US Sec of Education Miguel Cardona – Trans Athlete Rights are “non-negotiable”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told ESPN that transgender girls have a “right to compete” and suggested that the Biden administration will step in to protect those students’ civil rights, as multiple states enact legislation banning transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

On June 1, the first day of Pride Month, Florida became the eighth state to ban transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s competitions. In a wide-ranging interview on issues related to sex discrimination and athletes, the new leader of America’s school systems addressed the bans and said it was “non-negotiable that we’re going to protect the civil rights of all students,” setting up a possible showdown between federal civil rights enforcement and local control in education.

Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

Cardona was the commissioner of education in Connecticut prior to joining President Joe Biden’s cabinet and said his experience there “strengthened my resolve” to stand behind transgender athletes.

“It’s their right as a student to participate in these activities. And we know sports does more than just put ribbons on the first-, second- and third-place winner,” he said. “We know that it provides opportunities for students to become a part of a team, to learn a lot about themselves, to set goals and reach them and to challenge themselves. Athletics provides that in our K-12 systems and in our colleges, and all students deserve an opportunity to engage in that.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told ESPN that transgender girls have a “right to compete” and suggested that the Biden administration will step in to protect those students’ civil rights, as multiple states enact legislation banning transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports.

On June 1, the first day of Pride Month, Florida became the eighth state to ban transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s competitions. In a wide-ranging interview on issues related to sex discrimination and athletes, the new leader of America’s school systems addressed the bans and said it was “non-negotiable that we’re going to protect the civil rights of all students,” setting up a possible showdown between federal civil rights enforcement and local control in education.

 

 

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Florida Gov DeSantis signs Trans Sports Ban in violation of DOD policy

Gov DeSantis signed the Florida law banning transgender girls from interscholastic sports sending a clear message of hate on the First Day of the LGBTQIA International Pride Month.

Although it wasn’t mentioned, DeSantis also sent a message to ROTC programs that transgender students can’t participate in Officer Cadet programs which is a violation of both DOD policy and BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY 

ROTC programs are vital to the US military Officer Core as a way to earn a commission in the military, and to individuals as a means of obtaining scholarships and future employment. The other officer programs, such as West point admits transgender candidates now that President Biden has reversed Trump’s military trans ban.

In 2019 a Trans student lost his ROTC scholarship due to Trump’s military policy

Florida’s law prohibits transgender students from participating in the University of Central Florida’s ROTC program. The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board is the Department of Defense Agency responsible for the determination of medical qualification of applicants for appointment to a United States Service Academy, not Governor DeSantis.

The Department of the Defense statement celebrating Pride.

“Today kicks off Pride Month, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is proud to celebrate and honor the service commitment and sacrifice of our LGBTQ personnel in and out of uniform”, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday.

“He’s proud that one of his first actions after being sworn in was to implement President [Joe] Biden’s directive to ensure that all transgender individuals who wish to serve and who can meet the appropriate standards to be able to do so openly and free from discrimination,” the press secretary said.

At Austin’s direction, the Defense Department also has taken concerted action to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQ persons around the globe, he said, adding the secretary remains committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive force. During June, DOD will celebrate “the rich contributions of LGBTQ personnel,” Kirby added.

Gov. DeSantis is one of seven governors, HRC Reports, including Gov. Greg Gianforte in Montana, Gov. Kay Ivey in Alabama, Gov. Jim Justice in West Virginia, Gov. Tate Reeves in Mississippi, Gov. Bill Lee in Tennessee, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas — who have signed anti-transgender legislation this session. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued a “style and form” veto to similar legislation in her state before issuing two executive orders to similar effect.

The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “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.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender.

More than 100 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoke out to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country. New companies like Facebook, Pfizer, Altria, Peloton, and Dell join companies like Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Google, Hilton, IBM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nike, Paypal, Uber, and Verizon in objecting to these bills.

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Trans Sports bans land on Louisiana and Florida Governors’ Desks

As of today, on May 29, nine states have enacted legislation during 2021 targeting transgender youth. The worse offenders Arkansas, and Tennessee have been already sued. Given the lack of evidence for the laws, and that the supporters can’t name a trans athlete in their state, the laws will be most likely be put on hold until the cases are resolved.

