Katherine a mother to a trans daughter testified in opposition of the egregious anti-trans HJR 82 on Tuesday, Feb 18th to the Missouri House General Laws Committee. This bill would ban trans youth from playing on gendered sports teams. All athletes deserve the opportunity to play the sport they love.
Here is her testimony:
I want to tell you a story about the day my oldest daughter decided to walk away from team sports. She was only 7 years old, 3 years into her blooming youth soccer career. Admittedly, I am a typically biased parent, but on the field, she floated. When she wasn’t counting goals (she was the self-proclaimed leading goal scorer and the only person keeping track), she was her teammates’ biggest cheerleader. Soccer Saturdays were her favorite day. She completely lit up when she was on the field with her team. She was in her element, with her people.
That all changed in the fall of 2018. We arrived at the soccer fields for the first day of the new season. It was the perfect day for soccer -- a bite to the air, the warm sun beating down, the grass still wet with dew. We walked up to meet her new coach and team, her beaming eyes were already searching for faces of familiar friends. As her eyes registered her teammates in the distance, she saw only one thing: boys. I watched in horror as she visibly folded up inside of herself. To this point, her teams had been co-ed, as we expected this one to be. For logistical reasons, this soccer club decided to split kids into girls and boys teams and this was the first we learned of it. The club placed my trans daughter on the boys team.
She was shaken and confused. “Mom, why are there only boys on my team? Where are my friends?” We paused. I felt my chest burn and my mind spin a thousand directions as I searched for a way to make her feel safe and known at that moment. I knelt down to meet my daughter in the eyes and said, “I know this isn’t what we expected, and I know you love soccer. What would you like to do right now?” She looked over at the team, then looked back at me with tearful eyes and a settled certainty, then said, “Let’s just go home, Mom. I know I don’t belong here.” And she never went back.
We all want our kids to experience the joy and struggle of belonging to a team -- to learn community building, leadership skills and many other benefits of team sports. We want to celebrate with them in their wins and hold them in the pains of defeat. I worry my child won’t get to experience this. My daughter simply wanted to show up as herself to participate in something she enjoyed with a community she loved. She was robbed of that opportunity when she was treated differently. Will you take away the same opportunity from trans youth across our state?