Athlete Ally, an organization activating athletes to support LGBT inclusion and equality, congratulates Bruce Jenner’s courageous act of coming out as a transgender woman.
Transgender athletes face widespread discrimination in sports. This discrimination is so pervasive that many athletic bodies do not recognize the existence of transgender athletes in their sport and therefore have no inclusion policies in place. In fact in 2004, the IOC became the first main stream sports body in the world to enact a policy on transgender athletes. While the IOC’s guidelines seek to be inclusive, they still require invasive and expensive measures. No openly transgender athlete has competed at the Olympic Games.
Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director congratulated the Olympian saying:
“Jenner’s contributions to sports are only strengthened by today’s announcement. Her courage coming out is the kind of leadership and authenticity every athlete hopes to demonstrate.” Taylor added: “Bruce has been a hero and role model to millions of Americans across generations. Today, that’s even more so.”
Super Bowl Champion and Athlete Ally Board Member, Brendon Ayanbadejo, also commented on the announcement:
“Jenner’s interview today made me think about how long it took for her to publically live her truth. And, I think about what I could have done – what we all could have done – to make today’s announcement easier. Allies need to understand that every transgender individual’s journey is personal. But, at the end of the day, it’s on us to help end stigma. Congratulations Bruce. We respect and support you!”
Meghan Stabler, Athlete Ally Board Member and national LGBT leader, said:
“In general, we, as transgender people, have known about our authentic selves since very early childhood, but social stigma and a lack of role models can significantly impede the personal ‘coming out’ story. With courage, Bruce Jenner is now her true self, which will help transgender youth, including trans athletes immensely. It’s now everyone’s responsibility to embrace her, respect her privacy, and focus on celebrating transgender lives everywhere.”
Ashland Johnson, Athlete Ally Policy Director, added:
“Members of the transgender community are facing significant barriers — with shockingly high levels of homelessness, unemployment, and violence. These issues affect the transgender community at large, but especially transgender women and specifically transgender women of color. Sadly, we’ve seen 7 transgender women of color murdered this year alone and 7 young transgender people die by suicide. These facts need urgent attention at the policy-level, particularly in a moment of such visibility during Bruce Jenner’s announcement.”