Fox News has spent the past year warning viewers about the non-existent “dangers” of transgender student-athletes. The channel has spent more time on the topic in just the first months of this year than it did in the past two years combined.
With 126 segments on the topic since 2019, the channel was only able to reference nine athletes from around the nation – and more than a third of those segments were about two former high school students who haven’t competed in years. None of the athletes dominated their sport.
The channel has aired 72 discussions about trans-student athletes since January 1. None of them framed transgender people in a positive light. Anchors, hosts, and guests also referenced the topic another 58 times according to the watchdog group Media Matters.
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The two girls mentioned most often – Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, who are both Black trans runners from Connecticut – were targeted by the religious right and the anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom. A group of parents filed a court case seeking to prevent them from competing; the case was dismissed.
All athletes are entitled to play school sports under federal law. Title IX bans discrimination against LGBTQ people in education, and school sports are part of education.
“Fox’s obsession with trans athletes is a key component of the right’s vitriolic campaign to make them into a political and cultural wedge issue while putting trans kids and families in danger in the process,” the group says, noting that the more the channel has demonized trans youth, the more state legislation has been introduced to ban them from participating.
“During this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, former President Donald Trump notably mentioned trans athletes, who he has rarely commented on, after right-wing groups and figures had campaigned in the previous two years for Trump to embrace anti-trans issues.”
Thirty-one states have considered bills to ban transgender youth from participating in school sports. Five have been signed into law so far this year.
Tucker Carlson Tonight aired the most discussions at 27. Fox News @ Night aired 23. Fox & Friends, including its weekend editions, aired 22 discussions while Fox & Friends First aired an additional seven. The Ingraham Angle aired 15.