On July 29, a group of more than 300 female athletes sent a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association urging the organization to protect the integrity of women’s sports by ensuring that only female athletes compete in them.
The supporters of the movement called Save Women’s Sports include current and former professional, Olympic and collegiate female athletes. The letter was sent after activist groups called for the NCAA to boycott Idaho for passing the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The Idaho law went into effect this month and essentially says that biological males, even if they gender identify as women, are not allowed to participate on women’s sports teams.
Critics call the law an “anti-transgender bill,” but Save Women’s Sports supporters say the law protects the integrity of women’s sports.
“Fairness for female athletes should not be a political or partisan issue,” the letter states. “We athletes have diverse views on many topics, but stand united on this fact: protecting the integrity of women’s sports is pro-woman, pro-fairness, and consistent with the purpose and promise of Title IX.”
Not a political, religious issue
Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports and a competitive powerlifter, said on her organization’s website, “You don’t need to be especially political or religious to believe that women’s sports should only be for adult biological females. Common sense and science tell us that men and women are different. Because of those differences, girls and women deserve the opportunity to compete, bond, train, suffer and enjoy victory without the presence of male bodies in their competitions or locker rooms.”
The letter asks the NCAA not to give into “bullying tactics” and argues that the NCAA would “send a chilling message” to female athletes across the country “about the NCAA’s commitment to the integrity of women’s sports” if they were to succumb to activist calls to boycott Idaho.
Feds weigh in
On June 19, the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in Idaho federal court defending Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act against a challenge under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.
In the statement, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said, “allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes. Under the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause allows Idaho to recognize the physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics.
“Because of these differences, the Fairness Act’s limiting of certain athletic teams to biological females provides equal protection,” said Barr. “This limitation is based on the same exact interest that allows the creation of sex-specific athletic teams in the first place — namely, the goal of ensuring that biological females have equal athletic opportunities.”
The full letter from from Save Women’s Sports is available at savewomenssports.com.