Arizona schools chief moves to defend sports ban for trans girls

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Less than a dozen trans students in the entire state have asked to play on girl’s sports teams’ in the past decade, but Republican Superintendent Tom Horne said that girls across the state are facing unfair competition, which is why he is vehemently defending Arizona’s trans athlete ban. 

“Imagine if Dennis Rodman, who likes to dress as a woman, announced that he’s transgendered and would compete in the Women’s National Basketball Association, or if Floyd Mayweather said he’s transgender and will now compete in women’s boxing,” Horne said at a Wednesday morning news conference announcing his backing of the ban in court. “They would dominate every competition and cause serious injuries. Progress in women’s sports would be wiped out.”


Horne is currently the sole defendant in a lawsuit filed last month by two Arizona girls seeking to void a 2022 law that bars them from playing on teams consistent with their gender identity. The girls’ schools, a Tucson private school and Phoenix area public school, have expressed support for the two, and Attorney General Kris Mayes has refused to defend the law. 

GOP leaders in the legislature have petitioned the judge to grant them permission to defend the law they helped pass, but they have yet to gain it. 

What’s fair?

At the heart of the issue, Horne said, is the rights of girls to have an equal chance at success in their athletic endeavors. 

“It’s a matter of fairness,” he said. “Every person has to be treated with the same dignity and the same respect regardless of race, sexual orientation or anything else. That’s a fundamental human value. It’s not fair for biological boys to compete against girls, even if they say they’re girls or even if they have (puberty) blockers.”

An interest in defending women’s access was repeatedly asserted by lawmakers who approved the ban last year, and has been at the center of efforts to shut out trans girls from competitive sports across the country at the federal level. But that argument ignores the reality that trans athletes are an extreme minority.  

In Arizona, only 16 trans students were allowed to join a public school sports team consistent with their gender identity from 2017 through 2022, when the ban was passed. And while exact data on gender wasn’t collected, the appeals were about evenly divided between boys and girls, according to Seth Polansky, a spokesperson for the Arizona Interscholastic Association, which oversees athletic programs for roughly 170,000 students across the state. 

Horne told the Mirror in a May 5 interview that even that small number heralds a detrimental influx in the future. 

“It’s a start, and if allowed to grow, it’s going to badly hurt girls’ sports,” he said earlier this…

Read More: Arizona schools chief moves to defend sports ban for trans girls 2023-05-25 00:47:31

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