Athlete Ally Responds to DOE Attack on New Hampshire Trans Athletes

October 20, 2020 (New York, NY) — Athlete Ally responded today to reports that Franklin Pierce University (FPU) in New Hampshire has reversed its trans athlete inclusion policy due to pressure from the Trump Administration. 

After anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice evangelical organization Concerned Women for America filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE), the DOE then determined that FPU was in violation of Title IX, the law banning sex discrimination in federally-funded school athletics. 

Earlier this year, New Hampshire lawmakers introduced two bills which would have effectively banned trans female athletes in primary and secondary schools. Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy and Programs, Anne Lieberman, provided testimony on Senate Bill 480 highlighting the dangerous precedent this type of bill would set, especially in a state like New Hampshire which has historically made tremendous strides to protect the trans community from discrimination. 

“Franklin Pierce University regrets that we must remove our previously published Transgender Participation and Inclusion Policy,” the school notes on its website’s compliance page. “We remain committed to an inclusive environment for all of our students while also complying with federal law. Franklin Pierce University and the Department of Athletics will continue to support all students and student-athletes.”

“Franklin Pierce was targeted by far-right extremists because a transgender student-athlete, who strictly followed long-established NCAA guidelines for trans athlete participation, trained diligently with her coach and teammates, and saw some success as a result of her hard work and dedication to the sport she loves,” said Joanna Hoffman, Communications Director at Athlete Ally. “If CWA was truly concerned for women in America, they would be concerned about the women they actively hurt by pushing policies that deny women access to lifesaving care, deny LGBTQI+ people the ability to live free from hate, and deny trans athletes the opportunity to experience the teamwork, camaraderie, discipline and drive that sport brings.

“We are deeply concerned about the ways in which far-right organizations are subjecting trans youth to violence and harm during a time when this population can most benefit from access to the lifesaving power of sports. Schools are often a safe haven for LGBTQI+ youth, and have the opportunity to model what a welcoming, inclusive community can and should look like. We will not allow these organizations to justify their cruel targeting of trans youth under the guise of ‘protecting’ women in sports while they ignore the very real threats faced by women in sports, such as unequal pay, sexual harassment and abuse. We are dedicated to working alongside our partner organizations to uplift women’s voices and tackle these threats, while also fighting for trans athletes everywhere to be who they are and participate in the sport that brings them joy.”