A number of years ago, I was in a local watering hole, a gathering place for the LGBT(etc.) community, and I was informed by one of the late-afternoon regulars that I had no business sitting at the bar.
“This is where the boys sit,” he said. “You should respect that.”
It didn’t matter that I was the cleaning lady at this particular haunt, spending anywhere from three to six hours (depending on carnage left behind from the previous night’s hijinks) each morning applying spit and polish to the facility, including the very bar and stools that accommodated my antagonist’s and his sourpuss friends’ fat asses.
It only mattered to him (and some, but not all, of the others) that I wasn’t a gay man and must be put in my place. Or, to be more accurate, reminded where I didn’t belong.
“I’ll sit wherever I like,” I responded. “I’ll sit on your face if I feel like it.”
It was one of many unpleasant exchanges I experienced at that bar and, over time, it became quite apparent that a number of “the boys” preferred that I didn’t share their oxygen.
Another e.g.: I was the sole soul in the bar one day when one of the grumpy pants walked in and, after gazing upon the emptiness, strolled my way and stopped at my post.
“Tell me something,” I asked after some awkward banter, “you’d prefer it if this was an all-male gay bar, wouldn’t you? You don’t really want me in here, do you?”
“Honestly, that’s true,” he replied.
“And if there was a gay man in here you wouldn’t even be talking to me, right?”
“That’s also true.”
I didn’t belong.
I bring this to your attention because it’s open season on transgender kids, specifically girls, in many parts of the United States, Utah lawmakers being the latest group to tell trans youth that there’s no room for them in the playground.
Check that. There’s actually plenty of room. The trans females just aren’t welcome. They don’t belong.
Actually, that should be singular, as in female. Of the 75,000 kids involved in high school sports in Utah, a grand total of one is a transgender student athlete taking part in female sports. One. Out of 75,000.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Governor Spencer J. Cox laid it out for all to read in an enlightened letter explaining why he attempted to veto the push by Utah lawmakers who would outlaw transgender female athletes. The Guv didn’t get his way, with legislators vetoing his veto on Friday, and the ban on transgender female athletes is to become law on July 1, but I ask myself this: What is it that has the backers of HB11 so frightened?
They say it’s necessary legislation to protect female sports from a scorched-earth destiny, as if Utah’s one student in 75,000 is bound to multiply like Biblical fish and loaves of bread at a gathering of Jesus’ followers. But, in reality, they’re flailing at an enemy that has not yet presented itself. It’s like that asteroid we keep hearing about, how it’s bee-lining toward Earth and will one day wipe out the human race upon impact. Except that asteroid never arrives.
Certainly transgender female athletes have grown in volume and some, like collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas and a handful of others at below-elite levels, have experienced success, yet you wouldn’t say they’re plentiful and there’s scant evidence to indicate they soon shall arrive in numbers that would fill Pasadena’s Rose Bowl to overflowing. There’s little to no danger of female sports disappearing like Maya civilization, regardless how loudly the naysayers squawk.
So, what these lawmakers are actually doing with all their bombast is telling kids—or in Utah’s case, one kid—that they don’t belong. They don’t fit in. They are pariahs.
And that’s a helluvan ugly thing to say to a kid. Such a shame.
I mean, if it’s hurtful and gutting for transgender adults to be ostracized, what impact does it have on fragile minds still in the early, exploratory stages of life? It can be ruinous. Deadly even, as Gov. Cox indicated by citing suicide and suicide ideation rates among transgender youth.
No doubt the decision-makers in Utah and other jurisdictions in the U.S. believe they’re doing what’s right for female sports, but, again, there’s no evidence to support the notion that the distaff portion of the playground is in danger of extinction.
This needs to be about the kids and their growth, not adults with a religious or political agenda putting up road blocks and trying to shove them into the bleak and shadowy fringes of society.
I can confirm that’s a very scary place to be, at any age, which is why I literally weep for the kids in America who won’t be allowed to play.