CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A coalition of over 80 LGBT sports, religious and youth advocacy groups signed on to a letter issued publicly calling on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to divest from all religious-based institutions who have made Title IX requests to discriminate against LGBT youth. The effort is being led by Campus Pride and Soulforce as part of the #GivebackIX Campaign being held during the March Madness mens’ and women’ basketball championship season.
The NCAA has long held as core values a commitment to diversity and inclusion of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, organizers shared. Their demand states, “We call upon the NCAA to act on its stated values as an LGBTQ inclusive organization and divest from these schools who are willfully and intentionally creating unsafe environments for LGBTQ students.”
“Religion-based bigotry is the basis for the vast majority of prejudice and discrimination LGBTQ people face, especially young people,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “The NCAA cannot stand for this outright discrimination among its member institutions and we urge them to take action to ensure an inclusive sports culture that is safe and fair for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Windmeyer concluded.
Campus Pride has kept a record of schools that have made these requests on its “Shame List,” calling out the religion-based bigotry online (see campuspride.org/ShameList). There are currently 59 religious-based colleges and universities on the list. The requests grew in response to the Department of Education decision in 2014 to include transgender students under Title IX protections. The Alliance Defending Freedom and other anti-LGBT groups actively solicited these requests from religious-based campuses over the last two years.
“As people of faith or spirit, we call upon the NCAA to act on its stated values as an LGBTQ inclusive organization and divest from these schools who are willfully and intentionally creating unsafe environments for LGBTQ students,” said Jordyn Sun, national campus organizer at Soulforce. “No athlete should play sports under the specter of fear and discrimination. Instead, these schools should simply follow the law,” concluded Sun.
LGBTQ young people face high rates of harassment and violence, especially transgender youth and LGBTQ youth of color. The Title IX waiver allows campus administrators to deny transgender students admission, usage of public accommodations, and protections against anti-LGBTQ actions from students and faculty — all based on a student’s gender identity.
“The NCAA has stated that they hope those of all sexual orientations and gender identities speak out against all forms of prejudice targeted toward our LGBTQ student-athletes and colleagues,” said Windmeyer. “Now is the time for the NCAA to put those words into action and only allow campuses that support their values to participate in NCAA sports.”
A list of the organizations can be found online at Campus Pride.