August 20, 2021

Dear ASHE Members,

As we have seen attempts by state legislatures over the past year to oppress Trans athletes, ASHE is recommitting to the affirmation of Trans lives. Although intercollegiate athletics are a specific, recent, and on-going site of trans oppression within postsecondary education, these very public actions amplify and extend concerns raised by various scholars about higher education as a site and scene of violence against trans people.

This statement is grounded in and extends the scholarship on the intersection between Trans studies and intercollegiate athletics studies and practices. I invite you to read the statement in its entirety to learn of the background, context, and literature that supports the specific recommendations below. Reflecting on and enacting these specific recommendations are a pathway for us as members of ASHE to (re)commit ourselves to the necessary and ongoing practice of being in right relation alongside Trans people in and beyond postsecondary education:

Calls for Scholarly and Pedagogical Praxis
  • Stop using male/female language
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work must integrate trans content.
  • Enhance the skills of student-facing professionals to be more attuned to and resistant to the gender binary discourse on campus.
  • Formal and informal teaching must include critical self-awareness about gender.
  • Give direct and focused attention to institutional areas of schools of medicine and public health, health and mental services, sports, law, and teacher education.
  • Hire trans faculty, and also, do not expect them/wait for them to shift research and program curricula.

Calls for Policy-Based Initiatives
  • Move beyond mere inclusion, and toward institutional transformation.
  • Confront uncomfortable paradoxes of gender.
  • Address bureaucratic barriers.
  • Organize and collaborate with campus-based and local communities, organizations, and schools to advocate with trans populations.
  • Amplify and fund scholarship, particularly led by trans scholars, and especially trans scholars of color.
  • Address the long overdue evaluation of institutional forms, specifically whether and when gender is a necessary question and how forms ask it.
  • Pressure the NCAA to shift policies and practices that enable, invite, and/or foment transphobic and transmisogynist beliefs and outcomes.
On behalf of myself, the ASHE Board of Directors, and the entire ASHE membership, I express my gratitude to statement authors Drs. D. Chase J. Catalano (Virginia Tech), Siduri Haslerig (University of Oklahoma), T.J. Jourian (Independent Scholar), and Z Nicolazzo (University of Arizona) for their work on writing this statement. We are grateful for their labor and the research of our fellow ASHE members that was leveraged in developing this research-informed statement.

D-L Stewart, PhD
ASHE President
About ASHE's Position Taking Policy and Process
The ASHE Position Taking Policy was adopted in July 2013.

Members of the Position Taking Committee committee are:
  • Joy Blanchard (Chair), Louisiana State University
  • Dominique Baker, Southern Methodist University
  • Joy Gaston Gayles, North Carolina State University
  • Susan Marine, Merrimack College
  • Samuel Snideman, Ball State University

Questions about the ASHE Position Taking process can be directed to ASHE Executive Director Jason P. Guilbeau at [email protected].