."

Catch up quick: In an eleventh-hour push in April, Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly granted the association the ability to enact the ban.

  • Before, the association deferred to gender determinations made by member schools.
  • Gov. Brian Kemp, who supported the law change, has said on the campaign trail, "We simply just want it to be fair. That's all we're doing."

What they're saying: "This ban solves a problem that does not exist," said Metro Atlanta TransParent founder and chapter leader Peter Isbister, who has an 8-year-old trans son. "There simply is no groundswell of cisgender kids and students seeking to ban their classmates from team sports."

  • "This ban however does make life more dangerous for our children and their families," he said.
  • An anonymous letter from a transgender student was read by their friend: "It's a bitter irony that the officials supposed to promote education are making decisions based on anything but fact," they wrote.
  • "It's not about protecting the woman. It never was. It was always about ostracizing those different from themselves, punishing them for characteristics out of their control, pushing them toward anxiety, depression and even suicide," they wrote.

What's next: A spokesperson for the coalition told Axios that families, parents, and community members in a number of Georgia school districts are preparing litigation to combat the ban.

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