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Our mission is to advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity.
THE FOUNDATION POSITION
PARTICIPATION OF TRANSGENDER ATHLETES
IN WOMENâ??S SPORTS
INTRODUCTION
Everyone has a gender identity, which can be described as our own internal understanding of our gender. We also all have a
gender expression: the varying ways we express our gender through the way we dress, style our hair, and even through the name
we choose to be called. Someone whose gender identity or expression does not conform to typical expectations is often referred
to as transgender. Increasing numbers of transgender young people, often with the support of their parents, choose to transition
to live as a gender that is more congruent with their internal sense of self. As these young people mature, some take medically
prescribed hormone-blocking medication to delay the onset of puberty and its accompanying bodily changes that are often so
devastating to transgender youth. After reaching the age of majority, many eventually undergo hormone therapy and/or some
form of permanent sex-reassignment surgery.
As the number of young people transitioning in elementary junior high and high school increases, we can assume that some of
them will want to participate in school athletic programs; indeed, some already are. Currently only a few school sport governing
organizations have adopted policies addressing the inclusion of transgender athletes, although many more are beginning to
explore the issue and to recognize the need for such policies. Failure to develop informed and fair policies leaves school athletic
programs unprepared to respond to the increased probability that a transgender student will seek to join a school team.
The Womenâ??s Sports Foundation supports the right of all athletes, including transgender athletes, to participate in athletic
competition that is fair, equitable and respectful to all. â??Transgenderâ? refers to people whose gender identity (their internal
sense of themselves as male or female) does not conform to traditional expectations associated with their assigned sex at birth.
Schools must be prepared to fairly accommodate these students and their families in athletics as well as other school programs.
1
WOMENâ??S SPORTS FOUNDATION
founded by Billie Jean King
www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
â?¢
(800) 227.3988
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
The Foundation has prepared the following position paper to help equip schools and transgender student-athletes with the
information they need to ensure fair access and integration into sports and physical activity.
I. ARE SCHOOLS OBLIGATED TO ACCOMMODATE
TRANSGENDER ATHLETES?
Yes. The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and Title IXâ??s prohibitions against sex discrimination have both been
interpreted by state and federal courts to encompass discrimination based on gender stereotyping, including discrimination
against individuals because of their gender identity or expression (i.e. transgender athletes). Therefore, schools may face legal
liability if they deny access to such student-athletes, even if no law explicitly addresses the issue.
In addition to federal laws and federal constitutional protection, transgender student-athletes are protected under many state and
local laws. A growing number of states have enacted legislation explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity/
expression: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island,
Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. A number of additional states prohibit discrimination based on gender
identity or expression under state disability laws. Additionally, California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New
Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia have enacted Student Rights Laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination
or harassment based on gender identity or expression in schools. Dozens more states have passed laws that prohibit such
harassment and discrimination generally, with no specific categories of students listed. Individuals might find protection at a
local level as well, as more schools are adding â??gender identity/expressionâ? to their non-discrimination policies.
2
WOMENâ??S SPORTS FOUNDATION
founded by Billie Jean King
www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
â?¢
(800) 227.3988
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
II. WHAT TYPES OF PHYSICAL ACCOMMODATIONS MUST
SPORTS GOVERNING BODIES MAKE TO ENSURE THE INCLUSION
OF TRANSGENDER ATHLETES IS FAIR AND APPROPRIATE?
Individual sport governing organizations should accommodate transgender athletes to ensure access to locker rooms, showers
and toilet facilities appropriate for their gender identity. These accommodations should be made with the comfort and privacy
of all athletes in mind. Ideally, transgender athletes should have access to the facilities that are available to other athletes of the
gender with which they identify. Athletes who desire increased privacy should be provided with accommodations that best meet
their needs and privacy concerns, such as, where possible, private showers, changing areas and toilet facilities within locker
rooms, or separate changing areas, toilets or showers. If womenâ??s and menâ??s team uniforms in the same sport are different,
transgender athletes with female gender identities should be permitted to wear the womenâ??s team uniform and vice versa.
