As several states continue to weigh anti-transgender legislation in athletic competitions, a group of athletes, allies and advocates called on the NCAA to withdraw all athletic competition from states were such legislation is being considered.
In a press conference Friday, head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx Cheryl Reeve, Lynx forward Napheesa Collier, Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David, former NCAA champion and transgender athlete CeCé Telfer and others highlighted the benefits of transgender inclusion in sports and denounced efforts to discriminate against trans athletes.
Last month, 545 current NCAA athletes signed a letter to Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors asking the organization to reaffirm its nondiscriminatory policies and refuse to host championship events in states where transgender athletes are banned from competition.
The state legislative director and senior counsel at the Human Rights Campaign Cathryn Oakley said that the organization is tracking 56 anti-transgender legislation bills focused on sports across more than 30 states.
One of the common arguments in favor of the anti-trans sports bills is that they are being introduced to protect women’s sports. Advocates in the press conference resoundingly rejected that notion and stressed that transgender athletes are not threats to the competitions or their fellow athletes.
“What’s really harming women’s sports is an overall lack of investment in resources for athletes, opportunities to coach in the profession, lack of pay or severe pay disparities, those are the true threats to women’s sports,” Reeve said. “This starts from scholastic competition all the way through the WNBA and professional sports.
“The notion that the motivation of transgender athletes is to gain scholarships or score a competitive advantage is simply a false narrative. This diminishes the athlete overall.”