UAGC Sports Participation and

Case Study: Sports Participation and the Transgender Community In the recreation field, laws and policies have been put into place that are meant to secure access to facilities and programs for all people regardless of their gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, and sexual orientation.  However, members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination based on their looks, sexual orientation, and gender identity.  In youth sport, LGBTQ youth are frequently harassed and bullied which can lead to their avoidance of sports altogether.  There are also sports teams that are gender-specific, which can close the door to transgender youth participation.  These issues have translated into other related, peripheral spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms.

Scenario 

You have just accepted a position as the Program Director of the Pima County Parks and Recreation Department.  Part of your new job is to plan and coordinate the upcoming youth sports season.  You are sifting through the volleyball registrant’s information and come across one registrant (11 years old) who was born as a biological male but who identifies as female. There is a letter from the youth’s parents asking for her to be allowed to play volleyball with the other females because being able to play women’s sports is an important part of her personal identity.  The letter states that the athlete has started hormone therapy, but has no plans to have surgery of any type. The parents express concern about the safety of their child, but want to be assured that their daughter can use the same amenities the other players use (i.e. locker room and bathroom).  You are sure there are laws protecting transgender youth in Arizona so you reassure the parents their daughter can play and that their daughter will be able to use the facilities that align with her gender identity. The league is only for 11 and 12-year-olds. At this time you have no volleyball league for males of similar age. 

However, once the season begins, other parents discover that not only are their daughters playing on a team with a “boy” but they are sharing a locker room as well, which does not sit well with many.  They are calling for the teenage girl to be removed from the team, and some even think you should be removed from your position.  You also discover that there are no laws in Arizona that clearly outline what you should do in this situation. The Director of Recreation expects you to resolve this issue since you were the one that assured the parents their daughter could play women’s volleyball.  You will hold a meeting with the parents of the teenage girl and the media explaining your decision to allow the youth to play.

Opposing parents have cited the following reason for exclusion:

1. Competitive Advantage

2. Child Safety (in-game)

3. Social Bullying (Their children may be subjected to residual bullying as a result of having transgender youth on the team)

4. Locker Room Accommodations

5. Save Women’s Sports Act (https://www.azleg.gov/press/house/54LEG/2R/200124BARTOSAVEWOMENSSPORTS.pdf) and (https://www.metroweekly.com/2020/03/arizona-house-approves-bill-barring-transgender-athletes-from-womens-sports/)

For this assignment, students should assume the role of the Program Director. In this role, you have taken a social justice-oriented stance on inclusion and, using empirical evidence, must defend your position of allowing the youth to participate. You may also offer a compromise, such as that of the NCAA. Your decision defense may cover a wide spectrum of topics such as community policy, ethics, inclusion and access, etc.

Presentation 

Use VoiceTread Below to Record your “Press Conference”. The press conference should be brief (approx. 4-5 minutes) outline the student’s decision, justify their position, and offers solutions/recommendations that help ensure Pima will be inclusive. 

Written/Essay 

Essay should reiterate and expand upon your position to allow the athlete to participate. Here, you should use class material, outside sources, etc. to support/justify your position. As part of this essay, you should also provide 3-5 solutions to help Pima County create a more inclusive environment for transgender athletes moving forward (15 Pts). In other words, how would you ensure that moving forward processes are in place to ensure inclusivity, protect all youth in the activities the organization offers, help mitigate parents’ fears, etc. These solutions should be broad-based, not specifically related to volleyball.  

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