Two more bills are awaiting action by governors. The Florida sports ban hit DeSanto’s desk a month ago. And a bill just landed on Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards desk. Both of these bills were passed with a veto-proof majority.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the main governing body for college sports, released a statement in April saying that “only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected” for its events. Pundits are saying that states that have enacted these laws aren’t facing any consequences but looking back on North Carolina and HB2 the NCAA took action after the bill went into effect and not before.

The Olympics have allowed transgender athletes to compete for a decade. During that time there haven’t been any to accel to the highest levels and win medals. That will change as it should when equality is achieved. Not because transgender athletes have any kind of advantage but because they will be allowed to compete vis a vis having their lives ended in their thirties.

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The Anti-Trans Sports Bill Redux: You Decide Ohio

Opinion By Eliana Turan,
Director of Development at The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

This article was first published at Cleveland Scene com “Op-Ed: Ohio’s Proposed Anti-Trans Sports Bills Are Dangerous State-Sanctioned Bigotry.”

On March 2, 2020, I was, invited by one of my favorite morning shows, The Sound of Ideas, to discuss HB527, which would have effectively barred trans students in Ohio from competing as their true selves. Joining as guests in favor of the bill were Beth Stelzer and Jena Powell. The former founded an organization she hyperbolically named “Save Women’s Sports.” The latter is an Ohio House representative.

Anticipating a civil conversation, I was stunned by the language of my co-guests, which I personally felt was aggressive, sexist, and transphobic. During the subsequent debate, I noted that Save Women’s Sports was collaborating with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed as an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group. I was so noticeably shaken from the exchange that show host Mike McIntyre even called me afterward to make sure I was ok (a gesture from the veteran journalist that I appreciated). After the radio program, Save Women’s Sports posted video of me from the show onto their social media, where my digital effigy may now be trolled into Internet oblivion.

HB527 failed to advance forward in the Statehouse last year, its supporters blaming the onset of COVID-19 as its reason for stoppage. That original bill was not truly dead, however. In 2021, it rose like a zombie to become the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which would prevent trans female students from competing on female teams in Ohio’s schools and colleges, if passed. This time, the anti-trans Ohio bill is joined with a tidal wave of similar sports bans in other states.

In this way, the recent onslaught of sports bans mirrors similar transphobic legislative assaults of recent history, such as the bathroom bills. Both campaigns rely heavily on the unfounded and transphobic paradigm that inclusion of trans people into public life will preclude and necessitate the dissolution of public life itself. This, despite the trans community making up only 0.6% of the U.S. population and having peacefully co-habited with our cisgender neighbors since the beginning of humankind.

As a trans woman and advocate in the LGBTQ+ community, I feel that the dual anti-trans sports bills in the Ohio Statehouse would be extremely harmful if passed. These bills would hurt trans women and girls by invalidating our identities, normalize and promote transphobic bullying, and effectively prevent trans youth from partaking in the natural human right of athletic participation.

Trans people would lose opportunities and face greater dangers. Four out of 10 trans people already attempt suicide at some point in our lives. Half of us will be sexually assaulted. Trans people often face rejection by peers, authorities figures, and even loved ones. We are at heightened risk for many health perils including addiction, mental health struggles, homelessness, incarceration, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19. Worse yet, Northeast Ohio is an epicenter of transphobic violence. Does a “public safety” bill really make sense when it targets our most vulnerable?

If we are going to talk about saving women and girls, let’s save all women and girls, trans females included. Athletic participation keeps kids safe by affording comradery, role models, friendships, and protections from life’s many dangers. Likewise, trans athletes strengthen their teams and act as positive examples for those around them – a valuable thing for kids who often feel unwanted.

Supporters of these bills claim they are meant to protect opportunities for cisgender women and girls. But that is not true, either. The Ohio High School Athletics Association (OHSAA) has affirmed that no evidence exists of trans athletes disrupting opportunities for their cisgender teammates in the state. Moreover, OHSAA’s governance framework that manages trans inclusion in sports is based on medical and scientific research, coupled with legal and human rights. In contrast, the proposed anti-trans bills are rooted in fear, prejudice, and ignorance.

