On the 50th anniversary of the Title IX law intended to give preferences to female sports in college, Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. featured a rally to keep female sports female. Radical feminists, conservative activists, and Democratic political figures shared the stage with athletes, parents, coaches, and attorneys. The speakers agreed on one simple message: women and men are biologically different, and female athletes should not have to compete against males.
Speakers at the “Our Bodies, Our Sports” rally included former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, the original sponsor of the Protect Women’s Sports Act, and 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines Barker, who tied with male transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in a meet but was forced to let him have the trophy for pictures.
“This is not a partisan issue,” said New York Democrat congressional candidate Maud Maron. “There are Democrats and Republicans and Independents all across the political spectrum that agree with all of us here on the common-sense definitions of sex and understand that our kids have the right to a non-politicized joy of playing sports.”
The day of the rally, the Department of Education announced proposed changes to Title IX regulations to “strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students.” According to a fact sheet accompanying the announcement, “The proposed regulations would clarify that Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination based on sex applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity…. The Department plans to issue a separate notice of proposed rulemaking to address whether and how the Department should amend the Title IX regulations to address students’ eligibility to participate on a particular male or female athletics team.”
Many of the speakers argued this proposed rule would lead to women and girls being denied the very opportunities Title IX was designed to protect.
“This is not inclusion, this is misogyny,” said Amanda Houdeschell, a member of the feminist nonprofit Women’s Liberation Front. “Women fought hard for the protections of Title IX, the promise of equal opportunity.”
Many of the speakers were athletes who had lost opportunities or placements in competition against male athletes who identified as transgender.
While Cynthia Monteleone, a Team USA World Masters athlete, was speaking at the rally, the rest of her track team was traveling to Finland to compete in their first world championship meet since Covid lockdowns. The 400-meter world champion chose to boycott the event when she learned that a male athlete, whom she had run against previously, would be competing.
“It’s not a personal issue, it’s a policy issue,” Monteleone said in an interview with The Federalist. She continued, “What’s the value of a medal in a competition that’s not fair?”
Monteleone said she would advise young female athletes in the same situation to have courage to stand for what they believe in.
“I would say, continue your passion for the sport, continue your love for the sport, and don’t be afraid to stand up and ask questions,” Monteleone said. She said this doesn’t mean they should all have to boycott their races as she did. “If you want to compete, absolutely compete,” she said. “Just stand strong during the situation. Raise your voice.”