Willamette University and the Department of Athletics prohibits discrimination on the basis of assigned sex at birth, sexual identity, gender identity, or gender expression. In accordance with the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, Willamette University and the Department of Athletics maintain the following policies to facilitate and encourage the participation of and provide access to transgender and nonbinary students, staff, faculty, and visitors. These policies cover participation in intercollegiate athletics, recreational sports, club sports, and instructional sports (intramural); physical education; and accommodation for transgender and nonbinary people who attend and participate in athletic activities that take place at Willamette University.
Gender: A socially constructed definition of women and men. It is not the same as sex (biological characteristics of women and men). Gender is determined by the conception of tasks, functions and roles attributed to women and men in society and in public and private life.
Gender Expression: The presentation of an individual, including physical appearance, clothing choice and accessories, and behaviors that express aspects of gender identity or role. Gender expression may or may not conform to a person’s gender identity.
Gender Identity: A person’s deeply‐felt, inherent sense of being a boy, a man, or male; a girl, a woman, or female; or an alternative gender (e.g., genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gender neutral) that may or may not correspond to a person’s sex assigned at birth or to a person’s primary or secondary sex characteristics. Since gender identity is internal, a person’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
Transgender or trans is sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe anyone whose identity or behavior falls outside of stereotypical gender norms. More narrowly defined, it refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match their assigned birth sex. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation (attraction to people of a specific gender). Therefore, transgender people may additionally use identifications such as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, pansexual, and omnisexual.
Sex assigned at birth refers to the assignment and classification of people as male, female, intersex, or another sex assigned at birth often based on physical anatomy at birth and/or chromosomal makeup.
A Male-to-Female (MTF) transgender person is someone who was assigned male at birth, but who identifies as a girl or a woman.
A Female-to-Male (FTM) transgender person is someone who was assigned female at birth, but who identifies as a boy or a man.
Nonbinary (N) is an umbrella term for all genders other than female/male or woman/man, used as an adjective (e.g. Jim is a nonbinary person). Not all nonbinary people identify as transgender and not all transgender people identify as nonbinary.
Transmasculine is a term used to describe transgender people who were assigned female at birth but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than femininity, but do not necessarily identify as transgender men.
Transfeminine is a term used to describe transgender people who were assigned male at birth but identify with femininity to a greater extent than masculinity, but do not necessarily identify as transgender women.
Athletic Staff includes athletic director, administrative staff, coaches, athletic trainers, and other medical or game day staff associated with the Department of Athletics.
NCAA Guidelines for Intercollegiate Sports
Willamette University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and WU intercollegiate sports must conform to their standards for eligibility.
NCAA Guiding Principles
- Participation in intercollegiate athletics is a valuable part of the education experience for all students.
- Transgender student-athletes should have an equal opportunity to participate in sports.
- The integrity of women’s sports should be preserved.
- Policies governing sports should be based on sound medical knowledge and scientific validity.
- Policies governing sports should be objective, workable, and practical; they should also be written, available and equitably enforced.
- The legitimate privacy interests of all student-athletes should be protected.
- The medical privacy of transgender students should be preserved.
- Athletics administrators, staff, parents of athletes, and student-athletes should have access to sound and effective educational resources and training related to the participation of transgender and gender-variant students in athletics.
Policies governing the participation of transgender students in athletics should comply with state and federal laws protecting students from discrimination based on sex, disability, and gender identity and expression.
Participation in Sex-Separated Intercollegiate Sport Teams
The NCAA policy of transgender inclusion may be found by following this link: https://ncaaorg.s3.amazonaws.com/inclusion/lgbtq/INC_TransgenderHandbook.pdf.
Its policy includes the following:
- Transgender student-athletes who are undergoing hormone treatment
- A male-to-female or transfeminine (MTF/N) student-athlete who is taking medically prescribed hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate on a men’s team at any time, but must complete one year of hormone treatment related to gender transition before competing on a women’s team.
- A female-to-male or transmasculine (FTM/N) student-athlete who is taking medically prescribed testosterone related to gender transition may not participate on a women’s team after beginning hormone treatment.
- A female-to-male or transmasculine student-athlete who is taking medically prescribed testosterone for the purposes of gender transition may compete on a men’s team and must request a medical exception from the NCAA prior to competing on a men’s team because testosterone is currently a banned substance.
- In any case where a student-athlete is taking hormone treatment related to gender transition, that treatment must be monitored by a physician, and the NCAA and Athletic Director must receive regular reports about the athlete’s eligibility according to these guidelines.
- Transgender student-athletes who are not undergoing hormone treatment
- Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with their sex assigned at birth.
- An FTM/N student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.
- An MTF/N student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.
