This bill would exclude transgender students from participating on interscholastic, intramural, or club sports teams at University of Wisconsin institutions and technical colleges consistent with their identified gender.
Excluding trans students from participating in sports teams consistent with their authentic gender identity is unfair and discriminatory. Being transgender does not give girls an inherent advantage over girls who are not transgender. This alleged concern oversimplifies the biological and environmental factors that impact athletic success.
Despite decades of participation by trans athletes at all levels of competition, there is simply no categorical dominance by trans athletes. Trans people, like all people, have varying athletic abilities, and shutting them out of sports does nothing but send exclusionary and discriminatory messages about trans people not being “real” men and women and suggesting that cis people need to be protected from their trans peers and colleagues.
Transgender people comprise 1.6% of the human population. Of that fraction, even less play sports. Only 36 trans athletes have openly competed in U.S. college sports to date and fewer make it to the professional level. The largest disparities in sports fairness come from the socioeconomic disadvantage of marginalized populations, not trans participation. Proximity to privilege predicts success in sports, not testosterone levels or biological markers.
This bill directly conflicts with the guiding principles for trans athletes’ participation issued by the NCAA in 2011, which align with policies of the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. As the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) noted during public hearing testimony on an identical pair of bills introduced during the 2021-22 Legislative Session (2021 AB 195 / 2021 SB 232), if these bills were adopted, UW member institutions and the WIAC would be out of compliance with NCAA policy.
The ACLU of Wisconsin vehemently opposes this legislation and is firmly committed to defending the rights of trans Wisconsinites. Trans people deserve to live and thrive as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and political attacks.