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  • The Phoenix would like to thank the Assistance League of Los Altos for their valuable donation to keep our newspaper running. With their assistance, we will be able to print quality issues that reflect the interests of Fremont High School and the wider community.
The Student News Site of Fremont High School

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Transgender Athletes: Facilities and fairness

Graphic by Ren Lynch

The subject of transgender athletes and students has come to the forefront of discussions in the world of sports, and as a result, many related issues have been brought to light. Many of these are related to gender-specific situations, and if transgender people can or cannot participate. 

Among these are disagreements related to transgender people participating in certain sports and using gender-specific facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms. 

Many people have not seen eye to eye in terms of which sports transgender athletes can compete in. Some believe that transgender athletes should be allowed to decide the teams they compete on independently and should not be confined by the biological sex they were assigned. However, many people believe that this will provide an unfair advantage to certain athletes who may participate in a sport separate from their biological sex. This is often brought up regarding transgender female athletes partaking in sports, and concerns related to the unfair physical advantage they may possess as a result of their biological sex due to the amount of testosterone they possess. According to the bylaws of the California Interscholastic Federation, which is the governing body for all high school sports in the state, students are allowed to participate in sports regardless of their biological sex and can make the decision themselves.

One of the most notable athletes in this regard is Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who won an NCAA Division I national championship in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event in 2022. People immediately disputed her victory by saying that she possessed an unfair physical advantage that her competitors lacked, which was able to drive her to win the championship. However, Thomas previously underwent hormone replacement therapy and was not allowed to compete until her testosterone dropped below a certain level. 

Junior Mango Doherty, a cabinet member at the FHS Gender Sexuality Alliance, considers Thomas a personal inspiration because of her role in pushing transgender participation in sports. They believe that this is not something to be worried about, and that people are only finding this important now because transgender athletes like Thomas have started to win. 

“If it were such a problem, we would have seen it 10 years ago,” Doherty said. “As soon as transgender women were allowed to compete, it would have been all over the news. There has been no evidence of it and it’s a lot of fear-mongering I think, there aren’t enough transgender women to make this an issue.”

However, transgender women often possess certain physical traits that provide them with an advantage in athletics, many of which cannot be reversed or changed at all. Doherty added that transgender women are not the only ones who possess a physical advantage in sports that allows them to dominate. 

“Biological advantages exist in sports all the time,” Doherty said. “Michael Phelps, everybody praises him for being a good swimmer. He had a difference in his lung capacity. He had much larger lungs so he was able to hold his breath for longer. So he had a physical difference. That gave him an advantage, but he’s still an amazing athlete.”

On the other hand, senior Yonathan Weiss believes that cisgendered women will be disadvantaged when competing against transgender women, who may possess certain physiological benefits due to their sex. 

“It is clear especially now when you see it, there is a biological advantage and I feel like it’s very unfair for women,” Weiss said. “I feel like the people who get affected by this are not men, the people who are affected by people changing sports are always the women.”

Transgender peoples use of gender-specific facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms is also a very prominent subject. Some students believe that transgender people, especially transgender women, may create an uncomfortable environment while they use a locker room that does not conform to their biological sex. 

Weiss also expressed his concern, specifically for girls changing alongside transgender women, suggesting that they may feel uncomfortable. 

“If I were a dad I don’t know if I would feel comfortable having my freshman girl changing where there’s a senior guy,” Weiss said. “Even if he transitioned, I think there’s no need for that.”

This connects to the idea that people are eternally bound to their biological sex, and nothing can be done to fully separate one from it and this shows why some may feel uncomfortable with changing alongside a person of a different biological sex. 

Others argue that somebody should decide which facilities they can use based on how they feel comfortable and where they believe they belong. Freshman GSA member Logan Darknell believes that students’ biological sex should not determine the facilities they can use, and their own choice should define that. 

“I think anyone should be able to change in the boys’ or girls’ locker room or wherever they feel most comfortable,” Darknell said. “Personally, I have a locker in the girls’ locker room, and I change in a different area because that’s what makes me feel most comfortable. If a transgender woman decides, ‘hey, I want to start changing in the girls’ locker room,’ then I feel like they should be allowed to change in the girls’ locker room, because that’s how they identify with their gender. I don’t feel like it should always be about what sex they were born as.”

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About the Contributor
Vibhav Chincholi
Vibhav Chincholi, Staff Writer
Vibhav Chincholi is a freshman and a staff writer. He is usually found wearing sunglasses and he enjoys running for the cross country and track and field teams at Fremont. In his free time, he loves watching sports, especially his favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers.

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