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Utah parent accuses girl's basketball player of being trans, gets banned from games

School Teens Play Practice Basketball
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Utah's anti-transgender laws are putting even children who aren't trans in jeopardy.

The family of a junior varsity girl’s basketball player in Utah is speaking out after their daughter was accused of being transgender by another parent, who attempted to have her banned from playing.

The angry parent confronted the principals of both competing schools at a game on January 19, then again after the game, declaring: “I wasn’t born yesterday, I know that’s a boy and you better be able to prove yourself because I am going to the top," according toThe Salt Lake Tribune.

The Utah High School Athletics Association now requires students to upload birth certificates to verify their sex. Transgender girls are required to prove they have been on hormone therapy for at least on year, despite gender-affirming care now being banned in the state.

The student “was 100 percent eligible to be on the court,” according to Canyons School District spokesperson Jeff Haney, who told the outlet that “the principal has made the decision not to allow him to return to any other games."

“We do not tolerate people coming into our community and our schools and harassing our student athletes," he added.

While the student's identity has been kept private, as she is a minor, the athlete and her parents spoke to the outlet following the "stressful" incident. She said she is “just playing basketball as usual and trying not to think about it.”

Her father added that students “should not have to worry about who’s up in the bleachers and who’s pointing fingers. They don’t need to think about that. Just keep them playing ball.” The girl’s mother encouraged others think about “the impact this has on the kids.”

The Utah House of Representatives recently passed HB 257, a contentious bill that aims to ban transgender students from using restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, as well as restrict access to changing rooms in government-owned or operated facilities for transgender people of all ages.

State legislatures pushed through the bill earlier this month, marking the third year in a row where they've targeted LGBTQ+ people through legislation, despite the lawsuits pending against previous laws. The legislature passed a similar law prohibiting transgender girls from playing girls high school sports two years ago, which has since been blocked in courts by a lawsuit from student athletes who argue it is unconstitutional, as it singles them out over their gender identity.

The recent incident is not the first time a parent in the state has belligerently contested the identity of a player on an opposing team, as the outlet reported on a similar case in 2022 where a cisgender student was accosted. Other incidents have transpired in the past several years, but the UHSAA has not released data on their frequency.

To Marina Lowe, policy director of Equality Utah, such incidents will continue to occur "especially now that we’re putting in place even more legislation that essentially allows the public to sit in a place of judgment or assessment of people’s physical characteristics."

“This doesn’t just harm the trans community. It really harms us all,” she told The Tribune. “Because once we get in the business of policing someone’s appearance … all of us are going to be subject to this sort of inquiry potentially.”

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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.