We Need Commonsense Protections to Safeguard Women’s Sports

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Chelsea Mitchell went from being ranked Connecticut’s fastest girl in the 55-meter dash to the third fastest after the state allowed biological males to compete in women’s sports. The two biological males who finished ahead of Chelsea now have won 15 women’s track championship titles that previously were held by nine biological women.

One of these males set a record for the women’s event with a time that would have earned the 140th place in men’s track. These biological males have taken the top spots to advance to regional meets, denying young women the opportunity to compete for college track scholarships.

Right now, women’s sports and their athletic achievements are at risk, and not just in Connecticut. Eighteen states have similar policies for high school sports that allow biological males to compete against girls, eliminating the fairness that the federal law known as Title IX was designed to create.

That is why I introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, to make it a violation of Title IX for a school that receives federal education funds to permit a biological male to participate in a girls sports program.

Growing up, I participated in many sports, including volleyball, basketball, and track. I learned invaluable life lessons and built confidence by participating in athletics throughout my life. Sports remain an important part of my life today, and I became a co-owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream as a way to lift women up, allow them to succeed on the national stage, and to bring our community together around sports.

As the first woman to serve Georgia in the U.S. Senate in almost 100 years, I am grateful for how far our nation has come to advance equality for women. Out of these efforts, Congress created Title IX in 1972 to prevent sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Since then, Title IX has opened the door for so many women in sports by ensuring a level athletic playing field.

Now, this level playing field is being tilted by schools that allow males to compete in girls sports. Males, regardless of how they self-identify, have physical differences such as larger bodies, more muscle mass, and larger lung capacities that give them advantages over females. That’s a basic biological fact.

I, along with Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., introduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act to ensure that females compete against other females—not biological males.

This commonsense bill protects women’s sports by safeguarding fairness and leveling the playing field that was created by Title IX.

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