Women including former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines protested the inclusion of male-to-female transgender athletes in sports outside the NCAA convention, handing over a petition and threatening legal action, according to Yahoo News.
Gaines, who famously spoke out against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, took to the forefront of the group of a reported two dozen demonstrators.
“Today, we intend to personally tell the NCAA to stop discriminating against female athletes by handing them a petition that we have garnered nearly 10,000 signatures on in just a couple of days,” said Gaines.
Other guests included Marshi Smith, former NCAA athlete and co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports. Smith outlined demands from the council, which were sent in a letter to the NCAA’s legal team.
The letter reads:
“To avoid legal action, the NCAA must comply with civil rights law immediately by:
- Repealing all policies and rules that allow male athletes to take roster spots on women’s teams and/or compete in women’s events;
- Establishing and enforcing rules to keep women’s sports female;
- Requiring colleges to provide single-sex locker rooms for female athletes.”
The NCAA held a session on the topic during the convention, speaking in detail on the subject.
Ivy League executive director Robin Harris said the NCAA wants to “have an environment that is fair, welcoming and inclusive for all of (the athletes),” adding that the eligibility requirements for transgender athletes are the same as for other athletes.
NCAA director of inclusion Jean Merrill stated that transgender athletes are indeed “playing by the rules.”
The session also saw a former transgender athlete give commentary; Schuyler Bailar is a swimmer who switched from female swimming to male swimming at Harvard.
“The more we learn about bodies and biology and people and the more we understand diversity and equity and inclusion,” Bailar remarked.
Bailar also supported a policy that would see the NCAA not holding competitions in states that ban transgender athletes in women’s sports, adding, “If you’re asking me do I want more support for trans people? The answer is going to be absolutely yes.”
The NCAA officials accepted the petition from Riley Gaines outside the convention.
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