Athletes Ask NCAA to Allow Trans Women Athletes

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Transgender Pride Flag

Hundreds of current and former professional, collegiate, and Olympic athletes as well as advocacy groups are calling for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) to resist prohibiting transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports.

“To deny transgender athletes the fundamental right to be who they are, to access the sport they love, and to receive the proven mental and physical health benefits of sport goes against the very principles of the NCAA’s Constitution,” the athletes said Tuesday in an open letter to the NCAA.

The letter is signed by prominent athletes like former NFL players R.K Russell and Johnny Stanton, former WNBA player Sue Bird, and the U.S. Women’s National Team soccer co-captain Megan Rapinoe.

In 2022, the NCAA issued new guidelines about transgender participation in women’s NCAA sports. The updated requirements result in cases referred to the “national governing body” and require transgender women to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment. 

On Friday, the Biden administration issued a revised Title IX regulation, clarifying that the federal civil rights law prohibits anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in schools. However, the new rules exclude what was an anticipated policy forbidding schools from enacting blanket bans on transgender athletes.

In the Tuesday letter, athletes point to legislative attacks on the rights of transgender people across the U.S. and other exclusionary efforts which claim to ‘protect women’s sports.’ They argue that these efforts overlook genuine, documented challenges women in sports actually face, such as unequal pay, non-compliance with Title IX, widespread sexual abuse and harassment, and disparities in resources between men’s and women’s teams.

“As athletes, we know firsthand that sport has the power to change lives,” the letter reads. “Allowing transgender athletes within the NCAA to participate in the sports they love as who they truly are alongside their teammates fulfills the true spirit of Olympism we all ascribe to. Sport should never be for a select few. We call on you to be on the right side of history and affirm that sport is truly for us all. Do not ban transgender women from NCAA women’s sports.”