It was the summer of 2019. I was sitting in the cheap seats at Target Field. I can’t recall if the Twins were winning or losing, but I do remember the family in the row ahead of me.
A mom and her two kids were enjoying the day. They were thrilled to be at a big league game, and watching the kids’ excitement was as much fun for me as the game itself. Both of them were having a blast! The older son knew all about baseball...the players, their batting averages, and was intensely focused on the game. But, it was other child who intrigued me.
The other child was a bundle of happy and excited energy...about 6 or 7 years old I think...smart, curious, and kind...just a great kid. What struck me, though, was that over the course of the ballgame as I observed this smiling kid and their playful antics, was that I could not determine if this child was a boy or a girl. Throughout the game I found myself looking for clues that might give an indication of male or female. After 9 innings...no luck! There was simply no way to tell. I was perplexed.
Then it dawned on me. Why should this even matter? What matters, is that here we have a child...a beautiful child...a human being.
Now, I’m not going to tell you this kid was transgender, I have no idea. But, I did begin to think about transgender kids, and all the stuff they oftentimes endure as they grow up, and into adulthood. As I tried to understand I came to realize that gender isn’t binary...that sexuality can be complex. I also began to wonder why some feared, and even hated transgender people. I wondered about that beautiful child in the next row, and prejudice they might face in the years to come.
There’s currently a bill in the North Dakota Legislature that’s trying to ban transgender kids from playing on sports teams that align with their sexual identity. Don’t you think transgender children already face plenty of challenges in life without some politician inserting themselves into the discussion on which soccer team a 7th grader should play on?
Transgender kids so often endure being isolated, made fun of, bullied, and beaten everyday. Why?...simply because they dare to exist. Let’s get out of the way...and let them play.
David Hogenson lives in Fargo.