Alex Trujillo, a high-school student from the Laguna-Acoma High School in San Fidel, New Mexico, has been suspended from playing volleyball for her school’s girls’ team because she was born a male.
Although born as a male, Trujillo identified herself as a woman since early childhood. Her mother admits that from the age of four Alex wanted to be like Pocahontas. Then, during her 10th grade in school, the teen started wearing women’s clothes. The transition was complete between her freshman and sophomore years of her high school when all her friends started accepting Alex as a woman. A natural progression for this transition would then be for her to be able to play in the girls’ team of her favourite sport – volleyball.
Her coaches at school were fine with the fact that she was born a male and initially let her train with the team. However, when she had to compete in intra-state championships, the state of New Mexico intervened. In an interview with the ABC, Trujillo confessed:
“I talked to the principal and the coach … [about] if it was OK for me to start going to volleyball conditioning. And they said they didn’t see a problem with it, but they would check with the NMAA [New Mexico Activities Association] to make sure it was OK. So I went to one day of volleyball conditioning, and a few days later I was told that I couldn’t [play]. … That was really devastating for me. I just cried. It may not seem like a big deal … but it made me feel like I was less than my peers, that I didn’t have the same rights and the same privileges. And it really hurt knowing that I was still seen as a male in the state’s eyes.”
That is because New Mexico, unlike most other states, has a law that a person’s birth certificate determines which team can he or she can represent in sporting competitions. And in Alex’s case, right next to the field ‘gender’ in the birth certificate, it is written ‘male’. Therefore, to be eligible to compete for the girls’ team, Trujillo has to undergo a reassignment surgery. In other states, people can represent the team of whichever gender they identify themselves either immediately after their gender transition, or after a short period, usually a year, after that.
As a result, Alex Trujillo is now protesting and seeking support to fight against the state of New Mexico and its legal structures so that she can be able to play her favourite sport freely.
Photo Source: ABC News