Transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin has claimed politicans in Texas are using trans kids as “scapegoats”.
The 38-year-old McLaughlin, who transitioned from male to female in 2016, has commented on the controversial bill banning transgender girls from participating in female school sports in Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill last month, following in the footsteps of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have also passed similar bills, although some of these face legal challenges.
In a column for The Guardian, McLaughlin slammed Abbott and DeSantis for their actions.
“The intentions of right-wing politicians like Abbott and DeSantis are clear,” she said. “They are using transgender children as scapegoat and compromising their health and safety to score political points with their party and their constituents.
“Trans kids deserve equal access to sports. Trans people deserve equal access to public life.
“We deserve love and safety and inclusion, and make no mistake: we will win this fight, and history will not remember dinosaurs like Abbott and DeSantis kindly.”
McLaughlin also argued that there is no evidence of “widespread transgender dominance” in sport.
“This exclusionary and inflammatory rhetoric should be unacceptable in the halls of government and the pages of public media, but the political right perceives transgender people as an easy target,” she explained.
“The fact is that we are statistically underrepresented in sports. There is no widespread transgender dominance in any sport anywhere in the world.”
After defeating Celine Provost on her debut in September, McLaughlin became only the second openly transgender woman to fight in the MMA after Fallon Fox, who has not fought since her win over Tamikka Brents in 2014.
McLaughlin was subject to a deluge of abuse on social media after her victory, even though she passed all necessary medical requirements to compete in women’s MMA.
Former UFC fighter Michael Bisping and welterweight fighter Jake Shields were among those criticising McLaughlin’s participation in women’s sport.
“I do believe that if you’re a woman that feels trapped in a man’s body, there are certain advantages that you should have to give up,” Bisping said on his podcast.
“If you have the body of a man, competing against girls or women when you’re using your body to beat someone unconscious, has to be one of those things you sacrifice.”
McLaughlin, a former member of the US Army Special Forces, hit back by posting: “Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger.”
“Y’all need to show [Celine Provost] some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere. She almost finished me more than once, and on scorecards, she definitely won that first round.”