Football power couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger called for trans student athletes to be accepted as “part of the team” while presenting a GLAAD award to lesbian rom-com Happiest Season.
“Trans students want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Krieger said.
Harris added: “We shouldn’t discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender.”
The football couple, who both played on the victorious 2019 World Cup-winning US women’s national team, made the trans-affirming comments while presenting an award to Christmas film Happiest Season, which stars Kristen Stewart, at GLAAD’s virtual ceremony Thursday night (8 April).
Harris and Krieger were drawing attention to a spate of anti-trans bills in the US, which have seen Republican efforts to restrict trans healthcare and ban trans students from playing school sports in dozens of states.
On 1 July, Mississippi will become the first US state to ban trans students from playing sports after Republican governor Tate Reeves, who previously accused Biden of “pushing children into transgenderism”, officially signed the bill on 11 March.
World Cup and Team USA player Lori Lindsay, who played at the 2011 FIFA World Cup as part the US team that lost on penalties in the final with Japan, has also been vocal about including trans athletes in sports.
In August 2020, she wrote a blistering essay defending the inclusion of transgender women and girls in sports in response to an an anti-trans bill in Idaho that proposed banning trans girls and women from women’s sports – which was the first bill of its kind at the time.
Passionately arguing for the right of all athletes to “have a chance to live their dreams like I did”, Lindsay added that “for some young people, that chance is at risk of being stripped away”.
“Anti-transgender laws fail to address actual barriers in women’s sports such as a lack of resources and funding, lack of training and investment in women coaches, and lack of education about the unique benefits of supporting female players,” Lindsay said.
“Moreover, transgender girls are girls, and they should have the same opportunity as other girls to participate in sports and make lifelong friendships in a healthy way.
“As a woman, I wouldn’t support anything that could put me or my female colleagues and teammates at risk of losing opportunities or being denied access to scholarships and awards.
“Allowing transgender girls and women to share in the sport I love doesn’t pose a threat to anyone.”