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Transgender reality TV star and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner is facing criticism from many members of the transgender community after she said she opposes trans women participating in women’s sports.
“This is a question of fairness,” Jenner said in a TMZ video over the weekend amid a wave of legislation across the U.S. targeting the transgender community. “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
Jenner, 71, won the gold in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. She came out as transgender on the July 2015 cover of “Vanity Fair.”
Jenner doubled down on her comments on transgender women in school sports, saying on Twitter: “I didn’t expect to get asked this on my Saturday morning coffee run, but I’m clear about where I stand. It’s an issue of fairness and we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
Trans activists have slammed Jenner for her remarks.
“Transparent” actress Shakina Nayfack said on Twitter that Jenner is “classically uninformed (and) wildly privileged.”
Activist Charlotte Clymer also hit back at Jenner on Twitter.
“Caitlyn Jenner completely fails to understand the science here,” she wrote. “This has not been a problem. The GOP is fabricating this issue and funding Jenner to claim this nonsense. She is about as credible as any paid shill.”
Trace Lysette, a transgender actress who appeared in the film “Hustlers” and “Transparent,” replied to Jenner that “this ain’t it.”
“When you’re on hormones and or blockers there is not an advantage,” she wrote. “I ran track at the club level with college girls and trust me there is no advantage. I would have went pro if I was able to run the times I ran before hormones etc.”
Other members of the LGBT community spoke out against Jenner’s comments, including Trinity Taylor, the winner of season 4 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.”
“A trans girl is a girl. A trans boy is a boy,” she wrote. “Everyones built different no matter what gender you are. Theres very small framed people and also larger framed muscular people all across the spectrum! STOP finding ways to delegitimize someone’s gender.”
More than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country this year, and as of April 22, 2021, eight anti-LGBTQ bills have been enacted into law, according to the Human Rights Campaign, one of the country’s biggest LGBTQ advocacy groups.
That includes more than 100 bills in 33 states aimed at the transgender community, CNN reports, including a bill signed into law in Arkansas that bars gender confirmation health care for minors.
Other states, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Dakota, have signed into law bans on transgender women athletes participating in women’s school sports. Opponents say bans would further stigmatize transgender students and spread misinformation about the community while supporters say the laws “are needed to keep the playing field fair for cisgender girls.”
“When the law does not recognize differences between men and women, we’ve seen that women lose,” said Christiana Holcomb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which supports the ban on trans athletes popping up across the U.S., according to The Associated Press.
Dr. Eric Vilain, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital, told NPR that men have an advantage of 10 to 12% in athletic performance over women, which sports authorities have attributed to testosterone. Vilain said that testosterone is only associated with better performance in select few sports and doesn’t explain the 10% difference.
“I would say that every sport requires different talents and anatomies for success. So I think we should focus on celebrating this diversity rather than focusing on relative notions of fairness,” Vilain said.
“For example, the body of a marathon runner is extremely different than the body of a shotput champion,” he continued, according to NPR. “And a trans woman athlete may have some advantage on the basketball field because of her height but would be at a disadvantage in gymnastics. So it’s complicated.”
Jenner played in a Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament in 2016 alongside retired soccer player Abby Wambach.
Jenner announced in April that she filed the paperwork to run as a Republican for governor of California as Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, faces a recall.
“For the past decade we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people,” Jenner said in a statement. “I am a proven winner and the only outsider who can put an end to Gavin Newsom’s disastrous time as governor.”
Jenner initially supported former President Donald Trump but said in a October 2018 Washington Post op-ed that she “was wrong.”
“The reality is that the trans community is being relentlessly attacked by this president,” Jenner wrote. “The leader of our nation has shown no regard for an already marginalized and struggling community.”