U SPORTS approves inclusive new policy for transgender student-athletes
TORONTO – The national brand of university sports in Canada announced Wednesday an inclusive new transgender policy for student-athletes at its 56 member institutions across the country.
Effective immediately, U SPORTS student-athletes will be eligible to compete on the team that corresponds with either their sex assigned at birth or their gender identity, provided that the student-athlete complies with the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. The new policy was developed by the U SPORTS Equity Committee, in consultation with the broader U SPORTS membership, and approved by the U SPORTS Board of Directors.
“The members of the Equity Committee were driven to ensure that all students at our Canadian universities have equal opportunities of being selected to varsity teams regardless of their gender or their gender identity and expression,” said Lisen Moore, Chair of the U SPORTS Equity Committee and Manager of Varsity Sports, Athletics and Recreation at McGill University. “We are thrilled by the support of the Board on our leading-edge transgender policy, and we are now looking forward to assisting our member institutions with the roll-out and implementation of that policy.”
The Equity Committee, which has been working on a policy for transgender student-athletes since 2016, was guided by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s (CCES) “Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Participants in Canadian Sport” report. The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) also provided feedback.
“Diversity and inclusion are hallmarks of high performing groups and are central to the future of sport,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, Chief Executive Officer of CAAWS. “We applaud U SPORTS for their leadership on this topic in setting out a transgender inclusion policy that is based on evidence and reflects a sincere commitment to building an inclusive sport system. We hope others are inspired by this example.”
A student-athlete remains limited to five total years of eligibility, and may only compete on sport teams of one gender during a given academic year, according to the policy.
In accordance with the CCES guidance report, U SPORTS’ approved policy does not require student-athletes to undertake hormone therapy in order for them to compete in the gender category that is consistent with their gender identity.
“U SPORTS is very grateful to our Equity Committee for the rigour and comprehensiveness with which they researched this topic, and for their thoughtful approach when consulting both with our members and with external experts,” said David Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer of U SPORTS. “Ultimately, the Equity Committee brought forward a well-informed and well-conceived recommendation that was enthusiastically supported by our Board of Directors. U SPORTS recognizes the importance of this topic, and the importance of getting this policy right. We are proud of both the process and the outcome, and look forward to implementing this policy as we continue our efforts to realize and enact our vision, mission, and values.”