Let’s Be on the Same Team and Support All Girls

When I reflect on my experience with school sports, one word comes to mind:  


In middle school, I was able to play on literally every single girls’ sports team—an invaluable opportunity afforded to me … but not to all.  

Today marks the 37th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day. And while there is much to celebrate, there is much more work to be done to achieve true equality for women in sports. 

Our country recently commemorated the 50th anniversary of Title IX—the landmark civil rights law that promised to prohibit sex discrimination in education, including school sports. That promise, however, still remains unfulfilled—particularly for Black and brown girls, transgender girls, and intersex girls. In the 2021 state legislative session, 34 states considered banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ interscholastic sports teams. Currently, 18 states have laws in place that ban transgender students from playing in sports consistent with their gender identity. The National Women’s Law Center and Women’s Sports Foundation (joined by 48 women’s rights and gender justice advocates) recently sent a letter to President Biden imploring the administration to swiftly release a Title IX athletics rule that would ensure all students, including transgender, non-binary, and intersex students, can participate fully and equally in school sports. The Department of Education’s failure to explicitly clarify that Title IX has always protected LGBTQI+ students from exclusion in school sports is harmful. The Department must ensure that it will not tolerate the targeting of trans, non-binary, and intersex students, and affirm that trans girls are girls. 

My K-12 involvement in sports provided me with a plethora of life lessons, but most importantly, sports showed me what it truly means to be a part of a team. I had the opportunity to learn communication, leadership, and social skills that continue to benefit me to this day—an opportunity that should be imparted on every girl, in every state, across our entire country.  

The good news is that the Department of Education is planning on releasing a proposed rule that will (hopefully) require schools to have trans inclusive sports policies. Upon its release, we (the public!) will have some time to submit comments and thoughts. I encourage all of you—especially those who have experienced the life-long, empowering benefits of athletics—to speak out in support of all women and girls. Only then can we fully and finally achieve true equality in sports. 

And if you are looking to celebrate this year’s National Girls & Women in Sports Day in your own community, there are so many wonderful events taking place across the nation.