FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 7, 2007
Equality Must Include Lesbian and Bisexual Atheletes
(San Francisco, CA, February 7, 2007) — Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) joins the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, a group consisting of more than 100 organizations, in their call for unwavering support of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. The federal law prohibits sex discrimination in education, and requires schools and colleges receiving federal funding to give women and girls the equal opportunity to participate in sport. The number of girls and women taking advantage of educational and athletic opportunities since Title IX was enacted has increased exponentially.
"Many lesbian and bisexual girls and women participate in high school and college athletics," said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. "Title IX must remain strong, as the initial law was established to level the playing field and create equal opportunities for all girls and women in sport. If Title IX is weakened, these young women will lose valuable opportunities to gain confidence and self-esteem. Given the pervasive harassment and discrimination faced by lesbian and bisexual girls in schools, the loss of these opportunities would be especially devastating. We cannot afford to turn our back on these young people, or to back away from the principle of equal opportunity."
National Girls and Women in Sports Day was created in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died of Marfan's Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, National Girls and Women in Sports Day has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports. Celebrations take place in every state across the country. Six organizations pioneered National Girls and Women in Sports Day: National Women's Law Center; Women's Sports Foundation; the Girl Scouts, Girls, Inc.; the YWCA: Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women; and the National Association and Girls and Women in Sport.
"This is a day to also celebrate the many contributions of lesbian athletes in sport," said Carroll. "Often these sports role models have performed under tremendous pressure within a society that has demanded silence and invisibility. 2007 must be a year in which we celebrate the athletic achievements of all athletes, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.