Karleigh Webb spoke at a flag raising for the Transgender Day of Visibility at the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday. As "Coach Karleigh" she has more to say. | Karleigh Webb

I’ve been at Outsports since 2019. In that time, I’ve had the chance to cover breaking news, feature interesting people and shed light on the deeper issues.

Each Transgender Day of Visibility, my colleagues have given me the space to say what I think and what I feel.

I’ve reported a great deal on what transgender people who just want to play sports are facing, especially trans youth.

With it being TDoV 2024 on Sunday, Coach Karleigh has taken out her clipboard and whistle.

I think a pep talk is in order.

We know about the anti-trans bills passed in 25 states. Those Erin Reed risk maps seem to grow darker crimson every day as certain politicians try to win their political games.

We’ve seen how governing bodies try to turn past hysteria into present and future exclusion.

Transphobia over thinking. Irrational fear sold as “fairness”.

Fairness for whom?

Standing in the middle is us. Those of us who play and those of us who want to.

Those of us who coach, clap and cheer.

You know what they say about us.

Why can’t they have their own division?

“They’re cheaters”

We’ve been hearing that a lot, especially in the last five years. In that first case, and every other case, they were wrong.

They were making a young woman named CeCé a problem when she finished sixth. They tried to say even worse when she won.

They did the same to Lia, and Austin, and Emily, and Natalie and Hailey.

Trans men can’t compete? Patricio Manuel shows different. — Photo courtesy of DAZN

“They are nothing to worry about. They aren’t really men and can’t compete.”

They told Chris that. They told Schuyler that. They told Iszac that.

They try to tell Patricio that, even as they duck him. I see you sweating in the gym with that next fight coming up April 4 with a chance to go 4-0.

I know you are tired and frustrated, even if the season is over. I see you, that young basketball player in Vermont. I see some high school talent who won at their state and regional finals recently.

I see Meghan Cortez-Fields receiving rhubarb over a school record from those who suddenly have an opinion on an issue they probably just heard of.

It’s all because Lia Thomas still lives in their heads, rent free.

We hear the noise. It’s hard to turn off the noise.

Yet as a community, we must turn off the noise and do something different.

We will be seen. We will be heard. Sport is our right.

Nikki Hiltz of the United States poses for photos after finishing second in the women's 1,500-meter final at the World Athletics Indoor Championships at Emirates Arena on March 3, 2024, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Nikki Hiltz, you are wanted in Paris this summer. Photo by Sam Mellish/Getty Images | Photo by Sam Mellish/Getty Images

Grab your spikes and sprint outdoors, Sadie Schreiner. A last heat of four runners at the NCAA Division III track and field national swept four others out of the final, including you, just .007 seconds short.

I see you Brooklyn Ross, who with each win moves toward one last chance on the national stage.

Hey, Cal Calamia! Leave everyone in the dust. I want to see that finishing kick.

That goes for you too, runner Nikki Hiltz. You have a date in Paris this summer and I want to see you keep it.

Tifanny Abreu, get that Superliga Feminina championship. Her club is in the semifinals of the playoffs now.

Jacqueline Cook, open holes on offense and close them on defense.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, I hear auto racer Charlie Martin revving up her engine. The series she’s in gives her a chance to race a dream at Le Mans this season. Stand on it, kid!

TRUK United FC will have a visibility day grudge match within the family Sunday. I heard one of your own, Football v Transphobia campaign leader Natalie Washington, speak on the Football v Transphobia Podcast hosted by Outsports’ Jon Holmes.

Soccer goalkeeper Blair Hamilton, a.k.a. “The Washing Machine”, was also on the podcast. She sometimes patrols the TRUK United net when she’s not in goal for fifth-tier Saltdean United. Since joining Saltdean last season, and in the midst of a successful season, she notes the support she gets from teammates has been critical.

“I’ve never been in a dressing room where everyone is so chill and has so much character,” she said. “Everyone’s got your back and that makes things special.”

Teammates having your back. We need to see that. We need to hear that, especially for youngsters taking the field in the spring to come and the year ahead.

My Reapers sisters have my back and I have theirs. Video courtesy of Erik Tesauro/TEZ TV

I know what that’s like.

This time last year, I was with my football teammates getting my jersey. One of my teammates told me, “Karleigh, you’re ready and you’re one of us now.”

Be seen. Be heard.

That goes for coaches and league administrators. Allyship means being at the front. It may mean taking a stand for the inclusion you say you support. It will mean speaking out, even if your voice shakes.

It can be simple, but hard. Some have done it. The Vermont Principals Association last year stood up for trans-inclusive policy in their high school sports. When anti-trans clickbait media sought to demean Cortez-Fields, Ramapo College clapped back.

Noa-Lynn van Leuven
The Dutch national federation stood up for Noa-Lynn van Leuven. Take notes, Charlie Baker. – Photo courtesy of PDC | PDC

When two members of the Dutch national darts team left the team because of Noa-Lynn van Leuven, the national federation didn’t go quiet or cower. They stood up for van Leuven Tombstone-style.

Well, bye!

I see you Long Island Roller Rebels telling Nassau County’s anti-trans executive, “Oh you want to discriminate? Fine! See you in court!”

NCAA President Charlie Baker take notes, and then say that directly to Riley Gaines and the political operatives powering her lawsuit against you.

That’s the support I want to see out there. It’s the support we need now. It’s the team spirit to stand up to those who want to try to lock the games we’ve all worked so hard to open.

To quote a tough Ohio football defensive player named Julie “All” Day: “Please just let me shut up and play ball!”

That is all we want.

Ready? BREAK!