March 2, 2021

WEAC Opposes Proposals to Limit Transgender Student Athletes

The educators of the Wisconsin Education Association Council are standing with their students in opposition of proposals that would prohibit transgender student athletes from participating in organized sports at school.

“Teachers are here for all of our students, including transgender youth,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth-grade teacher and school volleyball coach. “The social and health benefits of school athletics benefit all pupils and WEAC is proud to stand with other groups to demand access for all students. There is no room in our schools for hate and discrimination.”

The proposals by Representative Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc), are circulating for co-sponsorship by and have not yet been introduced as bills. Dittrich’s proposals would add Wisconsin to a growing list of states that are introducing similar legislation as part of a coordinated effort to push back on recent gains in protections for transgender individuals. Martin questioned why the Republican legislators would spend time on making life harder for transgender youth instead of passing COVID relief measures that would increase student safety. “Lawmakers who care about students would ensure air quality in deteriorating schools and require statewide criteria for when schools use in-person or virtual instruction based on science. They would not be picking on young people for political gain.”

The proposals also drew fire from state organizations representing LBGTQ+ students.

“Transgender youth also face discrimination in their daily lives, and turn to sports as an affirming space,” a joint statement from GSAFE and Fair Wisconsin said. “Preventing transgender students from participating sends a dangerous message and increases the risks to their physical and emotional wellbeing.”

See the proposals:

LRB-2340 Memo School Athletics

LRB-2339 Memo College Athletics