‘Massive Win’: Court Rules Transgender People Entitled to Disabilities Act Protections

LGBTQ+ rights advocates on Tuesday celebrated Tuesday after a federal court became the first in the U.S. to rule that transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria must be protected from discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Rewire News Group called the ruling in Williams v. Kincaid “a win for gender-affirming care.”

The case stemmed from the experience of Kesha Williams, a transgender woman who was incarcerated in Fairfax County, Virginia in 2018.

“The disorder that my client now has did not exist, at least diagnostically… We must apply a modern understanding.”

When jail staff found out Williams was transgender, they housed her with men, harrassed her, confiscated her bras, and frequently refused to provide her with the hormone treatments she’d been taking for 15 years.

Williams filed a lawsuit arguing the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office had violated her rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), with her lawyers arguing that she should have been protected from discrimination under the law.

They argued that the ADA should extend protections to people with gender dysphoria—defined as the “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.”

A district court ruled against Williams last year, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Tuesday reversed that decision.

In 1990, when the ADA was signed into law, it did not mention gender dysphoria but explicitly excluded “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments” from the protections it offered.

As The Washington Post reported in May while the appeals court was considering Williams’ case, right-wing policymakers pushed for the exclusion of “gender identity disorders” along with pedophilia, voyeurism, and exhibitionism, classifying all as “sexual behavior disorders.”

Continuing to exclude people with gender dysphoria from discrimination protections would make the ADA unconstitutional, Williams argued.

“The disorder that my client now has did not exist, at least diagnostically” when the ADA was signed into law, Joshua Erlich told the court. “We must apply a modern understanding.”

In an amicus brief, LGBTQ+ rights groups including GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the National Center for Transgender Equality wrote that gender dysphoria “results from an atypical interaction of sex hormones with the developing brain.”

“This atypical interaction, which results in a person being born with circulating hormones inconsistent with their gender identity, is a physical impairment,” said the groups.

In what rights activist Erin Reed called a “massive win for transgender people,” the appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Williams “plausibly alleged that gender dysphoria does not fall within the ADA’s exclusion.”

Williams’s case against Sheriff Stacy Kincaid’s office alleging disability discrimination will now be able to proceed.

First seen in common dreams

Hartford Public Schools adopt policy protecting transgender, nonconforming students

Hartford — A gender-nonconforming student’s face lit up when Jackie Harris-Stone, a Farmington resident who has children in the Hartford Public Schools system, showed the school district’s new “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth” policy to the student.

“Remember all the trouble you had last year?” Harris-Stone recalled telling the student as they spoke at the Hartford Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday. “This bit will stop that. Your district says it cares about you.”

The school board unanimously adopted the comprehensive policy during its meeting at Weaver High School on Tuesday.

“The Hartford Board of Education is dedicated to creating an environment that is physically and emotionally and intellectually safe for all of the individuals who attend our schools and serve our students,” school board Vice Chairman Rev. AJ Johnson said, reading the policy’s preamble. “This policy is designed in keeping with these mandates to create a safe learning environment for all students and ensure all students have equal access to all school programs and activities.”

It’s important for us to stand up for equity for all our children and not be afraid of the naysayers,” school board Second Vice Chair Kimberly Oliver added.

The policy addresses numerous points, including privacy, official records, names and pronouns, gender-segregated activities, restroom and locker room accessibility, interscholastic sports (“Transgender and gender non-conforming students shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity and in compliance with the applicable regulations of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association”) and dress codes.

“This policy sets out guidelines for schools and district staff to address the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming students and clarifies how state law should be implemented in situations where questions may arise about how to protect the legal rights or safety of such students,” the policy said. “This policy does not anticipate every situation that might occur with respect to transgender or gender non-conforming students and the needs of each transgender or gender non-conforming student must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

The policy also requires the superintendent of schools to provide for the training of district staff in transgender sensitivity, as well as “developmentally age-appropriate training” for all students.

Several people, including Harris-Stone, enthusiastically endorsed the policy.

“This policy is going to make the lives of transgender and nonbinary and gender nonconforming students better, safer and, in some cases, literally longer,” Harris-Stone said, adding that given a school district of Hartford’s size, up to 13 students “will not commit suicide with proper support like this.”

“That’s good work,” she said, noting that the possible hostilities the school board faces from people who object to the policy highlights its necessity. “Your policy is the first step in normalizing that transgender students have unique needs that need to be taken care of even if not everybody doesn’t understand. Thank you for caring about our trans kids.”

