NAIA bans Trans women in sport, no response from UBC

On April 8, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced that beginning August 1, Trans women will not be allowed to compete in women's competitions.

The track and field, golf, baseball and softball teams at UBC compete under the NAIA league.

The policy states that “Only NAIA student-athletes whose biological sex is female may participate in NAIA-sponsored female sports.”

The NAIA defines biological sex as “distinguishing characteristics and can be supported by birth certificate or signed affidavit.”

The policy also says that Trans men undergoing gender-affirming hormone therapy are not allowed to compete in the NAIA women’s category.

Any eligible student athlete may participate in the male category, according to the ruling.

According to the Pew Research Centre, approximately 1.6 per cent of athletes identify as Trans; however, the NAIA did not previously collect data on this demographic and therefore it is unknown how many athletes this will impact.

The Humans Right Campaign (HRC), an American 2SLGBTQIA+ civil rights organization, responded to the ruling calling it "discrimination."

"The chilling message this sends not just to other sanctioning bodies but also to youth sports leagues across the country is dangerous and it must be stopped in its tracks,” wrote HRC President, Kelley Robinson.

Previously, the NAIA policy was, on a sport-by-sport basis and Trans athletes could compete in their affirmed gender as long as the athletes underwent androgen (hormone) suppression for at least one year.

The rest of UBC varsity teams compete under U Sports, Canada’s university sport governing body. In 2018, U Sports announced their Transgender Athlete Policy, which states that Transgender athletes can compete under either their gender identity or their sex assigned at birth.

In an email statement to The Ubyssey, U Sports Chief Operating Officer Lisa Beatty said that “U SPORTS is not intending on revising its policy as a response to the NAIA’s announcement.”

UBC Athletics currently does not have a public policy specifically for Trans athletes participating in varsity sports.

The Ubyssey reached out to UBC Athletics for comment, but did not hear back by publication time.