Trump promises to ban transgender women from sports if re-elected
“We will ban men from participating in women’s sports,” Trump said during a rally in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday. “So ridiculous.”
He then criticized Lia Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania trans swimmer who sparked an international debate last month after she broke several records in a competition in Ohio. Trump mistook Thomas, referring to her with the wrong her pronouns, and then falsely stated that Thomas broke an 11-year-old swimming record by 38 seconds.
Thomas actually won the 1,650-yard freestyle at the Zippy Invitational in Ohio by 38 seconds, but she didn’t set a record in that event. She broke school and Ivy League records in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle by smaller margins of a couple of seconds. Outsports reported that the distance by which Thomas won the race is the longest in the NCAA, but it takes women more than 15 minutes to complete it.
Trump also claimed that a trans woman, whom he did not name, broke a 20-year weightlifting record. It is not clear if this claim is true.
Trump’s language mirrored that of conservative officials in many states in recent years. Last year, more than 30 states considered bills that would bar transgender student athletes from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity. Ten states have enacted such measures. So far this year, 17 states are considering similar bills.
Trump has previously declared trans-inclusive sports teams. In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, last year, Trump called trans athletes “biological men,” using a term that most trans people find offensive.
“Girls and young women are outraged that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological men,” Trump said. “It’s not good for women. It is not good for women’s sport, which worked so hard to get to where it is.”
He later added: “If this doesn’t change, women’s sport as we know it will die.”
Advocates say conservatives are using trans athletes as a key issue or “red meat” to drive voters to the polls. However, they say that in reality, trans women do not represent a threat to women’s sport. For example, last year, only a handful of lawmakers in two dozen states who were considering banning trans athletes who were contacted by The Associated Press were able to provide examples of trans inclusion causing a problem on sports teams.
But critics of Thomas say her success demonstrates that trans women should not be allowed to compete on women’s sports teams, or at least the rules governing their participation need to be tightened to mitigate any competitive advantage they may have due to Effects of endogenous pubertal testosterone.
Although some advocates believe that the intent behind the anti-trans bills is to attract voters, it is unclear whether the bills will actually have that effect. According to a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll published last year, two-thirds of Americans are against laws that would limit the rights of transgender people.
But when support for specific inclusive policies is broken down, trans inclusion on sports teams is less popular. A majority of Americans, 62 percent, said trans athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond to their gender assigned at birth, while 34 percent said they should be allowed to play on teams that match with their gender identity, according to a Gallup poll published last year.
Shortly after the poll’s release, Mara Keisling, then executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, speculated that Americans were reacting to the “flurry” of anti-trans bills being considered in state legislatures and predicted that as more people learn about trans people or meet someone who is trans, public opinion will change.
Gallup data suggests that might be true: It found that people who know someone who is trans were more likely to say that trans athletes should be allowed to play on a team that matches their gender identity, at 40 percent. in favor, than people who do not. know someone who is transgender, with 31 percent in favor.
“If you look at younger people in terms of who knows a trans person, it’s really obvious that we’re winning,” Keisling said at the time, pointing to the fact that half of people under 30 know someone who it’s trans according to Gallup . By comparison, only 19 percent of the oldest age group, people 65 and older, know a trans person.