Athlete Ally has organized more than 50 members of the athletic community to sign an open letter criticizing the Texas state legislature for considering Senate Bill 6 (SB6), which regulates bathroom access based on birth certificate and overrides local ordinances that allow bathroom use in accordance with gender identity.
Signed by athletes such as Sue Bird, Martina Navratilova, Breanna Stewart and Greg Louganis, the letter states, "As long as bills like these remain a possibility, Texas is sending a clear signal that LGBT players, fans, coaches and administrators are not welcomed or respected, both on and off the field."
The athletes join more than 100 entertainers who have signed an open letter asking the Texas legislature not to pass SB6. The group includes current and former athletes who have come out publicly, are from Texas organizations and those who are straight allies who feel strongly about advocating for inclusion.
"I'm fortunate to play in a league that's affirming and progressive on so many issues," said Stewart, a forward for the Seattle Storm. "I believe in fighting for a world that's inclusive and respectful of players, coaches and fans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Texas is a favored state for large sporting events, which has been pointed to as an economic vulnerability should SB6 pass. While the NCAA has not formally commented on potential action if SB6 passes, the organization removed championships from North Carolina after the state passed House Bill 2, which mandates people to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex on their birth certificate in public places.
After relocating the All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans in response to HB2, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that states considering bills similar to it are "on notice" during his annual address in February. An NFL spokesperson said that a discriminatory law would "certainly be a factor" in considering the location of future events.
"The athletic community refuses to be sidelined while the state of Texas debates anti-transgender bills like SB6," said Athlete Ally executive director Hudson Taylor. "Today, the athletic community made it clear that SB6 is counter to the values of sport, and that all Texans -- regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity -- deserve equal respect and protection on the playing field, in the locker room, and under the law."