Civil Rights

Let them Play: A Ban on Transgender Youth is Unconstitutional, Unnecessary and Wrong

“As an educator and transgender person, I know the importance of a supportive and welcoming school environment for the health of transgender and nonbinary youth. We must encourage their inclusion in all aspects of school activities.”
Photo for Let them Play: A Ban on Transgender Youth is Unconstitutional, Unnecessary and Wrong

Published on March 14, 2022
By LGBTQ Action RI

LGBTQ Action RI strongly opposes S2501, Senator Elaine Morgan’s bill to ban transgender youth from school sports. We know Rhode Islanders want schools where students can learn in a fair, healthy and inclusive environment, and where all students are encouraged, nurtured, and supported. We stand with the vast majority of Rhode Islanders who do not want discriminatory bills that target and marginalize its citizens.

We are seeing harmful attacks on transgender young people with the introduction of anti-transgender bills in states across the country. But Rhode Islanders understand that transgender students play sports for the same reason all students do – to be a part of a team, spend time with their friends and learn important lessons like teamwork, leadership and self-discipline. We want all young people, including transgender young people, to thrive, and not be subjected to additional harassment and harm. As LGBTQ Action RI member Aarav Sundaresh states, “As an educator and transgender person, I know the importance of a supportive and welcoming school environment for the health of transgender and nonbinary youth. We must encourage their inclusion in all aspects of school activities.”

Rhode Island is a state that cares about fairness for all our students. Rhode Island schools, with the support of the RI Interscholastic League, have been creating successful participation policies for years. The legislature shouldn’t step in and undermine those working policies with a blanket ban.

We know the introduction of these bills are having harmful effects on transgender and nonbinary youth. In a recent survey by The Trevor Project, two-thirds of LGBTQ+ young people said debates surrounding anti-transgender bills last year negatively impacted their mental health, with 37% saying the effect was severe. This cost is unacceptable. 

Rhode Island’s transgender and nonbinary young people should not be subject to the politicizing of their lives. Transgender youth should not have to choose between being themselves and participating in sports with their friends and teammates.

We urge defeat of this bill.

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