'Our Bodies Our Sports' Rally Outside NCAA Convention: Keep Men Out

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg | January 11, 2024
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Numerous women's sports advocates gathered Thursday for the Our Bodies Our Sports rally in Phoenix, Arizona. The theme of the rally was an urge to the NCAA to “Stop Discrimination” and in essence, keep female sports for biological females only. 

The Our Bodies Our Sports team is a coalition of various organizations who seek to protect fairness and safety in women's sports. Some members of the coalition are the Independent Women’s Forum, the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, Concerned Women for America and the Alliance Defending Freedom. Members connected with those organizations stood outside of the 2024 NCAA convention to rally against the unfair policies that the NCAA presently has.

Related: New Year Looming: NCAA Still Silent On Keeping Men Out Of Women’s Sports

Concerned Women for America tweeted a video from the event and said “Hey @NCAA it’s time to stop discriminating against women!” During the video, former swimmer for the University of Kentucky who had to compete against transgender swimmer Richard (Lia) Thomas, said, “Women are deserving of privacy, safety and fairness and equal opportunity is not anti-trans, it is pro-woman, it is pro-reality, it is pro-truth, it is pro-fairness.” The audience erupted in approval.

Macy Petty, who is a current NCAA athlete, shared a picture on social media with Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who was forced to share a locker room with Thomas, and Riley Gaines and wrote, “Rain, wind, cold, no matter what WE WON'T BACK DOWN” with the hashtag, “#SaveWomensSports."

Other speakers at the event included some moms from Roanoke whose daughters were forced to share a locker room and compete with biological males. “To think that having a man on a women's team does not affect young women is to bury our heads in the sand and ignore this ugly truth,” one mom said before explaining how much of an emotional and physical reaction her daughter suffered from the situation. 

The mother brought up the hypocrisy of the NCAA who prioritizes the mental health and needs of transgender individuals over the health needs of biological females. She noted that her own daughter lost confidence, lost lots of weight, and fell into a state of depression after being forced to compete with fake women. Where was the care or empathy for her mental health? “They count too,” the mother insisted.

Another Roanoke mother talked about how her daughter began to lose passion for swimming after having to have a transgender swimmer on her team. “This whole experience has been quite traumatic for both my daughter and us as a family,” the mother insisted before adding, “allowing a male to compete on a women's team completely devalues women and takes their confidence and opportunities away.” The mother then urged the NCAA to take a firm and clear stance against this sort of injustice. 

As part of the rally the Our Bodies Our Sports coalition wrote a letter to president of the NCAA, Charlie Baker and the NCAA board urging them to change their policy that allows men to compete as women in sports. The letter insisted that women's rights have been “eroded” and specifically urged the NCAA to:

  • Repeal all policies and rules that allow male athletes to take roster spots on women's teams and or compete in women's events, and
  • Establish and enforce the right of female athletes to participate in sports based on sex, and
  • Require its member institutions to provide single-sex locker rooms for female athletes

Time will tell what, if anything the NCAA does in response. I can’t believe this is even something these girls have to be fighting for but at least, since they have to, they’re standing strong in the name of truth, fairness and dignity for women.

As Riley Gaines said at the event, “we have come too far to be erased.”

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