Massive: Transgender Athletes Banned from Women’s Sports By NAIA in Major Blow to LGBT

Massive: Transgender Athletes Banned from Women’s Sports By NAIA in Major Blow to LGBT

Saying that women’s sports were created for women, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has issued a ruling effectively banning men who say they are transgendered women from competing in women’s sports.

The NAIA’s Council of Presidents approved the policy 20-0 on Monday, according to CBS.

“Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports,” the policy said.

However, transder athletes are not fully banned: “A student who has begun masculinizing hormone therapy may participate in: All activities that are internal to the institution (does not include external competition), including workouts, practices, and team activities. Such participation is at the discretion of the NAIA member institution where the student is enrolled; and External competition that is not a countable contest as defined by the NAIA (per NAC Policy Article XXV, Section A, Item 12). Such participation is at the discretion of the NAIA member institution where the student is enrolled.”

The NAIA governs sports for 249 mostly small and private colleges, which are not in one of the NCAA’s three divisions, across the country.

“We know there are a lot of different opinions out there,” NAIA president Jim Carr said.

“For us, we believed our first responsibility was to create fairness and competition in the NAIA. … We also think it aligns with the reasons Title IX was created. You’re allowed to have separate but equal opportunities for women to compete,” he said.

CBS reported the NAIA “is believed to be the first national college governing body to mandate that athletes compete according to assigned sex at birth.”

Carr said students impacted by the policy can still compete.

“It’s important to know that the male sports are open to anyone,” he said.

“The task force spent nearly two years reviewing research, meeting with experts to better understand potential policy challenges, and obtaining feedback from multiple membership groups,” Council of Presidents chair and St. Ambrose University president Amy Novak said.

“With this policy, the NAIA has made its best effort to allow for the inclusion of transgender athletes in any way which does not impact the competitive fairness of women’s sports. Our priority is to protect the integrity of women’s athletics and allow them equal opportunity to succeed,” she said.

“With the exception of competitive cheer and competitive dance, the NAIA created separate categories for male and female participants,” the NAIA said, according to ESPN.

“Each NAIA sport includes some combination of strength, speed and stamina, providing competitive advantages for male student-athletes. As a result, the NAIA policy for transgender student-athletes applies to all sports except for competitive cheer and competitive dance, which are open to all students,” the NAIA said.

The rule was fodder for those who support or oppose it as they looked at whether the decision could be a precedent for the NCAA, according to The Washington Post.

Marshi Smith, co-founder of the Independent Council of Women’s Sports, called the action “historic” and urged others to “follow the science to preserve the original intent of Title IX.”

“The NCAA needs to look to the NAIA now to do what is just and right,” she said.

Anna Baeth, director of research for Athlete Ally, criticized the ruling.

“I think that [the NAIA vote] provides a feeling that the NCAA would have the latitude to do the same,” she said. “I think that that feeling of latitude would be incredibly misguided.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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