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Former U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe and WNBA legend Sue Bird were among the athletes who signed a letter from LGBTQ advocacy group Athlete Ally urging the NCAA not to enact a policy that would block transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports. This came after a group of House Republican lawmakers asked the NCAA president to ban transgender athletes in response to Lia Thomas becoming the first trans woman to win an NCAA national title. The letter stated that denying transgender athletes the right to participate in sports is against the NCAA’s principles and limits the ability of member institutions to protect and support their athletes.

The letter also mentioned South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley’s support for transgender athletes. It argued that the real issues affecting women’s sports are unequal pay, failure to uphold Title IX, sexual abuse and harassment, and unequal resources for men’s and women’s teams. The letter condemned the media for framing athletes like Riley Gaines in a way that incites transphobic feelings, despite support from many swimmers for transgender athletes and the expertise behind the IOC’s inclusive policies. The letter called for transgender women to be allowed to compete in NCAA women’s sports alongside their teammates.

Numerous athletes, including U.S. women’s soccer stars Becky Sauerbrunn, Sam Mewis, and Lynn Williams, as well as WNBA players and Olympic swimmer Brooke Forde, signed the letter in support of transgender athletes. The athletes emphasized that sports should be inclusive for everyone, including transgender individuals, and spoke out against bans targeting trans athletes under the guise of protecting women’s sports. Megan Rapinoe urged fellow cis women athletes to join in supporting transgender athletes, expressing solidarity with those who fear being excluded from the sports they love. The NCAA stated its commitment to promoting Title IX, investing in women’s sports, and ensuring fair competition for all student-athletes in championship events.

In conclusion, the letter from Athlete Ally called on the NCAA to prioritize inclusivity and fairness by allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s sports, rejecting calls to ban them. Athletes from various sports, including soccer, basketball, and swimming, signed the letter to show their solidarity with transgender athletes and promote a more inclusive environment in sports. The letter highlighted the importance of recognizing the rights of all athletes to participate in sports as their authentic selves and encouraged the NCAA to uphold its principles of equality and support for all student-athletes. The advocacy for transgender inclusion in sports underscores the ongoing discussions and debates surrounding diversity and acceptance within athletic competitions.

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