Parents of girls who placed second and third in a Utah school sporting event filed a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association, claiming that the first-place finisher was transgender. She is not.
David Spatafore of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA), the body responsible for enforcing the new state ban on transgender people participating in school sports, told the Deseret News that he had no choice but to investigate the gender of the first place winner after the parents filed the complaint.
He noted that not only is the girl in question cisgender, but that his office has received other complaints about the girl, including one that she stated she “didn’t look feminine enough.”
Mr Spatafore declined to reveal the ages of the students involved or the sport they participate in to protect their privacy.
The complaint against the cisgender winner of the competition sums up much of what LGBTQ+ advocates and other observers have long warned would be among the consequences of laws that bar transgender student-athletes from competing in competitions that come with their identities correlate.
The parents of the children who finished second and third used the law to target the winner of the contest, who had otherwise been targeted on the grounds that being a woman must conform to a certain concept of femininity.
Add to this the stigma of not only transgender students, but also cisgender students, who can be attacked regardless of their appearance.
These were among the reasons why Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed the law banning transgender people from participating in school sports earlier this year, when he stated that the law “probably affects Utah High School Athletic Association will go bankrupt and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts.”
But lawmakers quickly overruled Mr. Cox’s veto, making Utah one of the first states in the country to enact a ban on transgender sports. Other Republican-led states have followed in a year that is on track to break the record for transgender laws passed in a single year.
According to Mr Spatafore, enforcing the new law has been a challenge so far.
“To be honest, this is new territory for us,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not going to say we have it under control because I have no idea. I don’t think any of us in the office have any idea if we have it under control. We just want to try to do our job.”