Outsports, an online, LGBT sports blog, published the names of 309 female athletes who signed a letter to the National College Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Board of Governors, asking them to protect women’s sports from transgender athletes – biological men who believe they are women.
The practice is known as “doxxing,” publishing names and private information for the purpose of shaming or harassing individuals.
The letter also asks the NCAA “to reject a recent call to boycott Idaho for passing its Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” LGBT activists and their allies, in organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, asked the NCAA to cancel any events scheduled in Idaho because the Fairness Act limits participation in girls’ and women’s sports to biological females.
In press releases announcing the letter, from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Save Women’s Sports, only a few of the women who signed the letter had their names listed. More than 300 athletes who signed were not publicly named – until now.
Christiana Holcomb, Legal Counsel at ADF, explained to us that clients who speak publicly against transgender-identified athletes in women’s sports experience harassment from LGBT activists and their allies. She said, “We are leaving it up to the individual athletes to make their participation public.”
Holcomb responded to Outsports naming the female athletes, “Publishing the name/location of women who wrote to the NCAA seeking fair competition isn’t journalism—it’s a witch-hunt.” Outsports published all the women’s names, sports and states of residence.
Outsports managing editor Dawn Ennis wrote, “Despite what some may say, this is not a witch-hunt,” adding, “We oppose all violence, especially the significantly greater incidents of violent attacks on trans people.” At the same time, Ennis wrote, “We sought these names in the public interest, because those who stand in favor of discrimination ought to be held accountable. And that’s all this is.”
Ennis worked for ABC News as Don Ennis, then “transitioned” to working as “Dawn” in 2013. After several months as Dawn, Ennis returned to work as Don, saying he’d been diagnosed as suffering from an episode of “transient global amnesia.”
In a memo posted on the newsroom bulletin board, Ennis wrote, “And it appears I am not transgender after all, in the strictest sense of the word.” Ennis accused his wife of “playing some kind of cruel joke, dressing me up in a wig and bra and making fake ID’s with the name ‘Dawn’ on it. Seriously.”
Nine months later, Ennis switched, again, to living as “Dawn.” Shortly thereafter, ABC News fired Ennis for “performance-related issues.”
Blaine Conzatti, Director of Advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance-Idaho, calls publishing the names “bullying.” He writes, “Most certainly, one or more members of the NCAA Board of Governors violated the confidence of these girls by leaking their names to Outsports. But these bullying tactics aren’t new. Opponents of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act have made a habit of labeling female athletes who don’t want to compete against biological men as ‘bigoted’ and ‘intolerant.’”
Family Policy Alliance has an action center, where concerned individuals can send a letter to each member of the NCAA Board of Governors, standing in support of these female athletes who have been “doxxed.” The letter says, “No female athlete should be doxed or bullied for wanting to keep women’s sports competitions and opportunities exclusively for women,” and it urges the NCAA to condemn Outsports.
We asked the NCAA why the female athletes’ privacy was not respected and who in their organization leaked the letter to Outsports. We also asked if the NCAA supports Title IX advances made by women and whether they want to protect those advances from men, with male bodies, who believe they are women. At the time of publishing this article, the NCAA has not responded.
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