Worse yet, these proposed sports bans actually hurt female athletes across the board, cis and trans alike. Supporters of these bills claim that female athletes are inherently inferior to male athletes. As an intersectional feminist, I find this proposition highly insulting. I believe that women can do anything just as well as men can. Invalidating female athletes undermines the broader push for female equality in sports. This is why Billie Jean King, Megan Rapinoe, and Candace Parker, and nearly 200 other athletes have come forward in support of trans inclusion of athletics.

By claiming that female athletes aren’t as good as our male equivalents, proponents of these sports bans reinforce societal misogyny that robs women’s teams and leagues of needed resources, coaching, scholarships, compensation, and recognition. But it doesn’t stop there. Young women and girls who internalize such messaging will be less likely to pursue opportunities in STEM, law, public service, finance, and other male-dominated fields. Is it is any surprise then that these sports bans are being pushed by lobby groups with long histories of keeping women oppressed?

Female athletes have been unjustly maligned as less than compared to male athletes. Unparalleled champions such as Serena and Venus Williams, Candace Parker, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and many others will never be seen, valued, or remembered for their true magnificence due to gendered sports discrimination and collective misogynistic beliefs.

A cynical gamble by the supporters of the proposed anti-trans sports bills is that they can effectively sell such ongoing misogynistic oppression in sports as existing toward the protection of cis women. As such, they frequently quote statistical data underscoring performance disparities between female and male athletes. Lost in their analysis, however, is the influence of the gross imbalances of resources and prestige allocated toward boy’s and men’s teams and leagues compared to their female counterparts, coupled with the influence of widespread cultural expectation that boys enter into sports and girls do not. Ignoring such factors, the proponents of the anti-trans sports bans simply conclude that females are inherently inferior in athletics to males, and that a full blanket ban on trans girls and women – whom they wrongly equate as being biologically identical to cis boys and men – is now needed urgently, despite long-running positive relations between cis and trans female athletes statewide.

Across the country, cisgender people are now debating whether trans people should enjoy the same inalienable rights that they do. To my cis neighbors, I would implore you to consider the long-view of this crossroads. America has a long and shameful history of sports discrimination against oppressed communities. Black Americans were barred from competing against white athletes during the shameful Jim Crow era. Indeed, the struggle for racial desegregation in the U.S. played out in many of the same venues the fight for trans inclusion plays out in today: bathrooms, locker rooms, schools, military service, etc. Does Ohio really want to fall on the wrong side of a 21st Century civil rights issue?

Even now, in the absence of formal homophobic discrimination, very few LGBTQ+ athletes compete out of the closet at the collegiate and professional level. Many likely fear losing scholarships or promotional sponsorships if they are outed. With so much more work to do toward LGBTQ+ equality in sports, what effect would the formalized barring of trans athletes from public life have on the broader rainbow? Anti-LGBTQ+ groups like the ADF likely gamble that a strategic wedge issue like trans inclusion in sports may pit cis and trans women against one another, thus weakening the struggle for gender equality, while simultaneously striking a major blow to the LGBTQ+ empowerment movement.

And what are the likely consequences if Ohio chooses the wrong side of history? To be sure, they would be steep. The NCAA has already suggested that it may not hold events in states that pass such bans. Is Ohio really in a financial position to needlessly imperil such opportunities? Perhaps Ohio’s many small-government Republicans and Libertarians should consider their own messaging about how draconian government can drive businesses away.

But that is not likely all. If we are to learn from the failed bathroom bill campaigns of yesteryear, more commercial and economic interests will likely step forward to affirm their stated policies toward diversity and inclusion. In March 2016, North Carolina initiated a statewide bathroom bill, thus setting off a flurry of transphobic copycat bills across the U.S. For its role as the flashpoint, North Carolina may have lost an estimated $3.76 billion in diverted economic activity. Even a fraction of such losses could thwart Ohio’s fragile recovery from COVID-19 and prolong unemployment for untold numbers of our neighbors. As of this writing, 19,428 Ohioans have died of the disease. Shouldn’t this be the primary concern of our lawmakers, alongside putting people back to work?

