A brave young woman, named Grace, testified at the House Health and Human Services Committee hearing for HB 2706 on February 13.
Grace argued it was unfair for her team to have to play against a team with a biological male in the state finals.
My name is Grace. Sports have always played a critical role in my life. Growing up playing soccer and softball brought out a drive for success, a competitive spirit, and help develop character in my life.
My parents always pushed me to be the hardest working kid on the field and told me if I worked hard enough, I could achieve anything.
My first love has always been unquestionably soccer. I owe a lot of who I am to the 12 years of soccer I have played. It’s taught me leadership, discipline and the rewards that come with a strong work ethic.
However, the success, the reward and the opportunity of being a female athlete all depend on an equal playing field.
When I step on the field I trust in certain things that ensure my opportunity to win. I assume there won’t be pro athletes playing against my high school team. I rely on the fact steroids and other performance enhancing substances will not be tolerated and because of these rules and stipulations I know that all of the work that I put in, the extra hours of training and the sacrifices my team and myself have made can truly be displayed on the field.
But recently I learned that I can’t trust in an equal playing field in Arizona. My softball team at the small private high school I attend had spent all season putting unreal amounts of work and we made it to the girls state tournament for the first time in decades.
We stepped onto the field motivated to win and play our hardest and display how hard we trained. But that spirit of determination was quickly dampened by one of confusion and doubt when we found our opponents were fielding a biological male who identified as a female.
This male athlete was permitted to play on the girls team because of an unfair AIA policy that allows students to join a team consistent with their gender identity. Our entire team’s focus and motivation was affected as we grappled with the impact of this new player. Sure enough, our opposing team won.
The boy gave them an edge both physically and mentally that we could not match.