Brandeis University is committed to providing its students, staff and faculty with an environment conducive to learning, and working, and where all people are treated with respect and dignity. The Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (“Brandeis Athletics”) shares this commitment, and treats these obligations, along with safety and equitable treatment, as core to its mission. While the legal landscape governing the inclusion of transgender student-athletes continues to emerge, adopting inclusive participation practices demonstrates the department’s commitment to fair play and inclusion.
Intercollegiate athletics provides an opportunity for students to compete with and against others who come from different races, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and social classes, but all of whom share the common goal of achieving athletic excellence. Valuing this common ground enhances the social and competitive experience for all. While varsity athletics participation is primarily governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Brandeis Athletics maintains the following policies to facilitate and encourage the participation of people of all genders, including transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer, and other gender-nonconforming students, staff, faculty, and visitors. These policies, developed in conjunction with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Gender and Sexuality Center, and General Counsel cover: participation in club sports, intramural sports and intercollegiate athletics; participation in physical education offerings; and gender access and accommodation for all people who attend and participate in athletic activities that take place at Brandeis
Brandeis’ Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Violence
Brandeis prohibits discrimination and harassment against students, staff, and faculty on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, caste, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or Massachusetts law, known as “Protected Categories.” For more information about this Policy, please visit the website for the Office of Equal Opportunity.
NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation
The following policies, presented in the language used by the NCAA, govern participation in NCAA-sanctioned competition for transgender student-athletes undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition:
A transgender male (FTM) student-athlete who has received a medical exception for, and is being treated with testosterone may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.
A transgender female (MTF) student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.
Any transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatment related to gender transition may participate in sex-separated sports activities in accordance with his or her assigned birth gender.
A transgender male (FTM) student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team.
A transgender female (MTF) transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team.
Intercollegiate Student-Athlete Support through the NCAA Process
While each college or university retains institutional autonomy in pursuing the waiver process, Brandeis Athletics is committed to assisting student-athletes considering gender transition. In order to avoid challenges to a transgender student’s participation in intercollegiate athletics during a sport season, a student-athlete who has completed, plans to initiate, or is in the process of taking testosterone-suppressing medications or hormones as part of a gender transition must submit the request to participate on a sports team in writing to the Director of Athletics upon matriculation or when the decision to undergo hormonal treatment is made.
Once the student submits the request, they can expect the following:
All discussions among involved parties and required written supporting documentation will be kept confidential, unless the student-athlete makes a specific request otherwise. All information about an individual student’s transgender identity and medical information, including physician’s information provided pursuant to this policy, shall be maintained confidentially.
The Director of Athletics and the Senior Woman Administrator will meet with the student to review eligibility requirements and procedure for approval of transgender participation.
If hormone treatment is involved in the student-athlete’s transition, the Director of Athletics and/or the Senior Woman Administrator will notify the NCAA of the student’s request to participate with a medical exception request (also referred to as a therapeutic use exception)
If the NCAA exception request is granted, the student-athlete will have to provide updated information on an annual basis to renew their eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics.
Best Practices for Brandeis University Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
Club sports governed by a national governing body shall follow the policy described in the regulations of that national governing body. Other club sports shall follow the Brandeis Athletics rules governing intramural sports.
Brandeis University is committed to transgender, non-binary, and gender fluid inclusion. People participating in intramural sports or other athletic programs, such as physical education courses, may participate in accordance with their gender identity, should that be relevant, regardless of any medical treatment. If conflicts arise, contact the Director of Athletics at email@example.com.
Students Outside the Gender Binary
Students who identify as gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, agender or another gender outside of the gender binary not taking hormones may participate in NCAA sanctioned sports activities in accordance with their assigned birth sex.
A student assigned female at birth who is not taking hormones related to gender transition may participate on a women’s or men’s team.
A student assigned male at birth who is not taking hormones may participate on a men’s team.
Consistent with the nondiscrimination policies of the NCAA and Brandeis, that student must still be treated in a manner consistent with their gender identity in all other aspects. A student who identifies as gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, agender or another gender outside of the gender binary and decides to take hormones or to engage in hormone suppression must follow the NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation.
To assist in educating and in development of institutional policy and practice, a Transgender Participation Committee will be established. Members of the committee will represent a cross section of the institutional staff with student well-being interests, and may include representation from the following departments: Office of General Counsel, Health Center, Office of Equal Opportunity, Brandeis Counseling Center, Faculty Athletics Representative, Academic Affairs, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Athletics.
All members of the Brandeis Athletics community will receive information and education about transgender identities, institutional and conference non-discrimination policies, the use of chosen names and pronouns, and expectations for creating a respectful team and university climate for all students, regardless of their gender identity.
Dress Codes and Team Uniforms
Transgender student- athletes will be encouraged to dress consistently with their gender identities. Dress codes for athletic teams when traveling or during a game day at school will be gender neutral.
All team members will have access to uniforms that are appropriate for their sport and that they feel comfortable wearing. No student will be required to wear a gendered uniform that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.
Gosman Changing Areas, Toilets, Showers
Transgender student-athletes will be able to use the locker room, shower, and toilet facilities in accordance with the student’s gender identity. Gender inclusive locker room facilities (private, separate changing, showering, and toilet facilities) are available at the following locations:
Gosman middle level, across from the elevator (Includes lockers, single stall shower, private restroom and changing area)
Gosman lower level, near the cardiovascular fitness area and squash courts (includes private, single use restroom, shower and changing area, no lockers.)