Lindsey Pasquale, the national northeast regional director of PFLAG, said they were impressed with how the school board handled the policy.

“This is really comprehensive,” they said. “This is a step, and as you go forward you still want to continue to look at education for your staff, education and engagement for your student body and baseline survey of attitudes of [the] student body and staff and every few years do a checkpoint. This is a big benefit for the student body.”

On its Facebook page, PFLAG Hartford commended Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, school board Chairman Philip Rigueur, Johnson “and the entire Hartford Public School Board of Education in this moment.”

“PFLAG Hartford looks forward to seeing how these words are now carried forward and put into action,” the post said. “Most important of all, we are really happy for the students in the Hartford school system tonight.”

Carol Gale, president of the Hartford Teachers Federation, also thanked the school board for adopting the policy,

“Thank you in your efforts in making Hartford Public Schools safe and welcoming to all our students,” she said. “Thank you for recognizing the training of staff is important in order to carry this out. Equally important is recognizing transgender youth, as all youth, are growing and developing which also means they may be exploring and experimenting as they seek to define themselves or remain undefined. Thank you for capturing this in your recognition this policy does not anticipate every situation that might occur with trans or nonconforming students and their needs must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”

This article first appeared in the Courant

Sending your kid to camp can be hard — especially when they’re trans

Mommy, I’m scared,” my daughter said from the backseat of our SUV, surrounded by her backpack, a sleeping bag and some other odds and ends that never made it into her duffel bags. We were still about an hour away from camp and other than “why can’t I just stay home this summer?” these were the only words she’d muttered in the past 90 minutes.

“I know, *Gabby,” I said, empathizing. “It can be scary going to a new camp. But I’m sure that once you get settled in, you’ll make friends and have fun!”

“You don’t get it, Mom,” she said. “No one wants to be friends with the new kid.” And then a few seconds later: “Especially the new trans kid.”

I honestly didn’t think being transgender would prevent her from making friends. Hell, I hoped it wouldn’t. Regardless, I knew she was feeling anxious. And even though I loved my camp experience (eight summers as a camper, four as a counselor, and I still sing color war cheers and alma maters in the shower), I could only imagine the anxiety she was feeling.

Privacy at sleepaway camp is minimal, often nonexistent. Picture an old-school Loehmann’s dressing room — add some beds, cubbies and a multi-stall bathroom/shower area, and you’re looking at a traditional bunk. Yes, things had gotten a little awkward one summer at my old sleepaway camp when my boobs started growing before some of my bunkmates, and when my friend sprouted pubic hair when the rest of us hadn’t, but for the most part, all of us girls were in the same boat. Breasts and bushes aside, we all looked similar and had few qualms about dressing or undressing in a crowd.

But how would my penis-bearing daughter feel changing in a room full of vaginas, I often wondered when the topic of camp arose. And how would the vagina-bearing girls — and let’s be honest, their parents — feel about their kids changing, let alone living in the same bunk as a girl with a penis?

When we first began researching camps, my husband and I weren’t even sure sleepaway camp would be possible for our daughter. Especially after Gabby told us vehemently, “I’m not going to trans camp,” which was a decision we respected. While there are a handful of incredible camps for gender-nonconforming and transgender kids, our daughter wanted a traditional sleepaway experience where she could simply be “one of the girls.”

“Why can’t I go to cousin Amanda’s camp?” Gabby asked for about the fifteenth time a week before camp was slated to begin. We were sitting outside, just the two of us, eating dinner at a neighborhood café.

“Honestly,” I replied, setting down my glass of cabernet, “for a few reasons. One, Amanda’s camp is a little over the top for my and Daddy’s taste. Let’s just say it’s a bit fancier than I’d expect a camp to be. And most of the girls seem to be wearing the same outfits” — expensive outfits, I thought but didn’t say — “in all the pictures I’ve seen. It seems a bit much to me.

“And besides,” I started to say, but then stopped.

“Besides what?” Gabby asked.

I sighed.

“Just tell me, Mom!”

“I’m not sure they’d let you go to that camp,” I admitted softly.

“Let me go?”

“Yes,” I said, and paused again, trying to buy some time before having a conversation I’d been dreading since my son Gideon became my daughter, Gabriella. “Not all camps accept transgender campers.”

“Oh,” she said dejectedly. “Well, did you ask Amanda’s camp?”

“No, we didn’t. Because again, it’s not a camp we’d consider for you.”

“Did you ask other camps that said no? Is that why I’m going to this new camp?”

