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NCLR’s Sports Project aims to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender players, coaches, and administrators receive fair and equal treatment—free of discrimination. Founded in 2001, the Sports Project has litigated cases on behalf of LGBTQ athletes and coaches, advised schools and athletic associations, and convened key coalitions to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports. NCLR co-founded and participates in a coalition of LGBTQ sports leaders from across the country that works to combat anti-LGBTQ bias in sports. The coalition brings together college and professional athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, political figures, LGBTQ advocates and sports organizations to examine best practices, troubleshoot common problems, and develop strategies to tackles anti-LGBTQ bias at every competition level.


Legislation & Policy

Common Ground Initiative


NCLR partners with the NCAA in the Common Ground Initiative to increase dialogue at conservative religious colleges about how LGBTQ inclusion and respect for religion can operate together to create safer, healthier, and more inclusive environments for student athletes—and by extension for all students.


Cases & Advocacy

Apilado. v. North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association


LaRon Charles, Jon Russ and Steven Apilado had been playing softball together in the San Francisco Gay Softball League for years. Their team had competed in the Gay Softball World Series organized by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), but had never finished better than fourth place. At the 2008 World Series in Seattle, the team made it all the way to the championship game, when they were shocked to learn that their eligibility to play was being challenged based on a NAGAAA rule limiting the number of non-gay players who could play on a World Series team.



Press Release

Utah Court Halts Law Barring Transgender Girls from Playing on Girls’ Sports Teams

August 19, 2022. Today, the Third District Court of Utah issued an order blocking enforcement of a newly enacted law, H.B. 11, that barred all transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams. The court held that the new law likely violates the equality guarantees of the Utah Constitution by singling out transgender girls and barring them from competing on girls’ teams regardless of their individual circumstances. After a two-day hearing, the court concluded that “the Defendants do not offer persuasive reasons to categorically ban all transgender girls from competing on girls’ teams.”



First Line of Defense: Essential Legal Protections for LGBTQ Coaches and Staff

There have been many advances in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights. From national marriage equality to increased employment protections, LGBTQ people are taking bold steps toward achieving equal treatment in all fields, including athletics. However, in order to protect your rights, you must first know what they are—at the federal level, at the state and county or city level, and at your employment institutions. Download PDF

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