Thursday, June 23, 2022

A Hot Topic… And It Is Not The Weather.

It is trans inclusion in sports.

The radical right has been attacking us about trans athletes and right now pro-sports have had their arms twisted and issued new guidelines that deals us out.

But what I want to talk about is student trans athletes.

‘Annoyingly positive’ Erica Smith builds unbreakable bonds at Sweet Briar College
How the first trans woman student-athlete at a small Virginia all-women’s college made a mark and made positive change.
Out Sports
By Karleigh Webb
June 21, 2022

A hazy Saturday morning sunshine beat down on the turf at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., on April 30. The host Cedar Crest Falcons would meet the Sweet Briar College (Va.) Vixens with a Colonial Athletic State Conference playoff bid at stake.

Warming up among the Vixens players is Erica Smith, cutting and feinting to get in position for her best shot.

This day marks her first career start and represents a next step on an improbable journey. The journey of a 30-year-old sophomore who has become a “glue player” on a lacrosse team, and a leader within the student body, at a small all-women’s college in NCAA Division III.

She’s also a piece of history. Erica Smith is Sweet Briar’s first out transgender woman to be a full-time student, and thus the school’s first transgender student-athlete.


“She brings really good energy to everything,” Alexander said. “If I’m not having the best day, she’d come in and tell me something about her day and make me laugh.”

Teammates and friends all dub Smith as “annoyingly positive.” It seems to go in line with Smith’s spirit. From the first second she stepped on campus, she has sought to make friends and make an impact.

The college had to adjust their school policies to be inclusive.

Her outspokenness to make a space for herself drew students and faculty around her. She ran for a place in student government and became the non-traditional student’s chair for the student government association at the school. She also joined other campus clubs.

Another advisor suggested she tryout for sports, so she aimed for a spot on the field hockey and lacrosse team. She hadn’t played either sport, before but she felt both sports would best suit her. The head coaches for both teams, Hannah Lott and Elizabeth Parr, fast became sturdy supporter for the newcomer.

She had to follow NCAA guidelines for trans athletes,

Smith pushed to get into shape for the 2022 lacrosse season. Having met the NCAA guidelines, it looked like she was don a Vixen uniform that spring. However in January 2022, the growing controversy surrounding Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas led the NCAA to announce a drastic overhaul of the transgender student-athlete inclusion policy in place since 2011.

She has the support of the team and college.

“If it wasn’t for these people I am allowed to be around, and the support of my coaches, I don’t know if would be here,” Smith said.

“It is so wonderful to be able to run out of a lab because I’m on the verge of breaking down crying, and the first place I go to is the athletics center,” she continued. “I go to my fitness trainer’s office, and as soon a human contact hits, I break down. Then my coaches sit down and talk with I and say, ‘Let’s make a plan so that this doesn’t happen in the future’, and then my teammates reach out to me.

So what is the purpose of school sports?

Consider that less than one percent of student athletes go on to play professional sports; therefore school sports cannot be considered as a goal of sports.

Now college level sports has become big business! The student athletes are now getting paid big bucks… however, only a handful of players get paid, while rest only dreams. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair to me. Can you imagine you are a college football player and the student next to you is making a million dollars for playing while you might just get a scholarship… is that fair? Now the goal is becoming make the other players look bad so you have a better chance of getting a contract.

When I was growing up the coaches all said that sports builds teamwork, leadership skills, and self-discipline. So when you say trans athletes can’t play what you are saying is that trans students cannot learn those skills. So what you are really teaching the student-athletes is that winning is everything, nothing else counts.

According to the CIAC there are around 100,000 student athletes here in Connecticut! So how many trans athletes are there? Well there are no hard numbers but when I was on a panel with the head of the CIAC he said around a dozen or two. Those numbers are inline with what I have heard from the community. So all this brouhaha is a little over two dozen athletes out of a 100,000 athletes who just want to play sports.

There is another article that I want to talk about;

Megan Rapinoe Discusses Historic Equal Pay Agreement, Title IX Anniversary and Transgender Sports Bans
By Sean Gregory
June 19, 2022

Title IX, the federal legislation mandating equal opportunities for men’s and women’s participation in sports, turns 50 on June 23. The golden anniversary offers opportunities to recognize the advancements of women’s athletics, such as the pioneering collective bargaining agreement, agreed to on May 18 by the United States Soccer Federation, the U.S Women’s National Team Players Association and the United States National Soccer Team Players Association, that creates true pay equity in the sport. Players like Megan Rapinoe, who along with teammate Alex Morgan was the leading goal-scorer for the United States during its 2019 World Cup championship run, had long advocated for equal pay, going so far to sue their employer, US Soccer, that year in a gender discrimination case.

While female athletes have enjoyed great gains, inequalities do persist in sports. TIME caught up with Rapinoe to discuss how Title IX can be improved, the leadership lessons that came out of the equal pay fight, and the importance of transgender inclusion in sports.

And she goes on to talk about trans inclusion in sports and how important it is.

You mentioned the issue of transgender inclusion in sports, which is such a hot subject right now, as many states have passed bills that ban or limit transgender sports participation. Where do you stand on this issue?

I’m 100% supportive of trans inclusion. People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything. Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless.

At the highest level, there is regulation. In collegiate sports, there is regulation. And at the Olympic and professional level. It’s not like it’s a free-for-all where everyone’s just doing whatever.


Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. So we need to start from inclusion, period. And as things arise, I have confidence that we can figure it out. But we can’t start at the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting.

Yes it is disgusting!

This whole thing is about politics!

Look at how many Republican politicians are talking about trans athletes, Critical Race Theory, "The Big Lie," and what books are on library shelves to generate hate so that their voters come out and vote.

It is a smoke screen to hide what their polices are on rebuilding the infrastructure, wage inequities, Social Security, and other issues facing us today.

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