This post originally appeared in Today

The difficult road for Trans youth in Texas

Texas leaders have targeted trans youth, their families and gender-affirming care practices for months. It’s exacerbated feelings of anxiety and fear in trans youth, who already experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide than their cis peers. Mental health practitioners can help navigate these feelings, but finding and accessing an affirming therapist in Texas can be a challenge.

For resources and support, call Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860, The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Roswell Gray, 17, has seen a lot of different therapists’ offices. They’re always some variation of black and white and gray, the muted tones matching the monotony of having to explain everything over and over again to a new person, in the hopes they’ll be the right fit.

But Gray said walking into a new office, about an hour away from their home in Sherman, felt different.

“It was really simplistic, but there was a lot of beautiful art, a lot of different colors and stuff that made me smile,” Gray said. “She had a little mini fridge with snacks and drinks. And it was just like, super welcoming and inviting.”

But beyond the fully-stocked fridge and the décor, Gray’s therapist used their pronouns and asked about their gender identity. Their previous therapist “wasn’t great in many aspects,” and they had been looking for a provider who was trans-affirming and could talk about their Mormon faith.

“I was partially nervous because a lot of people of faith aren’t as accepting as I would like them to be,” said Gray. “It was really nice to hear her talk about how she’s dealt with other clients like me, who are also queer.”

Because of the drive to the office outside of Grayson County, gas prices and the pandemic, Gray hasn’t gone to therapy as often as they’d like. And it’s been hard to navigate the past few months, they said, as gender-affirming care has been caught up in a legal back-and-forth.

Lawmakers in Texas have increasingly tried to prevent access to gender-affirming mental health and medical care for trans youth since last year. Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott have both targeted families providing medical care to their children. In addition, a bill the Texas legislature passed last year bans trans athletes from sports in school.

Repeated exposure to negative messages on trans identity in the media and from political leaders can lead to increased “depression, anxiety, PTSD and psychological distress” for trans people, as researchers found in a study in the journal of LGBT Health earlier this year. The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ youth crisis services, advocacy and research organization, reported back in January that 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth surveyed said their mental health was negatively impacted by hearing state lawmakers debate trans rights.

“Navigating Texas, with all the changes in laws and policies, has been really hard,” said Gray. “Especially when I would go on to social media, and everything I would would see is like, the state is banning trans youth from playing sports. So I spend less time on social media just to distance myself from all of the negative things.”

Gray and other trans youth are far from the only people feeling afraid and confused about the future of care in Texas.

As Texas leaders target gender-affirming care, psychologists’ work is caught in a legal back-and-forth

Mental health providers like Beck Munsey in North Texas are worried what statements from state leaders could mean for their work. Munsey is a clinician and educator who sees LGBTQ+ youth and adults. Part of Paxton and Abbott’s directives were that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, plus mandated reporters like physicians, mental health counselors like Munsey, and teachers, investigate and report families to the state.

“It is scary, because there may come a time where Texas law says that I’m not allowed to provide affirming care,” Munsey said. “And so I’ll have to make a moral decision on what I do with that.”

But clinicians and families are pushing back. Several families of trans youth, along with the Texas branch of the national advocacy organization PFLAG, filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s investigations. Doctors at UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center Dallas, which quietly closed its trans youth program GENECIS last winter due to political pressure and fear of lawsuits, are also currently in litigation to provide services to new patients.

This post first appeared in Keranews

History of Pride Month

On a hot summer’s night in New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. Among the many leaders of the riots was a black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson, leading the movement to continue over six days with protests and clashes. The message was clear — protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist Brenda Howard. Known as ‘The Mother of Pride,’ Brenda organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This eventually morphed into what we now know as the New York City Pride March and was the catalyst for the formation of similar parades and marches across the world.

Speaking of the rainbow flag, it was actually gay politician Harvey Milk who asked a talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to San Francisco’s Pride March in 1978. Sadly, Harvey Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone on November 23, 1978, in San Francisco City Hall by Dan White, a disgruntled former supervisor who was angry at Milk for lobbying against having him reappointed on the Board of Supervisors.

Bill Clinton was the first U.S. President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009 to 2016, Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. In May 2019, Donald Trump recognized Pride Month with a tweet announcing that his administration had launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality, although critics have noted that actions speak louder than words.

The New York Pride Parade is one of the largest and most well-known parades to take place, with over 2 million people estimated to have taken part in 2019.

