Athlete Ally Publishes Open Letter From the Athletic Community Opposing Texas’ SB6

Today, Athlete Ally published an open letter from over 55 members of the athletic community opposing Texas’ anti-transgender bill SB6. This open letter comes just days after the Texas Senate voted to approve SB6 and send it to the Texas House for consideration.

Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor said:

“The athletic community refuses to be sidelined while the state of Texas debates anti-transgender bills like SB6. Today, the athletic community made it clear that SB6 is counter to the values of sport, and that all Texans — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — deserve equal respect and protection on the playing field, in the locker room, and under the law.”

The full letter can be found below. For media inquiries, please contact Taylor Carr at [email protected]

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Dear Texas,

The love of sport is in part what makes Texas great. The passion and competitive spirit that reverberates throughout the Texas athletic community is hard to match across the United States. It’s that passion – and the storied history of Texas athletics – that often makes the state a go-to destination for major sporting events and why we love to compete in the Lone Star state.

As members of the athletic community, we’re committed to upholding the very values that sport instills in each of us. Values like fair play, equality, inclusion and respect. We believe that everyone should be afforded the same access, opportunity and experience both in sport and under the law. This is why we’re joining together to speak out against Senate Bill 6 (SB6), and the dozen more anti-LGBT bills already filed, and the harm they would do to the state of Texas, to the transgender community, and to the sports we have come to know and love.

SB6 would require transgender people to use bathrooms based on “biological sex,” and would preempt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans and visitors to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Other bills filed would prevent same-sex couples from getting married, allow campus groups to reject LGBT members, nullify local non-discrimination protections, allow healthcare professionals and educators to discriminate against LGBT people, and more.

As long as bills like these remain a possibility, Texas is sending a clear signal that LGBT players, fans, coaches and administrators are not welcomed or respected, both on and off the field. This should worry Texas, as the athletic community has clearly stood by its LGBT constituents and against discriminatory legislation. We have seen this story unfold in North Carolina, and we do not want it to be repeated in Texas.

Over the next year, Texas is slated to host the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four, the World Golf Championships, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, and many more. A recent economic impact study showed that the local San Antonio economy will receive a boost of $135 million in direct spending as a result of hosting the Men’s Basketball Final Four. Additionally, the study predicts an influx of 71,000 out-of-town visitors to the San Antonio area, resulting in a rise in spending at local businesses such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores and entertainment venues. Texas will likely not have the honor of hosting such prestigious events should bills like SB6 become law. This would be a shame for the state of Texas, but it can be avoided.

Texas can choose to uphold the values of sport by rejecting SB6 and other anti-LGBT bills, and the negative impact they would have. These bills are answers in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. SB6 isolates, excludes, and others the transgender community and exacerbates many of the issues transgender Texans already face. The only solution that embodies the spirit of sport is to expand equality by embracing diversity. That diversity is inclusive of the LGBT community and is why we hope you will do the right thing and reject these discriminatory bills.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned Members of the Athletic Community

Sue Bird (WNBA, Seattle Storm)

Breanna Stewart (WNBA, Seattle Storm)

Lori Lindsey (USWNT, Retired)

Gus Kenworthy (USA Olympic Skier)

Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (USA Olympic Snowboarder)

Elisa Padilla (Chief Marketing Officer, Brooklyn Nets, NBA)

Chris Kluwe (NFL, retired )

Colin Allred (NFL, retired)

Toccara Ross (International Women’s Basketball, Switzerland)

David Kopay (NFL, retired)

Nick Rogers (President, Minnesota United FC, MLS)

Nancy Hogshead-Makar (USA Olympic Swimmer, Retired)

Cameron Myler (USA Olympic Luger, Retired)

Joanna Lohman (NWSL, Washington Spirit)

Robbie Rogers (MLS, LA Galaxy)

Martina Navratilova (Tennis Legend & Coach, Retired)

Layshia Clarendon (WNBA, Atlanta Dream)

Eli Wolff (USA Paralympic Soccer Player, Retired)

Vanessa Torres (Professional Skateboarder)

Tom Bosworth (Great Britain Olympic Racewalker)

Mary Harvey (USWNT, Retired)

Yael Averbuch (USWNT & NWSL, FC Kansas City)

Mandy Laddish (NWSL, FC Kansas City)

Jesse Thomas (USA Triathlete)

Becca Moros (NWSL, Houston Dash)

Shamila Kohestani (Former captain of the Afghanistan women’s national soccer team)

Aydian Dowling (Transgender activist, former bodybuilder)

Kedzie Teller (US Quidditch)

Esther Lofgren (Olympic Rower)

Roger Levesque (MLS, retired)

Greg Louganis (Olympic Diver)

Jake Keegan (NASL, FC Edmonton)

Shamit Shome (MLS, Montreal Impact)

Bev Yanez (NWSL, Seattle Reign)

Sally Roberts (Olympic Bronze Medalist, Founder, Wrestle Like a Girl)

Brian Anderson (Professional Skateboarder)

Tom Luchsinger, (National Champion Swimmer)

April Ross (2X Olympic Medalist, Beach Volleyball)

Danielle Robinson (WNBA, Phoenix Mercury)

Brittney Griner (WNBA, Phoenix Mercury)

Stefanie Dolson – (WNBA, Chicago Sky)

Soolmaz Abooali (11X Karate Champion)

Meghan Pfeiffer (Athletic Academic Counselor, University of Memphis)

Bernadette Compton (Bowling Green State University)

Riley Hickman (Duke Swim & Dive)

Chalena Scholl, Phoebe Donovan (Duke SAAC)

Aly Lilley (Assistant volleyball coach, Trinity University, San Antonio TX)

Julie Jenkins (Head volleyball coach, Trinity University, San Antonio TX)

Gretchen Rush (Tennis Coach, Trinity University, San Antonio TX)

Tracy Shoemake (Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Texas State University)

Erin Eckhart (Austin College SAAC)

Jacob Tingle (Sport Management Chair, Trinity University, San Antonio TX)

Callum Squires (Trinity University SAAC)

Transcend Aggies (Texas A&M)

Albert Rodriguez (Softball Austin Commissioner)

Sarah Fletcher (Duke Rowing)

Shawnee Harkins (Professional Fitness Trainer)