Trey Kay, Emily Haavik Published

Us & Them Encore: The Right To Compete


At least 20 states have laws banning transgender girls and women from competing on girls and women’s sports teams. 

In this encore episode of Us & Them, host Trey Kay looks at the battle over gender and sports. Kay talks with transgender athletes who say they want to be who they truly are as they compete on the playing field. 

We hear from a state lawmaker who says the new laws are not anti-trans, but rather designed to protect girls and women from unfair competition playing against transgender athletes. 

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows a transgender girl in West Virginia to compete on her middle school girls team for now, while a state lawsuit continues. 

This episode of Us & Them is presented with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and the CRC Foundation.

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A young man in an orange shirt and khaki shorts faces the camera with a soft smile. He wears glasses and has a trimmed beard.
Taylor Edelmann was a transgender athlete when he was a student at SUNY Purchase. He played from 2009 to 2013. At first, Taylor competed on the women’s volleyball team. Then, he transitioned to the men’s squad.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
A photograph of a newspaper clipping.
Newspaper clipping of Taylor Edelmann has a high school volleyball standout.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Trey Kay and Taylor Edelmann sit on a couch in an interview. A painting of flowers is on the wall behind them.
Taylor Edelmann speaks with Us & Them host Trey Kay in the home where he grew up.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
A woman with dark hair and wearing glasses speaks into a microphone on the West Virginia Senate floor.
Patricia Rucker is a state senator for West Virginia’s 16th District. She co-sponsored a bill in 2021 that is now law in West Virginia. It bans transgender girls from playing on girls sports teams. Specifically, it limits girls sports to individuals “whose biological sex determined at birth is female.” The law applies to public school and collegiate athletes.

Credit: Will Price/WV Legislative Photography
A man in business casual dress sits at a desk smiling at the camera.
Terry Schilling is president of American Principles Project. He says they work to pass laws that “protect and strengthen families, and protect the innocence of children.” Schilling says American Principles Project has a SuperPAC that runs campaign ads for and against candidates based on their record for “protecting or hurting families.” Schilling believes there is a transgender agenda — which he calls “transgenderism” — and he believes that it’s hurting American families.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Two women athletes practice on a field.
Erica Smith and her Sweet Briar College field hockey and lacrosse teammate Ashley Maggiora are going through their summer workout.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Two women sit on a bench laughing.
Erica Smith and Ashley Maggiora take a break after practicing lacrosse passing.

Credit: Trey Kay/West Virginia Public Broadcasting