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Supreme Court of the United States

Gender Ideology Threatens Equality for Women

By Caroline Roberts posted on:
January 14, 2022

Just 50 years ago, one in 27 girls was involved in a sport.

Today, it’s two in five.

The passage of Title IX in 1972 prohibited schools from sex-based discrimination, making it easier for thousands of women to pursue their dreams in education. The effects of this civil rights law were far-reaching: academic scholarships enabled more women to receive a college education, and women’s sports began receiving funding. Title IX helped level the playing field.

But now, due to the tides of gender ideology, women are yet again finding themselves in a state of competitive disadvantage.

Women set up for failure in their own sport

On November 20, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas shattered records in two events, the women’s 200-meter and 500-meter freestyle. The 22-year-old has been breaking women’s records since the fall, but there’s one significant factor differentiating Thomas from the rest of competition: Thomas is a male who identifies as female.

As a man, Thomas has overwhelming physical advantages that make fair play with women impossible, including longer limbs, a larger heart and muscle mass, and greater lung capacity. In one study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that men who underwent even 36 months of testosterone suppression still had greater lean body mass and muscle mass than women.

So when a video of Thomas beating female swimmers by 38 seconds in the 1,650-yard freestyle went viral, it rightly sparked debate over the legitimacy of allowing Thomas to compete against women. Thomas has broken women’s records repeatedly and is now headed to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in March.

The NCAA allows men to compete in women’s events after one year of testosterone suppression, a policy that is partly to blame for having set up many women for athletic loss. Unfortunately, other schools and states are following suit, permitting men to compete against women, taking scholarship and championship opportunities.

Women are standing up for fairness

Connecticut athletes Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, Chelsea Mitchell, and Ashley Nicoletti know this disappointment all too well. After the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) adopted a policy allowing men who identify as female to compete alongside women, the CIAC effectively made null Title IX’s protections for women in the state of Connecticut. There’s nothing equal or fair about being forced to compete against someone who, due to their sex, has natural physical advantages over you, no matter how hard you train.

“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when us girls are at the start of the race and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” Selina said. “They took away the spots of deserving girls, athletes … me being included.”

Since the passage of the CIAC’s policy, two boys have won 15 women’s track championship titles and girls have lost over 85 opportunities to participate in higher levels of competition.

The level playing field that Title IX was enacted to protect is being dismantled in the name of an ideology. Since the NCAA policy that allows for this unequal treatment took effect in 2011, research data has proven men maintain physical advantages over women, regardless of testosterone suppression.

Women deserve to have as good of a chance at reaching their athletic goals as men. But this cannot happen when biological reality is denied.


Caroline Roberts, Strategic Communications Writer

Caroline Roberts

Strategic Communications Writer

Caroline Roberts serves as a Strategic Communications Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom.


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