Gender-neutral dress codes and recognition of preferred gendered pronouns and names of transgender athletes are also an
important aspect of according respect and fair treatment.
III. DO MALE TO FEMALE TRANSGENDER ATHLETES HAVE
A PHYSICAL ADVANTAGE IN COMPETITION AGAINST
NON-TRANSGENDER FEMALES?
No. If a young person transitions from male to female prior to puberty, as in the case of some transgender people, no
accommodation is necessary at all and this student should be treated as any other competitor in girlsâ?? or womenâ??s sports.
Additionally, if a transgender student transitions after puberty, medical experts increasingly agree that the effects of taking
female hormones negate any strength and muscular advantage that testosterone may have provided and places a male-to-female
transgender athlete who has completed her transition in the same general range of strength and performance exhibited by nontransgender females who are competing. A female-to-male transgender athlete has no physical advantage before, during or after
transition and should be permitted to participate fully on male sports teams.
3
WOMENâ??S SPORTS FOUNDATION
founded by Billie Jean King
www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
â?¢
(800) 227.3988
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
IV. WHAT OBLIGATIONS DO SPORT GOVERNING BODIES
HAVE TO EDUCATE THEIR MEMBERS ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF
TRANSGENDER ATHLETES?
Sport governing organizations should provide education to their member institutions and to individual coaches, athletes,
administrators and other stakeholders about transgender athletes and their right to equal sport participation. These educational
efforts should be focused on providing participants with an understanding of how transgender athletes will be accommodated in
ways that protect the rights of all athletes to participation in a fair and respectful sports environment. For general resources and
information about transgender rights and educational resources, please see:
Transgender Law and Policy Institute: www.transgenderlaw.org
National Center for Transgender Equality: www.nctequality.org
Transgender Law Center: www.transgenderlawcenter.org
National Center for Lesbian Rights: www.nclrights.org
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: www.thetaskforce.org
Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network: www.glsen.org
Lambda Legal: www.lambdalegal.org
V. WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF SOUND SCHOOL POLICY ON
TRANSGENDER ATHLETES?
Sport governing bodies, including high school and collegiate athletic programs, should develop policies addressing the following
elements and meet the following objectives:
â?¢ Set clear and reasonable criteria for determining an athleteâ??s eligibility to compete that are based on up-to-date expert legal
and medical knowledge about the effects of gender transition on athletic performance.
â?¢ Be tailored to the specific sport context (level and eligibility needs), age of the athlete and age when the athlete transitions.
4
WOMENâ??S SPORTS FOUNDATION
founded by Billie Jean King
www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
â?¢
(800) 227.3988
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
â?¢ Preserve competitive equity among all participants in sports in which competition is separate for men and women.
â?¢ Provide assurance that transgender students are offered sport opportunities of their choice at the level of participation best
suited to their interests and abilities.
There is no one policy that adequately or fully addresses the needs of all transgender athletes and meets the legal requirements
of each state; however, the Foundation recommends the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association Policy on Gender
Identity and Athletics as a model and guide to other sport governing organizations developing their own policies.
Acknowledgments
The Womenâ??s Sports Foundation thanks Pat Griffin, It Takes A Team! Education Campaign for LGBT Issues in Sport Director; Helen Carroll, National
Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Director; Karen Doering, Education, Labor and Civil Rights Attorney; Terri Lakowski, Womenâ??s Sports Foundation
Public Policy Director; Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director; Laurie Priest, Mount Holyoke College Director of Athletics; Marj
Snyder, Womenâ??s Sports Foundation Chief Program and Planning Officer; and Cole Thaler, Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Attorney, for assistance in the
preparation of this position paper.
