Amelia Dorko is a current senior in high school, a participant of Girls Inc. of San Antonio and a member of the Girls Inc. National Teen Advocacy Council. Amelia’s main interests are cybersecurity and foreign language, with a focus in Russian and German. In her free time, her hobbies include reading, writing fiction, embroidery, and nail art. She has a passion for helping others and educating young people. Amelia shares how current anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation affects youth in her community, and reflects on the importance of inclusion, and for students everywhere.
It’s hard to avoid sports when attending a public school in Texas. And why would you want to? School spirit at sporting events is at an all time high, and if cheering when your team scores isn’t your thing, you can always get volunteering hours by working at the concession stand. Athletes especially reap the benefits of this element of Southern culture. Participating in school sports has been shown to increase self esteem in students, as well as yield higher academic achievements and encourage students to pursue loftier career and academic goals. For many, excelling in their sport can also lead to scholarships which range from covering the cost of textbooks to a full ride. Sports are a vital part of school for many students and set them up for success for years to come.
But the Texas legislature in 2021 made an effort to exclude trans students from all these benefits. This included a series of over 30 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in the 2021 legislative session, of which 43% were directly targeted towards trans youth. There were a record six bills proposed that would require students to participate in University Interscholastic League sports according to the gender on their birth certificate rather than the gender they identify with. Anti-trans sports legislation advocates argue that boys have physical advantages that can’t be reversed with hormone therapy, but no evidence suggests that allowing students to play with the gender they identify with is unfair. This legislation is purely discriminatory, especially towards trans girls. Placing restrictions on sports participation discourages trans girls from participating in sports at all, preventing them from gaining the benefits of school sports.
Today, all trans youth are the target of anti-trans legislation in Texas. Their government is trying to barr access to healthcare, prevent the legal change of gender markers, and label supportive parents as abusers. It is more important than ever for trans students to have access to the support and community that school sports offers. When the government is actively working against students, their school should be a safe place. Anti-trans sports legislation harms that safe place.
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Transgender exclusion in sports. American Psychological Association. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from
Ermyas, T., & Wakeam, K. (2021, March 18). Wave of bills to block trans athletes has no basis in science, researcher says. NPR. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from
Legislative Bill Tracker. Equality Texas. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2022, from https://www.equalitytexas.org/legislative-bill-tracker/
Steinbach, P. (2021, June 17). Doe: Transgender Athletes Protected Under Title IX. Athletic Business. Retrieved June 21, 2022, from