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Utah parents file complaint against high school sporting event winner, incorrectly arguing she’s transgender


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Parents of girls who finished second and third in a Utah scholastic sporting event filed a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association claiming that the first place finisher is transgender. She’s not.

David Spatafore of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA), the body responsible for enforcing the state’s new ban on transgender participation in school sports, told the Deseret News that he had no choice but to investigate the first place finisher’s gender after parents filed the complaint.

He found that not only is the girl in question cisgender, but that his office has received other complaints about the girl including one stating that she “doesn’t look feminine enough.”

Mr Spatafore declined to reveal the age of the students involved or the sport in which they participate in an effort to protect their privacy.

The complaint against the cisgender winner of the competition encapsulates much of what LGBTQ+ advocates and other observers have long warned would be among the consequences of laws barring transgender student athletes from competing in the competitions that correlate with their identities.

The parents of the children who finished in second and third positions used the law to target the winner of the competition, who had been otherwise targeted on the basis that being a woman must correlate to a certain concept of femininity.

This is in addition to the stigmatisation of not only transgender students, but also cisgender students who may be targeted on the basis of their looks regardless.

These were among the reasons why Utah’s Republican Gov Spencer Cox vetoed the law banning transgender participation in school sports in the spring, when he stated that the law “will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts”.

But the legislature quickly overrode Mr Cox’s veto, making Utah one of the first states in the country to enact a transgender sports ban. Other Republican-led states have followed in a year that is on pace to break the record for transgender laws passed in a single year.

Per Mr Spatafore, enforcement of the new law has been a challenge thus far.

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“Quite frankly, this is new ground for us,” he told the newspaper.

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