June 23 marks the anniversary of Title IX, the federal civil rights law banning discrimination in education based on sex. The law went into effect in 1972, transforming girls’ and women’s sports. Before Title IX, one in 27 girls participated in sports. By 2016, that number had grown to two in five.
But the growing transgender movement has led to more and more biological males, who believe they are women, competing in girls’ and women’s sports. From volleyball to cycling, and from cross country to martial arts, boys and men have taken opportunities and medals from girls and women.
Now, some groups are pushing back, working to restore fairness in female sports. The Family Policy Alliance (FPA) has launched a new campaign: #SaveGirlsSports. The campaign is timed to launch June 21-27, celebrating the anniversary of Title IX becoming law.
#SaveGirlsSports grew out of a law that was passed in Idaho, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which limits participation in girl’s and women’s sports in Idaho public schools – including junior colleges and universities – to those who are biologically female. The bill keeps boys who think they are girls from taking slots on girls’ teams.
Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was sponsored by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, who attended Idaho State University on a basketball scholarship and is a former Division I women’s basketball coach. Ehardt, a Republican from Idaho Falls, said the law is “about protecting opportunities for girls and women,” adding that boys and men have “physiological and scientifically proven advantages” in athletics.
The Fairness Act is being challenged by a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Lindsay Hecox, an athlete at Boise State University. Hecox was born male, but believes he is a woman, and wants to try out for the women’s cross-country team in the fall semester of 2020.
The other plaintiff in the ACLU’s case is a high school student who worries that she may have to prove she’s a girl to play high school girls’ soccer. Sadly, the ACLU once supported Title IX and more opportunities for women athletes. Now, they’re trying to take away those opportunities.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has said he will defend the act. In addition, the Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of two female athletes to intervene in the case.
FPA is encouraging others to join in and proclaim their support of girls’ sports. The group urges current and former female athletes to share photos on social media and explain why playing sports is important. FPA has a Facebook photo frame, along with instructions for adding the frame to profile pictures. Parents and other supporters can also use the photo filter to help raise awareness of the threat to female athletics.
The organization also has an online petition for those who support fairness for female athletes. They’re hoping to pass similar laws in more states “so that girls everywhere can play sports on a level playing field.”
Resources and related articles:
Petition to help save girls’ sports
State Legislators Move to Stop Biological Males from Competing in High School Girls’ Sports
Idaho Governor Signs Laws Protecting Women’s Sports and Keeping Birth Certificates Based on Biology – Activists and Media Call this ‘Discriminatory’
ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Idaho Law Protecting Girl’s and Women’s Sports
Collegiate Women Athletes File Motion to Keep Biological Males Out of Women’s Sports in Idaho
Watch Tanner’s Story: A high school track champion in Alaska