A small group of demonstrators gathered exterior the NCAA Conference in San Antonio on Thursday to protest the inclusion of transgender athletes in girls’s faculty sports activities.
The protest was attended by former College of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who competed in opposition to College of Pennsylvania transgender athlete Lia Thomas in final yr’s NCAA swimming and diving championships.
Talking exterior the Henry B. Gonzalez Conference Heart, Gaines mentioned to NCAA officers: “We’ve created a petition with virtually 10,000 signatures from folks across the nation who need to help protecting feminine sports activities feminine.”
Present NCAA coverage stipulates that transgender student-athlete participation for every sport is “to be decided by the coverage for the nationwide governing physique of that sport” in alignment with the insurance policies of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
Gaines has beforehand spoken concerning the matter in marketing campaign advertisements with former US Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia and at a rally held by Donald Trump.
The demonstration was organized by a number of teams, together with the Impartial Council on Girls’s Sports activities (ICONS).
ICONS launched an announcement on Thursday, saying: “They [the NCAA] should shield feminine athletes from discrimination on the premise of intercourse, or count on we will likely be pressured to take authorized steps to compel them to take action.”
The assertion requires the NCAA to “adjust to U.S. civil rights regulation” by “repealing all insurance policies that enable male athletes to take roster spots on girls’s groups and/or compete in girls’s occasions.”
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar was on the protest and tweeted: “Sports activities teaches strategic considering. However weirdly, the NCAA shouldn’t be listening; it’s doggedly pursuing a shedding technique: persons are LESS empathetic to transgender athletes after they see males compete in our sports activities, denying feminine alternatives.”
The protest was additionally attended by Christiana Kiefer, legal professional for non secular freedom group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has confronted criticism for being anti-LGBTQ rights.
Kiefer tweeted a picture of her talking on the occasion, with the caption: “NCAA: we’re speaking to you. It’s time to cease discriminating in opposition to feminine athletes and shield #womenssports!”
Athlete Ally – a pro-LGBTQ rights group that works to “dismantle the programs of oppression in sport that isolate, exclude and endanger LGBTQI+ folks” – launched an announcement to CNN condemning the demonstration and its intentions.
“We need to see all athletes, together with transgender and nonbinary athletes, protected against hurt,” the assertion reads. “Demonstrations like this that current transgender folks as threats to girls’s sports activities – moderately than the people they’re – will not be solely factually incorrect, however are additionally deeply dangerous and assist foster the violence and harassment these youth are already going through.
“These involved about threats to girls’s sports activities ought to deal with what we all know to be the true, documented threats: unequal pay, sexual abuse and harassment, a scarcity of sources for girls athletes, and a scarcity of girls in management – all points that have been mentioned through the conference the protestors have been standing exterior of.”
The NCAA confirmed to CNN that it had acquired the petition from an exterior group associated to the affiliation’s transgender student-athlete participation coverage and would reply after reviewing the doc.