The American national team should hold internal conversations before playing in places that forbid transgender children from playing sports, according to forward Alex Morgan.
The team is presently getting ready for the SheBelieves Cup, a round-robin competition that begins next week and features Canada, Brazil, and Japan. There are scheduled games in Florida and Texas, states with transgender athletes’ rights legislation.
In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Morgan said, “Looking at these games in Florida and Texas, respectively, we’re going to need to continue to step it up and have internal discussions as well with the team, because we’re not ones to shy away from hard conversation or taking a stand for what’s right.”
Attempts to prevent transgender children from participating in organized sports have already drawn criticism from American women. Several players wore wristbands that read “Protect Trans Kids” at a game in Texas last year.
Most notably, the team successfully fought for equal pay with the men’s team. The team has frequently used its platform to advocate for social justice. Players have increasingly become more outspoken on reproductive rights.
In her native state of Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader last week, advocate Becky Sauerbrunn defended the rights of transgender athletes in an opinion piece. State legislators there are debating a bill that would prohibit transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports.
Morgan added, “I think just simply talking about it is excellent. I believe the club absolutely has to look at playing in Florida and Texas.”
“Including transgender children in sports entails including all children in athletics. Sport should be accessible to everyone. And it is quite terrible that politics has become so involved with it. And in my opinion, trans children’s lives are being sacrificed,” Morgan stated. It’s incredibly sad, and I thought Becky said something really wise. And this squad has always been quite loud about our positions, so I believe we’ll keep doing that.
According to Sauerbrunn, if Congress genuinely cared about women’s sports, they would investigate sexual misconduct and harassment of athletes as well as equitable chances and support for female and girl athletes, particularly in underserved places.
In the Missouri that I know, love, and was raised in, Sauerbrunn stated, “I was taught to care for my neighbors, and I learned that the best part of athletics is belonging to a team and working together toward a common objective.” “I can’t remain silent when transgender children in my home state are victimized just because they share my passion for sports. Every young person should have the same possibilities to live their best lives, just as they are, like I did.
Morgan was also questioned over a potential sponsorship agreement between FIFA and the Saudi Arabian tourism board for this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The decision has been criticized by the soccer federations of Australia and New Zealand due to Saudi Arabia’s track record on human rights, particularly in regards to women and LGBTQ people. Homosexuality is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, and women’s rights are severely constrained by harsh male guardianship regulations.
“I just don’t understand it,” she said. “I think it’s bizarre that FIFA has looked to have a ‘Visit Saudi’ sponsorship for the Women’s World Cup when I, myself, Alex Morgan, would not even be supported and accepted in that country. “I believe that Saudi Arabia can improve its women’s squad, which was just founded a few years ago and has played so few matches that it doesn’t even have a current standing in the FIFA ranking system.
So that’s the piece of advice I’d give them. And I sincerely hope FIFA acts appropriately.
On the potential sponsorship agreement, FIFA has not made any comments.