As first seen in National Today

Meet Charlie Amáyá Scott

In honor of upcoming Pride Month, NBC Out is highlighting and celebrating a new generation of LGBTQ trailblazers, creators and newsmakers.

Navajo Nation citizen Charlie Amáyá Scott, 27, is a transgender social media influencer, scholar and advocate. Scott, of Aurora, Colorado, who uses she and they pronouns, leverages her platform to highlight issues affecting the queer Indigenous community. She is also focusing on her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Denver.

In one of her most recent Instagram videos, Scott shares “trans joy” with a story involving her grandmother who saw her dressed in traditional clothing worn by Navajo and Diné women for the first time. Scott had not previously shared with her grandmother that she is transgender.

“Thinking about it makes me cry, because for the first time in my entire life my grandmother saw how I see myself, and she called me ‘beautiful’ for it,” Scott says in the video.

What is the most important thing that you want to share on your social platforms?

My tagline is “inspiring joy and justice,” and that is the most important thing I want to share, is that when people see my videos, they feel inspired and motivated to change the world. But I also want them to smile. I want them to have an amazing day. It’s those moments of joy that I think are the most impactful for movements of justice and refusal.

Vermont Conversation: Transgender Vermont educator responds to Fox News with ‘love and light

Laws targeting LGBTQ+ people are proliferating across the country. Some 240 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have so far been filed — more than three per day — mostly targeting transgender people In Idaho, Texas and Alabama, Republican leaders have passed laws criminalizing transgender health care, while Florida has banned discussions of LGBTQ+ issues in elementary school in a law that critics dub the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Vermont is also under anti-trans attack.

On April 6, conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham aired a segment titled “Groom & Doom,”which singled out a webinar offered in February by the Burlington School District titled “Let’s Talk About Gender Identity and Expression.” The webinar was led by Nikki Ellis, an assistant principal at Edmunds Middle School who is transgender. Ingraham charged that middle school students are “bombarded by efforts to undo any semblance of traditional values that their parents might have taught them.”

In the days following the broadcast, Ellis and the Burlington schools were flooded with hate mail. Burlington School Superintendent Tom Flanagan denounced the attacks, reassuring LGBTQ+ community members that “we care about them and that we are here for them.”

Anti-LGBTQ+ attacks are not limited to schools. The head of the Burlington Republican Party, Christopher-Aaron Felker, who has a history of making transphobic social media posts, tweeted out photos of Vermont legislators who support a transgender rights bill and labeled each of them a “groomer.”

On Tuesday, transphobia took a deadly turn when a trans woman was killed in Morristown.

“It’s sad and unfortunate that being transgender or being queer is being compared to sexual abuse and pedophilia because being who you are in your identity as a queer person doesn’t mean that you’re trying to impose on anyone else,” Ellis told The Vermont Conversation. “The reality is that there are traumas and turmoil and abuse that happen for kids across all identities and all experiences and all communities. But that’s completely unrelated to, you know, being LGBTQ+.”

Rep. Taylor Small, Vermont’s first openly transgender legislator, said the anti-trans backlash comes at a time when LGBTQ+ people are winning legal protection in Vermont.

“Last year, we were able to pass a bill to ban the LGBTQ+ ‘panic’ defense. And just last week, the governor signed a bill to make it easier for transgender and nonbinary people to amend their birth certificates to see themselves and their identity reflected on their vital records.”

Ellis is unbowed by the transphobic attacks. They responded to critics with an invitation: “Hey, Laura Ingraham, I’d love to take you out for coffee or dinner. And I’d love to be able to have an opportunity for you to see me for who I am, the person that I am, the passions that I have and the way that I care deeply about my community. And to everybody else out there, the love that I have and the love of this work is unconditional. And that means that we will just continue to wrap ourselves, wrap other queer folks up in love and light.”

Post first appeared in Vtdigger

Salem-Keizer school district has new transgender student policies. Here’s what they do

Andi Mudyrk becomes 1st openly transgender judge appointed to the California bench

Andi Mudyrk

Andi Mudyrk

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the appointment of the first openly transgender judge to the bench in California.

Andi Mudyrk, 58, of Sacramento, will serve as a judge in the Sacramento County Superior Couty, the governor’s office said.

She is the first transgender person to be appointed to the California bench, but she is also the second openly transgender person to serve as a judge. She follows in the path of Alameda Superior Court Judge Victoria Kolakowski, who became the first openly transgender judge after being elected in 2010.

