Competing on the University of Iowa Women’s Rowing Team was one of the greatest experiences imaginable. I look back on those four years with a thankful heart for not only representing my state on the national stage but also developing a lasting sisterhood with the women I rowed with.
I can speak for the majority of female athletes when saying that sports have given women an outlet to better ourselves. Yet Democrats’ proposed Equality Act in the House of Representatives will completely alter women’s sports. The most poignant fact of H.R.5. is that if a biological man chooses so, even without receiving opposite-sex hormones, he can compete against a biological woman.
To think that a biological man who identifies as a woman can compete with us as if our bodies can be cheapened like this is not only insulting but also a direct assault on our selves as female athletes. We’re athletes who have trained to become the best versions of ourselves, and what we’ve achieved is being stolen by the hands of one whose feelings are deemed more worthy, according to a select few on the left. Under progressivism, a transgender individual’s desires must dominate women’s freedoms.
Men are indeed built differently than women. Males have larger internal organs than females, meaning they can pump more oxygen into their bodies, which yields higher athletic performance. And no, opposite-sex hormones do not hinder men’s physical advantage.
Men are also able to develop greater muscle mass while maintaining it more quickly. In fact, men have an average of 72.75 pounds of skeletal muscle mass while women have an average of 46.29 pounds. This larger amount of naturally occurring muscle mass not only provides an unfair advantage in a non-contact sport, but it can inflict injury on a woman in the heat of face-to-face competition.
These two scientifically proven facts confirm that men are more efficient and powerful in sports. This does not mean that women are not powerful and strong in their sports. Rather, we perform at a different level. These undeniable truths are the clearest unfair advantages that women must endure.
As these men move into transgenderism, they pump hormones into their bodies. Meanwhile, every other athlete must adhere to the NCAA rules and guidelines that clearly ban several different types of substances. Women who want to live as if they are men also take testosterone and other drugs to become larger, similar to that of a man’s body.
This puts the majority of non-hormone-using females at a disadvantage because the women who are using male hormones are able to perform at a higher degree with the assistance of drugs. Athletes are required to not consume certain over-the-counter vitamins and supplements in fear of being suspended from the team and not ever competing on the collegiate level again. Yet apparently they can take powerful hormones and still compete. The juxtaposition is absurd.
Many feminists oppose the Equality Bill. One outspoken critic of this bill, Julia Beck, a producer for Women’s Liberation Radio News, stated, “Many well-intentioned people think that this concept of gender identity is the next frontier of social justice, but in reality it is regressive.” Beck continued, “Gender is based on rigid sex roles that legitimize male dominance and female subordination. The idea of a female or male brain only justifies treating women as subhuman.”
Many biological female athletes disapprove of biological males competing against women. Ana Paula Henkel, a former Brazilian Olympic volleyball player, argued against transgender men competing with women: “It represses, embarrasses, humiliates and excludes women.”
Believe it or not, there was a time women’s sports teams did not exist. Women had to strive and earn the right to have leagues of their own. They had the desire to compete, and they wanted to be treated fairly.
Today, we’ve won that right, only to have it threatened by men who think they can manipulate their bodies to appear female. If passed, the Equality Act will open the door for assaults on women, especially in athletics.
Now, the goal that women have worked for years to achieve—to compete in a collegiate sport—could result in their potential positions being stolen by a man who calls himself a woman. This could mean a loss in a scholarship and a pathway to college for a woman who was once a little girl shooting basketball hoops outside on her driveway or the little girl who ran on her gravel roads to get ready for her very first track meet.
Where are her rights? Where is her exclusive league? Where is her sisterhood? Female athletes still have these opportunities, but they are eroding and under further threat.