Transgender Sprinters Win CT Girls Track Championships, Debate Ensues
Winning the short sprint at your indoor track championships used to mean fame, praise, and potential scholarships. For Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, it means the national spotlight and being used as an example of trans rights going too far.
The two transgender high school girls took first and second respectively in the 55-meter dash at the Connecticut state open indoor track championships, according to the Associated Press. Miller set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds and Yearwood finished in 7.01 seconds, nearly a quarter second ahead of the third place cis-gendered female (non-transgender).
Following the win, critics said the girls' gender identity gave them an unfair advantage in the race, arguing against transgender equality when it comes the athletic competitions.
Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow trans students to compete without restrictions, according to Transathlete.com. Below is a map of the United States according to states' laws regarding trans athlete regulations. Maine decides athletes' involvement on a case-by-case basis.
While some are entirely in favor of students competing on teams matching the sex on their birth certificate, some believe trans rights should extend to the playing field and all athletic teams should be inclusive. Joanna Harper, a medical physicist and transgender runner from Oregon, says the issue isn’t that black and white. She believes states should hold a standard based on hormone levels, the AP reports.
“The gender identity doesn’t matter, it’s the testosterone levels,” said Harper, who studies transgender athletes. “Trans girls should have the right to compete in sports. But cisgender girls should have the right to compete and succeed, too. How do you balance that? That’s the question.”