You might not expect Idaho to be the center of a controversy, but its passage of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act earlier this year has launched it into the national spotlight. Particularly given the ACLU’s lawsuit against Idaho, in Hecox v. Little, it might seem that the loudest voices are those who oppose the commonsense legislation, which simply reserves women’s athletics for female athletes.
But there are some vital voices missing: those of female athletes who acknowledge that there are real physical differences between men and women, and that those differences matter.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom asked the court to allow two Idaho collegiate athletes, Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall, to intervene in the lawsuit. These two courageous women want to defend Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.
Thankfully, today the court granted Madison and Mary Kate’s request to intervene in the lawsuit.
This is great news! Now the court will be able to hear the perspective of two athletes who are directly harmed by the push to allow males who identify as females to participate in women’s athletics.
Madison and Mary Kate, who are both on Idaho State University’s track and cross country teams, have experienced what it feels like to line up at the start of a race and know they can’t win. They’ve both raced against male athlete June Eastwood, who competed on the Montana State University men’s team for three years before competing as a woman last year.
At the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track & Field championships this past year, Eastwood easily beat the competition to win the women’s mile.
The fact is that males will always have physical advantages over women, regardless of how that male identifies. Science and overwhelming daily experience tell us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females. They have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. No amount of testosterone suppression can undo all those advantages.
This is precisely why we have women’s sports. And it’s also why Idaho passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act—to preserve equal opportunities for women and girls in athletics. Because if we allow males to compete as women and girls, that will be the end of women’s sports.
That concerned Madison and Mary Kate, who have both greatly benefited from their participation in sports.
But they’re not the only ones concerned.
In July, more than 300 female athletes sent a letter to the NCAA asking it not to cave to demands to boycott Idaho—all because it passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The women on the list are professional athletes as well as current and former NCAA athletes. And their message is simple: save women’s sports.
We cannot and should not dismiss these women or discount their experiences. After all, when we ignore biological reality, it is women who get hurt.
And their voices deserve to be heard.
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