(San Francisco, CA, February 6, 2008) — Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) salutes National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and calls 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.

“Title IX transformed college athletics, and this past year, we have seen high profile cases reinforcing protections for female athletes and coaches,” said NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll. “In these victorious court cases, such as the recent victories by female coaches at California State University in Fresno, coaches are speaking out against not only Title IX violations, but against the pervasive use of perceived sexual orientation of coaches as a discriminatory tool. The strength of Title IX continues to protect all of those affiliated with girls and women in sports, and we are witnessing historic silences finally be broken as coaches are refusing to allow that tool to drive them from athletics.”

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.

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.