Utah parents request transgender investigation after girls’ competition

In the Utah Legislature’s Education Interim Committee on Wednesday, it was revealed that the Utah High School Activities Association asked a student-athlete’s school to investigate after parents called into question the gender of a winning competitor, according to Deseret News.

David Spatafore — the UHSAA’s legislative representative — said the association asked the student’s school to investigate after one competitor “outclassed” the rest of the competition in a girls’ state-level event last year.

“The school went back to kindergarten and she’d always been a female,” Spatafore said — adding that the association has received other complaints, including some that stated, “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough.”

Lawmakers listen as parents speak about the prospect of their children competing against transgender girls in school sports at the Utah State Capitol.
Lawmakers listen as parents speak about the prospect of their children competing against transgender girls in school sports at the Utah State Capitol.
AP

The request to investigate came after the parents of the competitors who placed second and third issued a complaint with the UHSAA calling into question the winner’s gender.

Spatafore reportedly said he would not reveal the sport, the classification of play nor the school the student attended in order to protect the student’s identity.

The UHSAA asked the student’s school to investigate without informing the student or family members about the inquiry, according to Deseret News.

People in the Senate gallery celebrate after the Legislature successfully overrode the veto of HB11, a bill banning transgender girls from participating in female school sports
People in the Senate gallery celebrate after the Legislature successfully overrode the veto of HB11, a bill banning transgender girls from participating in female school sports
AP

The association took “every one of those complaints seriously. We followed up on all of those complaints with the school and the school system,” Spatafore said during an update on HB11 — a ban on transgender girls from participating in female school sports, which was passed during the final hours of the 2022 General Session.

“We didn’t get to the parents or the student simply because if all of the questions about eligibility were answered by the school or the feeder system schools, there was no reason to make it a personal situation with a family or that athlete,” Spatafore said.

The situation in Utah came months after Lia Thomas, 22 — a transgender championship swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania — became the face of the debate of transgender women in sports this year.

Demonstrators listen to the speaking program during an
Demonstrators listen to the speaking program during an “Our Bodies, Our Sports” rally for the 50th anniversary of Title IX
Getty Images

In March, Thomas — who previously swam for Penn’s men’s team — became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title after finishing first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event and recording the fastest time of the NCAA season.

Last month, the University of Pennsylvania nominated Thomas for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The Ivy League swimmer was nominated as a Division I athlete for Swimming and Diving, according to the NCAA website. 

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