On Monday, the NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam—a group of NCAA-trained facilitators at colleges across the country—published an open letter explicitly condemning the actions taken by Ohio and 27 other states across the country to introduce, pass, and sign anti-transgender legislation.
Two of the signatories of the letter are Ohio-based: Dorian Rhea Debussy, Associate Director Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon College, and Kayla Hayes, Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Denison University.
“A letter like this is necessary right now, since it publicly shows that we are taking a stand against these exclusionary laws,” explains Hayes. “I want to be a collegiate athletics representative who creates a safe haven and a positive outlet for student-athletes, rather than one of discrimination and exclusion.”
The letter outlines how this rash of legislation is discriminatory, and stems more “from hate and misinformation rather than science, and…by fear instead of fact.” The letter further outlines the consequences of such legislation:
Such legislation dehumanizes transgender students, refuses them the opportunity to participate equally and equitably in athletics, undermines their support in educational settings, damages their mental health, and ultimately harms these students, while also contributing to an exclusionary athletic environment and a more hostile school climate for all students.
Finally, the letter calls for immediate action, including an end to such legislation in all states, a repeal of the legislation already passed in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and an encouragement towards legislators to consider NCAA best practices in creating an inclusive athletic environment for all student-athletes.
“If we help overturn or stop these bans, that’s a win for equity and for our transgender student-athletes,” says Hayes.
The full NCAA LGBTQ OneTeam letter is available to view online.
- Read and share the open letter.
- Do your research. Initiate dialogue about trans athletes AFTER you have read up on the important talking points you need to grasp before being challenged. The ACLU guide is a great place to start.
- Equality Ohio is collecting stories from trans athletes. Share your story here.