“I am not opposed to individuals pursuing their ‘true self,’ but I echo Neil Hardin in stating, ‘This isn’t just about men in women’s sports. These lost opportunities can harm women in other areas of life too. One global survey found that 94% of senior female executives played competitive sports. Destroying girls’ athletic opportunities now can hurt their professional opportunities as adults.'”

The Utah State Legislature recently overturned the governor’s veto of a bill that passed by large margins with resounding support from the general public. The bill, HB-11, addresses student gender qualification for scholastic sports, barring male athletes from competing in women’s sports. Governor Spencer Cox, whose biggest donors are closely connected with the LGBTQ community, vetoed the bill, triggering a backlash that reached national proportions. Phil Lyman, a Republican State Representative who represents a mixed district, penned a well-reasoned and compassionate op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune titled, “Utah can work out a place for transgender athletes,” presenting avenues that would afford all school-age athletes the opportunity to compete in an atmosphere of inclusion an fairness.

Is this deleted op-ed “transphobic?” You be the judge. If you agree with Representative Lyman, please share. ~Ed~

UTAH CAN WORK OUT A PLACE FOR TRANSGENDER ATHLETES

By Utah State Representative Phil Lyman

Utah can work out a place for transgender athletes. There are several organizations that provide a place for LGBTQ youth to participate.

As a member of Utah’s House of Representatives, a heterosexual, LDS, husband, father of five, and a friend to many in the LGBTQ community, I reject the label of “transphobic” and the accusation of “stomping on trans people” directed at those who do not embrace certain transgender policies that seem fraught with misinformation and political agendas.

Instead of political theatre, let’s wisely utilize this upcoming summer legislative interim session , and commit to a more robust, honest, and transparent approach to policy issues, including those relating to the LGBTQ community.

Over the last few years, it seems that we in the Utah Legislature were simply expected to accept many statements and assumptions as fact with little room for questioning.

Now, it seems, we are expected to embrace, even applaud, biological males, who come out as trans women, as they compete unfairly in sports against biological girls and women.

A couple of years ago, a legislator might have been laughed out of the room, and his or her resignation demanded, for asking a question such as, “What will happen if at some point a biological male who is a mediocre collegiate swimmer, comes out as a trans woman, joins the women’s swim team, then almost overnight becomes the fastest female swimmer in history as she sets her sights on the Olympics?”

But now, of course, instead of such a scenario being preposterous, we are expected to embrace it as our “new normal.”

I challenge the LGBTQ community, indeed all of us, during this summer interim, to look inward. Are there sports and athletic opportunities and programs that can be enhanced, created or expanded for LGBTQ teens and adults, particularly transgenders?

Many parents will be relieved and very pleased to learn of athletic organizations such as Queer Utah Aquatic Club (see Q Salt Lake), International Gay Lesbian Aquatics, the Gay Games and more that already accommodate transgender athletes (example: Barbara Nash) and sports enthusiasts. In fact, the Gay Games website proclaims, “Sports are at the heart of the Gay Games … Every four years the Gay Games welcome over 10,000 athletes in 30+ sports.

Local LGBTQ providers such as Encircle, the Utah Pride Center, Equality Utah, and others, whose outreach includes trans teens, can assess the needs and demand for LGBTQ youth sports. These organizations, with their big hearts, their tremendous fundraising capabilities, and prominent supporters such as Apple’s Tim Cook, NBA Legend Dwayne Wade, local billionaire Ryan Smith, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds and many others can expand their existing programs by putting in place sports teams, schedules, coaching, funding, and more to meet the critical sports-centered demands for trans teens.

I am not opposed to individuals pursuing their “true self,” but I echo Neil Hardin in stating, “This isn’t just about men in women’s sports. These lost opportunities can harm women in other areas of life too. One global survey found that 94% of senior female executives played competitive sports. Destroying girls’ athletic opportunities now can hurt their professional opportunities as adults.”

I am very optimistic that by looking inward, having thoughtful and fact-based discussions and expanding our horizons, our LGBTQ organizations can lead by example while still protecting the identity of our young girls and women.

I am also confident that leaders and donors can meet the apparent demand and need for our LGBTQ youth, especially transgender, as we ensure participation in LGBTQ-sponsored sports programs that will support individuals throughout their life of acceptance, confidence, and health.

I look forward to this productive summer interim. Please count me in as an active participant.

State Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, represents District 73 (now 69) in the Utah House of Representatives.

Phil Lyman Utah State Representative