Feb. 23, 2021

CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]


“Imposing a ban on transgender girls and young women participating in athletics consistent with their gender identity is discriminatory and unconstitutional. This bill would deprive a subset of students and young people of the opportunities available to their peers—and it sends a message to transgender youth that they are not welcome in their communities. Trans youth, just like all youth, simply want to participate in the activities they love, including athletics. Trans students participate in sports for the same reasons other young people do: to challenge themselves, to improve fitness, to be part of a team. SB 208 would impact youth of all ages who wish to participate in sports on any level in Kansas, from elementary school to college, recreational sports to University teams. Its language and spirit are inconsistent with policies of the Kansas High School Athletic Association, the NCAA, and the Olympics. The bill is extreme, unnecessary, and harmful to transgender youth in our state, who deserve the chance to succeed and thrive like any other student.”

Nadine Johnson
Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas

“As a parent, a trans person, a former athlete, and a civil rights litigator, it is both painful and frustrating to watch SB 208 move through the Kansas legislature. At a time when our young people are forced to navigate so much, this type of legislation is a solution in search of a problem. But sadly, it is one that greatly exacerbates a real problem – systemic discrimination against transgender youth. Our transgender young people already face widespread discrimination in school leading to far too many being unable to complete high school. Rather than address the issues that keep trans youth out of school, this bill sends a message that trans young people are unwelcome in Kansas.  Other than the state of Idaho, which enacted a similar law that has since been enjoined, no state, national or international athletic body has implemented an outright ban on transgender individuals competing in athletics consistent with their gender identity. This extreme policy is out-of-step with prevailing international and national norms of athletic competition, violates the United States Constitution and federal civil rights law, puts Kansas at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that plainly does not exist.  Transgender students already live and go to school in Kansas, they play sports and enjoy time with their friends, and they deserve the chance to succeed and thrive like any other student. Hopefully this bill will die without anyone having to resort to costly litigation – but if it does pass, the state will be sued and be subject to protracted and expensive lawsuits at a time when our collective resources are needed to fight for all young people.”

Chase Strangio
Deputy Director for Transgender Justice
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & HIV Project

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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at