KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the mother of a transgender teen daughter, Debi Jackson says she’s struggling to muster the energy for another round of debates on inclusion in youth sports.
“This is our daily life. This isn’t something that’s a debatable experience for us. It is our reality,” Jackson told FOX4.
Jackson’s daughter Avery was assigned male at birth, but from a very young age, she identified as female.
When she was 9 years old, Avery’s story was featured on the cover of National Geographic. She’s now being featured in an HBO Max documentary “Transhood.”
“It’s really hard to hear people repeat the same stereotypes and transphobic tropes that we’ve heard for a decade now,” Jackson said.
This year, lawmakers all across the nation, including in Missouri and Kansas, are proposing several measures to prevent trans teens from participating in high school sports.
Just Wednesday night, the Kansas Senate approved a bill banning transgender athletes from taking part in girls high school sports. That measure is now on its way to the Kansas House after a heated debate.
Debi Jackson calls it a “manufactured crisis” to drum up votes.
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“Missouri has had a trans-inclusive policy in place for eight years now,” Jackson said. “Trans kids have not taken over girls sports. Boys are not pretending to be girls to participate in sports.”
Missouri State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, is proposing an amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would require trans athletes to only play on teams that correspond to their gender assigned at birth.
“I have gotten dozens of phone calls and emails, from mainly mothers, that are very concerned about this happening to their daughter,” Basye said.
Basye rejected the notion that the legislation is a calculated political ploy to win support in the culture wars.
“Whether you say it’s not happening in Missouri or Kansas now, I think is an invalid argument,” Basye said. “I contend that it is happening.”
Jackson contends that there are ways to support girls sports that don’t include banning some children from activities.
“If people care about girls sports, they can fight for more funding and for more women as coaches and well-paid coaches and for more people to attend sporting events,” she said.