The American people have spoken, and their elected representatives on the left have continuously ignored them. Every single congressional Democrat voted against H.R. 734, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023, and President Joe Biden promised to veto any legislation that would restrict women’s sports to biologically female athletes.
All this happened despite the popularity of the proposal. According to a Scott Rasmussen survey of 1,000 registered voters, 80% of registered voters agree with the statement, “Every American should be treated equally, but it’s important to acknowledge that there are significant biological differences between men and women.” Additionally, 67% of registered voters believe “biological males have an unfair advantage competing against biological females in women’s sports.”
As former Division I athletes, we have fought to protect women’s sports head-on. This is not just a political debate. This is about preserving the integrity of the sports that helped to develop us into the women we are today.
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For us, sports are so much more than just a competition, a scholarship, or getting accepted into the college of our dreams. Sports and our sports teams are what helped to instill the values we hold today. Being able to participate in women’s sports gave us the integrity, grit, determination, compassion and drive we have carried into our adult lives.
Riley Gaines said she never called herself a feminist until taking up the battle of protecting fairness in women’s sports after she tied against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at last year’s NCAA championships. (Fox News Digital)
Erasing women’s sports is not a cost-free antidote for those struggling with gender dysphoria. Policies that place the “trans” community ahead of biological females cause harm to millions of girls who strive to have the same opportunity for growth, collegiality and opportunities for scholarship afforded to us just a few years ago.
We have utilized our voice in videos, op-eds, and statements to elevate and normalize fighting to protect women’s sports in the face of immense media and radical activist pressure to open female athletics to biological males. Those fighting for women’s rights today are often branded “transphobic,” and amazing women like former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines have even been physically attacked for speaking out.
The results of our openness have far exceeded our expectations. We were prepared for a flood of nasty messages and comments, but we have been overwhelmed by the love and support we have received. Former teammates on both sides of the political aisle have thanked us for speaking out, and community members, parents and Americans across the country have encouraged us to continue the fight. In fact, we have hardly received any negative feedback since we started speaking out on this important issue.
This is because, for most Americans, protecting women’s sports is not a political or partisan issue. Polling data confirms that it is an issue where common-sense consensus is possible. The American people recognize the biological differences between men and women and value fairness in competition, so they support preserving women’s sports.
In addition to opposing legislation to protect women’s sports, the Biden administration has proposed changes to Title IX regulations governing athletics eligibility criteria that would advance the trans agenda. The proposed rule will open female sports to transgender athletes at schools that receive federal funds and invalidate state laws passed by at least 20 elected legislatures to protect women’s sports if finalized in its current form.
Biden’s proposal allows school administrators to limit participation to athletes based on biological sex under narrow circumstances. Schools will have to demonstrate a “substantial” relationship to an educational objective while taking proactive steps to minimize harm to transgender students. In practice, this means that some high schools and colleges will be allowed to operate separate (biological) sex teams, but only where they can establish that the nature of the competition makes it unsafe for women to compete against natal males (for example, in contact sports) or where natal males derive competitive advantages from puberty that could deny female athletes equal opportunity (highly competitive try out teams). However, the vague and subjective nature of the policy will give the Biden administration the authority to micromanage schools’ policies — all while arming trans activists to make civil rights complaints when they are excluded.
The path of least resistance will be for schools to cave to trans demands. At the lower levels and for elementary school students, the department has already said that schools will be required to open female sports to natal males in virtually all cases.
What seems to be forgotten in this proposed rule is all the harm that will be done to the millions of female students when they are forced to compete against men and share intimate spaces with them. Being a competitive athlete takes as much mental strength as physical ability. Sharing a bathroom, changing room and/or hotel room with a biological male ahead of a competition will potentially cause severe emotional, mental and even physical harm to female athletes.
The American people recognize the biological differences between men and women and value fairness in competition, so they support preserving women’s sports.
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These intimate female spaces should be conducive to comradery, safety, and peacefulness. When you allow biological men — most with male genitalia intact — to access these spaces, you destroy all of that. Instead, you leave women feeling unsafe and insecure. It is hard to have your “head in the game” seconds after walking out of a space where you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. For those college-aged women who have experienced sexual assault and violence, forcing them into intimate spaces with men can exacerbate their trauma.
The Biden administration is out of touch with the American people and their desires, and this policy fails to acknowledge the substantial harms it poses to females of all ages.
Our favorite coach and chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for 1776, Lou Holtz, has three rules: “Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care.” We have learned so much from Coach Holtz, and now we want to call on all Americans to follow these rules and fight for what is right. We all know biological sex differences are real — that is how God perfectly and intentionally made us. We can all do our best to fight for scientific and biblical truth, and we can all show people we care by treating everybody — even those with opposing viewpoints — with dignity and respect.
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For those Americans who want to do more but do not know how, we encourage you to file a public comment opposing the Title IX rule change before May 15, 2023. You can raise awareness in other ways too. Talk to your friends about this issue, talk to your children and their schools about it, vote for representatives (from school board to Congress) that support your values, speak out on social media, and know you are not alone in this fight!
Protecting women’s sports is not anti-transgender. It is pro-women. Together, as Americans, we will prevail in this righteous battle for women.
Ryann McEnany is the Digital Marketing and Brand Communications Strategist and Engagement Officer at the America First Policy Institute and is a former DI Athlete on the University of Florida Track Team.
Sam Mims is the Director of Digital Production and Data at the America First Policy Institute and is a former DI Athlete on the University of North Florida Beach Volleyball team.