On Monday night in an op-ed for NBC News, Brittney Griner of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and Layshia Clarendon of the Atlanta Dream partnered to contextualize and define their stance against Texas Senate Bill 3.
Following in line with bills across the country aimed at limiting the use of bathrooms based on identity as opposed to gender, the Texas bill would go so far as to limit young athletes to locker rooms based on their sex. Griner and Clarendon, in turn, are refuting the claims upon which the bill is based as strongly as the NBA did in its decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte, North Carolina to New Orleans, Louisiana.
The pair of WNBA players outline many key ways that they oppose the bill, but eventually state clearly that ” We believe trans people should unequivocally have the same rights as we do.” They recall that the bill is aimed to protect women, but argue that as professional athletes in a women’s league, protection is low on the list, far below things like accountability and competitiveness.
Griner and Clarendon argue that they don’t need to be protected from transgender people, and that the diversity that exists within their sport enriches their lives as participants in the league.
Finally, they call out the Women’s Sports Foundation and Human Rights Campaign for publicly uniting against bills like these across the country. They have seen the negative impact that such legislation can have on the economics and unification of a community, based on what unfolded in North Carolina earlier this year. The state’s HB2 became a lightning rod for public debate over gender identity and its place in the public sphere, eventually landing us as a country where Griner and Clarendon are speaking from today.
By making such a pronounced and formal complaint about their stance on one state’s bill, Griner and Clarendon have elevated this conversation. They have drawn attention and pressure toward the state of Texas and its voters.