This is what I said this morning in committee. After hearing considerable testimony against this bill, the committee voted along party lines to send it to the House.
My name is Marci Glass, and I am the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church on the Boise bench.
I am here to urge you to vote against House Bill 500, which would prevent some Idaho student athletes from participating in sports.
As other people have said, this is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist. There seems to be a need in our society right now to fear the “other”, however you categorize that. And there is a fear that boys who aren’t succeeding on their school teams will pretend they are girls just so they can dominate athletically. I have two sons who played varsity athletics at Boise High School. There were years when they didn’t make the Varsity team, and I promise you it never occurred to them to try out for the women’s team in order to play varsity.
That is an absurd fear, in truth. There is no indication that is happening in Idaho. (GOP supporters of the bill kept mentioning a case in Connecticut where ‘boys’ are beating girls in track races. Here is an article about the hate group that is supporting those claims.)
But if we service that fear and pass this bill, it will cause real harm to people who are transgender. Many of these kids are not “out”. This bill would expose them to unnecessary risk and harm. It also makes life more difficult for people who already face stigma, discrimination, and bullying.
Worse, this exposes all female athletes to unnecessary and invasive scrutiny, including invasive pelvic exams and possible genetic testing. It does not put limits on who can file complaint. What if a girl beat me in a track race. Could I, as the second place runner file a complaint? What if an opposing team didn’t like a great player on an opposing team? Could they file a complaint to keep a girl from competing against their team ? This bill is too vague, too easy to be abused, and discriminatory.
I support Title IX and encourage our government to fully fund sports and activities for female students, to support pay equity for women, and to ADD the WORDS, which would address real threats females, and others, face. This bill addresses imaginary fears and does nothing to address the real issues.
The people in my congregation who are transgender are not seeking unfair advantages in our society. They are seeking safety, and an ability to live into their identities with support and love. Putting nefarious athletic intentions on my beloved friends in the trans community is beneath the high ideals of our government. They are not the ‘other’ from whom the rest of us need protecting. They are our students, our friends, our loved ones, our children, our neighbors.
Thank you for your time.
If you have questions about this issue, here’s a good article.