Mudyrk’s appointment comes as political battles are waged over transgender rights in the U.S. amid a culture war, and as Newsom seeks to leave a legacy of diversity on California courts.

Newsom is scheduled Monday to swear in Justice Patricia Guerrero as the first Latina on the California Supreme Court. She was confirmed unanimously on Tuesday. In 2020, he nominated the first openly gay justice, Martin Jenkins, who is the third Black person to serve on the high court.

Mudyrk has been the chief deputy director at the California Department of Rehabilitation since 2020 and previously worked as a chief counsel there.

She has also worked in roles at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and for Disability Rights California.

She earned her law degree from George Washington University Law School and is a person with a disability, brittle bone disease, the governor’s office said.

This post first appeared in kcra

10 Transgender Athletes To Watch

From setting NCAA records to taking home gold at the Olympics, these trans athletes are making themselves known.

illustration of three basketball players embracingShare on Pinterest
Illustrations by Alyssa Kiefer

Transgender athletes are not a new phenomenon. Yet, although trans people have almost certainly competed in sports over the past thousands of years, the modern history of elite trans athletes began with Renée Richards in the 1970s.

Richards, an ophthalmologist and professional tennis player, had long competed against men at a high level. After her transition, she wanted to keep playing, this time against fellow women. However, officials denied her entry to the 1976 U.S. Open. Richards sued and won, earning the right to compete at the tournament in 1977.

Like trans athletes today, Richards had both strong supporters and detractors. Many people saw the discrimination she faced and helped her combat it.

Still, many others attempted to ban her from women’s competitions. They accused her of having a biological advantage and made her undergo intensive testing to determine whether she was “woman enough” to compete.

In the years since, the challenges facing trans athletes have shifted, but they haven’t disappeared. State lawmakers are barring transgender youth from sports. Athletes have signed petitions stating that trans women athletes have unfair advantages.

Sports organizations have been working on setting fair rules for when trans athletes can compete, with requirements ranging from maintaining certain hormone levels to having surgery on their genitals to — for some trans male athletes in particular — nothing at all.

Understanding of how being transgender, particularly a trans woman, affects an athlete’s play is still evolving. But in the meantime, trans athletes are training alongside their cisgender peers — with the extra burden of having to overcome the transphobia they face from the media, public, and people in their personal lives.

They have done so to great results, from smashing records in NCAA Division I sports to winning Olympic gold medals — and inspiring the next generation of trans athletes in the process.

Here are 10 transgender athletes to watch, today.

Timothy LeDuc
illustration of Timothy Leduc

Timothy LeDuc became the first openly nonbinary person to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2022 when they placed eighth in pairs figure skating with their partner Ashley Cain-Gribble.

This isn’t LeDuc’s first “first.” In 2019, they became the first openly queer person to win gold in pairs skating at the U.S. Championship. Together, LeDuc and Cain-Gribble have won two U.S. championships and medaled in the Grand Prix Series three times.

LeDuc has spoken out about resisting the cis-normativity and heteronormativity historically seen and expected in pairs skating, for example, by not portraying a romantic couple in their skating routines with Cain-Gribble.

Laurel Hubbard
illustration of Laurel Hubbard

New Zealander Laurel Hubbard made her Olympic debut in weightlifting at the 2020 Summer Olympics. She was the first openly transgender woman to compete at the Olympics and the first openly trans athlete to compete at an individual event in the Summer Olympics.

Her inclusion in the women’s +87kg group was controversial, throwing her in the spotlight, despite three other trans athletes competing in the 2020 Summer Games. Ultimately, Hubbard did not earn a spot on the podium, and her official result was “did not finish” after she was unable to complete a clean lift in the snatch section of the competition.

Hubbard’s weightlifting career has long been notable. Before her transition, she set a men’s national junior record, but she left the sport in her 20s because it was “too much to bear” as she figured out her identity.

After a 15-year break from the sport, Hubbard returned to set a women’s Oceania record at the 2017 North Island Games, then a gold at the Australian Championships and a silver at the World Championships.

In 2018, Hubbard suffered a nearly career-ending injury: a ruptured ligament in her arm. However, she continued competing in 2019, winning two gold medals at the 2019 Pacific Games, then lifting at the 2020 Summer Olympics at age 43 — 10 years older than the next oldest competitor in her group.

Chris Mosier
illustration of Chris Mosier

Chris Mosier, a trans man, became the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in an international competition after earning a spot at the men’s sprint duathlon in 2015. Mosier is a hall of fame triathlete, All-American duathlete, two-time National Champion, and he has made Team USA six times.

