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Some of you may already know I’m a huge women’s soccer fan—I even covered a World Cup final for Rewire News Group in 2015! Even if you know nothing about the sport, I encourage you to tune in to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which got underway overnight, because there’s nothing like the feeling of entire nations rallying around women athletes. Yes, I cry.
The start of this World Cup hits different though, thanks to a summer of unrelenting attacks on transgender kids by conservatives who have suddenly decided they now “love” and “care deeply” about women’s sports. Nope, that’s not how this works.
Lawmakers in conservative states have targeted trans kids for having the audacity to simply be themselves. And the federal courts are starting to let those attacks, most often in the form of bans on life-saving gender-affirming care, take effect.
There’s every reason to believe that, similar to attacks on abortion rights and access, conservatives are only getting started trying to ban trans folks from accessing health care. These restrictions will shift to banning access to jobs and housing as lawmakers push forward an agenda that has, at its core, a drive to force as many LGBTQ+ folks back into the closet and out of public life as possible.
Conservatives have spent decades attacking critical pieces of civil rights legislation like Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which has provided so many pathways for equal opportunity for women and girls in education—and which promises to do the same for trans folks. The very same political forces trying to “save” women’s sports are the ones who have done their damnedest to undermine it at every opportunity.
Don’t be fooled. They don’t care about women’s sports unless it’s a chance to attack trans kids.