Trans Athletes Speak Out: On the Field, Our Identity “Isn’t an Issue”

"When I'm all bulked up and walking out onto the ice, I'm not judged for anything other than my performance."

We hear about trans kids in sports seemingly nonstop these days, but how often do we hear from young trans athletes themselves?

The first installment of Logo’s inaugural Trans Youth Town Hall, out today (March 29), tackles the hot-button topic with care and nuance, putting everyday trans and nonbinary youth from around the country in conversation with expert panelists. In the 12-minute segment, host and executive producer Raquel Willis asks youth participants about their experiences at school and on sports teams.

“The biggest thing is when we’re on the field, me being trans isn’t an issue,” explains Rebekah, a 15-year-old field hockey player and transgender activist. “We’re just players. We’re friends. We just want to win, I guess.”

Eli (pictured above), a 17-year-old hockey player, agrees: “When I’m all bulked up and walking out onto the ice, I’m not judged for anything other than my performance.”

The conversation comes on the heels of a surge in anti-trans legislation across the United States, including a number of bills that seek to prohibit trans youth from playing on sports team that align with their gender identity. As recently as last Thursday (March 24), state lawmakers in Kentucky passed Senate Bill 83, an anti-trans sports ban targeting trans women and girls under the guise of “[saving] women’s sports.”

“It’s important to just start with the fundamental premise that this isn’t about sports,” ACLU attorney and trans activist Chase Strangio tells Willis. “This is about control, this is about exclusion, and this is about discrimination. And [lawmakers] are targeting sports because they were unsuccessful in targeting bathrooms.”

Parts 2 and 3 of Trans Youth Town Hall premiere this Wednesday, March 30, and Thursday, March 31, at 12pm ET/9am PT. In the meantime, watch the full first episode of Trans Youth Town Hall below, and keep scrolling for more relevant resources.
 

CenterLink’s LGBTQ Center Directory
Database of LGBTQ community centers around the country based on location

Gender Justice Leadership Programs
Storytelling and media programming led by trans and gender non-conforming youth

Changing the Game (2021)
Hulu’s documentary about the lives of three transgender high school athletes

PFLAG
Educational and community-building resources for parents and allies of LGBTQ youth

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella