NCAA expresses support for transgender athletes

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The NCAA expressed support for transgender athletes on Monday, saying it would not host college championships in states where laws discriminate against them.

A statement from the organization’s board of governors declared that the body “firmly and unequivocally” supports the inclusion of transgender athletes in college sports. It comes as a number of states have recently advanced laws effectively banning transgender Americans from playing sports at the high school or college level.

“This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition,” the NCAA said. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”

“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected,” the board of governors continued.

The statement is a clear shot at GOP-led states that have moved to pass bills barring transgender athletes in recent weeks, including Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The moves are seen as an effort to resonate with the GOP base, while critics and LGBTQ advocates denounce the policies as hateful and discriminatory.

“What this is is the latest iteration of Republicans trying to figure out how to exploit the lack of information on trans people for their political benefit, political benefit of Republicans on the ballot,” transgender activist Charlotte Clymer told The Hill last month.

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