Controversies with Transgender People in Sports


Kate De La Torre

Illustration depicting a Girl’s Track and Field competition. (jerseys symbolize gender identification)

Bruno Bustamante, Online Editor

Sweat drips off you; it’s the final stretch of your race; you’re close to victory. The only person who can stop you is the person next to you; though you’re exhausted, you try pushing through the pain. The race is finished, but you lost. Unfairly.

This was the case when two transgender females competed in the same championship race and took the medals for first and second place in a Connecticut State Championship race. If a male who now identifies as a female joins the girl’s track team or girl’s basketball team, do they have advantages? This is the question asked by parents and athletes all over the country.

“I think that an athlete should play in a sport based on their gender identity, so if they identify as a female they should play on the girl’s team and vice versa,” Coach of Track and Field, Mr. Marquez, said. He believes they should play on the team of their choosing but understands there are possible advantages that come with it. “The male body is able to technically run a bit faster than the female body, which causes big disadvantages,” he said.

Another opinion from the high school Track and Field scene would be senior runner, Angela Diaz. As a female runner, she believes that because of the physical advantages that a person of the transgender identity would have, it would be unfair for them to race against the gender of their choosing. “Although they may no longer identify as their original gender, their body still carries genes of the gender in which they were born,” Diaz said. She believes it is the same reason why steroids are illegal- they give an unfair advantage to one person.

In basketball, the controversy of transgender people playing is also present. The male body produces testosterone, while the female body doesn’t. Testosterone in the male body helps build muscle faster. “I think people should identify as what they feel they are, but when it comes to sports, the physiological differences between males and females come into factor,” Coach Sam of the Girls’ Basketball team said. She believes everyone should be able to identify as what they want, but the advantages that the male body has makes it unfair for a transgender female to play on the female team. 

On the contrary, Anahi Barajas, a junior basketball player, sees the possibility of someone of this gender identity on her team or against her team as a reason to work harder. “In my sport, there are girls who are faster than me, which just makes me work harder to compete,” Barajas said. She thinks that the physiological advantages motivate her to work harder.

Due to unfair physiological advantages of the male body, it seems rather unfair for a person who identifies as transgender to play on the team they now identify as. When scholarships come into the conversation, it would make the person that isn’t transgender work harder in order to compete for the opportunities.