Athletic Guidelines for Club Sports, Recreational Sports, Instructional Sports Clubs
Policy for Recreational Sports, Club Sports, and Instructional Sports Clubs
Willamette University is a member of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). NIRSA’s Statement for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is located here: https://nirsa.net/nirsa/wp-content/uploads/nirsa-equity-diversity-inclusion-resource-guide-for-campus-recreation.pdf.
NIRSA believes that:
- NIRSA’s core values are strengthened when all members have a voice and are encouraged to contribute.
- Every member of humanity has a contribution to make to the whole. It is our duty to encourage and promote that contribution.
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion are an active process that requires continuous commitment to promote healthy people, healthy communities and the overall success of present and future generations.
NIRSA has initiated a Transgender Athlete Participation Policy for its NIRSA Championship Series located here: http://nirsa.net/nirsa/wp-content/uploads/here.pdf.
- A participant’s gender identity will be applied when there are gender-specific rules or player ratio requirements for co-rec divisions.
- Transgender individuals may play on the team that best matches their gender identity.
- The campus official who approves the team entry on the roster/player certification form should verify the gender indicated on the form is based on the participant’s self-identification and expressed gender identity, not purely on the sex indicated in official school records.
- Player eligibility will be based on the gender identified on the official team roster.
- NIRSA recognizes that, for many, coming to know one’s gender identity is not something that happens in an instant; it is a complex process that can occur over an extended period of time. Transgender participants are encouraged to communicate their gender identity with the campus official (at Willamette, this official is the Director of Campus Recreation) who is responsible for approving the team entry on the roster/player certification form prior to the tournament registration deadline. Should the player not feel comfortable working with that campus official, the individual can contact the tournament director or the NIRSA Director for National Sport Programs and inform them of their status at least three business days prior to the tournament.
- Individuals who identify as a woman are eligible to play on women’s and co-rec teams; individuals who identify as a man are eligible to play on men’s and co-rec teams. Transgender participants are eligible to play based on their expressed gender identity so long as they comply with all Player Eligibility Guidelines.
- If conflicts or procedural questions arise under these guidelines, a team consisting of the VP of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Director of Campus Recreation, and Director of the Gender Resource and Advocacy Center will be consulted for resolution.
Expectations within Willamette Athletics, Campus Recreation, and Instructional Sports
- Pronouns and Names: Athletic staff and student-athletes will use the name and pronouns that student-athletes request via the Sports Information Form, available from the Department of Athletics or the Director of Campus Recreation.
- Dress Codes/Uniforms: Gendered dress codes are not required. Any athlete can dress consistently with their gender identity for participation and travel. Official team uniforms that are sport specific will not conflict with a student-athlete’s gender identity. When traveling, athletic staff may request students to wear team warm-ups or gender inclusive professional attire (see link for examples).
- Facilities: Transgender and nonbinary student-athletes have the right to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity. This includes, but is not limited to, accommodation for hotel rooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, and changing/showering spaces. Athletic staff should make every effort to hold important meetings or strategy sessions in spaces that are inclusive to transgender and nonbinary student-athletes (i.e. showers or locker rooms are not considered inclusive spaces due to their single-sex designation).
- Facilities Planning: Transgender and nonbinary student-athletes’ specific needs will be considered in the planning of facilities as new spaces are designed and as existing spaces become available or are repurposed.
Media and Confidentiality
Media includes but is not limited to game announcements, game day programs, live streaming, social media, websites, and local & regional media (television, newspapers, online format).
- The privacy interests of all student-athletes should be maintained.
- The medical privacy of transgender student-athletes should be maintained.
- Student-athletes will have the opportunity to designate which names and pronouns they want used in personal/team settings AND on any media published by Willamette University. These may be different names and pronouns. Students will have the opportunity to designate these names via the Sports Information Form, available from the Department of Athletics or Department of Campus Recreation.
Education and Environment
- Athletic staff and student-athletes will be provided education about the rights and participation of transgender and gender-variant students in athletics.
- Athletic staff and student-athletes are responsible to be knowledgeable about how, in their particular roles, to support transgender student-athletes and be prepared to put this knowledge to use.
Non-Compliance with Trans Inclusion Policies
- Reporting - Students may communicate directly to their coaches, Director of Athletics, Director of Campus Recreation, Confidential Advocate, and/or the VP of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. A student may also use the online reporting system as follows:
- Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form (https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?WillametteUniv&layout_id=5);
- Bias Report (https://secure.willamette.edu/cgi-bin/datastore.cgi/biasreport).
Effective Date: 3/1/2020
Last Review Date: 5/13/2019
Next Anticipated Review: 5/13/2021
Responsible Person/Primary Contact: Director of Athletics
Responsible University Office: Office of Athletics