Close up of the hands of runners, crouching at the starting block before a race.

Transphobes Harass 9-Year-Old Cis Girl With Short Hair

A 9-year-old athlete was harassed earlier this week by an elderly couple, who stopped the track and field match the girl was competing in and demanded proof that she was female.

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According to Castanet.net, a news site in Kelowna, British Columbia, the girl was competing in a shot-put event when an elderly man and woman began yelling at her. The couple reportedly claimed that the girl was male because her hair was styled in a pixie cut, and demanded to see proof that she was female. They then called one of the girl’s mothers “a genital mutilator, a groomer, and a pedophile.”

The couple, who were reportedly the grandparents of another student at the event, also harassed another girl with short hair.

Castanet.net reports that the school district is in the process of banning the man who started the harassment from future school events.

Transphobia has never been about “protecting” female athletes

Transphobes have latched onto women’s sports as a cover for their bigotry, claiming that trans girls and women are dominating those sports on a massive scale. Aside from the fact that that’s simply not true, incidents like the one in Kelowna demonstrate that transphobes don’t actually care about women or women’s sports. If they did, why would they show up at a children’s track meet to yell at girls over their hair? Why, for that matter, would right-wing organizations like Fox News publicly mock sports like women’s basketball?

The point isn’t making sure cis girls and women win competitions. The point is to enforce strict, rigid ideas of gender, with a clear binary division between men and women. It’s telling that any girl with a pixie cut—by no means a new or revolutionary hairstyle—becomes a target for people who claim they’re simply protecting women.

Conservatives are emboldening bigots everywhere

This elderly couple may have already held bigoted beliefs before the latest trans panic took hold. However, conservative talking points give them a handy script they can use to take their bigotry public. Notice that both the man and the woman’s comments—prove you’re a girl, pedophile, groomer—come straight from right-wing media.

Incidents like this are how bigotry that’s manufactured by conservative strategists and sympathetic media bleeds out into the public—just as it was intended to. And just like other forms of bigotry, transphobia needs to be stopped in its tracks.

(featured image: iStock / Getty Images)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>