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Argentina’s Women’s Soccer League Could Have A Trans Player And We Can’t Celebrate Enough

It is no secret that the glass ceiling is an ever-present reality for women in all sorts of environments: in industry, entertainment and of course in professional sports. Sports is a male-centric environment and when it comes to professional leagues, womens’ teams and sports figures are seen as secondary to their hombre counterparts. Now, it is a fact that women are placed at a disadvantage when it comes to salaries and sponsorships in sports, but there is a particular group within the female population that is particularly vulnerable: trans women. Even public figures such as Hillary Clinton and J.K Rowling, who have championed women’s issues, have made unfortunate comments that can be judged as transphobic. The world is still dominated by CIS discourses and trans rights have a long way to go. 

Trans women suffer discrimination and lack of opportunities and any move forward is a significant win. That is why news coming out of Argentina give us hope in a more equal and inclusive future. The country could soon have its first trans woman professional soccer player, subject to the approval by the league. 

Mara Gomez would become the first trans woman to play in Argentina’s female soccer league.

Mara is now 22-years-old and, if approved by the AFA, the reigning body in Argentinian soccer, she will play for for Villa San Carlos, a lower-tier team in Argentina’s top league. Even if her team has not been particularly successful on the field, they have certainly triumphed in terms of their progressive politics.

When she was 15 she was figuring out her gender and sexuality, she felt bullied and alone. Until she kicked a ball and everything changed. As she revealed in Politica y Gestion, she wasn’t particularly good when she started playing but the joy for the game and perseverance helped her cross the line: “I was really bad, but I realized that it was helping me. I could escape a lot of things and it calmed my mind. Fútbol was like therapy. I began to devote more time to it. At 18, everything changed when I began transitioning. I tried out in Toronto City and they accepted me, as I am. They opened their doors and saw me as just one more player. I ended up at a lot of other teams until I got to Malvinas, which was where I was last and we became two-time league champions.”

She fully acknowledges the physical differences she will have with other female players.

In an interview for Politica y Gestion she fully acknowledged and dealt the issue of her trans identity con la cabeza en alto: “There are lots of other players who are much stronger and faster than me and they didn’t use to be male. People talk in these terms simply because medical science split us up into male and female, but we have to consider the human capacity to adapt.” You go, girl! 

The league has to approve her contract, but things are looking up.

Villa San Carlos has officially requested an approval for Mara’s contract. As reported by CE Noticias Financieras, things are looking up for Mara and her team due to three factors that will surely influence the league’s decision: “First is the fact that the front has all the studies that prove that their testosterone levels are within the limits that set regulations to compete in the female branch of the discipline. They then rely on the implementation of the Gender Identity Law, a regulation with which Argentina pioneered the guarantee of rights and which, among other issues, establishes the obligation that trans persons be treated according to their identity self-perceived gender.

Finally, there is a case of a trans player who plays in the First B of Argentine women’s football”. If they deny Mara the right to play professionally they would certainly be involved in a PR nightmare! Fingers crossed!  However, the fact that Mara has to present a hormonal analysis in order to be approved is far from ideal. 

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A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

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A Small Victory For Trans Ohioans As Transphobic Violence And Legislation Persists

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Prior to 2016, trans people were able to change the sex marker on their birth certificates. That was until the Ohio Department of Health under former Republican gov. John Kasich “re-reviewed” its policy denying this right.

Upheld for four years, state government officials claimed the regulations were necessary to maintain “accurate birth records” and prevent “fraud.”

Though for trans folk, not having an accurate ID can be dangerous.

Ohio’s former four-year-old policy explicitly targeted transgender people.

Stacie Ray, a transgender woman, attended a job orientation back in 2016 that required new employees to present their birth certificates. When a human resources staffer called Ray up, she was outed in front of the other new employees.

According to the ACLU, she was called a “freak” and received harassment from co-workers threatening to “beat her ass” if she used the women’s bathroom. Ray quit after two weeks, though her troubles didn’t end there.

Although her driver’s license correctly identified her as female, her mismatched birth certificate prevented her from receiving higher paying jobs. Humiliated she went to change her birth certificate, but was rejected.

Fed up Ray, alongside three other transgender people sued the state against the policy refusing to change their birth certificates.

Ohio, until recently, was one of two states that banned trans people from updating their birth certificates to match their lived gender.

Last December, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled in their favor condemning the state’s unconstitutional policy.

After examining the Plaintiffs’ evidence, Judge Michael Watson wrote in a 28-page-order that, “It is not just the Plaintiffs’ own experiences that have caused them to fear disclosing their status but also a broader reality that, unfortunately, many transgender individuals do face a heightened risk of ‘discrimination, harassment, and violence because of their gender identity.'”

