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Right-Wing Media Attacks Trans Girl For Winning Irish Dance Competition

Traditional Irish dancers with competition numbers
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U.S. conservatives have now gone after a trans girl for being good at Irish dance.

Since when were U.S. conservatives so invested in the world of Irish dance?

After a sexual abuse scandal in 2019, and a cheating scandal in 2022, right-wing media was silent. But now that a transgender child has won a competition, suddenly all eyes are on An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), the oldest and largest competitive Irish dance organization in the world.

Following a trans girl's victory at a November regional competition, in a division for girls 14 and younger, a petition began circulating online calling for the exclusion of transgender competitors in Irish dance under the guise of "female rights."

The story and petition then made their routes through U.S. conservative news outlets, including The Daily Wire and Media Research Centre, some of whom went so far as to say that the young girl “robbed” her competitors, as her victory qualified her for the Irish Dancing World Championships. Several publications purposefully misgendered her.

Conservative media was up-in-arms over the girl's victory, despite the CLRG and its subset, the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA), having long-standing rules solidifying the right of transgender dancers to compete in categories aligned with their gender identity.

In fact, the contest was far from the first time a transgender dancer has competed, according to Regional Director at the IDTANA, P.J. McCafferty, who said in a statement ahead of the regional contest that there was an "established precedent."

"I am writing this post to remind everyone that we teach all the dancers. We advocate for every one of our dancers. We do our very best to be fair to everyone," McCafferty wrote, adding, "You are expected to respect all the dancers."

The petition circulating among right-wing outlets called on the CLRG to change their rules, which the organization has not signaled it will do. In response to the backlash against the young girl, thousands of Irish dancers and other citizens have since signed onto a counter-petition, voicing "unequivocal support for transgender dancers" and the CLRG's current rules.

"We recognize that success in Irish dance is, and has always been, a multi-factorial result upon which no assigned birth sex can confer a biological advantage," Gabrielle Siegel, poster of the petition, wrote in part. "This goes beyond the current scientific research, which states that transitioned transgender athletes demonstrate no significant advantage in any sport."

The transphobic petition has since garnered the higher number of signatures, after it was boosted by anti-trans activist Riley Gaines. Siegel's inclusive petition called for those who support the CLRG's current rules to sign here and let them know.

"We look forward to a future where dancers not only continue to compete in the category that aligns with their gender identity but are celebrated universally by all members of their community," Siegel said.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.