The mum of a nine-year-old girl has outlined why proposed new rules in a US state would be enough to never enrol her daughter in school sport.
Girls in sport as young as 10 in a US Republican state could soon be subject to traumatic and invasive body exams if someone suspects them not to be a biological female.
The controversial bill was last week “snuck in at the last minute”and is the reason mum Becca Peter would never let her daughter play school sport if they lived in Ohio.
Ms Peter, a mum-of-two based in Washington (state), highlighted why the proposed law – brought in “under the guise of ‘protecting’ girls sports” – was so problematic in a viral tweet posted Sunday.
She said the bill allowed “anyone to dispute the sex of an athlete on a school team”, while having no precautions in place to ensure it wasn’t used maliciously.
“Girls who do not look feminine enough, girls of colour, girls who are “too good” are likely to be the biggest targets,” she said.
“But any girl could be targeted. Maybe someone doesn’t like her parents or maybe someone wants to make sure the opposing team doesn’t have enough eligible players.”
Ms Peter outlined the vigorous and expensive examination process girls would be forced to undergo if their sex was called into question.
“First, the physician has to examine the girl’s external and internal reproductive anatomy.
I have to emphasise that this will impact girls as young as 5th or 6th grade, ~10-11 years old.
A year or two older than my daughter,” she explained.
“Step one to proving your correct sex is female: A doctor will need to spread open your labia and examine the size of your clitoris. A clitoris that is ‘too large’ could be a sign that you are intersex and not female enough for sports.”
Ms Peter said “step two” included a doctor inserting “one or two gloved fingers inside your vagina, while pressing against your abdomen with their other hand, so they can feel your uterus and ovaries”.
“This will likely be quite painful for these young girls, and extremely traumatic. There is no medical reason to do a pelvic exam on girls this young, absent any signs of a problem. This is sexual assault and will traumatise these girls. That is by design.”
She said while earlier stages were likely to be covered by insurance, the remaining two wouldn’t be.
They included having blood drawn to have testosterone levels measured, Ms Peter said.
“How much testosterone is too much? Unclear. Does having ‘high T’ give girls an advantage? No, not always. But this bill leaves no room for nuance.”
Finally, blood would be tested to see if the child has XX or XY chromosome.
“Except not everyone is XX or XY and there are XY women who have no advantage in sports because of the nuances of their genetics, but that won’t matter here,” she wrote.
Ms Peter added the bill offered protection for people who reported athletes, and none for the athletes who were reported.
“This bill offers protection from retaliation for people who report an athlete they suspect is not truly female. There is no requirements that they make these reports in good faith. There is no protection for the athletes accused of lying about their sex,” she explained.
Additionally, athletes who believe they had been “harmed” by a fellow sportsperson who “lied about their sex” can sue the school district, which will have to pay the accuser if parents of the athlete being accused “are unwilling to have their daughter sexually assaulted, or cannot afford the testing”.
She argued that from an “administrative standpoint” all female athletes had to accept the testing if they wanted to play inter-scholastic sports.
“Otherwise your district is in danger of having to forfeit games and losing litigation if you don’t have this paperwork upfront.”
“Inter-scholastic sports in Ohio will only be accessible to girls whose parents are willing to subject them to sexual assault and very expensive and unnecessary blood work,” she said.
“Congrats to everyone trying to ‘save’ women’s sports from your trans athlete bogeymen.”
The law had begged the question of whether winning was the most important part of high school sport.
“Because setting aside the incredible trauma and expense caused by this bill, at the end of the day, the message is that winning is what matters the most,” she said.
“That’s not the lesson I want my daughter to learn from sports.”
The mum later added she never thought when her children were born that “such a thing was possible in the United States”.
While the bill was passed in the Ohio state House, it will need to go through the Senate – which won’t be back in session until November – before it’s enforced in the state.
According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, there is only one transgender athlete on a girls’ sports team in the state out of 400,000 high schoolers, and three transgender athletes competing at the middle school level.
Originally published as Mum reveals reason she would never let her daughter play sport in Ohio