Man hurls anti-trans abuse at nine-year-old cisgender girl at school sports day


The mothers of a cisgender nine-year-old girl have said their daughter’s confidence has been destroyed after she was accused of being trans at a school sporting event in Kelowna, in British Columbia, Canada – just because she has short hair.

On Thursday, 8 June, at a track-and-field event at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl, a child who was competing in the grade four shot-put final was verbally assaulted. 

Heidi and Kari Star, who chose to keep their daughter’s name anonymous, said the grandfather of another participant was responsible for the verbal assault, calling out to their child before she went to throw. 

“‘Hey, this is supposed to be a girls’ event, why are you letting boys compete?” the man is reported to have said. 

“My daughter is cisgender, born female, uses she/her pronouns. She has a pixie haircut,” said Heidi.

She told local publication Castanet that the man demanded certification to prove the child’s gender before “he stopped the entire event” to target another girl. 

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“He pointed at another girl who also had short hair. He then said: ‘Well, if she is not a boy, then she is obviously trans’,” Heidi claimed.

Heidi was then allegedly called a “a genital mutilator, a groomer and a pedophile”, by the man’s wife.

‘Destroyed our beautiful daughter’s confidence’

Kari said the incident has “destroyed our beautiful daughter’s confidence”. 

She went on: “She was inconsolably crying during this whole event and continued once it was over and we were leaving, not to mention, she was unable to concentrate on her track-and-field finals and the shot-put throw for which she had qualified.” 

Central Okanagan school district superintendent, Kevin Kaardal, who called the incident “totally unacceptable” told Castanet steps are being taken to ban the man from all school-related events.

“Staff intervened and actually moved the shot-put away from where he was,” Kaardal said. “Adults need to govern themselves and behave appropriately.” 

The man’s identity has not been confirmed by the school district.

Trans people’s participation in sport continues to cause outrage within the right-wing community, despite evidence showing that, at a competitive level when rules around testosterone levels are followed, trans sportswomen rarely have an advantage over cis competitors.

Stonewall, Britain’s largest LGBTQ+ charity, has said sports officials making it more or less impossible for trans athletes to compete is part of the wider rise in transphobia seen in the US and the UK, while a Human Rights Campaign report found that barely any trans children play sports as it is. 

Just one in 10 trans boys and trans girls play sports in America – and experts expect this number to drop.

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