Trans women are banned from collegiate sports by the NAIA

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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics voted to adopt a new policy Monday that effectively bans transgender women from participating in most of its women’s intercollegiate sports programs.
According to the organization’s new transgender participation policy, “Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports.
The new NAIA policy, which takes effect August 1, only bans transgender women and girls from participating.
Any NAIA school or institution will also be required to inform the association’s national office if their team has a transgender male student-athlete who has begun hormone replacement.
Monday’s announcement was met with swift outcry from LGBTQ rights advocates.
Advocates of banning transgender women from women’s sports have argued that transgender women have a physical advantage over cisgender women in sports.
But LGBTQ and civil rights supporters say the push to ban trans women from sports a part of a wider effort, often led by conservative lawmakers, to place limits on transgender rights and inclusion in the US.
When pressed to elaborate on whether transgender women should be able to participate in college basketball, Staley appeared frustrated.


Transgender women are essentially prohibited from participating in the majority of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ women’s intercollegiate sports programs as a result of a new policy that was approved by vote on Monday.

Over 83,000 student-athletes participate in intercollegiate athletics, which is governed by the NAIA, an athletic association that as of 2023 will have 241 member colleges and universities, the majority of which are small.

“Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports,” states the organization’s new transgender participation policy. Their definition of “biological sex” is “distinguishing characteristics that can be supported by a signed affidavit or birth certificate.”. “.

Proponents of LGBTQ rights and scientists contend that these definitions fail to acknowledge the biological intricacy of gender and sex, emphasizing that an individual’s gender identity is not superseded by biology.

Effective August 1, the new NAIA policy restricts participation to transgender women and girls exclusively. As long as they were assigned female at birth and haven’t started hormone therapy, transgender men and boys are free to play on women’s teams. The association says it is up to individual schools to determine whether trans men are allowed to compete at the collegiate level, but if they have started such treatment, they are allowed to take part in “all activities that are internal to the institution, including workouts, practices.”.

In addition, any NAIA school or institution that fields a transgender male student-athlete who has started hormone replacement therapy must notify the national office of the association. According to the group, it will “take the necessary steps to provide appropriate privacy protections.”. “.

Competitive cheerleading and dance, which the NAIA states are available to all students, are exempt from the new regulations.

LGBTQ rights activists swiftly expressed their outrage at Monday’s announcement. The new policy “only cultivates exclusion and discrimination,” according to Athlete Ally, an organization that works to end homophobia and transphobia in sports. “.

“This policy is a sad day for women’s sports and a failure of leadership by NAIA,” said executive director and founder of Athlete Ally Hudson Taylor in a statement provided to CNN.

The decision, according to Chris Mosier, the first transgender man to compete for Team USA, “is clearly due to political pressure and not any real issue with transgender women in NAIA sports,” he wrote on Instagram. “.

In a post on X, the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign further stated that “making decisions based on right-wing misinformation campaigns is NOT good policy—it’s discrimination.”. “.

Transgender athletes’ involvement in sports has become a hot button issue in the ongoing cultural conflict over LGBTQ rights in recent years. Proponents of trans athlete bans contend that the regulations are required to uphold Title IX, which guarantees women’s separate and equal opportunities to engage in sports in federally funded educational programs or activities. Opponents counter that women and girls who are denied the opportunity to play sports are also the targets of anti-trans laws.

Transgender women have a physical edge over cisgender women in sports, according to proponents of outlawing them from women’s sports.

However, the conclusion is not supported by mainstream science. There is “no direct or consistent research” indicating transgender people have an athletic edge over their cisgender peers, according to a 2017 report reviewed in the journal Sports Medicine. Critics claim the bans exacerbate the discrimination trans people already experience.

Whether androgenic hormones like testosterone are useful indicators of athletic advantage is still up for debate in the scientific community.

According to a previous CNN report, over a dozen active and retired female athletes sued the NCAA in March, claiming the organization had violated Title IX by permitting transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to represent the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team in NCAA events.

Transgender student-athletes must submit to testosterone testing before and at designated intervals after engaging in competitive sports, according to the NCAA, which oversees intercollegiate athletics at larger institutions.

Supporters of LGBTQ issues and civil rights, however, assert that the drive to prohibit trans women from participating in sports is a component of a larger movement, frequently spearheaded by conservative legislators, to restrict transgender inclusion and rights in the US.

The South Carolina Gamecocks’ head coach Dawn Staley was asked by reporters during a pregame news conference on Saturday whether she thought transgender athletes should be allowed to play collegiate sports.

“I think it’s appropriate for women to play. You ought to be permitted to participate in sports if you identify as a woman and you wish to, or vice versa. That’s what I think. Staley stated.

Staley looked annoyed when questioned further about whether transgender women ought to be allowed to play college basketball.

Indeed. Indeed,” she replied. “I’m fine with the barnstormer people flooding my timeline and distracting me on one of our game’s biggest days,” the player said. I am, truly. “.

After winning the 2024 NCAA Tournament, Staley would win her third NCAA title in as many years with the Gamecocks.

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