- Research from The Trevor Project finds that while nearly one-third of LGBTQ youth participate in school, community league or club sports, a large portion of the remaining 68% who identify in this group say they don't play sports out of fear of discrimination. The portion of those who report participating is significantly lower than that of the general youth population, where more than half play sports.
- Among those who had participated in a sport, 18% said they had heard negative things about the LBGTQ community from their coach or team leader, and only 4% of respondents reported they would feel comfortable talking to their coach or sports leader about their struggles.
- Those who did opt to participate in sports cited camaraderie and personal wellness as reasons behind their decisions. The Trevor Project focuses on suicide prevention efforts among the LBGTQ community and was named after the film Trevor, which tells the story of a gay 13-year-old boy who attempts suicide because of his sexuality.
The Trevor Project report also indicates some LGBTQ students avoid sports because they are not allowed to participate on the team that represents the gender with which they identify. Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Education issued a notice of a new interpretation of the Title IX civil rights law that says protections against sex-based discrimination in federally funded schools extends to the rights of LGBTQ students.
The notice follows President Joe Biden’s executive orders that are meant to end discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It runs contrary to an interpretation issued under former President Donald Trump that determined the Title IX protections did not include those in the LBGTQ group.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, a 2015 case that could potentially have determined LGBTQ students’ rights were being violated in schools when they were prohibited from using bathrooms or locker rooms aligning with their gender identity. The decision was hailed as a victory by Grimm's attorney, as it allowed lower court rulings in Grimm's favor to stand as precedent in the Fourth Circuit.
A future split in the circuits, however, could still necessitate a ruling on the issue at the national level.
Though other lawsuits are pending, attorneys advise districts to create policies in favor of transgender students, as a majority of lower court rulings have supported the need for schools to accommodate transgender and non-binary students.