Dori: Controversy erupts for Seattle youth summer swim league and transgender kids

Apr 26, 2022, 1:44 PM | Updated: 2:52 pm
(Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)
(Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

As nearly 2,000 young swimmers from Woodway to Federal Way prepare for the plunge into outdoor swim season, some of the adults who manage their Greater Seattle Summer Swim League (GSSSL) are recommending the league to allow biologically male swimmers who identify as transgender to compete in girls’ divisions.

GSSSL task force comprised of six men, one woman, and one transgender member has recommended the change to the league’s board of directors, The Dori Monson Show has learned. The board is expected to vote on the recommendation this week. The change could be implemented for this summer’s season.

The recommendation comes as a surprise to many local families with swimmers – including at least one who calls the proposal “very rushed.”

If approved, the change would affect swimmers at Arbor Heights; Gregory Seahurst; Kent; Lakeridge; Marine Hills; Normandy Park; Olympic View and Twin Lakes swim clubs in the southern division. In the north division, this involves Aqua Club; Blue Ridge; Innis Arden; Klahaya; Sand Point; Sheridan Beach; View Ridge and Wedgewood clubs.

Former college swimmer and local swim mom Lisa Marquardt is among those who feel the move was “very rushed.” Many just learned about it in the last few weeks, she told Dori and his listeners.

The GSSSL task force was contemplating the change when families were busy juggling work-from-home and remote-school schedules during COVID closures, Marquardt said.

Were there doctors on the task force? Dori asked.

“As far we know, we have not had any medical review,” she said. “We have been asking for that.

“The very rushed part of this . . . is lack of input from those qualified to weigh in,” Marquardt continued. “Keep in mind these (task force members favoring the change) are members of our community and I think they also want the best for kids, but it’s been very rough.”

If approved, the change would allow biological boys/trans girls ages 12 years and younger to compete in an open category. Transgender swimmers 13 and older would have to undergo some form of hormone therapy or puberty blockers to compete in so-called “elite” time-based competitions.

That’s the age when biological boys start having an “inherent, gigantic advantage,” Dori said.

“How are girls sports going to survive if we have more and more boys competing?” he wondered.

“I’m not the person to answer that,” Marquardt told him.

Her recommendation: “Let’s talk. Let’s ask these questions.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Controversy erupts for Seattle youth summer swim league and transgender kids