But beyond our state’s immediate needs, the issue of trans inclusion in Ohio’s sports teams bears implications for generations to come. As we emerge from the seclusion of COVID-19 lockdown and re-enter the world, we will find a world quickly transformed by the forces of innovation and change. Ohio lost the last innovation wave, and we desperately need to win the next for our state and region to remain relevant. That innovation will come largely from a new generation of thinkers and entrepreneurs, a new generation with vastly different attitudes and understandings toward gender, sexuality, biology, and identity. Recently, Governor DeWine announced that “he wants to spend $50 million on a marketing campaign to convince East Coast and West Coast residents to live, work and spend their money in Ohio.” But will Ohio likely attract such talent by openly embracing state-sanctioned bigotry?

Our future is ours to decide, Ohio.

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Trans Weightlifter Set to make History at the Tokyo Olympics

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard must overcome a horrific physical injury she suffered in 2018 in order to have a chance at the Olympics. But it’s more than that. Laura’s success has led to an onslaught of transphobic diatrades like the world has never seen. It’s going to take encouragement to empower her.

The Kiwi governing body has not only helped her overcome obstacles in her push for Olympic selection, wrote Sports Bible, but they also supported her through a devastating arm injury in 2018 that threatened to derail her dream of competing in Tokyo.

“Best of luck Laurel Hubbard,” wrote LGBTI Rights Australia.

“It means Hubbard, who won silver at the 2017 world championships and was sixth after a severe injury in 2019, is almost certain to become the first transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics…
Under IOC guidelines, issued in November 2015, athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without requiring surgery to remove their testes provided their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months – a rule followed by the IWF

In 2015 the IOC made amendments to their qualifying guidelines which ultimately allowed for trans athletes to compete in women’s events depending on their testosterone levels.

As long as the athlete’s levels of testosterone were 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months prior to competition, then they were eligible to compete.

For the Olympic Games, Hubbard’s inclusion will serve as a landmark moment.

But for Hubbard herself, she’ll be purely focused on coming away from Tokyo with a medal wrapped around her neck.

She is currently ranked fourth overall out of the 14 other qualifiers in the super heavyweight class, meaning she has a genuine shot of clinching gold.

You got this Laura Hubbard, go for the gold.

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Judge dismisses Lawsuit against Connecticut Transgender Runners

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed against two transgender athletes after the cisgender complainants graduated and couldn’t name another transgender runner. They shouldn’t feel too bad, neither could any of the 20 legislators who filed bills seeking to ban transgender athletes.

AP reports – The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which oversees scholastic sports in the state, allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed a year ago by cisgender runners who argued they were deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds, saying in the ruling released Sunday that there was no dispute to resolve because the two transgender athletes have graduated and the plaintiffs could not identify other female transgender athletes.

Conservative lawmakers in more than 20 states have introduced legislation to ban or limit transgender athletes from competing on teams or sports that align with their gender identity. Laws banning transgender women and girls from participating in organized sports have been signed in Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Arguments in the Connecticut lawsuit centered around Title IX, the federal law that requires equal opportunities for women and girls in education, including sports.

Defense attorney Joshua Block argued the CIAC policy doesn’t deny any girl a meaningful opportunity to participate in sports, but that overturning it would violate the Title IX rights of transgender girls.

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NCAA Releases In Depth Video on Transgender Athletes Policy

NCAA leaders felt a need to discuss collegiate transgender policies given the current climate of ignorance and fear.

NCAA Board of Governors Statement on Transgender Participation
April 12, 2021 2:20pm

The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.

The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports. Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport. 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. We will continue to closely monitor these situations to determine whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.

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NCAA Tells Texas It will move events from states that discriminate

As Texas Legislature considers anti-trans bills, NCAA announces it will not hold events in states that discriminate against trans students” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors said it will only hold college championships in states where transgender student-athletes can participate without discrimination. The Monday warning sets the stage for a political fight with multiple states, including Texas, that are considering bills in their legislatures that would require students to play sports with only teammates who align with their biological sex.

