Republicans to parents: Let us peep at your kid’s vagina before we let them play sports

Shocked woman looking through a magnifying glass
Photo: Shutterstock

American girls can no longer pee or play sports without conservatives obsessing about their genitals. Conservatives are so hellbent on preventing trans girls from ever entering a girls’ toilet or locker room that they’re passing laws that make this obsession a legal necessity. They have no idea how to consistently enforce these laws or concerns about them being used to shame tomboys into harming themselves. For them, it’s just all part of “protecting girls.”

The obsession isn’t new, of course: conservatives and Catholics, in particular, love thinking about young boys’ penises and young girls’ vaginas: the urine that illegally flows out of them into the sacred porcelain of girls’ bathrooms; the sweat that covers them in gym shorts as they take away some poor athlete’s trophy or scholarship; the doctors who closely examine them whenever a parent needs to prove their kid’s gender to a bigoted bureaucrat.

But this is apparently the future conservatives want since these Republican-led bans have been passed in 25 states: a future where entire communities spend countless hours and dollars wondering, investigating, and arguing about what’s between children’s legs.

To not do this, of course, would allow the estimated 1.6% of the population who identify as trans to “erase” women’s safe spaces and their sports victories — nevermind that rampant sexism, underfunding, and bureaucracy have all continually failed abuse victims and female athletes for decades — no, it’s the small minorities of queer and trans people who truly cause this inequality… and the only way to stop them is to think endlessly about Timmy and Sally’s junk.

For a glimpse into the future of this Brave New America, one need look no further than Utah and the nausea-inducing case of Natalie Cline, a transphobic ghoul who moonlights as an elected board member of Utah’s Department of Education. Cline told her Facebook followers that the high-school-aged daughter of Al and Rachel van der Beek might be transgender because she is tall, muscular, has a short haircut, and plays girl’s basketball. Cline’s post quickly generated a “firestorm” of “disgusting” comments about the teenage girl and so many death threats that the school district had to hire additional police just to protect her.

High school is already hard enough for cisgender girls, especially tomboys who are undergoing puberty while surrounded by jerk classmates who mock their appearance and accuse them of being lesbians. Rachel van der Beek knows this — that’s why she unsuccessfully pressured her own daughter to conform to society’s female beauty standards.

“I would try to kind of maybe guide her into being what was more normal or what the world sometimes pictured a girl should look like, and that’s when we would butt heads and we would totally disagree,” she told NBC News. “As I encouraged her [not to conform any longer], then she started to blossom and her personality started coming out.”

When the media pointed out that Cline had publicly humiliated a cisgender girl, Cline publicly issued her “deepest apologies to the family and this young lady,” but only after blaming trans people for confusing her with their mere existence. Notably, Cline had nothing to say about the disgusting comments or death threats against the child. Indeed, her silence made it quite clear that she sees both as acceptable forms of political protest that would’ve been totally fine if only the child had actually been trans.

Luckily, the girl has a strong character and her parents’ support, Al van der Beek told KSL-TV, because others, he said, “Worst case scenario, she could’ve ended her own life.”

His worry isn’t overblown. An estimated 11% of teen girls attempt suicide and victims of bullying are two to nine times more likely to attempt it. Transgender teens are nearly eight times more likely than their cis peers to kill themselves — a depressing statistic aided by the widespread discrimination, bullying, and hopelessness they feel about living in a transphobic world.

Cline’s bullying was so heinous that Utah state Rep. Kera Birkeland (R), who sponsored a bill to ban trans girls from playing on girl’s school sports teams, even called Cline out, saying the girl’s parents should sue her. But this was a fine bit of hypocrisy, considering that Birkeland herself had spent four years and over 100 legislative meetings to create a law preoccupied with student-athletes’ genitals.

While slamming Cline’s behavior, Birkeland said there are “appropriate channels” for investigating a child athlete’s genitals, and we must “trust the process.” But the actual process is so confusing, vague, and secretive that parents who have gone through it call it a “grueling,” “frustrating” farce, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

If a trans girl wants to play sports, Utah law requires them to file a case with the state School Activity Eligibility Commission. The commission demands to see the child’s medical records detailing the physical characteristics of their gender, a history of their past sports participation, and in-person testimony from the child, parents, doctors, and any additional witnesses.

