I want to thank Gov. Spencer Cox for his stand on HB302, a bill that would block transgender girls from participating in girls K-12 athletics.

The most important thing we can do for children is to ensure that they are welcome in their local community, especially their day-to-day peer community.

HB302 is based on a lack of knowledge and very flawed thinking. It will hurt all Utah children, not just transgender youths.

The damage it will do to transgender youths should be obvious to anyone. It will send the message that they are considered to be “of lesser value” in our community — that their rights and their happiness are of less concern to the community than the rights of other children. This is an odious message to send to any child.

But, I wonder, is anyone thinking about the message we are sending to our non-transgender youths?

We should not teach our youths that it is okay to exclude some of their peers from sports based on a nonscientific “standard” that shows an astounding lack of knowledge of the complexities and nuances of human sexual identity and gender.

More importantly, we should not teach our youths that winning a sports competition is more important than being compassionate and inclusive, especially with other youths who, because of societal prejudices, might have difficulty finding a safe and welcoming place in their peer community.

We should be teaching our youths that sports can be a way to meet people with diverging beliefs and unfamiliar life situations and, through that contact, an opportunity to rid themselves of their fears and prejudices.

There is nothing wrong with winning. But coming in first by marginalizing others is not winning — it is losing.

HB302 (and HB92) are a form of bullying, taken straight from the playground into the legislature. Thanks very much to Gov. Cox for his stand against them.

Dennis Fredette and Susan Fredette