PFLAG Somerset KY was disappointed to see local trans voices left out of Jeff Neal's column published on transgender inclusion in sports. Transgender athletes should have equal access to the benefits of sports and playing alongside the peers they identify with. They deserve to be protected by Title IX, not bullied by state legislatures or opinion pieces. We implore lawmakers and journalists to begin seeking local trans voices to chime in on LGBTQ+-centered issues rather than shining spotlights on rich, privileged, famous ones.

Involvement in sports provides all athletes with a sense of belonging, the experience of being part of a team, social engagement, and physical activity. Participation increases self-esteem and improves grades regardless of ability or gender identity. There is no scientific evidence that supports the claim that transgender athletes negatively impact the level of fairness within a sport. In fact, several national women's athletic leagues support full trans inclusion in sports.

Title IX, a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools and educational programs, guarantees students access and infrastructure to participate in sports regardless of sex. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that sex-based discrimination prohibition also protects gender identity and, therefore, transgender discrimination is classifiable as sex-based discrimination.

To transgender readers, know that PFLAG Somerset fully affirms your identity and will continue to advocate, educate, and support until all hearts and minds respect, value, and affirm all gender identities. You can reach out to us for support anytime and additional resources are available at pflagsomerset.org/resources.

PFLAG Somerset KY

Board of Directors

MJ Burnette

Jenny Denney

Michael Held

Mary Taylor Huntsman

Ron Kidd

Kat Moses

Ian Ries

Patricia Shackleford

Lynsey Stevens

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