“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” the NCAA statement 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.”

Texas lawmakers have filed six bills that target transgender students’ sports participation — but only two of those bills would affect colleges and university sports in addition to K-12. While most of the proposals have not yet received a hearing, one bill, which was named a Senate priority, recently advanced out of a Senate State Affairs Committee to the full chamber for a vote. It would require the University Interscholastic League, which runs K-12 sports, to amend its rules to only let students play sports with students who match their biological sex as determined at birth or on their birth certificate. If passed, it would go in effect Sept. 1.

Reps. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, and Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, who authored the two bills affecting college and university student athletes, were not immediately available for comment. Their bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings.

Lawmakers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee have already passed bills that would bar transgender girls from participating in women’s sports. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 30 states are considering similar bills that would limit transgender students sports participation.

Texas lawmakers are also considering a bill that would classify providing children with puberty suppression drugs or performing gender reassignment surgery as child abuse. Another bill would revoke a doctor’s medical license if they perform a sex reassignment surgery for the purpose of gender reassignment to people under 18 years old or prescribe “puberty blockers.” Puberty blockers are reversible drugs often used by a transgender child who wants to delay puberty, including changes such as starting a period or deepening voice. The bill would also prohibit gender-confirming surgeries and hormone therapies. The Senate State Affairs Committee heard testimony on both bills Monday, but took no action on the legislation.

The recent NCAA women’s basketball tournament was held in Texas. Multiple games in the 2022 NCAA men’s March Madness tournament are already scheduled to be played in Fort Worth and San Antonio.

During previous legislative sessions, Texas Republicans, like those in other states, unsuccessfully pursued so-called “bathroom bills” that would prevent transgender people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Business leaders at the time came forward with their opposition to the anti-transgender legislation —a trend that is re-emerging this session.

The NCAA’s statement comes as corporations are vocalizing their opposition to other conservative efforts, including proposed changes to Texas voting laws. Multiple Texas based companies, including Dell and American Airlines, spoke out against the proposed law earlier this month.

LGBTQ advocates said conservatives across the country are latching onto issues related to athletics and health care as the latest way to spread fear about transgender children using inaccurate information, despite opposition from medical and athletic associations.

Equality Texas held a press conference outside the Capitol building Monday afternoon, where transgender Texans and parents of transgender children spoke about their efforts to stop the passage of anti-trans legislation.

“We hope that Texans realize what’s really happening, which is essentially adults in power bullying trans kids,” said Emmett Schelling, the executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas.

“What they are doing is just unconscionable. These bills are just bad lawmaking,” said Lisa Stanton, a Houston resident and the mother of a transgender girl. “Instead of focusing on issues that focus on and affect all Texans, these legislators are trying to pass bills that harm children, rather than help them.”

While the legislation has seen some traction in the upper chamber, it’s unclear whether there will be support in the House, where similar bills have yet to get assigned a committee hearing.

In the past, Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, has pushed back against bills that would weaken protections for LGBTQ people. After the Senate passed a bill in 2019 that removed nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation, the House State Affairs Committee, which Phelan chaired, had the language reinstated.

Phelan said in an interview at the time that he was “done talking about bashing on the gay community.”

“It’s completely unacceptable,” he said. “This is 2019.”

In an interview with the Tribune in January, Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who filed the priority bill and others on the issue, argued the changes were necessary to preserve Title IX.

He said transgender girls in particular — whom he referred to in an interview as “individuals who are quote confused” — could have an unfair advantage in strength and ability.

“This is purely 100% devoted to the preservation of Title IX and allowing women to compete against women in their peer groups in that biological category, so they know they can have an equal and fighting chance based on ability and not over some political narrative of the day that undermines fairness,” he said.

Perry could not immediately be reached for comment about the NCAA action.

On Monday, Perry said during the State Affairs Committee hearing that the bills were trying to protect children who don’t possess the maturity to understand the impact of these decisions.

“God created us all in his own image. …We went outside that creation by our own accord and suffer with some of the consequences of being outside his will since the garden,” Perry said, referring to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. “This is another one of those issues that we find ourselves entangled in that unfortunately, the damage is to our most precious, precious being our children, not our personal lineage, but all of God’s children and the children in this state.”

