Transgender Inclusion in High School Athletics

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The ability to participate fully in school life is critical for transgender students’ wellbeing during adolescence. For students in general, having the opportunity to participate in sports results in positive outcomes—better grades, greater homework completion, higher educational and occupational aspirations, and improved self-esteem. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) students, GLSEN reports show that athletes have a GPA that is between 0.2 and 0.4 points higher on a 4.0 scale than students not participating in athletics. Furthermore, 56% of LGBTQ team members and 66% of team leaders competing in high school sports report feeling a positive sense of belonging at school. Despite this encouraging data, many states and school districts struggle with the issue of transgender inclusion in athletics. Many states have policies that outline if, how, and when transgender students can participate in athletic programs, but 28 state high school athletic associations fail to address what students need to compete.

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