Using Our Voices to Support Trans Kids in Sports

  1. Updates
Playworks teammates used their voices to speak out for the kids in our community.

They spoke at the Indiana State Senate in February 2022 against a bill that would prevent trans kids from equitable access to sports; Playworks runs developmental sports leagues and believes that every kid can benefit from experiencing safe and healthy play every day. 

The Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 1041 yesterday. While we are disappointed that the bill passed, we’ll continue working toward equitable access for every kid in our community to have the opportunity to benefit from playing every day. The next step is Gov. Eric Holcomb to consider. Read the statements of our Playworks teammates below.

“Jo: My name is Stephanie Jo Yocum and I am a National Vice President and Indiana Executive Director of Playworks. I am a former Indiana middle school, high school and college athlete. I am also a mom of a 3 year old who loves to play soccer. 

Traneisha: I am Traneisha English, Playworks Indiana Program Director. I am also a former Indiana high school athlete. I lead a team responsible for implementing and facilitating play and sport for more than 10,000 Hoosier children. 

Playworks improves the health and well-being of all children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Through play kids learn teamwork, self-confidence, self-management, and other critical social skills that enhance their ability to learn and grow. 

Safe and healthy play is not equitably available to all kids in all communities and this bill will further that inequity. 

Our vision is to ensure ALL KIDS have access to safe, healthy and inclusive play every day

As part of our program, Playworks hosts developmental sports leagues for children throughout Indianapolis. These leagues provide equitable access to sport, an opportunity for kids to learn sport and an opportunity to gain all of the incredible physical, emotional, social and psychological benefits participating in sport offers. We give kids a chance to be kids, a chance to experience joy and make new friends, a chance to learn and practice new skills. This bill will prevent some kids from engaging in those experiences by intentionally excluding children. Instead of providing a space to help kids learn and grow, this bill will isolate kids and thereby impact their families. It will tell trans kids, especially trans girls, that they are not welcome or included in school and are not worthy of gaining all of the benefits of sport and play. I am here to tell you that THEY ARE WORTHY and they should be able to benefit from playing every day. Playworks stands firmly against this bill.

Jo: A 2020 study from Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA and Hello Insights, found sports-based programs play a significant role in kids fostering the critical skills necessary to succeed in school, careers and life. The study found that substantially more young people in sports programs develop these skills than those who do not participate in sports programs. By excluding any child from sports based programs we are taking away an opportunity for them to learn, grow, and succeed beyond the classroom.

Trans children are children, and their needs are the same as other children. They want to feel included, they want to belong to a team, they want to get physically active. Can you imagine how it must feel to a 12 year old trans child watching this unfold? Watching adults talk about whether or not they can engage in an activity with their friends, an activity that they love that might be a critical outlet in their life, a chance for them to run, play, and laugh. This is hurting kids.

Playworks stands firmly against this bill–and any bill–that would exclude any child from the opportunity to engage with their peers and friends in sport and play – ALL kids need to experience the benefits that come from play and sport.”

Read more about the passing of this bill

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