Written by: Marsha P.
Ripping through the finish line first, waving her hands in the air in celebration of another victory, transgender track star Andraya Yearwood ignores the sound of boos from the spectators. At the young age of 17 years old, and a Junior in high school, Yearwood officially began her gender transition two years ago when she registered her gender with the state as female and changed her name. Although many would argue that Yearwood being born male and competing against female competitors is unfair, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) states that it is fundamentally unjust and contrary to applicable state and federal law to preclude a student from participation on a gender-specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student.
As a black transgender girl in a small town that is 90 percent Caucasian and a black transgender girl in a world that is intent on policing and erasing girls like her, Yearwood is often met with negativity. However, despite the negative attention surrounding her, Yearwood is a vibrant happy teenager focused on the finish line in front of her. Andraya told the newspaper she hopes to “inspire people, but not only with track.” “I hope it inspires people to not hold yourself back just because you’re scared of it or it is your first time doing it, or because of other people’s negativity,” she said. While the subject may be debatable it is a fact that Transgender boys and girls, some of whom are rejected by families and those around them, have been documented to have more suicide attempts and substance abuse. Their inclusion in high school sports is paramount. Their feelings must be honored.