Trans lawmaker calls out GOP hypocrisy on school sports in moving speech

Del. Danica Roem at a 2017 White House protest
Del. Danica Roem at a 2017 White House protest Photo: Ted Eytan/via Wiki

Out transgender Virginia lawmaker Del. Danica Roem (D) shut down opponents of transgender students participating in school sports by calling out the hypocrisy of conservatives who say they want to protect girls’ sports.

“When we want to deal with the idea of how do we support women athletes, how about we show up to their games?” she said.

Roem was speaking against H.B. 1387, a Republican bill that would ban transgender students from participating in school sports as their authentic selves, effectively banning many of them from participating in school sports. Del. Karen Greenhalgh (R) said the bill is needed to “encourage” cisgender girls to participate in school sports.

“Similarly gifted and trained males will always have the physical advantage over females, which is the reason we have women’s sports,” she said, defending her bill.

Her rhetoric echoes that of Republicans across the country over the past several years: girls’ school sports need to be saved from transgender girls, and only transgender girls, not from a lack of interest from local communities, sexual predation, and harassment, or bullying girls face for participating in school sports.

Prominent Republican politicians have claimed to have saved girls’ sports, despite never showing any interest in girls’ or women’s sports except when they could attack transgender girls for wanting to participate.

Roem wasn’t having it.

“How about we pay them equally?” Roem said, calling out income inequality between women’s and men’s professional sports.

“How many times have any- any of you here gone to a girls’ basketball game followed by a boys’ basketball game where the girls’ game starts at 5 or 5:30 and the boys’ game starts at 7 or 7:30, and you saw the gym get packed right in the very end of the fourth quarter of the girls’ game because so many people were there excited for the boys’ game, regardless of how competitive, regardless of the skills, regardless of the rankings of the girls’ team?” Roem asked her colleagues.

“If we want to support female athletes, then show up to their games! Fight for equal pay for them! But at the same time, to beat up on trans kids because nine trans kids last year wanted to play sports, we’re now going to affect a policy for more than 1.2 million students?”

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