But during testimony, at least one transgender Texan child pushed back on Perry’s arguments.

“God made me. God loves me for who I am, and God does not make mistakes,” Kai Shappley, a 10-year-old transgender girl, told the committee. Shappley and her mother, Kimberly, have fought anti-trans bills proposed by the legislature for several years now. The family moved from Pearland to Austin because of discriminatory laws that would not allow Kai to use the women’s restroom.

“I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices,” Shappley said.

Duncan Agnew and Megan Munce contributed to this report.

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Arkansas Alumni Elite Runner Nikki Hiltz Comes Out As Transgender

Pan American Gold Medalist and six times NCAA all American Nikki Hiltz came out as gender non-binary on the Transgender Day of Visibility. Nikki wrote on Instagram, “Hi I’m Nikki and I’m transgender. That means I don’t identify with the gender I was assigned at birth. The word I use currently to describe my gender is non-binary. The best way I can explain my gender is as fluid. Sometimes I wake up feeling like a powerful queen and other days I wake up feeling as if I’m just a guy being a dude, and other times I identify outside of the gender binary entirely”

A post shared by Nikki Hiltz (@nikkihiltz)

“It’s complicated and complex and something I’m still trying to navigate myself, but I’ve decided it’s time to share my gender fluidity with you all. Posting this is both exciting and terrifying but I am and always will be a firm believer that vulnerability and visibility are essential in creating social change and acceptance. So here I am, once again, coming out of a closet to be my true authentic self.”

“Today I can be visible because of the many Trans folks who have paved the way for me. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you and happy trans day of visibility to my beautiful and powerful trans family.”

A post shared by Nikki Hiltz (@nikkihiltz)

Hiltz ran for the University of Oregon before transferring to Arkansas, where she finished her collegiate career. She ran onto the podium at multiple NCAA Championships, including second in the 1,500m at the NCAA Outdoors in 2017 and 2018. Hiltz graduated and turned pro in 2018, and a year later she won gold in the 1,500m at the Pan Am Games in Peru. That same year, she won the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, and later that fall she represented the U.S. at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, where she placed 12th in the 1,500m.

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Transgender Asian American wins Student Council election At UVA

For the first time ever a transgender Asian American candidate has won an election to become the student president at a major east coast university. Abel Liu made his hometown of San Anselmo in Marin County proud as he won with 80% of the vote to become the University of Virginia student council President.

Liu said that while he didn’t make his gender identity or Asian heritage central to the race there were some who tried to turn it into a wedge issue.  It’s about Social Data Equality with Asian Americans.

“It was used to mobilize portions of the student body against me, but I was heartened to see that so many other students really rejected that narrative and rallied around a message of acceptance and inclusivity,” said Liu from the Charlottesville campus.

Least we forget how our liberation began when on a 2017 night torch-carrying white supremacists marched on the University of Virginia Campus to Unite the Reich.

Abel Liu’s victory comes on the heels of a February 15th student council zoom meeting that was disrupted by hate messages from ‘unaffiliated’ attendies that attacked the minorities present.

“There has always been at least one conservative voice in Student Council since I’ve been a first-year at U.Va.,” Liu said two days later at a student forum. “What’s changed is the unacceptable conduct by certain members that alienate members who are more marginalized than them [who] are really just trying to share their lived experience but now cannot because they fear death threats or national organizations with millions of dollars targeting them online.”

Student Council’s 2020-2021 representative body was the first majority-minority body in the organization’s history. Liu said that this was accomplished through focusing on diverse recruitment channels, and he hopes to continue advocating for marginalized students — a core part of his platform.

“We will be ensuring accountability for any instigators of instances of biased and targeted harassment as well as threats,” Liu said. “We will be implementing anti-racism training, and then furthermore, we’ll actually be trying to remove traditional barriers to officer-level positions in Student Council by paying first-generation low-income students, hopefully in the future, to take on those roles.”

“What matters most is solidarity across racial lines, class lines, gender lines in a fight against a common enemy of white supremacy,” he said.

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