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Dozens of Top Athletes Sign Petition Against Federal Ban on Trans People in Sports

Two people hold hands raised in the air while waving a blue, pink, and white trans flag above them

A group of 40 professional, Olympic, and Paralympic athletes signed an open letter condemning a federal anti-trans sports bill currently working its way through the House of Representatives. H.R. 734—a.k.a. the “Protection of Girls and Women in Sports Act“—stipulates that under Title IX, trans women and girls are to be barred from competing on women’s sports teams.

The Republican-led bill goes against President Biden’s recent stance on the inclusion of trans women in sports, which would bar athletic associations from creating blanket bans against trans athletes, but also impose restrictions on transfeminine people hoping to qualify. While this policy would no doubt hurt trans and cis women alike, the Biden administration issued the guidelines in an effort to “compromise” with Republicans gunning for outright bans against trans athletes. Considering the recent introduction of H.R. 734, conservatives do not appear to be interested in compromise whatsoever.

As luck would have it, neither are these athletes.

These athletes range from professional soccer players to Paralympic Gold Medalists, and they are all in agreement that “every single child should have access to the lifesaving power of sports.” They believe that this proposed bill “does not protect women in sports” and will deny trans children “significant mental and physical health benefits.”

In an open letter opposing the bill, dozens of prominent athletes state: “We believe that gender equity in sport is critical, which is why we urge policymakers to turn their attention and effort to the causes women athletes have been fighting for decades, including equal pay, an end to abuse and mistreatment, uneven implementation of Title IX, and a lack of access and equity for girls of color and girls with disabilities, to name only a few.”

H.R. 734 is just one of over 190 similar bills that specifically target the rights and privileges of trans people, and it is hardly the most severe policy. The Missouri Attorney General recently wrote an emergency rule that would make it virtually impossible for trans people of any age to receive gender-affirming care. Montana is currently considering a bill that will essentially make it illegal to be trans online. Some of these laws are facing scrutiny and enjoinment from federal judges in certain states, but many state legislatures have been able to pass countless anti-trans bills with impunity. The Republican war on trans people is a particularly brutal escalation of a larger-scale culture war, one that has genocidal implications. Thankfully, these 40 athletes refuse to be daunted in the face of such hatred.

Their names are:

Abby Dunkin, Paralympic Gold medalist, Wheelchair Basketball, Team USA

Alison Desir, Founder, Harlem Run and Co-Chair, Running Industry Diversity Coalition

Angela Hucles, Former Professional and Olympic Soccer Player, Team USA/NWSL; Former President of the Women’s Sports Foundation

Becky Sauerbrunn, Olympic Gold Medalist, Soccer, Team USA/NWSL 

Bella Bixby, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Brad Stuver, Professional Soccer Player, MLS

Caitlin Cosme, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Carly Nelson, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Carrie Sheinberg, Former Olympic Alpine Skier, Team USA

CeCe Telfer, NCAA National Champion

Celia Jiménez, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL and Spanish National Team

Chris Mosier, Triathlete & Duathlete, 6-time Team USA and Founder of TransAthlete.Com

Devin Ibanez, Professional Rugby Player, Major League Rugby 

Emily Menges, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Erika Lawler, Olympic Ice Hockey Player, Team USA

Esther Lofgren, Olympic Rower, Team USA

Grete Eliassen, Professional Freestyle Skier

Gwen Berry, Olympic Track and Field athlete, Team USA

Imani Dorsey, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

JayCee Cooper, Powerlifter

Jessica Mendoza, Former Olympic Softball Player, Team USA

Johnny Stanton, Professional Football Player, NFL

Kaiya McCullough, Former Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Kaylie Collins, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Kendall Chase, Olympic Rower, Team USA

Layshia Clarendon, Professional Basketball Player, WNBA

Lori Lindsey, Former Olympic and Professional Soccer Player, Team USA/NWSL

Madison Packer, Professional Ice Hockey Player, Premier Hockey Federation

Meaghan Nally, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Megan Rapinoe, Olympic and Professional Soccer Player, Team USA/NWSL

Meghan Duggan, Former Olympic Ice Hockey Player, Team USA

Meghan Klingenberg, Olympic and Professional Soccer Player, Team USA/NWSL

Meghan O’Leary, Olympic Rower, Team USA

Mikey Lopez, Professional Soccer Player, USL Championship

Naya Tapper, Olympic Rugby Player, Team USA

Pam Boteler, Former Team USA Sprint Canoeist

Patricio Manuel, Professional Boxer

Sophia Herzog-Gibb, Paralympic Swimmer, Team USA

Sue Bird, Olympic and Professional Basketball Player, Team USA/WNBA

Tziarra King, Professional Soccer Player, NWSL

Thank you, each and every one of you.

(featured image: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

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