“The intentions of rightwing politicians like Abbott and DeSantis are clear. They are using transgender children as scapegoat and compromising their health and safety to score political points with their party and their constituents,” Trans MMA Athlete Alana McLaughlin writes in The Guardian.
This is after the passing of TX HB 25, a new Texas bill that blocks trans students from participating in female sports in schools.
“Under the guise of “safety” and “fairness” these politicians and the people they represent seek to deny trans children access to an incredibly important part of public life. Their arguments, however, deny scientific expertise and their intentions extend beyond supposed concern for women’s athletics,” McLaughlin continued.
“Bills like TX HB 25, which was just signed into law by the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, are blatantly discriminatory and are part of a broader effort to erase trans people from public life.”
McLaughlin cites the many times political decisions have been made because of athletes’ voice and participation, saying, “The New York State Athletic Commission suspended the license of Muhammad Ali and stripped him of his heavyweight title for his stand against participation in the Vietnam war.
More recently, the NFL blacklisted Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest to police killings of Black Americans.”
“When athletes make political statements, we listen to them.” McLaughlin added. “Politicians, coaches and commissions steer the conversation about what place sport holds in society, who benefits and how, and who is allowed to participate.
Over a hundred anti-transgender bills have been introduced in US state legislatures in the past year, which bans trasngender athletes from participating in sports, accessing healthcare and even limiting access to public facilities like restrooms and locker rooms.
“Trans kids deserve equal access to sports. Trans people deserve equal access to public life. We deserve love and safety and inclusion, and make no mistake: we will win this fight, and history will not remember dinosaurs like Abbott and DeSantis kindly.”
Alana McLaughlin is the first openly transgender athlete to compete in mixed martial arts in the United States since 2014. She launched her career with a choke out submission victory in her debut at the Combate Global prelims in Miami, causing reaction from fight fans on social media, accusing her of cheating.
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