Mosier is also a powerful advocate for transgender athletes. He is credited with prompting the International Olympic Committee to change their rules in 2016 to be more inclusive of trans competitors, leaving no restrictions for trans men to compete with other men and dropping the requirement that trans women undergo genital surgery.

Mosier runs transathlete.com, through which he provides information about competing in sports as a trans person, including competition policies at various levels in various sports.

Quinn
illustration of quinn

A nonbinary person who goes only by one name, Quinnbecame the first transgender person to win a gold medal at the Olympics in the 2020 Summer Games with the Canadian women’s soccer team.

Quinn, who plays both a central defender and a midfielder, had previously competed in the 2019 World Cup and won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games, but they hadn’t yet come out at that time.

Chelsea Wolfe
illustration of chelsea wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe, a trans woman, is the third-ranked BMX freestyler in the United States. She earned a spot as an alternate for the women’s competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics — the first time the sport was included in the Olympic Games — by winning fifth place at the World Championships in 2021.

Wolfe didn’t get to compete at the Olympics, but she did become the first out trans person to make Team USA. She had just started to compete nationally in 2016 when it was announced that the sport would be added to the 2020 Olympics.

Alana Smith
illustration of Alana Smith

Nonbinary athlete Alana Smith competed in the inaugural women’s street skateboarding event at the 2020 Summer Olympics. They came out shortly before the Summer Games, wanting to enter the competition as their full authentic self.

Smith has also competed at four World Championships and won the bronze medal in 2015. They’ve been a big name in skateboarding since they were just 12 years old, when they won silver at the 2013 X Games.

Layshia Clarendon
illustration of Layshia Clarendon

Layshia Clarendon, a guard for the Minnesota Lynx who uses all pronouns, is the first openly transgender and nonbinary player to compete in the WNBA. They won a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, and Clarendon won the WNBA Community Assist Award in 2021 for her advocacy work for Black and brown youth and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Clarendon previously played for the University of California, Berkeley, and he finished his college career as the fourth highest scorer in Cal’s history, earning 1,820 points across four seasons.

Kye Allums
illustration of kye allums

Kye Allums became the first openly trans person to compete in an NCAA Division I sport when he came out as a trans man while playing basketball for the George Washington University’s women’s team in 2010.

Allums, a guard, played a total of three seasons, ending his college basketball career in 2011 after a string of concussions. In 2015, he was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

Allums is a public speaker and mentor to LGBTQIA+ youth, and he was featured in “The T Word,” a documentary by Laverne Cox about living as a young trans person.

Schuyler Bailar
illustration of schuyler bailar

Schuyler Bailar, a trans man, was the first openly trans NCAA Division I athlete to compete on a men’s team. He swam for Harvard’s men’s team for four seasons before graduating in 2019, and his last swim placed him in the top 15 percent of NCAA competitors in his event.

Bailar had an impressive career before college, too, competing in the Junior Olympics at age 10 and ranking in the top 20 for 15-year-old breaststroke swimmers in the United States.

He is an international speaker and advocate who posts on social media about body image, racism, and, of course, transgender inclusion in sports.

“People are attacking trans kids,” he says about the recent wave of bills banning transgender children from sports. “It doesn’t even matter whether or not they have these competitive differences or whatever; these are kids.

“I think people forget that, and they dehumanize and adultify these children as if they’re these threats to women’s sport, but they’re not. They’re just kids. Just kids who want to play soccer. They’re just kids who want to run around the track.”

Lia Thomas
illustration of lia thomas

A senior at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas, a trans woman and NCAA Division I freestyle swimmer, holds the fastest women’s times of the 2022 season in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events. In March, she competed at the NCAA championships in these and the 1,650-yard event.

Thomas swam on Penn’s men’s team for 2 years before coming out and getting approved by the NCAA to compete with women during summer 2020. However, the following season was canceled due to the pandemic, so this season is her first time competing against women.

Because she has excelled in swimming, Thomas has come under fire, prompting the NCAA to change their rules about trans women’s eligibility in all sports.

Although 16 members of Penn’s team wrote a letter stating that it’s unfair for Thomas to compete as a woman, 310 current and former NCAA, Team USA, and international swimmers and divers recently signed a letter in support of her.

At the NCAA championships, Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle event, making her the first out trans woman to win an NCAA swimming championship. She also finished fifth in the 200-yard finals and eighth in the 100-yard event.

Post first appeared on health line

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