There are risks associated with any activity, particularly those that involve transgender male/females and their ability to participate in sports and campus life. Statistics indicated much ethical attention has been devoted to sex segregation and its relation to fairness in the world of sports, with prominent controversies about transgender and intersex athletes helping to advance the debate in recent years. ( Bialystok, Lauren. 2016). Wise and prudent administrators/managers involved with high school and collegiate level sports must always search for ways to minimize risks and challenges faced when it comes to regulations and standards for certain student athletes.
According to Dougherty, Goldberger, and Carpenter (2002), risk management is “a process of determining the circumstances in which losses are most likely to occur, and then designing and implementing policies to minimize the likelihood of their occurrence” (p. 20). The purpose of this paper is to analyze the risks associated with facilities, policies, and personnel in high schools and on college campuses and to also provide recommendations for improving safety.
The term transgender can be defined as a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. When it comes to the including of student athletes who identify as a transgender male/female in sports is when rules for sports activities have to come into strong consideration. This tends to be an area for the NCAA to take in the effects of title IX according to (Ronald S. Katz and Robert W. Luckinbill 2017). “Sporting organizations, courts, and legislatures have struggled mightily to create fair and rational rules in an era of greater gender fluidity. Title IX below will explore some of those struggles, none of which have provided a workable protocol because of one or more of the following flaws: they are invasive, they do not have a generally accepted scientific basis, and/or they fail to take Title IX into consideration.
- separate but equal teams are permissible;
- where there is only one team in a sport, females may try out for traditionally male teams, like football, and males may try out for traditionally female teams, like field hockey;
- the definition of “sex” is either the sex at birth or the sex with which the individual identifies for all purposes (i.e., not just for sports).
The proposal, consistent with U.S. Supreme Court rulings, seeks to eliminate the sex/gender stereotype in sports once and for all, while continuing to preserve the rights that Title IX granted to women.” The NCAA also stated that “People with non-binary gender identities would traditionally have been hard pressed to compete on a male or female sports team that did not match the sex stated on their birth certificates. As the NCAA has stated, for example, there is a concern “that transgender women are not ‘real’ women.” However, also according to the NCAA: Gender identity is a core aspect of a person’s identity, and it is just as deep seated, authentic, and real for a transgender person as for others. Male-to-female transgender women fully identify and live their lives as women, and female-to-male transgender men fully identify and live their lives as men”.
The NCAA isn’t the only organization that is dealing with this situation. Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association has made a policy concerning transgender student athletes. Model High School practices this policy in regards to transgender students that want to participate in athletics. Their definition of transgender is commonly related to the definition of the NCAA’s. (SHSAA)
- Transgender person: A person whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned to him or her at birth. A transgender person who is born female-bodied but identifies as male is referred to as a transgender man or a female-to-male (FTM) transsexual. A transgender person who is born male-bodied but identifies as female is referred to as a transgender woman or a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual.
- Gender identity: A person’s deeply-felt internal sense of being male or female.
- Gender expression: A person’s external characteristics and behavior that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions.
- Birth-assigned gender: Gender assigned at birth based on the anatomical, physiological, and chromosomal characteristics associated with males, females, or intersex people. The first part of their philosophy explains the role of the school is situations where students want to participate.
“Be proactive, avoid crisis mode. Develop a policy before a transgender student wants to try out for a team.” This stands out that the school is aware of the risks. For participation of a transgender student the SHSAA policy states that “All students should have the opportunity to participate in WIAA (district) activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on a student’s records. Once the student has been granted eligibility to participate in the sport consistent with his or her gender identity, the eligibility is granted for the duration of the student’s participation and does not need to be renewed every sports season or school year”. This allows the school and the school district to choose the eligibility of the male or female student that is wanting to be in an athletic program. But there is a notice that is required from the student to the school and the WIAA before participation. The notice to the school is directly from the student and his/her parents and the notice to the WIAA is directly from the school, which in return will begin the process of two appeals that will involve tests from physicians and school administrators.
