WNBA star Brittney Griner says trans-identified athletes have a right to compete in sports and vows to speak up against Republican lawmakers that want to amend Title IX.
During the“Bring Our Families Home” press conference held at Footprint Center on Thursday, ESPN reporter Bill Rhoden asked Griner a question about transgender athletes. He said that trans-identified individuals were being banned from sports across the country.
Griner told the press that she thought it is a “crime” to keep male athletes from competing against women.
Brittney Griner claims it’s a “crime” to stop biological males from being able to compete against women in sports. pic.twitter.com/CTM9mV9nDz
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 28, 2023
“Everyone deserve[s] the right to play,” Griner said in her first public appearance since being detained in Russia. She added that no one should feel like “there’s a threat or that they can’t be who they are.”
Griner was arrested in February 2022 in Moscow after authorities found the WNBA player in possession of vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil.
The Phoenix Mercury player was exchanged for a Russian arms dealer known as “The Merchant of Death,” Viktor Bout, after months of negotiation.
“I think it’s a crime, honestly, to separate someone for any reason,” Griner said Thursday. “So I definitely will be speaking up against that legislation and those laws that are trying to be passed, for sure.”
Griner is referencing Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. No department that receives federal funding would be allowed to ban transgender students from playing on the team with which they identify.
Title IX states in part, “no recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in a proceeding under Title IX.”
This is not the first time individuals have called for legal measures to be taken when a trans-identified person is misgendered or prevented from participating in women’s sports.
Swimmer Lia Thomas, a trans-identified male, recently spoke out about the rights of transgender athletes.
During an episode of the Dear Schuyler podcast posted earlier this week, Thomas said the guise of feminism is being used to “push transphobic beliefs.”
Coincidentally, the podcast host, Schuyler Bailar, is a biological female who began transitioning in 2014. Bailar is described as the “first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team.”
Trans-identified TikToker Dylan Mulvaney also made comments about transgender people and the law. In a posted a clip in October 2022 titled “Day 210 of Girlhood,” Mulvaney says it should be illegal to “misgender” someone.
He adds that “adult bullies” were using his content against him, referring to conservative commentators and news outlets.
“The articles [that are] written about me using ‘he’ pronouns and calling me a man over and over again…I think that should be illegal.”