Linsey pool (Includes lockers, single stall shower, restroom, and changing area and can access from the pool deck via men's or women's locker rooms, or directly by calling lifeguard on duty @ 781-736-3659 to enter the ADA ramp door.)
While these facilities are available, transgender students are not required to use separate facilities.
Names – in all cases, teammates, coaches, game management personnel, and all others in the department should refer to all student-athletes (including transgender, gender fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, agender or another gender outside of the gender binary) by the student’s stated or preferred name, as should all publicized sports information, such as programs, announcements, and press releases. This applies regardless of whether the student has formally changed their name on any identity documents or obtained a court order changing their name.
Pronouns – similarly, in all cases, pronoun references to all student-athletes, including transgender and gender-nonconforming student-athletes, should reflect the student’s stated gender pronoun.
Competition at Other Institutions
Student-athletes generally will be assigned to share hotel rooms based on their gender identity, with a recognition that any student who needs extra privacy will be accommodated whenever possible.
Prior to traveling to other sites of competition, coaches and administrators will work with student-athletes, regardless of gender identity, to determine their preferences regarding locker room and training accommodations, as well as if they have preferences regarding the pronouns used in announcements and game write-ups. Brandeis administrators will work with the host institution to ensure it has safe and reasonable accommodations and that athletes' needs are met.
The traveling institution does not need to – nor should it - identify the gender identity of student-athletes unless the student would prefer to be identified.
If student-athletes would like announcers/coaches/officials/etc. to use specific pronouns, the institution should notify the host school prior to the team’s arrival to ensure this occurs. Prior to the start of competition, coaches should confirm with game management staff that a student’s desired pronouns will be used.
Best practices for interacting with the media focus on the importance of understanding basic information about transgender identity and the identities of other students who do not meet stereotypical expectations of gender, what is appropriate (or accurate) terminology, and respecting confidentiality of student-athletes.
Respect the confidentiality of all student-athletes when discussing gender identity and other issues pertaining to personal characteristics of students with the media and understand that all medical information must be kept confidential in accordance with applicable state, local, and federal privacy laws.
Brandeis Athletics will provide training to all department staff who may interact with the media.
Use appropriate language in media interviews or presentations and insist that this terminology be used in media reports on transgender issues in athletics.
Focus on the importance of providing equal opportunities for all students to participate in athletics.
Describe how departmental policies provide equal opportunities for all students to participate in athletics.
Enforcement and Non-Retaliation
Enforcement — Any member of Brandeis Athletics who has been found to have violated this policy by threatening to withhold athletic opportunity or harassing any student on the basis of their gender identity or expression or transgender or gender non-binary status, or by breaching medical confidentiality, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge or expulsion from the university. Any member of the department who becomes aware of conduct that violates this policy should report the conduct to the Director of Athletics and the Office of Equal Opportunity, as this conduct would be a violation of the university’s Policy Against Discrimination, and Sexual Violence. Following an OEO process, Brandeis Athletics will take appropriate remedial action to correct the situation
Retaliation — As indicated by the Brandeis Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence, retaliation is an adverse or negative action taken against an individual for reporting concerns about discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence participating in a resolution process or investigation, or otherwise exercise thier rights. Concerns about retaliation can be reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity, as they may violate university policy. Brandeis Athletics will take steps to prevent any retaliation against any person who makes reports of discrimination, harrassment and/or sexual violence.
Additional Brandeis Resources
Brandeis Counseling Center: The Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) provides counseling for students in times of stress and encourages them to ask for help with their most immediate concerns.
Carrie Eichmann, MSW, LICSW
Staff Therapist, Alcohol and Other Drug Specialist
Community Therapist to Athletics Department, and Department of Community Living
Facilities Access: All Brandeis residence halls are equipped with at least one single-user, gender-inclusive restroom. An additional 30 such facilities, in addition to a handful of single-user, gendered restrooms with locking mechanisms, can be found in university academic and administration buildings throughout campus.
Gender and Sexuality Center: The Gender and Sexuality Center provides leadership and expertise on diversity, equity, and inclusion; education and training on LGBTQ+ identities; and community and resources for LGBTQ+ people and allies.
Gender-Inclusive Housing: Brandeis University is committed to providing safe and supportive housing options for students of all genders. This includes providing options that offer gender-inclusive housing and restrooms. For details, please consult Brandeis' Department of Community Living Gender Inclusive Housing Policy.
Gender Marker or Name Change: If you are legally or socially transitioning and need support or assistance navigating university systems, contact the Gender and Sexuality Center. For information about changing your legal name or gender marker in Massachusetts, visit the Transgender ID Project by LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.
Transition-Related Care: The Brandeis Student Health Insurance Plan offers full transition-related benefits. Be sure to check with Blue Cross Blue Shield about specific coverage before seeing a doctor.
The Brandeis Faculty and Staff Pride Alliance is dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and allied members at Brandeis in their professional and community roles. The organization is open to all faculty and staff who identify with the LGBTQIA+ community or wish to be part of the peer network that supports the LGBTQIA+ community on campus. Meets monthly in the Gender and Sexuality Center.
Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO): OEO is responsible for addressing all concerns about discrimination or harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual orientation or which in any way relate an individual’s sex that occur within the Brandeis community. This would include conduct by students, staff, faculty or visitors to our community. Individuals with these concerns can meet with OEO to discuss what options may be available to address this conduct.