Athlete Ally Responds to MO Trans Athlete Ban

June 8, 2023 – Athlete Ally responded today to news that Missouri Governor Mike Parson has signed bills into law banning gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth and some adults, and banning transgender girls and women from playing on sports teams from kindergarten through college.

“After five and a half months of the Missouri General Assembly outright attacking the rights of LGBTQ+ Missourians, it comes as no surprise Gov. Parson chose Pride month, our moment of collective joy, to affirmatively take away our rights,” said Shira Berkowitz, Sr. Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at PROMO Missouri. “Today, Governor Parson showed just how little Missouri’s state government values LGBTQ+ lives and, in particular, transgender and gender-expansive youth.”

“When I testified in front of lawmakers against Missouri’s trans athlete ban, not a single politician could tell me what they had done to actually protect women and girls in sports,” said Anne Lieberman, Director of Policy and Programs at Athlete Ally. “No work on Title IX implementation, on ending sexual harassment and abuse facing young women in girls in sport, or providing equal opportunities for girls to participate in school sports. Instead, their primary focus was on bullying and harassing transgender, non-binary and intersex youth.

Transgender and nonbinary athletes can participate in the Olympics, but not in school sports in Missouri — whether the school is public or private. This ban hurts all athletes: it not only bans transgender and nonbinary college athletes from playing, but also bans athletes from playing against other teams with inclusive policies. We will forever support our friends at PROMO, and are grateful for the incredible pro athletes like Becky Sauerbrunn, Lori Lindsey and Pam Boteler who have supported trans youth in Missouri while we worked to fight these bans.”

In an op-ed for the Springfield News Leader, U.S. Women’s National Team Co-Captain and Olympic gold medalist Becky Sauerbrunn wrote, “The Missouri I know, love and grew up in is where I was taught to care for my neighbors, and where I learned that the best part of sports is belonging to a team and working together toward a common goal. I can’t stay quiet as transgender youth in my home state are targeted simply because they love sports as much as I do.”