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NCAA ‘unequivocally supports’ transgender athletes participating in women's sports and will pull championships from states that disagree


'Fair competition'

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the country's largest organization regulating college athletics, announced this week that it "firmly and unequivocally supports" the inclusion of transgender athletes in college sports competitions.

What are the details?

The announcement comes as Republican-controlled legislatures in multiple states around the country consider legislation banning transgender individuals who are biologically male from competing in women's sports. Proponents of the legislation argue that to allow such individuals to participate is "unfair" to female athletes.

However, in a statement issued Monday, the NCAA insisted its dedication to including transgender athletes in women's sports is for the purpose of producing "fair competition."

"The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition," the statement said.

The organization cited a policy implemented in 2010, which "requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women's sports," as a means to provide a "more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports."

"Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport," the board argued. "Our clear expectation as the Association's top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect."

What else?

The board also raised eyebrows in the statement by vowing to pull championship events out of states that disagree with its policies regarding transgender athletes' participation, a move that was immediately celebrated by transgender advocates.

"When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected," the statement said. "We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants."

The American Civil Liberties Union, a left-wing advocacy organization, commended the decision on Monday, firing a warning shot to state lawmakers.

"Today the NCAA confirmed it will pull events from states with bills banning trans students from participating in school sports," the group said in a tweet, adding, "State lawmakers take note: discriminating against trans youth is wrong, against the law, and costly."

"Dangerous proposals around the country are putting transgender young people at risk," National Center for Transgender Equality deputy executive director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen added. "The NCAA is making it clear that their Board of Governors supports transgender athletes, and the board should hold those states passing these harmful laws accountable."

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