The Point

Message to the NCAA: Up Is not Down


John Stonestreet

Maria Baer

The NCAA is threatening to pull college championships from states that won’t allow biological men to compete in women’s sports. Officials claim they are promoting “an inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports.”

What this really is another reminder of the importance of language.

Despite the NCAA’s statement and tweets from the ACLU, transgender people are not barred from sports. Like all athletes, they simply must compete against those who share their biological sex, since biological sex is so relevant to levels of strength and performance in physical sports.  But the NCAA wants adherence to stereotypes and social norms of “gender expression” to be the determining factor instead of biological reality.

Be clear: legislation that keeps men from women’s sports doesn’t keep transgender athletes from competing. Just like laws that protect children from body-mutilating surgeries don’t keep transgender people from accessing healthcare. Use and read and hear words carefully—and challenge those who don’t. Too much is stake not to.



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