SPOTLIGHT:

MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA REGARDING LWVUS POSITION ON THE RIGHTS OF TRANSGENDER STUDENT ATHLETES

Among the core missions of the League of Women Voters is to educate voters. To that end, the League of Women Voters Mountain Lakes (LWVML) would like to provide accurate information on the League of Women Voters United States' (LWVUS) stance on transgender student rights.

Recently discussed in the news, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” is an Idaho law that prohibits all transgender students in Idaho from taking part in any women’s sport. It rejects as irrelevant any deeply held sense of gender identity, and places the burden on students, both transgender and cisgender, to prove their gender through intrusive physical exams and invasive medical tests. The United States District Court has already ruled this law to be unconstitutional sex discrimination. The court reasoned that, "a categorical bar to girls and women who are transgender stands in stark contrast to the policies of elite athletic bodies that regulate sports both nationally and globally," which permit transgender women to participate in women's sports in college and in the Olympics under certain conditions. (Please click HERE for a statement from LWVUS and click HERE for a statement of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) opposing the Idaho law and click HERE for the NCAA policy handbook.)

Here in Mountain Lakes, our Board of Education policy is consistent with the well settled New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and the longstanding policy of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). NJLAD advises school administrations: “With respect to gender-segregated classes or athletic activities, including intramural and interscholastic athletics, all students must be allowed to participate in a manner consistent withtheir gender identity.” NJSIAA policy states: “A transgender student, defined as a student whose gender identity differs from the student’s sex assigned at birth, shall be eligible to participate in accordance with either their birth sex or in accordance with their gender identity, but not both.” (Click HERE for the NJSIAA policy and click HERE for informative answers to frequently asked questions.) (Click HERE for the ML BOE Policy).

Simply put, Idaho’s so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” could never pass muster in Mountain Lakes or anywhere else in New Jersey. The LWVUS agreed with the decision of the federal district court in Idaho and with numerous organizations joining to oppose the blanket ban.

Unfortunately, recent social media posts by the Laker Republican Club (LRC, attached below) do not recognize any of these facts. Instead, the posts unfairly attempt to vilify the LWVUS for its position on the Idaho law. LRC's posts do not inform voters that:

- the Idaho law has already been deemed unconstitutional sex discrimination;
- New Jersey law has been well settled on this issue for more than ten years;
- the League’s position is fully consistent with: (1) the NJLAD, (2) NJISSA Policy, (3) ML BOE Policy, and (4) the rejection of blanket bans by the NCAA, International Olympic Committee

     

(IOC), USA Gymnastics (and other esteemed committees and associations too lengthy to list here). (Click HERE for the IOC and click HERE for the USA Gymnastics policies, as examples); - President Biden’s directive that federal law (Titles VII and IX) be enforced does not impact New Jersey law on transgender student participation in activities and sports;

- of the approximately 200,000 women who participate in college sports only around 50 are transgender women; this begs the question of whether there is a legitimate purpose in attempting to apply blanket bans.

 

The LRC post also quotes Linda Blade, identifying Blade as a "U.S. Olympic" coach in an effort to garner support for Blade's statement against transgender athletes. We find no reference on Blade's home page to her being a U.S. Olympic coach and note that IOC policy, consistent with NCAA and USA Gymnastics policies, rejects blanket bans on transgender athletes.

Finally, one LRC post suggests that the LWVUS' position is contrary to the United States Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County (June 15, 2020). This is incorrect since in Bostock our Supreme Court held (Trump appointee Justice Neil Gorsuch writing for the majority) that a transgender employee, who had presented as a man when hired, had a constitutional right to be treated consistent with their gender identity and could not be fired for being transgender. Again, the LWVUS' position is fully consistent with Bostock, NJLAD, NJISSA and ML BOE Policies as well as NCAA, USA Gymnastics, and IOC policies rejecting blanket bans on transgender women.


The League encourages all local residents interested in this issue to view the NJISSA frequently asked questions and the NJISSA and ML BOE policies – which do apply to all Mountain Lakes students and their families. As a local League, the LWVML previously publicly thanked the ML BOE for its longstanding policy on this issue, including the anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies contained therein.

 

The League supports the BOE’s continuing efforts to promote a respectful and inclusive learning environment that benefits all students.

Further, the League encourages careful identification of accurate news sources and news literacy. We were pleased to host an informative interactive virtual program with the News Literacy Project on March 9, 2020, which offered practical tips and strategies for separating fact from fiction on social media. (Click HERE to watch the program.) (Click HERE for the News Literacy Project’s website.)

In addition to the links above, if you would like to read more about transgender students in sports, please see:

The American Academy of Pediatrics:

https://www.aappublications.org/news/2021/03/09/transgender-legislation-030921

      

The Human Rights Campaign:

https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/major-health-education-and-child-welfare-organizations- oppose-anti-lgbtq-state-based-legislation

 

Laker Republican Club Posts:

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