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Madison and Mary Kate

WATCH: Two Female Athletes Standing Against a Movement to End Women’s Sports

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
August 24, 2021

In 2019, Idaho State University cross-country runners Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall sat in a team meeting. At that meeting, their coach informed them that they would be competing against University of Montana athlete, June Eastwood.

Now, it’s not typical for a coach to call attention to one opposing athlete. So, what sets Eastwood apart?

Well, Eastwood is a male athlete who identifies as female. In the previous three years, when Eastwood competed on the University of Montana men’s team, Eastwood had posted times in several events that were faster than the women’s national records.

Madison, Mary Kate, and their teammates tried to go into the cross-country season with an open mind.

They—along with hundreds of other female athletes—got left in the dust.

This extended into the track season as well.

At the 2020 NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference Championships, Eastwood crushed the competition in the women’s mile, easily taking first place. As a result, one of Madison and Mary Kate’s teammates was bumped off of the medal podium and into fourth place.

To the relief of many female athletes, Idaho passed its Fairness in Women’s Sport Act in the spring of 2020.

But their relief was short lived.

Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act simply relies on what science (and common sense) tells us about the differences between men and women. 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 eliminate all those advantages.

Despite this, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was quick to file a lawsuit against Idaho. It is attempting to strike down the law and subject female athletes like Madison and Mary Kate to unfair competitive conditions that prioritize gender ideology over biological realities.

That’s why Madison and Mary Kate knew they had to take a stand. And ADF filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit on their behalf so that they can speak up for this commonsense law.

Both Madison and Mary Kate have benefited from sports in many ways. Their participation has helped them develop work ethic, time management skills, and lifelong relationships. It has also helped them pay for school.

That’s really the primary goal behind Title IX. Passed in 1972, Title IX has opened the door for countless women to develop leadership skills, earn college scholarships, and launch their careers. In fact, surveys show that four out of five businesswomen played sports.

But if the ACLU gets its way, nearly 50 years of progress under Title IX will be erased.

Unfortunately, this threat is not only coming from the ACLU. In fact, if the Biden administration does what it’s promising to do, this discriminatory policy could be imposed nationwide.

The bottom line is that when our laws and policies ignore biological reality—the reality that men and women are different—it is most often women and girls who suffer the consequences.

And Madison and Mary Kate aren’t about to sit by and let that happen.

Learn more about how ADF is standing up to threats to your freedom in courts across the nation.


Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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