Inclusion Policy of Transgender Student-Athletes

The State University of New York at Buffalo’s Inclusion policy is in accord with the NCAA on equity for transgender student-athletes.  As stated in the NCAA Office of Inclusion’s NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Athletes:

As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. We seek to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment for all student-athletes and enhance excellence within our UB department. 

- Adopted by the NCAA Executive Committee, April 2010

 

Our Athletic Department’s inclusion policy is committed to an inclusive environment that will provide programming and education, which sustains the foundations of a diverse and inclusive culture across dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to age, race, sex, national origin, class, creed, educational background, disability, gender identity, gender expression, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation and work experiences.

Purpose

In August of 2011, the NCAA’s Office of Inclusion issued guidance to ensure that colleges and universities provided inclusive access to transgender athletes.  The purpose of the NCAA resource was to ensure that transgender student-athletes receive fair, respectful, and legal access to collegiate sports teams based on current medical and legal knowledge. The NCAA guidance provides best practice and policy recommendations to provide transgender student-athletes with fair and equal opportunities to participate. This NCAA resource provides guidance for implementing our UB policies to ensure the safety, privacy, and dignity of transgender student-athletes as well as their teammates.

What Does Transgender Mean?

According to the NCAA guidance:

              “Transgender” describes an individual whose gender identity (an internal, deeply held sense of one’s gender) and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, a male-to-female (MTF) transgender person is someone who was born with a male body, but who identifies as a girl or a woman. A female-to-male (FTM) transgender person is someone who was born with a female body, but who identifies as a boy or a man. It is important that all people recognize and respect the transgender person’s identification as a man or a woman. In order to feel comfortable and to express their gender identity, transgender people may take a variety of steps: changing their names and self-referencing pronouns to better match their gender identity; choosing clothes, hairstyles, or other aspects of self-presentation that reflect their gender identity; and generally living, and presenting themselves to others, consistently with their gender identity. Some, but not all, transgender people take hormones or undergo surgical procedures to change their bodies to better reflect their gender identity. Some people are confused by the difference between transgender people and people who have intersex conditions. The key feature of being transgender is having a self-understanding and identification as a man, woman or another gender that differs from gender assigned to the person’s sex at birth. Apart from having a gender identity that is different than their bodies, transgender people are not born with physical characteristics that distinguish them from others.

Some people are confused by the difference between transgender people and people with intersex conditions. People with intersex conditions (which may also be called a “Disorders of Sex Development”), are born with physically mixed or atypical bodies with respect to sexual characteristics such as chromosomes, internal reproductive organs and genitalia, and external genitalia. It should not be assumed that people with intersex conditions may or may not identify with the gender that is assigned to them at birth.

An increasing number of high school- and college-aged young people are identifying as transgender (or trans). This challenges educators to rethink their understanding of gender as universally fixed at birth. Educators must be open to this challenge to create educational institutions that value and meet the needs of all students. Once we recognize that transgender young people are part of school communities across the United States, educational leaders have a responsibility to ensure that these students have access to equal opportunities in all academic and extracurricular activities in a safe and respectful school environment.

- NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Athletes, p. 3

NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation

UB complies with the NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation.  This policy clarifies participation of transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition: 

  • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for purposes of NCAA competition may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
  • A trans female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism, for the purposes of NCAA competition may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.

Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender.

  • A trans male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.
  • A trans female (MTF) transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.

The NCAA guidance provides the following best practices to ensure a transgender athlete’s seamless participation:

The School’s Responsibilities

  • The Senior Associate Athletic Director/ Senior Woman Administrator should meet with the student-athlete to review eligibility requirements and procedure for approval of transgender participation.
  • If hormone treatment is involved in the student-athlete’s transition, the Senior Associate Athletic Director/ Senior Woman Administrator should notify the NCAA of the student’s request to participate with a medical exception request.
  • Available support services will be discussed with student-athlete.
  • All discussions among involved parties and required written supporting documentation should be kept confidential, unless the student-athlete makes a specific request otherwise. All information about an individual student’s transgender identity and medical information, including physician’s information provided pursuant to this policy, shall be maintained confidentially.
  • In order to avoid challenges to a transgender student’s participation during a sport season, a student-athlete who has completed, plans to initiate, or is in the process of taking hormones as part of a gender transition should submit the request to participate on a sports team in writing to the Senior Associate Athletic Director/ Senior Woman Administrator upon matriculation or when the decision to undergo hormonal treatment is made.
  • The request should include a letter from the student’s physician documenting the student-athlete’s intention to transition or the student’s transition status if the process has already been initiated. This letter should identify the prescribed hormonal treatment for the student’s gender transition and documentation of the student’s testosterone levels, if relevant.

