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Former Bucks County transgender student-athlete shares post about transitioning to an authentic self

By on June 17, 2021 0
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday broadened its interpretation of federal sexual protections to include transgender and gay students, a move that reverses Trump-era politics and opposes proposals by many states to prohibit transgender girls from participating in school sports.

In a new policy directive, the ministry said that discrimination based on a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity would be treated as a violation of Title IX, the federal law of 1972 which protects against sex discrimination in education.

The debate over the issue is personal for a Bucks County teenager.

Hunter Felice hooped for the Bensalem High School women’s basketball team and played competitive women’s soccer. But after his first year, he made the decision to live his life as his authentic self. Not knowing where he would fit in, he strayed from the game he loved.

SEE ALSO: Department of Education says Title IX protections apply to LGBTQ + students

“Where do I belong, the boys ‘team or the girls’ team? And I’m like there’s one in the middle?” said Felice.

“And everyone I already knew knew me as Hannah, so going from Hannah to Hunter I felt like they were going to judge me and I didn’t want to face that,” he said. he declared.

It’s a decision, Hunter – who is now 18 – says he now regrets that Pennsylvania becomes one of three dozen states to consider anti-trans sports legislation.

In April, a group of lawmakers introduced a bill called the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which they said leveled the playing field by banning transgender women from participating in female school sports.

“We know that bills like this contribute to the marginalization of our young people and have a negative impact on their well-being, their emotional security and their sense of development, and it is horrible to see these bills being adopted, ”said Shawnee’s Givens, with the Attic in South Philadelphia.

In the first five months of 2021, five states, five governors signed bills banning transgender people from playing sports in some capacity.
Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto the bill if it gets to his office.

Ronan Diamond says it’s personal.

“I can only imagine the kids who now have the courage to come out and then feel that it can be exclusion from something they love to do,” he said.

Ronan Diamond is a health and physical education teacher at Bensalem High School and one of Hunter’s former coaches. He says that at the time, he had no idea why Hunter quit the sport until years later. And just a few months ago, he publicly revealed himself as transgender.

“I was terrified to be honest with you,” he said. “My students and a lot of my trans and non-binary students really gave me that kind of boost and that’s what helped me.”

Journalist Christie Ileto asks, “What do you think life would have been like if you had stuck to this?

“Probably still playing,” Hunter replied.

Her message to other trans student-athletes is, “Don’t give up on something you love if you really love it.”

As for the Ministry of Education, it is still unclear how far the new interpretation of the ruling will go to respond to legislative efforts to ban transgender adolescents, especially girls, from playing women’s sports.

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