There have been multiple incidents where transgender student athletes have been participating in events and have received some negative comments toward their performance and have been questioned about their performance in sports. (Vincent Davis 2018) Terry Miller is from Bulkeley High School in Hartford. Andraya Yearwood is from Cromwell High School in Cromwell. They’re both transgender sophomores. Their ability to compete against girls their age has caused concern. It’s not that they want to be girls; it’s that their male traits appear to give the two an unfair advantage. Even though there seems to be a disadvantage the school has already recognized that these students are females and are permitted to participate in athletics according to their gender identity.
The legal implications towards transgender students on campuses around the U.S. have many rulings and disputes between in the court of law. Starting with the schools it is their duty to protect and ensure not only the safety of students but equality as well. Engaging with students that claim to be of different or changed gender identity the standards begin to be nonexistent. In saying so when these standards aren’t met situations involving the law and civil suits begin to take an effect.
Recently in 2014 there was a court hearing in Virginia where a transgender boy had wanted to use the boys’ restroom but the school had restricted him from going. A federal judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of a transgender teen who sued his local school board after it barred him from using the boys’ bathroom at his high school (Richard Gonzales NPR 2018). The boy’s name was Gavin Grimm who had been born as a female but identified as a male, attending a public high school in Gloucester County, Va.
As stated Grimm had asked and was granted permission to use the boys’ bathroom and continued so for several week without any incidents. As word got out adults in the community began to object the idea of this use and demanded that he would be restricted from the boys’ bathroom. This made it all the way to the Gloucester County School Board where they had ruled all students use the bathroom according to their biological sex. A year goes by and Grimm decides to file a lawsuit being partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union against the school board due to the fact that he was a victim of sex discrimination.
Sexual discrimination can be defined as the mistreatment of someone unfavorably because of that person’s sexual orientation. This lawsuit had gone so far as to being introduced before the Supreme Court, where it had been descended to a lower court. But the ruling was in favor of Grimm. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled that the school board’s actions implementing bathroom restrictions violated Grimm’s constitutional rights to equal protection, and she rejected a motion to dismiss the case (Richard Gonzales 2018).
Another case, Doe v. Clenchy involved Maine’s highest court that ruled that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls’ restroom at her school, which violated her rights under Maine’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination against transgender people (GLAD 2014). GLAD represented a transgender teen girl who’s elementary and middle schools removed her from the girls’ restroom because of her transgender status and forced her to use a staff-only, non-communal restroom for isolation from other students.
As time passed the parents were forced to withdraw their daughter from the school system and move to another part of the state where they could go to school without being isolated. The parents then took this to court where and were victorious with their claim to discrimination. Maine Supreme Judicial Court rules that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls’ restroom at her school violated her rights under the state’s Human Rights Act (GLAD, 2018).
Most situations with transgender cases begin here with the constitution. It is the most important part of issues that come in to be tried before the courts. When it comes to most of the cases involving those of transgender peoples the most common of the rights that are broken are in the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment states in section one that, All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (LII Staff, 2018). This is one thing that most school boards begin to ignore. When transgender students are attending schools and are banned from certain amenities of the school, the school board is taking away their rights as Americans. Negligence of basic rights in order to keep peace for the sake of the school has caused the school boards to spend great amounts in court costs. And retain a bad reputation for the school boards.
Not only do you have the right of the constitution, but you have rights under federal and state laws. Title IX is not only involves sport standards but is a federal law that makes sex discrimination illegal in most schools. Most courts who have looked at the issue have said that this includes discrimination against someone because they are transgender or because they don’t meet gender-related stereotypes or expectations (transgenderequality.org). Here are some examples of basic rights as a non-athletic student under Title IX:
- You have the right to be treated according to your gender identity.
- You have the right to be called by the name and pronouns that match your gender identity.
- You have the right not to be bullied or harassed because you are transgender or gender non-conforming.
- You have the right to use restrooms and locker rooms that match your gender identity, and you can’t be forced to use separate facilities.
- You have the right to get the same opportunities to learn and participate in school life as anyone else, no matter your gender, including your gender identity or expression, or your race, nationality, or disability.
- You have the right to dress and present yourself according to your gender identity.
- You have the right to protect your privacy and choose who you tell or don’t tell about being transgender.