The Student’s Responsibilities

The NCAA guidance also provides best practices that inform the UB Athletics community on providing a supportive and inclusive environment for transgender athletes.  These include the following:

Best Practices for Student-Athletes

  • Focus on respectful behavior, safety, and valuing diversity.
  • Use respectful and preferred language and terminology when discussing transgender student-athlete participation or interacting with a transgender teammate.
  • Become familiar with departmental and school policy governing the participation of transgender student-athletes in athletics.
  • Learn about school non-discrimination and harassment policies that include gender identity and expression.
  • Encourage other student-athletes to use respectful language when discussing transgender issues in sports or interacting with a transgender student-athlete.
  • Respect the right to privacy of all student-athletes with respect to personal information (including whether a student is transgender) when discussing gender identity and expression.
  • If taunting or harassment from spectators or opponents occurs during competition, take the approach that these actions are never acceptable for any reason including taunting or harassment based on gender identity or expression.
  • Make your coaches aware of discriminatory or harassing behavior and ask them to report this occurrence to the athletic director.
  • Ask your student-athlete advisory committee to plan an activity that focuses on the participation of transgender athletes in sports and frame the issue as one of equal opportunity in sports and fair treatment for all.

Best Practices for Athletic Department

Facilities Access

  • Changing Areas, Toilets, Showers — Transgender student-athletes should be able to use the locker room, shower, and toilet facilities in accordance with the student’s gender identity. Every locker room should have some private, enclosed changing areas, showers, and toilets for use by any athlete who desires them. When requested by a transgender student-athlete, schools should provide private, separate changing, showering, and toilet facilities for the student’s use, but transgender students should not be required to use separate facilities.
  • Competition at Another School — If a transgender student-athlete requires a particular accommodation to ensure access to appropriate changing, showering, or bathroom facilities, school leaders, athletic directors, and coaches, in consultation with the transgender student-athlete, should notify their counterparts at other schools prior to competitions to ensure that the student has access to facilities that are comfortable and safe. This notification should maintain the student’s confidentiality. Under no circumstances should a student-athlete’s identity as a transgender person be disclosed without the student’s express permission.
  • Hotel Rooms — Transgender student-athletes generally should be assigned to share hotel rooms based on their gender identity, with a recognition that any student who needs extra privacy should be accommodated whenever possible.

Language

  • Chosen Names — In all cases, teammates, coaches and all others in the school should refer to transgender student-athletes by a student’s preferred name.
  • Pronouns — Similarly, in all cases, pronoun references to transgender student-athletes should reflect the student’s gender and pronoun preferences.

Dress

  • Uniforms — All team members should have access to uniforms that are appropriate for their sport and that they feel comfortable wearing. No student should be required to wear a gendered uniform that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.

Enforcement and Non-Retaliation

  • Enforcement — Any member of an athletics department who has been found to have violated this policy by threatening to withhold athletic opportunity or harassing any student on the basis of their gender identity or expression, or by breaching medical confidentiality, will be subject to disciplinary action. Any member of the athletics department who becomes aware of conduct that violates this policy should report the conduct to the appropriate official such as the Senior Associate Athletic Director/ Senior Woman Administrator.
  • Retaliation — Retaliation is specifically forbidden against anyone who complains about discrimination based on gender identity or expression, even if the person was in error.
  • Any Title IX violations will be reported to the UB Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

This information is from the NCAA website. For more information visit the NCAA at:
https://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/Transgender_Handbook_2011_Final.pdf

Other useful information - Campus Resources

Wellness Education Services
http://www.buffalo.edu/studentlife/who-we-are/departments/wellness.html

Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:
http://www.buffalo.edu/equity/obtaining-assistance/lgbtq-information-and-support.html

Intercultural and Diversity Center
https://buffalo.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/IDC

Equity and Inclusion
http://www.buffalo.edu/inclusion.html