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Soccer Champion Claims Biological Males Don’t Pose a Threat to Women’s Sports

Last week, world-renowned surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack and went on to win national competitions, came out against a new policy by the World Surf League that would allow male athletes who identify as transgender to compete in the women’s category. 

As Townhall reported, Hamilton posted an Instagram video slamming the policy. 

“This concerns me as a professional athlete that has been competing in the World Surf League events for the past 15+ years, and I feel that I must speak up and stand up for those in position that may feel that they cannot say something about this,” she said. “I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains.”

United States Women’s National Team Players Association President Becky Sauerbrunn, who is captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, refuted Hamilton’s claims that male-bodied “transgender” athletes threaten women’s sports in an op-ed titled “Let Missouri trans girls and women play” for the Missouri-based Springfield News-Leader last week.

“Since I started playing soccer, I’ve faced countless challenges to gender equity in sport, from pay disparity to unsafe working conditions. I can assure you that playing with or against transgender women and girls is not a threat to women’s sports,” she claimed in the piece. 

The Missouri native went on to argue that “for many transgender kids and young adults, sports offer a similar opportunity to improve their lives” and slammed the pieces of legislation that have been put forward to protect women’s sports (via the Springfield News-Leader):

The NCAA already has a transgender athlete policy in place to ensure all athletes can participate safely and fairly. And at the most elite level of athletic competition, the International Olympic Committee has a policy for transgender athlete participation. The bills up for discussion in the Senate this week seek to solve a problem that simply doesn’t exist, and instead are sidelining youth from an outlet that brings them joy, connection and purpose.

The bills don’t consider any of the actual challenges to women and girls in sport. The proposed “Save Women’s Sports Act” does nothing to protect or support girls and women in sports. If those putting forth this legislation actually listened to the needs and concerns of women in sports, they would outline clear steps to protect women and girls from the rampant sexual assault and harassment plaguing sports — issues we’ve been fighting in the NWSL. They would clarify what’s being done to ensure all institutions in Missouri are Title IX compliant. They would outline a plan to promote equal pay for women athletes. They would ensure young women and girls have equitable resources in sport, especially young women and girls of color. Instead, they’re pushing kids away from the life-changing power of sports, forever depriving them of the invaluable lessons sport teaches, and the best friends they would find on their teams.

“I have been championing gender equity in sport for a long time, and I am done seeing transgender youth being cruelly targeted to score political points,” she concluded. 

Perhaps Sauerbrunn feels this way because she's never been forced to compete against a male-bodied athlete claiming to identify as a woman. 

On Feb. 1, Townhall spoke with Riley Gaines, a former swimmer at the University of Kentucky who competed (and tied) against male athlete Will “Lia” Thomas at the NCAA championships. Thomas competed on the men’s swim team for three years at the University of Pennsylvania. But, senior year, Thomas began competing on the women’s swim team and crushed women in races. At the NCAA championships, Thomas was permitted to take home the trophy in the race. Gaines left empty-handed.

Now, Gaines is a spokeswoman for the Independent Women’s Forum to promote fairness in women’s sports. In remarks on Capitol Hill, Gaines shared that women are being forced to share locker rooms with transgender athletes.

“If this continues, it’s a slippery slope. It’s truly only a matter of time before one transgender athlete winning a national title in the women’s category becomes three and five and 10 and so on,” Gaines explained. “I think truthfully it will become…the integrity of women’s sports will be lost.” 

“All 50 states need to pass some sort of fairness in women’s sports act, ensuring the safety, ensuring the fairness, ensuring the privacy for women's sports…this would include keeping Title IX as its intended purpose, which is, of course, not to discriminate on the basis of sex,” Gaines said.

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