Colorado Springs, Colo. (Nov. 1, 2018) – USA Ultimate announced today a new Transgender Inclusion Policy.
After more than a year of work by the Transgender Inclusion Task Force and the Equity and Diversity, Competition and Medical Advisory Working Groups, the policy was recently approved by the USA Ultimate Board of Directors by an 11-0-1 vote.
Improvements to the previous iteration include a series of guiding principles that echo throughout the policy, more clearly defined language, action items for USA Ultimate and updated eligibility guidelines that differentiate between various levels of competition.
“This new Transgender Inclusion Policy is the result of 14 months of work by several working groups and was written in consultation with numerous other members of the community, including transgender and non-binary athletes,” explained Dave Klink, USA Ultimate board member and leader of the task force. “We were heavily inspired by those athletes, as well as other inclusion policies from national, local and regional ultimate organizations and sporting groups, particularly Ultimate Canada’s Inclusion Policy. We were also motivated by the feedback we received from the community when developing USA Ultimate’s new strategic plan, which puts a priority on equity, diversity and inclusion.”
The new policy takes effect immediately and replaces one that was originally developed in 2012 and updated several times, most recently in 2016.
“While we had a transgender policy in place for many years, this new one is far more comprehensive,” continued Klink. “It speaks to a number of areas on which the previous policy was silent, such as college eligibility, distinguishing standards between competitive and recreational or developmental programs, and dispute resolution. It’s also guided by six principles and includes important definitions which are designed to help improve awareness and further illuminate our position of inclusion.”
Although under development since the summer of 2017, the policy aligns with USA Ultimate’s recently revealed, three-year strategic plan and underscores one of its guiding principles: Equity, diversity and inclusion are critical to the integrity of our sport’s culture and must be continually learned, fostered and enriched throughout our national, state and local communities.
“This is a critical stride towards a more inclusive community, and we strongly encourage our partner organizations to adopt the same or similar policies,” added Klink. “But we also recognize that this is just one step in a complicated and rapidly changing area, and we expect to see this policy evolve over time. We also know that significant work is still needed to ensure proper implementation of this policy, including our registration and judicial systems and continued training for USA Ultimate’s board, staff and volunteers.”
“I think this is an important step in the right direction when it comes to creating a more inclusive, affirming and safe environment for our trans and non-binary athletes,” commented Kansas City Wicked athlete Ashleigh Buch. “I hope that having a much more thorough policy will allow trans and non-binary athletes to feel safe playing ultimate as their true selves, and that it will encourage more trans and non-binary athletes to play our sport.”
“I am excited and very pleased to see this updated, comprehensive policy, and I’m hopeful that it will help USA Ultimate, and ultimate more broadly, be more inclusive and welcoming to transgender, non-binary and genderqueer players,” added Jenna Weiner of Reno Cutthroat.
Both Buch and Weiner consulted on the new policy.
Members of the community who have questions or comments about USA Ultimate’s Transgender Inclusion Policy should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and answers will be compiled into an FAQ document for publication at a later date.