On April 8, The Heritage Foundation and Concerned Women for America co-hosted an event called “Fair Play? Women’s Athletics in the Age of Gender Identity.” The day-long discussion centered around the fact that the transgender movement is creating a dismal future for women’s sports.
The speakers included Bianca Stanescu, mother of Selina Soule, Glastonbury High School Track and Field Athlete; Beth Stelzer, Founder of Save Women’s Sports; Jennifer S. Bryson, Founder of Let All Play; Madeleine Kearns, William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism, National Review Institute; and Doreen Denny, Senior Director of Government Relations, Concerned Women for America, who made the case that women are put at a significant disadvantage when biological men compete against them in sports. Women-only sports teams are being threatened by the transgender movement, as biological males who identify as female can easily win against hardworking women. The purpose of this discussion was not to promote hate against trans people; rather, it was to advocate for the well-being of women based on scientific facts.
Bianca Stanescu’s daughter, Selina Soule, runs track and field in Connecticut. A hard-working athlete, Soule was dismayed when transgender athletes joined women’s track and dominated the competition. These transgender athletes were biological males identifying as females, and easily won races based on their biology alone. Soule lost the opportunity to enter the New England High School Track and Field Championship because of the unfair competition she faced. Stanescu explained how girl athletes were under tremendous pressure to remain silent about this issue: “…girl athletes competing every week live in fear to speak out due to the possibility of retaliation from coaches, from school officials, as well as hurting their college scholarship opportunities.
The media portray parents who speak out for their daughters as haters and as trying to ban trans athletes from sports, and that is what the girls fear the most—the way the media will portray them.” She argued that gender identity is not sufficient to determine placement on sports teams because “Whatever a boy may feel about his gender identity, gender and sex are not the same. Sex and biological potential of the body are embedded in our DNA from conception, and the physical reality is what matters, or should matter, in athletics.”
The biggest threat that female athletes now face is proposed Bill H.R. 5, the Equality Act. “H.R. 5, the so-called ‘Equality Act,’ would open up every female sport in the country…to any male who self-identifies as female. This policy would take away medals, records, scholarships, and most of all girls’ dreams.”
Beth Stelzer is a weight lifter, and she recounted how this activity helped her get through difficult times: “While pushing my body to lifting over 300 lbs. off the ground, my mind grew strong as well. It’s allowed me to stand tall after surviving domestic abuse and stalking, I no longer have the panic attacks that used to cripple me; powerlifting has empowered me.” Transgender activists disrupted a competition in which Stelzer participated: “…protesters gathered around, clapped, and chanted for the full minute that is allowed to attempt the lift…we get three chances at each lift…this gave the activists each nine chances to protest, which most took full advantage of, and resulted in well over 90 minutes of disruptions… it is no exaggeration to say that this unsportsmanlike conduct ruined the event.”
This far-left extremism went beyond disrupting an event, as “These gender extremists demand that we accept their feelings as science and are attacking basic biology at its core. Women are being silenced by this harassment. I recently received a gruesome death threat for trying to save women’s sports.” In addition to relating how radical some people on the left have become, Stelzer also spoke about the unfair advantage that biological men possess in sports such as weightlifting: “…a man who identifies as a woman, just weeks prior to protesting, won the women’s state championship in a different non-drug tested federation while setting new women’s state records along the way. This transgender-identified man lifted 150 more lbs. than second place, a woman who deserved to be champion.” She concluded by saying: “My perspective is not religious or political, it is based on my experiences and scientific facts. If biological men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, there will be men’s sports and there will be co-ed sports, but there will no longer be women’s sports.”
A former soccer player, Jennifer Bryson argued that the ideology of transgenderism should not trump the capacity for girls to excel in the sport. She said: “When I talk with friends regarding my concern about transgenderism and soccer, some respond that the number of transgender players is small enough that I should not be concerned. I ask you: what number of girls and women subjected to otherwise preventable injuries in soccer are we supposed to think is acceptable? What number of girls and women losing opportunities to earn a spot on a high-level team and compete for college scholarships… are we supposed to think is acceptable? Are we really supposed to offer up some unspecified number of girls and women who want to play soccer as sacrificial lambs to the ideology of gender identity?”
Madeleine Kearns refuted the claim that taking hormones would make the playing field more equal if transgenders joined women’s teams: “…the crucial point here is that for males, their testosterone-laden advantages begin in utero, continue through childhood cemented by puberty and none of this can be undone.” Kearns mentioned that the language of ‘human rights’ used by the transgender movement is misleading: “…this has absolutely nothing to do with human rights because nobody is denying anybody’s human rights at all, nor is anybody denying anyone’s right to compete in sports.
What is being questioned here is the importance of sex and whether any person should have the right to compete in any sporting category.” The transgender movement hardly argues using science, and instead will demonize its opposition or resort to tricks such as repetition. An example of this occurred when the Human Rights Campaign tweeted the phrase “Trans women are women” multiple times instead of making a logical argument.
Doreen Denny’s conservative organization, Concerned Women for America, opposes the Equality Act and is “…joining hands with the Women’s Liberation Front, who proudly call themselves radical feminists. We disagree on many things, but we do agree on this: making gender identity a protected characteristic under federal law would erase the protected category of sex, which is the foundation for Title IX opportunities for women and girls.” It should be noted that the transgender movement and the feminist movement have been at odds with each other. This is because some feminists do not want to fundamentally change what it means to be a woman.