5
WOMENâ??S SPORTS FOUNDATION
founded by Billie Jean King
www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
â?¢
(800) 227.3988
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
Martha Jane Williams
GWSS 262
11 May 2018
One of the more important cultural changes we have witnessed since the turn of the
century has been the advent of growing acceptability for those of all gender identities. While this
has been a growing improvement of life for people who are gay, lesbian, and transgender, one
area of this conversation that creates issues involves post-transition transgenders and their
involvement in school sports. The largest question that society is forced to ask is whether
formerly male, now female athletes hold any advantage over the other players. Having grown up
in the deep South where these shifts in cultural acceptance have fought a more uphill battle, it is
interesting to me having moved to a place that is much more accepting and the shift this has had
on my outlook on this issue. The dichotomy in my experience became incredibly relevant as I
read the article, â??Participation of Transgender Athletes in Womenâ??s Sportsâ? and caused me to
look at these issues in a much different light. While there is plenty of viable issues with Male-toFemale (MtF) participating in female athletic events, I believe the only way to resolve those
issues and maintain an inclusive environment is to allow the participation and adapt the inclusion
as issues arrive.
While we can hypothesize issues that arise, we are making decisions on the fear of the issue, not
on the grounds that there is an issues in the first place.
GWSS 262 A
Gender and Sport
Spring 2018
Reading Response Papers
Over the course of the quarter you will be asked to read many academic journal articles,
magazine articles, chapters from books, some information from websites, and other materials
that will aid in your learning about the topics we will cover in this class. In order to help you
engage with the readings on a deeper level, I will expect you to write and turn in three response
papers.
Here is how this works:
1) Pick a reading assignment from the list of readings for the units we have been studying. It
should be a piece that you feel particularly strongly about. Maybe you loved the piece,
maybe you didnâ??t agree with it, maybe it made you think more deeply about something in
your own life, or maybe it reminded you of something else you saw or read on another
occasion.
2) Write 3 pages (three COMPLETE pages or more) explaining not only how you felt about
the piece, but going a little bit deeper. For example, itâ??s not enough to write, â??This article
was horrible and the author is an idiot.� It would be more appropriate to write about how
you did not agree with the authorâ??s position or a specific point they made and explain
(argue) why you are right and the author is wrong. Or, if you like the piece, itâ??s not
enough to say, â??That was a cool article.â? You must go beyond that knee-jerk reaction and
examine why you think itâ??s â??coolâ?. Did it remind you of something in your own life? Can
you compare or contrast it with other themes weâ??ve talked or read about in class? Did it
make you think about something you had never considered before? What made the article
compelling?
3) This is not meant to be a book report. Please donâ??t just regurgitate what the author said.
4) This also is not meant to be a critique of the authorsâ?? writing styles. Please focus on the
substance of the readings.
5) All response papers must be typed, printed out single-sided, double-spaced with 1inch margins, and must use Times New Roman 12-point font. All response papers
must be turned in at the beginning of class on the days they are due. I DO accept
early papers. I do NOT accept emailed papers.
6) Each response paper will be graded on an 8-point scale. 1 point means I donâ??t think you
made much of an effort and/or I canâ??t tell if you read the article or not, while 8 points
means you did exactly what I was looking for: you explained how you felt about the
article and took it a step farther in arguing for or analyzing your opinion.
For more ideas on what to write about in your papers, take a look at the italicized questions listed
under each topic heading on the course syllabus. You can use those as prompts or use them for
inspiration.
***Remember, I need to be able to tell from your paper that you have actually read and
understood the article or chapter you are writing about. Please contextualize your writing within
the readings (donâ??t go on a tangent about how you went to soccer camp one summer and forget
to tie it back to what you read, for example). A great way to contextualize your writing would be
to include quotes from the piece you are analyzing and explain why those quotes are important
and/or why they help prove your point.
DUE DATES:
Paper 1: Friday, April 13th
You may write about any reading assigned during the introductory unit and/or the
â??Student Athleteâ? unit (weeks 1-3), EXCEPT for the Preface and Introduction of Taking
the Field by Michael Messner or â??A Title IX Primerâ?.
Paper 2: Friday, May 11th
You may write about any reading assigned during the unit on â??Masculinities and Sportsâ?
and/or â??Femininities and Sportsâ? (weeks 4-7).
Paper 3: Friday, June 1st
You may write about any reading assigned during the unit on â??The Athlete in Societyâ?
and/or â??Challenges to the Athletic Imageâ? (weeks 8-10).

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