There was a time in our country, not too long ago, when insuring women had equal access to athletic programs in colleges was a key feminist issue.
It’s certainly the kind of feminist issue that you’ll find a broad range of women, traditional and progressive alike, should be able to agree on.
Like their male counterparts, female college students who participate in competitive sports are happier, healthier, achieve higher grades, and go on to have successful careers, as research shows.
A fair playing field–figuratively and literally–can only be achieved when women are not forced to compete against their male counterparts, however. Otherwise, in stark defiance to the feminist ideals of yesteryear, women are being pushed aside in favor of biological men thanks to the rising and pervasive presence of anti-science gender theory in today’s collegiate athletics.
Now, hundreds of female athletes, including Title IX pioneers and Olympians, are urging the National College Athletics Association to stand up for women and girls’ sports.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, who has been fighting on behalf of female athletes against female erasure, explains that the athletes, which include over 300 collegiate and professional athletes, issued a letter to the NCAA’s Board of Governors Wednesday, “urging them to reject a recent call to boycott Idaho for passing its Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”
In the letter, the current and former female athletes state they have benefited personally and professionally “from a fair and level playing field” and urge the NCAA to protect the integrity of women’s sports, consistent with the promise and purpose of Title IX. Signers include world-class cyclist Jennifer Wagner-Assali, world-champion track athlete Cynthia Monteleone, and Title IX pioneer and marathon swimmer Sandra Bucha-Kerscher.
The coalition supports biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports and opposes efforts to bully or boycott the state of Idaho for passing the first state law that prevents males from competing in women’s sports. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit, Hecox v. Little, on behalf of a male athlete seeking to challenge Idaho’s newly enacted law. In June, the ACLU and various female athletes called on the NCAA to boycott Idaho.
“Fairness for female athletes shouldn’t be a political issue,” said Mary Kate Marshall, a collegiate runner who put her name on the letter and is a proposed intervenor in the Idaho lawsuit.
“We athletes have diverse views on many topics, but we stand united in our desire to preserve a level playing field for female athletes. Protecting the integrity of women’s sports is pro-woman and pro-fairness. I’m speaking up because I want other young women to benefit from sports as I have.”
In the letter, the athletes note that studies have demonstrated that “comparably fit and trained male athletes have innate physiological advantages over females” (does this really need to be stated?) and that testosterone suppression cannot adequately combat this clear advantage. Proponents of allowing biological male, female-identifying athletes to compete against biological women argue that reducing the man’s testosterone using drugs will level the biological playing field.
“Women deserve equal opportunities to experience the thrill of victory, but allowing males to compete in women’s sports disadvantages women and destroys their athletic opportunities,” the ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said.
“If we ignore these clear biological differences, female athletes will lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete in the sports they love. Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was designed to protect fair competition and athletic opportunities for female athletes. The NCAA’s mandate is fair competition, and we ask the Board of Governors to reject calls to punish the state of Idaho for courageously protecting the integrity of women’s sports.”
ADF attorneys are representing collegiate female athletes seeking to intervene in court to defend Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act from the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the new law as well as high school female athletes in Connecticut who are challenging a policy which allows biological males to compete against them at elite levels.
More women need to speak up against female erasure. There is nothing more universally feminist than allowing women and girls their own spaces, particularly in the realm of sports, where biology is most abundantly clear.
While those who are gender-confused are very appropriate recipients of our prayers and compassion, we cannot set side opportunities for women and girls just because men who want to live as women demand their unfair advantages be ignored.
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