Agreed…and it’s my hope that this thread can stay on topic (that being coaching and track & field) – without veering into other areas.
While an athlete’s gender has been a topic before, most recently with South Africa’s Caster Semenya, this bill seems to bring gender in athletics to a new level (at least in California).
If my understanding is correct, and it may not be, under this law gender is now two tiered. One being the athlete’s gender as listed on their records (kind of ambiguous – but I’d guess their gender noted at birth by the hospital) and their “gender identity”. And it is the later that has been given priority and is now used to determine access to sex (gender) segregated sports under this bill. And by that, it’s not so much as access to play football for a girl or say volleyball for a boy (where boy’s teams are not offered), but rather which of the two XC or track teams to join. And as the bill notes, once this is determined, the athlete would then train & compete with their chosen gender, have access to the locker room and other related facilities.
Obviously this has implications for coaches and fellow athletes – both on the field of competition, but also in other environments which the coach must supervise.
What is also not clear in this bill, is if the athlete is required to take steps to align their anatomy, hormone levels, etc. with their selected gender. One would suspect that this would be greater issue for anatomical male who’s gender identity is female – where male hormones may give the athlete a competitive advantage. We’ll ignore the locker room implications for both coaches and fellow athletes.
It also not clear if there is a gender declaration procedure – requiring an athlete to self-determine their gender before participation in athletics begins – or if an athlete can change gender-identification as they move through grade levels as they mature. I’d guess that elementary children may not have a full grasp of gender identity concepts.
I would be surprised if this effects a large number of athletes in California, but obviously it was an issue that they felt they needed to address in their school systems.