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Help us affirm girls’ and women’s sports while including athletes who identify as transgender

The Women’s Sports Policy Working Group stands for two goals:
(1) affirming girls and women’s sports through standards that ensure fair competition; and
(2) developing standards to provide athletic opportunities for transgender athletes.
We support the Equality Act and ending LGBT discrimination throughout society, including in employment, in public accommodations, and in family law. We also support that view that competitive sports – like pregnancy and medicine – require a science-based approach to transgender inclusion. Our aim is to set eligibility rules for girls’ and women’s competitive sports that are consistent with these two goals.

The Women’s Sports Policy Working Group seeks to bridge the philosophical gap between:

(a) those who insist that girls who identify as transgender are “girls, period” and demand unconditional inclusion; 16 states have adopted this approach; and
(b) those who insist that all boys who identify as transgender are “boys” and seeks their full and unconditional exclusion; 21 states have adopted this position.

Both positions ignore the reason why sports are sex-segregated; both produce inequitable and unnecessarily harsh results.

Why do we sex-segregate sports?

Separate sports for males and females are necessary to assure that females have the same opportunities as males to participate, to win, and obtain scholarships, prize money, publicity, honor, and respect.

From the onset of male puberty, male bodies generally develop faster, stronger, and more powerful than female bodies as a group. The performance gap that emerges from that point forward ranges from 8% to 50% depending on the sport and event, a gap that women and girls cannot overcome unless sports are sex-segregated. No matter how talented and hardworking, female athletes generally will not be able to outperform males as a group. Even if sports were segregated on other physical criteria – like height, weight, bone size, or wingspan – males would dominate these new categories, making it crucial to maintain sex-segregated sports and a fair, level playing field.

Why is sex-segregation in sport lawful, while sex-segregation in the workforce is illegal sex discrimination?

Sex-segregation in the workplace is prohibited by federal law because it’s unnecessary for getting the job done and it operates to classify females as inferior, limiting their professional advancement. Workplace prohibitions on sex-segregation attempt to secure sex equality for females in the workplace.

Sex-segregation in sport, however, is permitted by federal law. “Sex” is an eligibility standard to participate in girls’ and women’s sport. Unlike the workplace, these distinctions are necessary in sport to assure equal rights and opportunities for the female half of the population. In fact, federal law is clear that denying females equal rights and opportunities in sport is sex discrimination. Therefore, “sex” is a legally permissible eligibility standard to participate in girls’ and women’s sport.

Why do we need to take sex, or at least sex-linked traits, into account when thinking about whether and how to include trans girls and women in sport?

We want to be inclusive of trans girls and women, but if we care about sex equality for females and we want to affirm the category “girls’ and women’s sport,” we cannot ignore biology.

Transgender athletes are rare. Aren’t there so few trans girls and women that we should just make an exception and let them in based on their gender identity?

Just one or two trans girls who are decent athletes will displace a lot of females.

For example, in Connecticut, just two trans girls in one sport over three and a half years deprived female student-athletes of at least 235 opportunities in high level competition.

The Women’s Sports Policy Working Group is asking the Biden Administration and Congress to adopt our ethical, science-based approach to affirm girls’ and women’s sport.

Join us!

Join us in supporting our positions and model legislation, laid out here. Sign our petition, to be delivered to members of Congress, to join us as we provide for all girls, whether they are transgender or not, to have a place within a fair, safe, and respectful women’s sports environment.

Sign this petition below

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