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Janna Farley,

October 31, 2023

Trans people belong everywhere – including sports. But does that mean that trans people should be used in a game of political football?

Gov. Mark Gordon and eight of his fellow Republican governors are urging the NCAA to rewrite its Transgender Student Athlete Policy in a letter sent yesterday to the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

The ACLU of Wyoming condemns this letter, calling it little more than political grandstanding.

“Whatever Gov. Gordon and this letter’s cosigners might say, this isn’t about leveling the playing field for student athletes or protecting fairness in women’s sports. If it were, these governors would be tackling the actual threats to women’s sports such as severe underfunding, lack of media coverage, sexist ideologies that suggest that women and girls are weak, and pay equity for coaches and players,” said Libby Skarin, deputy executive director for the ACLU of Wyoming.

“This letter to the NCAA is just another attempt to erase transgender people from society while stirring up support from their base of anti-trans activists with fear-mongering tactics and discriminatory rhetoric that harm some of the most vulnerable people in our state.”

During the 2023 legislative session, Wyoming lawmakers passed Senate File 133, legislation that prohibits students in grades 7 through 12 from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity. Gordon said the ban was “overly draconian” and “discriminatory without attention to individual circumstances or mitigating factors, and pays little attention to fundamental principles of equality” but let the bill become law without his signature. “This seems to call for individualized consideration, where families, students, teams, and others can thoughtfully address specific circumstances, rather than such a punitive, ostracizing broad-brush approach,” Gordon wrote in his decision letter.

About the ACLU of Wyoming

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.