General News

Student athletes condemn attacks on trans youth

Rachel Badham March 12, 2021

Hundreds of student athletes in the US have condemned the rising number of bills against trans participation in school sports in an open letter, and demanded that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) take action. A total of 23 states have proposed bills against trans athletes in 2021, with LGBTQ+ advocates warning that these could have an adverse effect on the mental wellbeing of young trans people. In response to the situation Aliya Schenck and Alana Bojar, two athletes at Washington University, created the letter in collaboration with GLAAD and Athlete Ally, after which it was signed by over 500 other student athletes. 

It argued the NCAA needs to support trans athletes: It is imperative that we know we are safe and supported in the NCAA no matter where we travel to compete.” It also suggested the bills will increase hostility towards trans youth: “The reality is that many of these bills cannot possibly be enforced without inviting policing and bullying of all student athletes who do not meet stereotypes of gender, and could empower any person to force any student athlete to undergo invasive physical exams or hormone tests in order to ‘prove’ their gender.”

It warned the NCAA that failure to speak up now will harm current and future athletes – perhaps irreparably.” Other LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign, have spoken out against the anti-trans bills in the US, with Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, saying: “I’ve been doing this work a long time, and frankly, never really seen anything like this, in terms of the nature of the rhetoric and the sweeping nature of the bills.”