Becky Sauerbrunn, an American women’s soccer star who won two FIFA World Cups and a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, made her stance clear on bills that would ban transgender girls from playing sports with biological women.
Sauerbrunn’s op-ed was published in the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri on Sunday morning and goes after a state bill that would ban transgender girls from playing on women’s sports teams. The 37-year-old central defender wrote that she can «assure you that playing with or against transgender women and girls is not a threat to women’s sports.»
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The soccer player cited the NCAA and International Olympic Committee rules for the participation of transgender athletes. The NCAA says that transgender women must meet a certain testosterone threshold in order to compete against biological women. The IOC assigned each individual sport the responsibility of developing transgender inclusion guidelines.
Missouri’s bill, which restricts the teams transgender student-athletes can play on, could go through the legislature later this year.
Current Missouri public high school athletic rules already prohibit transgender girls from competing on women’s teams unless they have undergone at least a year of hormone therapy and continue to take medication to maintain hormone levels. The rules also require transgender athletes to request and submit documentation of medical care in order to compete with the gender with which they identify.
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The St. Louis native wrote that the bills «fail to consider any of the real challenges for women and girls in sports.» He called on lawmakers to focus on sexual assault and harassment in women’s sports.youinstead.
«The proposed ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ does nothing to protect or support girls and women in sports,» she wrote in the Springfield News Leader. «If the proponents of this legislation would truly listen to the needs and concerns of women in sports, they would outline clear steps to protect women and girls from the rampant sexual assault and harassment that plagues sports, issues we have been fighting in the NWSL They would clarify what is being done to ensure all institutions in Missouri are Title IX compliant, outline a plan to promote equal pay for female athletes, ensure young women and girls have equitable resources in sport , especially young women and girls of color Instead, they are taking children away from the power of sports to change lives, forever depriving them of the invaluable lessons sports teaches and the best friends they would find on their teams.
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«I have been advocating for gender equality in sport for a long time, and I no longer see transgender youth being viciously targeted for political points. Transgender people are exactly that, people, not tools to climb the political ladder. No I’m Alone: Hundreds of other elite athletes, from Billie Jean King to Candace Parker, have consistently voiced their strong opposition to bills nearly identical to those being heard in the Missouri Senate.Thousands of college athletes have signed letters in support to transgender athletes and against discriminatory bills like these.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.