Sports Stars Rally for Transgender Day of Visibility

Athlete Ally Launches National Effort Ahead of Transgender Day of Visibility Demanding Power Five Institutions Publicly Adopt the NCAA’s Guidance for Transgender Participation in Sports

Reggie Bullock and Breanna Stewart join collegiate athletes in calling for equality for transgender athletes in college athletics

New York (March 28, 2018) — Only ten of the 65 member institutions of the Power Five conferences have publicly adopted the NCAA’s guidance for transgender participation in collegiate athletics. Today, Athlete Ally launched a national campaign demanding the remaining 55 schools swiftly adopt the guidance and publicly stand with transgender athletes across the country.

The campaign comes at a critical moment in the continued fight for transgender visibility and equality. Over the past year, the transgender community has been subject to ongoing efforts to demean and diminish their identities and strip away their rights. Just last month, reports indicated that the Department of Education would begin automatically dismissing complaints from transgender students who have faced discrimination in accessing restrooms. In addition, states across the country continue to introduce anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation. Research also shows that 2017 was the deadliest year on record for the transgender community, with at least 28 transgender people dying due to fatal violence.

“The toughest moment of my life was receiving a phone call that my sister Mia had been murdered,” said Detroit Pistons player Reggie Bullock. “Mia, a trans woman, was one of my best friends in life, and since her death, I’ve pledged to do everything in my power to honor her legacy and fight for transgender equality. Today, I ask Power 5 schools to take an easy step to support the trans community and ensure they’re protected and welcomed in collegiate athletics.”

“The ‘safety’ of women and girls remains one of the most inaccurate and unjustifiable arguments for why anti-trans efforts are advocated for in this country,” said WNBA star Breanna Stewart. “I firmly believe we should be passing laws and establishing policies that are inclusive of the transgender community and afford them every opportunity to succeed both in sport and in society.”

Accessible policies and practices continue to be a critically important metric to ensuring inclusive and equitable sports spaces. Studies show that students feel safer, more respected, and more compelled to call out discrimination when there are explicit and accessible policies and practices that protect the LGBTQ community. Without public and accessible information, we leave LGBTQ student-athletes, recruits, fans, coaches and officials vulnerable to discrimination.

“As a collegiate athlete, I always ensured I was up-to-date and knowledgeable related to my ability to compete as a transgender athlete,” said Chloe Anderson, a volleyball player at UC Santa Cruz. “With such a patchwork of policies across college sports, it continues to be a challenge for transgender athletes across the country to have the ability to compete and succeed in sport. We must continue fighting for consistent, equitable policies that will allow transgender athletes the ability to fulfill their dreams in sports and have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

The data on Power Five schools stems from the launch of the inaugural Athlete Ally Athletic Equality Index (AEI)  — a first-of-its-kind ranking of the LGBTQ inclusiveness of collegiate athletic departments.The AEI brings our movement into a new era of advocacy, transparency, and accountability. Institutions no longer have the ability to cite a lack of data and reporting as a rationale for inaction, and it offers an industry-wide benchmark for the progress needed to achieve the full dignity and inclusion of the LGBTQ community in sport.

“We’re proud to lift up the voices and experiences of transgender athletes across the country and demand that these NCAA institutions take responsibility for their trans constituents and adopt inclusive policies,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally. “We believe that everyone should have equal access, opportunity and experience in sport regardless of their gender identity, and this campaign aims to ensure that transgender athletes across the country truly have the chance to maximize their potential in sport.”

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