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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Let them Play

Elaine Morgan’s attack on transgender youth is unconstitutional, unnecessary and wrong

By LGBTQ Action RI

Morgan (left) doesn't need a costume to show she's toxic waste
LGBTQ Action RI strongly opposes S2501, Senator Elaine Morgan’s bill to ban transgender youth from school sports. We know Rhode Islanders want schools where students can learn in a fair, healthy and inclusive environment, and where all students are encouraged, nurtured, and supported. We stand with the vast majority of Rhode Islanders who do not want discriminatory bills that target and marginalize its citizens.

We are seeing harmful attacks on transgender young people with the introduction of anti-transgender bills in states across the country. But Rhode Islanders understand that transgender students play sports for the same reason all students do – to be a part of a team, spend time with their friends and learn important lessons like teamwork, leadership and self-discipline. We want all young people, including transgender young people, to thrive, and not be subjected to additional harassment and harm. 

As LGBTQ Action RI member Aarav Sundaresh states, “As an educator and transgender person, I know the importance of a supportive and welcoming school environment for the health of transgender and nonbinary youth. We must encourage their inclusion in all aspects of school activities.”

Rhode Island is a state that cares about fairness for all our students. Rhode Island schools, with the support of the RI Interscholastic League, have been creating successful participation policies for years. The legislature shouldn’t step in and undermine those working policies with a blanket ban.

We know the introduction of these bills are having harmful effects on transgender and nonbinary youth. In a recent survey by The Trevor Project, two-thirds of LGBTQ+ young people said debates surrounding anti-transgender bills last year negatively impacted their mental health, with 37% saying the effect was severe. This cost is unacceptable. 

Rhode Island’s transgender and nonbinary young people should not be subject to the politicizing of their lives. Transgender youth should not have to choose between being themselves and participating in sports with their friends and teammates.

We urge defeat of this bill.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since her election in 2014, Sen. Elaine Morgan has been an embarrassment. She currently represents the northern half of Charlestown. Her bigoted views got the most national attention in 2015 when she called for Syrian War refugees to be placed in concentration camps after the Obama Administration offered them safe haven. Her dreams of putting immigrants in concentration camps were later realized when Donald Trump, whom she idolized, assumed office. Morgan faces a return challenge from Jennifer Douglas (D) in the November election. – Will Collette