YouTuber Jazz Jennings reflects on ‘devastation’ of being banned from school sports teams for being trans
YouTuber and reality star Jazz Jennings has explained the “devastating” reality of banning transgender girls like her from sports teams.
The I Am Jazz star, now 19, had to battle for her right to play sports after she was kicked off the girls’ soccer team at eight years old. Jennings was forced to compete on the boy’s team, which made her feel depressed and unable to enjoy the game she once loved.
Her parents fought the ban for two years until the United States Soccer Federation finally listened and created a trans-inclusive policy for soccer players of all ages.
It meant she was eventually able to compete on her high school’s soccer, tennis, and track teams – but she’s never forgot how it felt to be discriminated against.
“The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family,” Jennings wrote on Twitter after South Dakota became the latest state to issue a trans sports ban.
“Me and my family were devastated, but after 2+ years trans inclusive policy was created,” she continued. “People argue that transgender women have competitive advantages. This is not true. My personal experiences and many statistics prove this.
“Today in 30+ states, including Florida, they are trying to ban transgender people in sports. These bills are discriminatory, increase exclusion, and have no merit.”
When I was 8 years old, I was banned from my playing girls soccer for over two years. The ban made me feel excluded, had no merit and negatively affected me and my family.
— Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) March 29, 2021
Her tweet included a clip from I Am Jazz of her father reading aloud an email he wrote to a sports official who kicked his daughter off the girls’ soccer team.
In the full scene, her father says: “On the night we were involved of your decision to not allow Jazz to play with her team, I spoke to her and I asked her if there was anything I could do. Her response, as it often is, was clear and to the point.
“She said, ‘Why don’t you tell them that just because I’m a little different does not mean I shouldn’t have the right to play with my team? Tell them it’s not fair.’ I told her I would keep trying but it may take a while.
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“She’s a tremendous athlete and an even more wonderful kid. You’ll never find someone who met her to say otherwise,” he continued through tears. “Your decision has taken away a piece of her heart and her parents’, and I’m respectfully asking for you to restore [her to her team].
“Please let her play girls soccer presently or let me know what reasonable steps we must take for you to change your position.”
When I was 8 years old I was banned from playing girls’ soccer. Now, almost 10 years later, it pains me to hear states such as Idaho and Arizona could pass bills that ban trans girls from playing sports. We must stop these bills! 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/ilSBq7NjiW
— Jazz Jennings (@JazzJennings__) February 27, 2020
Jazz Jennings called on her followers to take action and stop the anti-trans sports bills before they come to pass. Click here for further information.
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