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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Athletes Sue NCAA Over Trans Policies

  • The plaintiffs seek to change NCAA rules around trans athletes and ‘reassign’ their victories.
  • The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech are among the other defendants in the suit.
Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NCAA is being sued by a dozen female athletes for letting transgender athletes compete against and share a locker room with them. The lawsuit alleges the NCAA violated Title IX, the federal law that guarantees equal opportunity for men and women in college sports and education. 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on Thursday, also names the University System of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and the University of North Georgia among the defendants. The Free Press broke news of the suit; a copy of the complaint can be read here.

By suing, the plaintiffs are seeking rule changes barring people it refers to as “biological males” from competing in certain events. The lawsuit also seeks to revoke awards won by trans athletes and “reassign” them, in addition to asking for damages for “pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, suffering and anxiety, expense costs and other damages due to defendants’ wrongful conduct.”

The suit, which asserts that the plaintiffs’ rights to not be discriminated against and to bodily privacy were violated, describes at length the experiences of athletes who competed in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. At that event, Lia Thomas, a trans athlete competing for the University of Pennsylvania, won the women’s 500-yard freestyle. Multiple plaintiffs describe Thomas changing in the locker room as making them “uncomfortable” and say they were unprepared for it.

Thomas swam at Penn from 2017 to ’20 as a member of the men’s team, but never qualified for the NCAA championships while doing so. After two years of hormone treatments, she switched to the women’s team and dominated, culminating with the 2022 NCAA title.

The lawsuit claims the NCAA violated the 14th Amendment by “destroying female safe spaces in women’s locker rooms.” Among the plaintiffs is anti-trans activist Riley Gaines (above), who recently appeared to compare the increasing prominence of trans people in society to dark events prophesied in the Bible in an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

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