However, the commission has never published information about what criteria a child must meet to play. Instead, the commission said it would judge each student’s request to play on a case-by-case basis in a private deliberation.

“There are no rules, and it’s really up to the whims of this commission to determine if a kid gets to play something they really like and that means a lot to them,” one parent said. Another enraged parent said it didn’t feel like the commission even wanted his daughter to play sports, adding, “Without objective criteria, it’s completely arbitrary.”

In one case, a Utah school district investigated a cis girl who had been accused of being trans and reported the results of their investigation to her secret accusers — the district examined its own records and found she had been attending school as a girl since kindergarten.

But as the presumptively pseudonymous Crip Dyke at Wonkette recently asked, “But what if the child had moved into the district as a teenager from out of state? What if that state amends birth certificates? Or what if they had documentation that showed the child was indeed trans, but had an appropriate waiver from the state board in charge of such things? … How would [the board] satisfy themselves that the child was eligible? What would they tell the accuser if they were satisfied? What would they tell that parent if they weren’t?”

Additionally, what if the girl’s original home state had a “shield law” preventing schools from aiding in trans-related investigations from out-of-state?

Utah state law, the commission’s guidelines, Birkeland, and her legislative peers have provided no explicit answers to any of these easily foreseeable questions. That’s because the purpose of the law isn’t to determine eligibility or to protect girls’ sports, it’s to discourage trans girls from participating in the first place.

Imagine it: You’re a sensitive tomboy who wants to play girls’ soccer in high school. Then you’re told that you’ll have to submit private medical records and provide extensive testimony to old strangers who’ll decide — based on some unknown mystery criteria — whether your body isn’t too boyish to participate. Most self-conscious kids and busy parents wouldn’t subject themselves to it. They would just choose not to play sports at all — problem solved!

Conservative cluelessness on this issue has also caused trans boys — who have been forbidden from playing on boys’ teams — to compete against cis girls, often enraging parents who visibly see their daughters competing against someone’s son.

Conservatives are similarly befuddled when it comes to transphobic bathroom bans. There are numerous instances where a toilet vigilante will call out a “trans woman” for using the women’s restroom, only to find out that — whoops — the woman isn’t trans. In one old TV interview, a Republican politician refused to tell a gorgeous trans woman, in front of millions of TV viewers, that she should go pee alongside burly guys in the men’s bathroom. Another politician recently said that trans people should just take a dump on public street corners like stray dogs.

That politician’s comment reveals the sole purpose behind such laws: to dehumanize anyone who doesn’t look or act enough like a girl “should” — to shame them out of public existence. Yes, this will affect countless cis girls, but who cares? It’s their own fault for being so butch… didn’t their parents raise them better?

This is a needlessly callous approach for conservatives who claim to be so concerned with “protecting girls.” Cline herself said her actions were “a sad consequence” resulting from “the trans movement being foisted upon us.” But her circular claim is merely proof of the oft-repeated queer adage that social conservatives are always projecting and “telling on themselves” when they accuse LGBTQ+ people of ruining society.

Despite centuries of heterosexual divorce, adultery, spousal rape and abuse, and TV shows that literally make a game out of getting married, it’s the queers who are perverting traditional marriages. Despite the endless media about cis-het relationships and the Book of Leviticus teaching billions of people to murder queers and let them burn in hell, it’s the queers who are “indoctrinating” kids. Despite millions of needless infant circumcisions and “corrective” procedures on intersex infants conducted daily, it’s the queers who want to profit off of irreversible “child genital mutilation.” Despite child beauty pageants, rampant child molestation in the Christian church, and the countless cisgender heterosexuals involved in child sex abuse and international child sex trafficking, it’s the queers who are sexualizing kids.

And despite the absurdity of obsessing over athlete’s genitals and forcing trans kids to play on teams that don’t match their gender, it’s the queers who are ruining women’s sports.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Teacher sues school district after she was fired for reading a book about accepting others

Previous article

State treasurer Erick Russell is making history… and helping you get free money

Next article