Utah Officials Secretly Investigate Female Athlete’s Gender

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah high school athletic association secretly investigated a female athlete — without telling or telling her parents — after receiving complaints from the parents of two girls she defeated in competition wondering if the girl was transgender.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that the Utah High School Activities Association and the girl’s high school determined she was indeed female after reviewing her school records dating back to kindergarten.

Association spokesman David Spatafore told lawmakers the girl and her family were not told about the investigation to spare them embarrassment and “to keep the matter private”. reported the Tribune.

The revelation came as at least 12 Republican-led states – including Utah – passed laws banning transgender women or girls from playing sports. Supporters of the bans say transgender girls have an unfair advantage because they are born stronger men and could deny girls spots on sports teams.

There have been almost no instances of potential competitive advantages in K-12 sports in states passing the bans, including Utah. The state ban is being challenged in state court.

Spatafore told a legislative hearing on transgender athletes on Wednesday that the parents of second- and third-place finishers in a competition last year filed a complaint with the association after the girl won first place in a test “by a wide margin”, the Tribune said.

The girls’ school reviewed her high school records and determined that she was enrolled as a female. The Utah High School Association asked the school to “recheck,” Spatafore said, and officials contacted its middle and elementary schools to review the records.

“School went back to kindergarten,” Spatafore said, “and she was always a girl.”

Spatafore declined to reveal the student’s level, school or sport to protect his identity. He said the student and her family were not told about the investigation as it might offend them and parents would have been contacted “if necessary”.

Spatafore also said the association has looked into other complaints involving transgender athletes in its efforts to comply with Utah’s law, which went into effect in July. Some complaints include “when an athlete doesn’t look feminine enough,” he said. None of the complaints have been verified.

Lawmakers did not question the process during the hearing, the Tribune reported.

Sue Robbins of the Transgender Advisory Council of Equality Utah said the association should publicly adopt a policy outlining how and when it can investigate student records.

“Where does the UHSAA get its authority to investigate?” Robbins said. “We warned that this was a possibility, that everyone would accuse anyone who passes of being transgender. is safe.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican whose veto on the ban earlier this year was overturned by the legislature, said Thursday that the parents’ complaint about the girl who was under investigation crossed a line.

“God, we live in this world where we’ve become sore losers, and we’re looking for some reason why our kid lost,” he said. He said he supports fairness in sport, but “making such allegations is quite disturbing to me”.

Prior to the ban, Utah had a registered transgender female athlete competing on a high school girls’ team last year, Spatafore said.

In a lawsuit, three transgender girls and their parents claim that an outright ban passed by Utah’s Republican-dominated legislature wrongfully prevents their children from participating in sports.

Their lawyers argue that this violates provisions of the state constitution that prohibit discrimination and guarantee equal rights and due process.

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