Summer of Outrage: Let Kids Play Sports

by HRC Staff

Kids play on sports teams for all sorts of reasons: to play with their friends; to learn leadership, self-discipline, and good sportsmanship; to develop their talents and abilities on the field; to be a part of the team. But trans and non-binary kids — and their equal access to sports — are under attack across the country. Why? Because politicians think it’s an easy way to win votes, and they don’t care at all about the innocent children they are harming.

Instead of focusing on inflation, gas prices, international crises and meaningful gun reform, these lawmakers are spreading lies and propaganda about transgender children.


State legislators introduced 77+ anti-trans sports bans during this legislative season. So far this year, they’ve passed in 11 states, bringing the total number of states with anti-trans sports bans to 16.

The surge in anti-trans sports bans is not due to a sudden increase in participation of trans youth in school or college sports. In fact, transgender people have played sports consistent with their gender identity for decades without incident in states across the country and at every level of play. These bans are both unnecessary and cruel.

As Kate Oakey, State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel at HRC, explains, if the goal of these bills was to achieve fairness, “the rules can’t be the same for fourth grade kickball as they are for sixth grade JV lacrosse as they are for high school track… The idea that painting them all with one really broad brush is somehow going to ensure fairness is absurd.”


We have seen this strategy before: using anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and propaganda to rile up the radical base to turn out in elections. It’s right out of Anita Bryant’s, Phyllis Schlafly’s and Jesse Helms’s anti-LGBTQ+ playbook from the 1970s and ’80s.

Such campaign tactics, as well as legislative efforts, come at a huge price. They severely impact the mental health and wellbeing of already vulnerable youth at a sensitive time in their development.


Help HRC fight back against state-sanctioned discrimination and allow trans kids to play sports and use school bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Turn your outrage into action: we need your help now!

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