College Athletes Association Bans Trans Women

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, denounced the NAIA’s new policy Monday.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), which represents small colleges and universities, has rolled out a new policy banning transgender women from participating in women’s sports.

NAIA oversees more than 83,000 athletes at 249 small colleges across the U.S.. It is the first major college sports governing body to enact this ban.

The association’s Council of Presidents approved the measure 20-0 earlier this week. It will take effect on August 1.

Under the new policy, only student athletes assigned female at birth will be allowed to participate in NAIA-sponsored women’s sports. As for trans men, the policy allows participation in women’s sports as long as they have not begun any hormone therapy. Those who have will be barred from competition, but will be allowed to participate in workouts, practices and women’s team activities.

Any school where a student athlete has begun masculinizing hormone therapy is now required to notify the NAIA. The policy states the association’s national office will “will take the necessary steps to provide appropriate privacy protections.”

All students, including trans men and trans women, will be allowed to participate in NAIA-sponsored men’s sports.

NAIA notes the participation is at the discretion of the college.

“We know there are a lot of different opinions out there,” NAIA president Jim Carr told CBS Sports. “For us, we believed our first responsibility was to create fairness and competition in the NAIA…We also think it aligns with the reasons Title IX was created. You’re allowed to have separate but equal opportunities for women to compete.”

Competitive cheer and dance events are listed as exceptions, as they are co-ed. With the exception of these two sports, the NAIA claims “each NAIA sport includes some combination of strength, speed, and stamina, providing competitive advantages for male student-athletes.”

There is no scientific evidence to back up the claim that trans women have an advantage. Performance studies on trans athletes are rare, despite the high number of recent efforts to exclude them.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, denounced the NAIA’s new policy Monday.

“Today, the NAIA decided to bar an entire category of people from competition simply because of a right-wing outrage campaign that purposefully misrepresents and distorts the realities of transgender athletes while doing nothing to support women’s sports,” Kelley Robinson, the organization’s president, said in a statement.

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