400+ Athletes, 50+ Orgs and 300+ Scholars: Trans Women Belong in NCAA Sports

April 23, 2024 — Today, over 400 current and former NCAA, Professional, Olympic and Paralympic athletes including WNBA coach Cheryl Reeve, USWNT champion Megan Rapinoe, WNBA players Layshia Clarendon, Sue Bird and Brianna Turner sent an open letter to the NCAA Board of Governors calling on them to protect trans athletes and their right to participate in NCAA sports, despite politically-motivated drives to discriminate against and sideline them. The Washington Post covered the letters this morning.

“The time is now for the NCAA and the nationwide athletic community to speak up and affirm that sports should be for everyone, including transgender athletes,” wrote champion U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and National Women’s Soccer League player and Athlete Ally Ambassador Megan Rapinoe. “To my fellow cis women athletes: the time is now to say loud and clear that bans against trans athletes framed as “protecting women’s sports” do not speak for us, and do nothing to protect us. To the trans athletes fearing that they may be sidelined from the sport they love: I see you and hear you and I am WITH YOU. “  

This letter was accompanied by a separate letter from Athlete Ally, 53 other LGBTQI+ advocacy, gender justice and sport organizations and 56 PFLAG chapters nationwide calling on the NCAA Board of Governors to protect the rights of transgender athletes to compete in NCAA sports, and a letter from more than 300 scholars and academia

“To deny trans athletes the freedom to be their authentic selves and participate in the sport they love goes against the principles of Olympism: that sport is a human right and that sport is for all,” the organizational letter reads.

These letters all echo the same message that NCAA March Madness women’s basketball champion coach Dawn Staley powerfully expressed: transgender women deserve to play NCAA sports.

Read the open letters from athletes, organizations, and scholars and academia