Part of the Team: Holding Conversations About Trans-Inclusive Sports

Produced by the HRC Foundation

Have you ever wanted to speak up for transgender and non-binary youth athletes, but weren’t quite sure what to say? As of March 2022, 11 states have enacted laws that ban trans and non-binary youth from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and many more states are actively attempting to pass such laws. This has caused misinformation about their participation to run rampant.

The gap between those who already support trans-inclusive sports teams and those who are on the fence is not so wide. Many people are inclined to support trans and non-binary youth, but may be a little uncertain about the issues they face.

HRC has created this chatbot in order for you to have persuasive conversations with friends, family and acquaintances about supporting trans and non-binary youth and opposing these discriminatory bills.

How was your chat? You may have noticed that some answers facilitated further conversation while others ended the conversation prematurely. By following the outline in this chatbot, you can have effective, persuasive conversations with people who are concerned about transgender participation in school sports. While talking with potential supporters, we recommend keeping these principles in mind:

● Fostering a non-judgmental attitude: People don’t like to feel judged, and judgment will make others more entrenched in their existing beliefs. To effect change, create a judgment-free zone, and focus on having a conversation instead of an argument. Highlight areas of agreement and allow others to express their concerns without contradicting them. Once you have permission to share your perspective, offer new information that allowed you to understand the issue.

● Respecting others’ viewpoints: People don’t like to be lectured to, and coming off as a “know-it-all” will likely be met with resistance. Acknowledge that others have a valid perspective and allow them to come to their own conclusions after an enlightening conversation.

● Creating empathy: Having empathy for your conversation partners is essential to persuading them to your side It’s also highly effective to convince others to empathize with you and with transgender people. Focus on shared experiences with your conversation partners such as times when you both may have felt like outcasts. If others can understand the perspectives of transgender people, they may be more inclined to support transgender rights.

● Learning together: Create a collaborative learning environment. Instead of lecturing, have a friendly, informative back and forth with the aim of helping others to understand the issue. Share each others’ experiences and see what you each can learn from them.

By focusing on these principles, you will have a greater chance of understanding and persuading others to support transgender participation in school sports and to become allies to our cause.

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