In high school, I wanted nothing more than to compete at the collegiate level in swimming. It was my goal, my dream. But there was one problem: My high school didn’t have a swim team. And the only way I could get noticed by college scouts was to make it to the high school state meet.
Wanting the best for their daughter, my parents approached the high school about starting a swim team, and thankfully, the school administration agreed. I became the high school swim team of one. And eventually, I achieved my dream to compete as a college athlete, which was one of the highlights of my college experience.
But now, that same opportunity is being stripped from some female high school athletes. These girls are losing their spots at high-level competitions. But it’s not because their schools don’t have their particular sports. And it’s not because they weren’t good enough or didn’t work hard enough.
It’s because the spots of these female athletes are being taken by biological males. And that means these female athletes, who have worked so hard and for so long on their dream, are losing opportunities to compete in front of college scouts.
That’s exactly what happened to Selina Soule, a high school track athlete in Connecticut. And it’s why Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint representing Selina and two other female athletes with the Office for Civil Rights.
At the Connecticut indoor track championships earlier this year, Selina placed eighth in the 55-meter dash – just one spot away from qualifying for the 55m final and a chance to compete for a spot in the New England regional championships, where many college scouts attend.
As an athlete, it can be disappointing to narrowly miss a goal – to be one spot out of medaling or a hundredth of a second off of a qualifying time.
But this was different.
Selina had not simply been outrun by seven other girls. She had been outrun by only five other girls, while first and second place were taken by two biological males. These two athletes – one who had competed in the boys competitions just one season prior – identify as girls and have been allowed to compete as such.
Had they not been permitted to do so, Selina likely would have competed at the New England regional championships in front of college scouts.
While students who experience confusion about their gender need compassionate support, there are many ways to offer that without compromising fair competition.
The fact is that Title IX was passed to ensure that women would receive equal opportunities in education. But now, biological males are being allowed to compete in sports with girls for scholarship opportunities – and they’re winning. Connecticut isn’t the only place where this is happening.
- A male high school sprinter qualified for the girls’ finals at the Alaska state track championships.
- A male college runner won three titles in the Northeast-10 Championships for women’s track, and received the Most Outstanding Track Athlete award.
- A male softball player took one of 15 spots on his California high school girls’ varsity softball team.
That’s not progress. It’s just plain unfair.
Still, many female athletes have been hesitant to speak out. And it’s no wonder why.
Those who dare to question whether biological males should be allowed to compete against females are ridiculed and bullied. Transgender activists lashed out against tennis legend Martina Navratilova when she wrote that a biological man competing as a woman is “cheating.”
Likewise, when Selina and other female competitors have voiced their criticism, they have been portrayed as sore losers.
Since when does speaking the truth make you a sore loser?
It is a physiological fact that men and women are built differently. Men have more muscle mass and a higher bone density – making them physically stronger than women.
And as Navratilova pointed out, “Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood. Training increases the discrepancy.”
Did you catch that? No amount of training can change the fact that males have a physiological advantage over females in some sports.
That’s why we have separate men’s and women’s sports. But somehow, the line between the two is becoming increasingly blurry. And women and girls are suffering the consequences.
Just ask Selina.
When it comes to secondary and collegiate athletics, West Virginia’s save women’s sports law makes sure males who identify as female cannot take a spot on any team from a deserving girl.