Biden administration ends ‘Stay in Mexico’ policy


In the wake of the NCAA changing its policies regarding transgender athletes and state legislatures advancing new legislation against trans inclusion in school sports, LGBTQ advocates continue the fight to ensure that athletes can compete in accordance with their gender identity, although they may lose the battle.

As public polls have demonstrated, transgender athletes who participate in sports – especially trans women in women’s sports – remain unpopular, even among pro-transgender people. Key figures have emerged in recent days to oppose transgender inclusion amid a focus on Lia Thomas, a recent University of Pennsylvania transfer swimmer who has broken records in women’s water sports.

Nevertheless, LGBTQ advocates tasked with fighting for transgender rights continue their efforts. After a coalition of LGBTQ advocates sent a letter to the NCAA urging the organization to include a non-discrimination provision in its updated constitution, the Human Rights Campaign condemned the organization for refusing to retain the language , which appears to have the effect of allowing sports divisions to refuse to allow transgender athletes to compete in accordance with their gender identity, and sent an action alert to supporters.

Joni Madison, acting president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that the NCAA “must show us its playbook to protect LGBTQ+ and specifically transgender athletes from discrimination” as state legislatures advance the legislation against transgender children in sport.

“The NCAA has so far proven to be an unreliable ally for LGBTQ+ athletes across the country who depend on the organization to protect them from discrimination and now they owe these athletes answers,” said Madison.

Instead of reaffirming protections against discrimination, the NCAA announced a policy change that goes in different directions but appears to be aimed at limiting the participation of transgender women without taking full responsibility for it. On the one hand, the NCAA delegates transgender participation policies to individual sports governing bodies, but on the other requires transgender women to document limited testosterone levels over a period of time.

The fight now continues in state legislatures as sports bills are among the latest measures to limit access for transgender people. After South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem pushed for legislation against transgender children in sports earlier this year, the state legislature responded by proposing such a measure. On Wednesday, a South Dakota House committee reported favorably on legislation already approved by wide margins in the Senate that would make biological sex the norm for sports in a bid to limit transgender participation.

Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project, said in a statement during the committee’s vote that the legislation “has nothing to do with fairness – and everything to do with the politicians of North Dakota. South using transgender youth as pawns on a political chessboard.

“Proponents of this blanket ban struggle to find examples of transgender students making South Dakota sports less fair or safe,” Ames said. “To research from The Trevor Project makes it clear that many are already withdrawing from the sport for fear of bullying and discrimination.

Although the issue of transgender women in sport has come to light in recent years as conservative activists have found a way to challenge LGBTQ rights in a way that is acceptable to the public, the fervor peaked when Thomas made headlines. for breaking records in the pool.

Having previously competed in men’s aquatic competitions, Thomas – after his transition – began competing in women’s events and was beating his competitors by wide margins. At a December event, Thomas came first in the 1,650 freestyle yards and 38 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. NCAA rules would appear to have the effect of prohibiting Thomas from continuing to compete.

Public polls, which have shown strong support for LGBTQ rights in general, continue to show sentiment against transgender women competing in sports, although the poll result can change significantly depending on how the question is phrased. . A Gallup poll last year found that only 34% of those polled supported transgender athletes competing on teams consistent with their gender identity, while 62% said transgender people should compete with other athletes. of their designated sex at birth.

An LGBTQ strategist, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said now may be the time for LGBTQ advocates to admit a fait accompli if they are to seek broader civil rights protections in the employment, housing, and public accommodations with the Equality Act or other federal laws. legislation.

“Advocates should just admit that this is a very different issue than a trans person applying for a job or finding an apartment,” the strategist said. “The principles of equality differ depending on the situation – that’s why we have separate men’s and women’s sports in the first place. The same public opinion that overwhelmingly supports the Equality Act is also clearly skeptical of a one-size-fits-all federalisation of all sports all over the world.

Adding fuel to the fire are recent comments from key figures in athletics.

Caitlyn Jenner, who before her transition was an Olympic champion in the 1970s, has been among the most prominent voices speaking out against transgender women in sport and said during a recent appearance on Fox News that she represented “a waking world gone wild”.

Jenner, who spoke out against transgender participation in sports during her unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign last year in California’s recall elections, said the NCAA “just kicked in the street” on the issue of transgender sports and had some choice words for Thomas.

“When you’re transitioning and going through that, you have to take responsibility and you have to have integrity,” Jenner said. “I don’t know why she does that.”

Michael Phelps, the decorated Olympic swimmer, also refused to fully support transgender athletes when asked about the issue during an interview on CNN, pointing to doping in sport in comparison.

“I don’t know what it will look like in the future,” Phelps said. “It’s tough. It’s very complicated and it’s my sport, it’s been my sport all my career, and honestly the only thing I would like is for everyone to be able to compete on one foot. of equality.

Admittedly, advocates of allowing transgender people to compete in sports that conform to their gender identity also have their supporters in the sports world, including tennis legend Billie Jean King. On Monday, Dorian Rhea Debussy, non-binary and one of 54 hosts of the NCAA Division III LGBTQ OneTeam program, resigned in protest of the NCAA’s recent actions.

“I am deeply troubled by what appears to be a disconcerting level of active, effective, engaged and equitable support for gender-diverse student-athletes within the NCAA’s leadership,” Debussy said. “As a non-binary, transfeminine person, I can no longer, in good conscience, maintain my affiliation with the NCAA.”

Arguably, schools complying with the new NCAA policy and states passing anti-transgender laws would violate Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education. education, especially after the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County finds that anti-transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination.

Last year, a federal court blocked a West Virginia state law against transgender participation in sports on this legal basis. No litigation, however, appears to be pending at this time challenging the colleges or NCAA policy.


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