The real girls showed up at the Rayburn Building this week to testify on behalf of women athletes to the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Former NCAA swimmer and now activist Riley Gaines and former Oberlin College women’s lacrosse coach Kim Russell were on hand to explain the absolute absurdity in allowing full-grown, testosterone-fueled males to claim they identify as a woman and compete in all disciplines of sports. Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, was on hand to disagree.
This is what politics has come to in 2023.
There has been a push to rewrite and amend Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” so that it gives equal attention to women on campuses nationwide. Now progressives and radical left want to include men who identify as women and conversely.
The hearing was prompted after Chairwoman Lisa McClain (R-MI) and Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) launched an investigation into the Department of Education’s decision to alter its Title IX regulations. A Sub Committee press release states: “The lawmakers are seeking information to determine whether any external organizations played an outsized role in the development of the proposed regulations.” Perhaps, under oath, facts would prevail? Hardly.
As fact-finding missions go, the hearing provided a platform for proponents of banning trans-gender in high school and college athletics and those who believe that it’s good practice to allow such diversity to be incorporated at all levels. The main argument by opponents of such legislation made some sense for purposes of team play and inclusivity – all great motivators to get off the couch, put down the McNuggets and Twinkies, and play hard outside. But that’s where the common sense ended.
Fatima Goss Graves clung to the words “women and girls,” saying she pledged her career to equality. But did anyone consult the women who were born biologically female? Not Fatima:
“[B]eing targeted for exclusion only amplifies the risk of harm that trans, nonbinary, and intersex students disproportionately face in school. Despite a total lack of any evidence that trans-student-athletes have harmed anyone, state bans have been pushed with a false narrative of ‘protecting’ women’s and girls’ rights.”
The testimony supplied in Gaines’ opening statement was akin to being objectified as a woman and told to let the boy win so his feelings don’t get hurt:
“We watched as this male swam to a women’s national title, beating out the most impressive and accomplished female swimmers in the country, including Olympians and American record holders. Despite tying down to the hundredth with Thomas, I was denied the trophy because the NCAA claimed it was necessary Thomas was holding it when pictures were being taken.”
Oh, but there was more: “In addition to losing competitions to Thomas,” Gaines continued, “we also had to share a locker room and change in front of this 6’4” fully intact naked male.”
Supporting that kind of comingling in middle or high school settings will have a drastic effect on an already insecure and vulnerable age group. It disturbed Gaines enough to change her career direction to become an Independent Women’s Forum spokesperson.
Women Athletes – Political Hot Button
State legislators and political bodies have taken the lead in proposing and, in some cases, passing laws that keep the boys out of the girls’ lane and locker room. But a discussion needs to be had, with a clear delineation of what Title IX entails. It’s now a worldwide public relations problem – so much so that in 2021, World Athletics, World Aquatics, and the International Cycling Union had policies that barred transgender women from their women’s elite competitions unless they transitioned before puberty. The NCAA, with hands in the air, now defers to a “sport-by-sport” approach and uses the rules and regulations of a particular discipline’s national governing body.
The lines of political insertion into women athletics are beyond blurred. But the reality of trans women in sports sets a dangerous precedent of erasing the milestones and popularity of the females who punched, kicked, and home-runned their way to college scholarships and respect. How is this even a gray area?