Thursday, September 22, 2011

NCAA Approves New, Inclusive Policy for Transgender Student-Athletes

In August the NCAA approved a new policy that clarifies the eligibility of transgender student-athletes to participate in sex-separated sports activities. The NCAA says the policy is “aimed at allowing the student-athlete to participate in competition in accordance with their gender identity while maintaining the relative balance of competitive equity among sports teams.” The new rules allow a transgender male who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for gender transition to play on a men’s team, and forbid him from competing on a women’s team. A transgender female will be allowed to play on a women’s team after she completes one calendar year of documented testosterone suppression.Transgender females are also allowed to compete on men’s teams under this policy. This policy change is an exciting step toward inclusion for transgender students. Families will now be able to cheer-on their transgender loved ones as they play on the sports teams that correspond with their gender identities.

The NCAA thanked the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation for guidance they provided on how schools can accommodate transgender athletes in a report titled “On the Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student Athletes”. Dr. Pat Griffin, a co-author of the report, is Project Director for GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Changing the Game project. This project addresses LGBT issue in school-based athletic and physical education programs through education and advocacy.

PFLAG is excited to announce that Dr. Griffin will be presenting a workshop on Saturday, November 5 at this year’s PFLAG National Convention in Washington D.C. Dr. Griffin’s workshop, “Changing the Game: Making K-12 Sports and Physical Education Safe and Respectful for All,” will provide participants with information and resources to work with K-12 school athletics and physical education staff to make these programs welcoming for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. Participants will learn about GLSEN’s Changing the Game project and receive resources and information about CTG initiatives that focus on empowering athletes and coaches as allies, leaders and mentors in school anti-bullying initiatives in and out of sports.

Take Action – Contact the NCAA to thank them for their leadership in adopting inclusive policies for transgender student-athletes. If you have not already, register for the 2011 PFLAG National Convention and come hear Dr. Griffin speak about advocating for LGBT students in sports.