After a high school athlete in Utah defeated two other females and their parents questioned whether she was transgender, the school looked into her records going back to kindergarten. In order to keep the matter private, school administrators did not inform the winning student or her family about the review of her student file, according to David Spatafore, a representative for the Utah High School Activities Association.
The UHSAA, which regulates high school athletics in the state, received a complaint from the parents of the second-and third-place finishers. During a legislative session on transgender athletes on Wednesday, Spatafore said that the girl triumphed in a competition last year “by a big margin.”He added that the association looks into every complaint, which frequently includes “when an athlete doesn’t seem feminine enough.
” When the school initially looked over the winning student’s high school transcript, it discovered that she was classified as a female student. Spatafore claimed that the UHSAA subsequently gave the school the order to dig further “to double check.” He pointed out that school officials had contacted her middle school and primary school to look at her file. She had always been a woman, Spatafore remarked, “the school went back to kindergarten.”
He continued, “If someone has been a female since kindergarten, it’s probably not a gender transition.” In order to safeguard the winning student’s identity, Spatafore promised not to disclose her grade, school, or sport. However, he used the instance to demonstrate to legislators that the organization had addressed and looked into complaints about transgender athletes and that it intended to abide by the recently passed rule that forbids them from participating in female sports teams in Utah high schools.
However, it prompted concerns about how far the organization would go to look at private student records without consulting the family when a complaint was brought up. The student and her family weren’t informed, according to Spatafore, in order to shield her from being offended or embarrassed if someone suspected she was transgender. If necessary, the parents would have been involved, according to Spatafore. But he believed that by looking at her records, the school was able to allay his worries.
“There was no reason to make it a personal problem with a family or that player,” he continued, “if all of the questions concerning eligibility were answered by the school or the feeder system schools. The procedure was not questioned by lawmakers. Sue Robbins, a representative from Equality Utah’s Transgender Advisory Council, believes there ought to be inquiries raised about it. UHSAA does not currently have a defined policy governing when, how, or to whom it may disclose student records investigations. It ought to, she argued.
“From where does the UHSAA gain the right to go look at things? Where does that policy appear? Parents will begin blaming everyone if children only act out when they are screamed at, according to Robbins. “They should have a procedure in place if they’re going to look at a level of records without alerting the athlete. If not, what controls their actions?”
Robbins acknowledged some of the negative social effects of disclosing an inquiry to an athlete, including potential isolation. From that standpoint, it might be hazardous, she added. thinks there is also a risk of violating their privacy without alerting them. Robbins requests that UHSAA consider this matter more carefully and develop a procedure.
The likelihood that everyone would accuse somebody who is successful of being transgender was something that was forewarned against, she added. “It turns into a matter of assessing women’s bodies. No one is safe, either. During his regular news conference on Thursday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox also responded to a query from the media. He claimed that the parents’ complaint worries him.
He remarked, “My gosh, we live in a culture where we’ve turned into bitter losers, and we’re looking for any excuse why our kid lost.” “I have a serious issue with that story. I simply hope we could be a little less judgmental of others and a little more thoughtful in life. Earlier this year, Cox initially vetoed the restriction against transgender girls playing on girls’ teams. Although he said on Thursday that he values sports fair play, he added that “creating up claims like that is really distressing to me.”
He claimed that when their children are competing, parents, including himself, frequently become unduly interested. He claimed he has previously yelled at referees. But the governor said that the complaint went too far. The UHSAA’s process for transgender athletes, which required them to register as transgender and take hormone blockers for a year before they could participate on a team that wasn’t their sex assigned at birth, was the subject of the complaint last year.
According to Spatafore, many parents complained, claiming that other students were transsexual and had an advantage. None of them proved to be accurate. According to him, one transgender female athlete from the state participated on a female squad last year. Transgender females are not permitted to participate on high school girls’ teams this year as a result of a measure passed by the Legislature that took effect in July and overrode Cox’s veto.
Three transgender girls who want to play with other girls have contested that in court. If a judge issues an injunction, a commission will take over and decide which transgender females are eligible to compete. The Legislature’s plan calls for the members to assess a transgender player’s wingspan, weight, and height—as well as whether a girl is on hormone blockers—to see if she would have an unfair edge.
The bill prohibiting transgender girls from competing on girls’ teams was supported by Kera Birkeland, a Republican from Morgan, who claimed she wanted the UHSAA to enforce the rule. She claimed that any attempt to disregard the law frustrates her because she spent two years developing it. This is the law, she insisted, regardless of what a judge may have decided or who may be suing. It “undermines our process of attempting to build process and laws” if you don’t follow it.