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This trans teen athlete just stood up to conservative politicians and WON

This trans teen athlete just stood up to conservative politicians and WON

Trans teen athlete Maelle Jacques spoke in front of the New Hampshire State Senate about a trans sports ban
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16-year-old Maelle Jacques gave a stunning speech fighting for her right to play on the girl's sports teams.

A transgender high school athlete just stood up to the New Hampshire state legislature and won!

On April 23, the state legislature debated a bill (SB 375) that would have forced New Hampshire trans athletes to compete in male-only sports. This is just one in a long line of Republican-backed anti-trans bills that have been sweeping the nation and causing fierce debate, but one trans teen finally said enough.

That same day, Maelle Jacques, a 16-year-old high jump champion and soccer star, stood before the Education Committee and told the politicians that sports "have been an integral part of my belonging."

"Playing soccer since the age of three, when I began my transition in the sixth grade, my school welcomed me into the girls' team," she explained, The Pink News reports.

High school can be a challenging time for everyone, but add in being trans, and it can be downright hellish. But for Jacques, being on a sports team has been helping her get through those rough teen years. "This act of being part of the team allowed me to skip through the phase of social ostracization," Jacques said. "The other girls accepted me as who I was."

The high school sophomore explained that the other girls even included her in team bonding moments like their "locker room rituals," saying, "Being part of the team allowed me to be seen as normal, where everywhere else I could be perceived as a pariah."

Jaques loves sports and didn't join her school's sports team with "the goal of dominating competition or being better than anyone else." She pointed out that "no one would go through the bullying and self-hatred of transition purely to win a sport, especially woman's sports, which are under-appreciated in our nation."

Then, the brave trans teen brought her argument home, explaining precisely what the consequences would be for her if the state senate voted in favor of the trans sports ban. "If banned from sports teams and locker rooms, joining the male teams wouldn't even be a choice for me with the bullying and threats I'd receive, let alone the mental anguish I'd go through pretending to be someone I'm not," she said.

After hours of testimony from Jacques and other community members, the state legislature voted 19-1 against SB 375, killing the trans sports ban.

Sadly, while this trans sports ban is DOA, another similar bill (HB 1205) is still alive and kicking in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

"We urge the full N.H. House and Senate to put a decisive stop to the many pieces of harmful legislation attacking the rights of trans youth and make clear that trans youth belong here," said Courtney Reed, Policy Advocate at the ACLU of New Hampshire, the Portsmouth Heraldreports.

"Any passage of these bills would make clear that lawmakers are not listening to transgender Granite Staters, the medical community, educators, child welfare advocates, and civil rights advocates. It is incumbent upon all of us to build communities that help trans people, especially trans youth, know they are loved, supported, and not alone."

While Republicans don't seem to have any interest in listening to the lived experiences of the trans community and seem hellbent on pushing a seemingly endless number of anti-trans laws, teens like Jacques, who are willing to stand up for what's right, give us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.