In her letter of March 22 (“Transgender girls deserve to participate equally in sports”) Emma Raven writes, “If you support LD 926, you support the suicide attempts of young trans girls in Maine.” Such hyperbole, which relies on emotionally charged threats rather than reason, is familiar to those who dare to suggest that perhaps women’s hard-won rights should not be so easily discarded. The very idea that girls deserve a fair chance in sports is, according to people like Ms. Raven, literal violence against trans people.

Ms. Raven writes of the friendships and confidence sports bring young people, but never mentions that LD 926 doesn’t bar anyone from sports: It merely requires they compete against their own biological sex. Why doesn’t it matter that some girls would miss out on friendships and confidence when spots on girls’ teams or podiums are taken by those they can never beat, no matter how talented or hardworking they are?

There is abundant scientific evidence that trans females retain nearly all male physical advantages, even after years on cross-sex hormones (a recent study: “Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport” in Sports Medicine, February 2021). Trans athletes like Laurel Hubbard (Pacific Games women’s weightlifting champion), Veronica Ivy (indoor track cycling two-time women’s world champion) and Cece Telfer (NCAA women’s hurdles champion) had poor records in men’s sports but are big winners in women’s.

According to data presented to the U.S. House of Representatives by Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman, thousands of U.S. teenage boys run the 400-meter faster than the last three Olympic women’s champions have ever run it. What chance does that leave high school girls?

Trans rights are human rights. But so are women’s and girls’ rights. We spent years fighting to get equal opportunities for girls in sports. Taking that away isn’t progressive.

Jennifer Gingrich
Portland