In a 2015 state report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 36 percent of trans people who presented an ID that didn’t match their lived gender were “verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or assaulted.”

The Ohio Department of Health was expected to challenge the court ruling, but have since recanted their appeal. A process for trans people to rectify their birth certificates is set to be unveiled by June 1st.

This small victory comes as anti-trans laws are piling up nationwide.

2021 is on the cusp of surpassing 2015’s record for the most anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in recent history. More than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced with states like Texas, Montana, Tennessee, and Arkansas leading the country’s bills.

Eight of them have already been enacted into law. But a vast majority of the anti-trans legislation will affect trans youth.

LGBTQ+ people and their allies are fighting back against a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

Currently, at least 66 proposed bills are anti-trans sports bills. At least 35 bills would prohibit youth from receiving access to gender-affirming medical care.

Last month, Arkansas became the first state to pass the most extreme anti-trans law yet. Despite a veto by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, lawmakers passed the bill which will ban transgender youth from receiving proper medical gender-affirming care.

House Bill 1570, also known as the SAFE Act, would ban doctors from providing care to trans and non-binary youth under the age of 18 or risk losing their medical license.

LGBTQ+ activists have continuously advocated that these bills are increasingly harmful to trans and nonbinary youth.

In 2020, 52 percent of trans and nonbinary youth considered suicide, according to a survey by The Trevor Project. Twenty-six percent of youth without access to gender-affirming care attempted suicide.

Unfortunately, the horrors of transphobic rhetoric has not ceased.

Anti-trans violence is also rising as another trans woman of color is killed.

At least 17 transgender people have been killed in 2021 with the majority of victims disproportionately being Black and Latinx trans women.

In April alone, five trans women were killed as the recent news of Natalia “Smut” Lopez emerged last week. A 24-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican trans woman, Lopez was a beloved drag artist in her local San Jose LGBTQ+ community.

Senselessly killed by her partner, her assailant admitted to having stabbed Lopez in a 911 call, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and is now facing murder charges.

Intimate partner violence disproportionately affects trans women of color compared to the general population. Since 2013, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked over 202 cases of fatal violence against trans and nonbinary people.

Last year was marked as the worst year for transphobic violence as 44 trans people were killed. So far, 2021 is on track to surpass that.

Local organizers and friends of Lopez have held a vigil for her which was attended by over 100 people. In addition, Lopez’s longtime friend Kiara Ohlde organized a GoFundMe to support Lopez’s family and funeral expenses.

To help donate, you can access the GoFundMe here.

As 2021, shows little promise in protecting and uplifting trans life, it is adamant that we continue to fight for trans and LGBTQ rights.

As the fight for justice prevails the Human Rights Campaign has compiled a list mourning the trans lives lost in 2021 so far.

Say their names! Share their stories! Continue to fight for your fellow trans brothers and sisters.

  • Tyianna Alexander, who was also known as Davarea Alexander, was a 28-year-old Black trans woman. Tyianna was shot to death in Chicago on January 6.
  • Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, a transgender man, was killed on January 9 in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. Samuel was looking forward to starting a new year.
  • Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Atlanta, Ga. on January 17.
  • Dominique Jackson, a Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Jackson, Miss. on January 25.
  • Fifty Bandza 21-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 28.
  • Alexus Braxton, also known as Kimmy Icon Braxton, a 45-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on Feb. 4 in Miami.  
  • Chyna Carrillo, who also went by Chyna Cardenas, was killed in the morning hours of February 18, 2021, in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
  • Siblings Jeffrey “JJ” Bright, a 16-year-old trans boy, and Jasmine Cannady, a 22-year-old non-binary person, both from Ambridge, Pennsylvania, were killed on February 22.
  • Jenna Franks, a 34-year-old white transgender woman, was killed in Jacksonville, North Carolina in February.
  • Diamond Kyree Sanders, a 23-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot to death in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3.
  • Rayanna Pardo, a 26-year-old Latina trans woman, was killed on March 17 in Los Angeles.
  • Jaida Peterson, a 29-year-old Black trans woman, was killed on April 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Dominique Lucious, a 26-year-old Black transgender woman, was shot and killed on April 8 in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Remy Fennell, a Black transgender woman in her 20s, was shot to death on April 15 in Charlotte, N.C.
  • Tiara Banks, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Chicago, Illinois on April 21, 2021. According to a news report, Tiara was sitting alone in her Ford Fusion when the shooter approached the vehicle and shot Tiara multiple times. Tiara was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Natalia Smut, a 24-year-old Black and Puerto Rican transgender woman, was killed on April 23 in Milpitas, California.

Read: More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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