The NAIA doesn't let transgender women play any women's sports.

Monday, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics decided to ban transgender women from women’s competitions starting with the 2019–2020 school year. This has made transgender rights activists worry that the NCAA may follow suit.

On July 30, the Council of Presidents of the NAIA decided that starting August 1, only students “whose biological sex is female” will be able to play women’s sports. That includes transgender guys or students who aren’t binary and aren’t getting hormones that make them more masculine.

This is what NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a news release: “We will always support fair competition for our student-athletes.” “It is very important that NAIA member schools, conferences, and student athletes all work together in a fair and respectful way.” The Transgender Task Force and our member schools helped the NAIA’s Council of Presidents decide on our next steps.

The NCAA has more teams and events than the NAIA. Their events and teams, like Monday night’s men’s basketball title game, are some of the most popular in American sports. The NAIA has 241 member schools, most of which are private and have low enrollments.

Read More: Lisa Bluder : Question About Transgender Athletes in Women’s Sports Is Turned Down.

Transgender athletes can participate in NCAA sports as long as they follow the rules set by their international sports governing bodies. The NCAA has generally pushed for inclusion, but it has refused to pull title events from states that don’t let transgender athletes play in school sports that are paid for by the government.

“The NAIA vote gives me hope that the NCAA will be able to do the same,” said Anna Baeth, head of research for the LGBTQ sports advocacy group Athlete Ally. “You would be very wrong to feel that way about your freedom.”

Conservatives have long fought against and looked closely at the rights of trans athletes, even at the K–12, college, and Olympic levels. Transgender campaigners and lawmakers say that limiting or banning transgender athletes from competing is necessary to protect women’s sports under Title IX and keep cisgender women safe. (The science behind any physical advantages transgender women may have over cisgender women is still not clear, and more study is needed.)

Since 2020, about half of the states in the U.S. have laws that keep transgender girls, women, and sometimes boys and men from playing school sports that are paid for by the state and match their gender identity. Some of those laws are being fought in court.

Read More: Riley Gaines is among more than a dozen collegiate athletes suing the NCAA over transgender policy.

At the same time, many foreign sports governing bodies have been trying to figure out how to make rules that are fair and based on science. Some sports organisations, like World Aquatics and World Athletics, have made it very hard for transgender girls and women to compete by not letting them if they have gone through testosterone-driven puberty.

“I’m fully disappointed,” Mack Beggs, a transgender guy who used to wrestle in the NAIA for Life University in Marietta, Ga., said. He said that beating other people in college “meant the world.” It not only helped me get better at sports, but it also helped me become a better person.

Someone from the NAIA said that they don’t keep track of how many out trans athletes are among the 83,000 who play its sports. The group’s policy for 2023–24 says that trans and nonbinary athletes can participate in any gender category during the regular season.

Read More: Hailey Davidson, a transgender golfer, answers to her ban from the women’s professional tour.

Trans athletes who aren’t getting hormone therapy to change their gender can participate in postseason events in either mixed-gender or single-gender sports based on the gender they were given at birth. Transgender women who are getting hormone therapy to change their gender can participate in the postseason as women, as long as they have been getting treatment for a year. In the postseason, transgender men who are taking gender-affirming testosterone as recommended by their doctors may play on men’s teams instead of women’s teams.

Co-founder of the Independent Council on Women’s Sports Marshi Smith called the decision “historic” and asked more groups to “follow the science to preserve the original intent of Title IX.” The council has paid for a lawsuit against the NCAA over its policy.

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

Chris Mosier, an activist for trans rights and the first openly transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition, said that recent anti-trans rhetoric could have an effect on the rules set by college sports organisations.

Read More: A volleyball player in the NCAA won’t keep quiet about transgender sports who put women’s chances “at risk.”

People are talking about what transgender women can do in college sports because of Lia Thomas, a diver at the University of Pennsylvania.
People are talking about what transgender women can do in college sports because of Lia Thomas, a diver at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mosier wrote in an email, “These groups and individuals have made it their life’s work to hurt transgender people. They have attacked the NAIA, the NCAA, and many other sports leagues, teams, and organisations.” “A policy change right now, without a strong way to involve experts, athletes, and people who have lived through it, is only based on political pressure.”

Baeth said that there are about 40 out trans players who play sports in the NCAA. Sixteen cisgender current and former female college athletes sued the NCAA in March over its policy on transgender athletes. They wanted the NCAA to stop trans women from participating in women’s events and give those athletes back any awards they had received.

The plaintiffs said the NCAA broke Title IX by letting transgender athletes participate, like University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. Thomas won the NCAA Division I title in the 500-yard freestyle in 2022.

Read More: Major sports title won by transgender woman.

The NCAA last changed its rules on transgender athletes’ status in January 2022, right before the swimming championships.

The group set up a sport-by-sport system where athletes must follow the rules set by the world governing body for their particular sport. That change is still being made slowly. The next meeting of the NCAA Board of Governors is set for April 25.

An NCAA representative said, “College sports are the best place for women to play sports in the United States. The NCAA will continue to support Title IX, invest in women’s sports in ways that have never been done before, and make sure that all student-athletes have fair competition in all NCAA championships.”

A reporter from the conservative sports website OutKick asked South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley what she thought about transgender players at a news conference on Saturday at the Final Four.

The woman said, “I think that if you’re a woman, you should play.” “If you think of yourself as a woman and want to play sports, or if you want to play sports and think of yourself as a woman,”

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