North Carolina debates banning transgender participation in sports (includes video story)

Last week, North Carolina lawmakers held their first hearing on a law to ban transgender students from playing on sports teams. Several other states have also attempted to pass legislation that would ban transgender female athletes from participating on school sports teams. 

Evie Edwards, a supporter of the bill and former competitive athlete, spoke at the hearing. “In high school, I competed at the state level and the 100-meter hurdles and high jump,” she said. 

She told lawmakers that allowing transgender girls and women to compete in women’s sports will push women out of sports because athletes born as males have a biological advantage.

“Male bodies are taking the place of women’s bodies,” she said.  “Female athletes have been robbed of the hard work and effort they’ve sacrificed their time, energy, finances and talent toward. It’s not fair play. It’s not ethical.”

Two years ago, North Carolina’s High School Athletics Association permitted transgender students to compete on the team that corresponded with their gender identity. This required verification by medical professionals. Fewer than 10 students applied. 

Sponsor Mark Brody said the issue should be addressed now. “There’s nothing wrong with going after a bill and solving it before it becomes a problem.”

While some conservatives spoke in favor of the bill, transgender teens and their parents shared emotional statements about the significance and benefits sports have had in their lives. Parents implored lawmakers to educate themselves before making decisions. 

We are not a threat,” said Asher McKinney-Ring, a 15-year-old transgender male and athlete. “We are children.”

North Carolina is the 32nd state to consider a ban like this one within the past year. 

Zitlali Solache is a student in Florida International University, pursuing her Masters degree in Spanish-Language Broadcast Journalism. Zitlali Solache is Mexican American and has a passion for storytelling and news. She has interned for WPBT PBS, WSVN Channel 7 and STEP Univision. After graduation, Zitlali aspires to become a reporter/anchor in her hometown Miami, FL.