Athletes Join Dozens of Advocacy Groups in Calling on the NCAA to Uphold its Commitment to Inclusion
BOISE, IDAHO — Civil rights, women’s rights and sports groups, as well as a number of athletes, sent letters today urging the National Collegiate Athletics Association to move the 2021 Men’s Basketball Championship from Idaho due to the passage of a state law banning many transgender and intersex students from participating in sports.
The NCAA issued a statement opposing the passage of the anti-trans sports law, House Bill 500, which is the first of its kind in the nation. While dozens of states introduced bills attacking transgender student athletes, the Idaho bill directly contradicts NCAA guidance and could subject any student to invasive medical testing. The NCAA has moved tournaments in the past including temporarily halting events following the passage of an anti-trans bill in North Carolina.
“Transgender athletes deserve the same dignity and respect entitled to all NCAA athletes. Because of HB 500, that simply isn’t possible in Idaho,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, deputy executive director for policy and action with the National Center for Transgender Equality. “We applaud the NCAA for speaking out against HB 500 and now encourage them to back up their words with action.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Idaho, Legal Voice, and Cooley LLP have sued the state of Idaho on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, a transgender student at Boise State University and Jane Doe, a cisgender high school student.
“Transgender people belong everywhere — and that includes in sports and in Idaho,” said Arli Christian, campaign strategist for the ACLU. “While the lawsuit against the state of Idaho moves through the courts, it is important for everyone to speak out so that Idaho — and the rest of the country — sees how misguided and dangerous this law is.”
“The National Women’s Law Center works every day to fight for gender justice. That’s why we are proud stand with our transgender sisters in opposition to laws like HB 500,” said Neena Chaudhry, general counsel and senior advisor for education. “Athletics are a space where everyone should be welcome, regardless of their gender or gender identity. The NCAA should make it clear that anti-transgender discrimination has no place in sports.
“Full participation in school sports is fundamentally a civil and human rights issue. Anti-transgender discrimination has no place in any of our institutions, including school athletics. The NCAA must uphold its own non-discrimination policy, and we urge them to relocate games from Idaho while HB 500 is law,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The letter from the advocacy groups is here: https://transequality.org/press/releases/letter-urges-NCAA-to-remove-events-from-idaho
The letter from student athletes is here: https://www.athleteally.org/student-athletes-ncaa-idaho/
The letter from the professional athletes is here: https://www.athleteally.org/athletes-ncaa-idaho/