Today, the NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam, a group of NCAA-trained facilitators at colleges across the country published an open letter condemning the actions taken by 28 states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation. 2021 has been a record year for anti-transgender legislation, with 93 anti-transgender bills introduced across the country, the vast majority of which attempt to ban transgender women and girls’ participation in girls sports or ban transgender youth from accessing medically necessary, gender-affirming health care.
Laws have been signed banning transgender women and girls’ participation in girls sports in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas, with Executive Orders being signed to the same effect in South Dakota. Legislators across the country have failed to provide examples of issues in their states to attempt to justify these attacks, laying bare the reality that these are attacks on transgender youth that are fueled by discrimination and not supported by fact. Collegiate and professional sports organizations have had trans-inclusive policies for years without incident, and there is no reason any state would need a ban on transgender participation in sports.
The NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam open letter reads as follows:
An Open Letter in Support of Transgender Student-Athletes
We, the undersigned, are facilitators of the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) Division III LGBTQ OneTeam Program, which is a national training program that fosters LGBTQ+ inclusion in NCAA Division III athletics, and members of the NCAA’s Division III LGBTQ Working Group. Given the recent rise in legislation that is focused on excluding transgender people from athletics across the country, we have decided to use our collective voice to condemn such actions. We call on elected officials across the country to immediately halt legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport.
In our role with the NCAA’s LGBTQ OneTeam Program, we train coaches, athletics administrators, and student-athletes across the whole of Division III athletics. This program is aimed at helping to understand the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in college athletics, while also identifying strategies and best practices for institutions and conferences to better ensure that all student-athletes--regardless of their sexuality, gender identity, and/or gender expression--can participate in an inclusive and safe athletic climate. We cannot, in good conscience, fail to speak out at this critical moment.
In the past several weeks, actions--which are aimed at excluding transgender youth and young adults from equal and equitable participation in sport--have been taken by elected officials in several states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. At the time of this writing, the Governors of Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already signed such dangerous legislation into law.
Legislation aimed at categorically banning transgender people--and particularly transgender girls and women--from sport is inherently discriminatory. Such legislation is often “informed” by hate and misinformation rather than science, and it is most certainly “informed” by fear instead of fact. Conversely, trans-inclusive policies, such as those established by the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), are better informed by the current scientific evidence, and this evidence shows that transgender women do not have an inherent competitive advantage over cisgender women.
Furthermore, discriminatory legislation that is aimed at excluding transgender people from sport has a number of serious consequences for transgender students. Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.
We immediately call for 1) an end to such legislation in all states and 2) a repeal of such laws in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee. And finally, we also encourage our legislators to better consider the NCAA best practices and importance of an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.
Dorian Rhea Debussy, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Kenyon College
Kayla Hayes, M.Ed.
Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Denison University
Kyrstin Krist, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Faculty Athletic Representative | Methodist University
Melynda Link, M.B.A.
Director of Athletic Facilities & Game Day Operations, Dept. of Athletics | Haverford College
Kathleen M. Murray
President, Office of the President | Whitman College
Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Services & Internal Operations Dept. of Athletics | Bates College
Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Randolph-Macon College
Executive Director | Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC)
Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Fairleigh Dickinson University
Pronouns: no pronouns
Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | Washington & Jefferson College
Danielle Lynch, M.S.Ed.
Senior Woman Administrator and Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Athletic Department | Penn State University – Harrisburg
Senior Associate Athletic Director Athletic Department | Albion College
Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Dept. of Athletics | Rochester Institute of Technology
Donna M. Ledwin
Commissioner | Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)
Donnesha Blake, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity and Inclusion Dept. of Student Affairs | Alma College
Assistant Track and Field Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Stevens Institute of Technology
Head Field Hockey Coach, Dept. of Athletics | Washington College
Ashley Crossway, D.A.T., A.T.C.
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Education Dept. of Kinesiology | SUNY Cortland
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Athletic Department | Fairleigh Dickinson University – Florham
Associate Director of Gender and Sexuality Initiatives, Intercultural Center | Swarthmore College
Associate Athletic Director, Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | Clark University
Assistant Sports Information Director Dept. of Athletics | Ramapo College
Head Softball Coach, Athletic Department | Hanover College
Associate Director of Athletics, Dept. of Physical Education and Athletics | Washington and Lee University
Jennifer Childress-White, M.Ed.
Assistant Athletic Director and University Title IX Coordinator Dept. of Athletics | Pacific Lutheran University
Elise Fitzsimmons, M.S., A.T.C.
Assistant Athletic Trainer, Dept. of Athletics| SUNY Oswego
Athletic Program Coordinator Athletics Department | Lake Forest College
Senior Woman Administrator and Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Athletics Department | Mount Aloysius College
Director of Athletics, Dept. of Athletics | University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Assistant Director of Athletics and Head Swimming Coach | Dept. of Athletics, P.E., and Recreation Mills College
José Rodriguez, M.Ed.
Chief Diversity Officer, Office of University Diversity Initiatives | Cabrini University
Karen Moberg, M.Ed., L.A.T., A.T.C.
Associate Athletic Trainer, Athletic Department | Macalester College
Coordinator for Tutoring Services and Trailblazer Program Director, Dept. of Student Success | Notre Dame of Maryland University
Director of Athletics & Wellness Dept. of Athletics & Wellness | Notre Dame of Maryland University
Assistant Athletic Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Dept. of Athletics and Recreation | University of Massachusetts – Boston
Executive Director | College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW)
Commissioner | North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC)
Senior Woman Administrator and Director of Compliance, Athletics Department | Brooklyn College
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