NCJW Greater New Orleans Advocacy Committee

Recognizing the dignity of every person– b’tzelem Elohim — is a Jewish value, and we believe it is a Louisiana value, too. This value drives the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) to fight for the rights of transgender people to live authentic lives free from fear. We stand with the transgender community of Louisiana in opposition of SB 156. This bill, ambiguously named the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” seeks to exclude transgender students from sports teams that do not align with their gender assigned at birth.

Participation in sports provides many benefits to K-12 aged children, from improved physical development, social development, and psychological well-being.

SB 156 seeks to endanger the safety of transgender children and teens. In their 2019 survey, GLSEN, a national organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, found that 25% of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe at school. The rate of suicide among transgender youth is shocking. Almost 44% of transgender youth reported considering suicide in the previous year, compared to 16 percent of cisgender youth. SB 156 seeks to stigmatize an already vulnerable population by denying transgender children and teens access to K-12 learning opportunities.

As trans rights advance, it seems that attempts to invalidate trans peoples’ humanity increase. SB 156 and similar laws proposed nationwide are mean-spirited. Transgender and nonbinary teenagers’ self-expression poses no threat to the well-being of their cisgender peers, and codifying rules that govern how youth can participate in school sports normalizes bullying and exclusion.

Maimonides, the Jewish scholar, preached about the importance of health and athletics. Now, in 2021, NCJW draws inspiration from him and from our religious values to urge Louisianans to join us in opposition of SB 156. Let’s keep school sports fun, accessible, and welcoming to all students.

Signed, National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section
Madelyn Fireman, co-State Policy Advocate, NCJW
Jessica Frankel, co-State Policy Advocate, NCJW
Alanna Rosenberg, Advocacy Committee Chair, NCJW

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