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NAIA announces transgender ban for women's collegiate sports

Chris Mosier, a transgender athlete, stands in front of a display of balloons symbolizing the colors of the transgender pride flag.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Chris Mosier, a transgender athlete who's competed in international events for Team USA, campaigning against an Idaho bill to ban trans athletes in women's sports in 2020.

The NAIA, which oversees sports at small colleges around the country, announced Monday it is banning transgender women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

The rules change is an outright ban for transgender women, but it allows trans men to play on women’s teams if they haven’t begun testosterone therapy. An athlete’s eligibility would be based on their biological sex, which the NAIA says may be proven through a birth certificate or a signed affidavit.

“This policy will be subject to review in light of any legal, scientific, or medical developments,” according to the new rules.

The College of Idaho and Lewis Clark State College are among the NAIA’s nearly 250 member schools across the country.

Previously, the NAIA policy mirrored more permissive regulations set by the NCAA, the country’s largest collegiate athletic association. At the time, the NCAA allowed trans women to play on women’s sports teams if they had undergone estrogen treatments for more than one year.

But the NCAA changed its policy in 2022 to follow guidelines set by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC leaves transgender participation policies to each sport’s international governing body.

Both the NAIA and NCAA rule changes take effect Aug. 1.

Research is ongoing as to the role testosterone plays in boosting athletic performance among transgender women, including those who didn’t experience male puberty as a teenager.

Idaho became the first state in the country to ban transgender girls and women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity in 2020.

The ACLU and Legal Voice sued to block the law shortly after its passage.

Most recently, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court injunction halting Idaho’s law in August 2023. The state appealed and hopes a larger panel of judges will reconsider the ruling.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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