Olympians, pro athletes sign letter opposing federal bill to keep men out of women’s sports

U.S. Air Force Academy's Cam Barber performs on the balance beam during a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Dual against San Jose State at the Academy's West Gym in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 5, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

U.S. Air Force Academy’s Cam Barber performs on the balance beam during a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Dual against San Jose State at the Academy’s West Gym in Colorado Springs, Colo., March 5, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor Cokley)

By Alexa Schwerha
Daily Caller News Foundation

Dozens of professional and Olympic athletes signed an open letter to the House of Representatives on Monday opposing a federal bill that would prohibit male athletes from competing in female sports, according to Athlete Ally.

Athletes including professional soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, recently retired professional basketball player Sue Bird and professional track & field athlete Gwen Berry signed the letter in opposition of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023, according to the letter organized by Athlete Ally. The bill, which was introduced by Republican Florida Rep. Greg Steube in February, would amend Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to require athletes to compete based on their biological sex, according to its text.

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“As professional, Olympic and Paralympic athletes, we have dedicated our lives to sports. Sports have given us our greatest friends, taught us incredible life lessons, and given us the confidence and drive to succeed in the world,” the letter reads. “Those of us who love sport know that its value goes far beyond the playing field, to developing a sense of self and identity, and reflecting what we value as a community. Sport is a tremendous outlet for physical and mental health, teaches valuable lessons on teamwork and discipline, and has brought us lifelong community. Every single child should have access to the lifesaving power of sports.”

Other signees, which totaled 40 athletes, represented several other sports including rugby, ice hockey, skiing, powerlifting, rowing and boxing, according to the letter. The athletes argue that the bill would exclude “transgender and intersex girls and women” from Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, and keep them from participating in sports.

“If this bill passes, transgender and intersex girls and women throughout the country will be forced to sit on the sidelines, away from their peers and their communities,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, the policing of who can and cannot play school sports will very likely lead to the policing of the bodies of all girls, including cisgender girls. This will deter girls from participating in sports and create additional barriers.”

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Will men ever be kicked out of competing in women’s sports events?

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The athletes urged lawmakers to focus on “equal pay, an end to abuse and mistreatment, uneven implementation of Title IX, and a lack of access and equity for girls of color and girls with disabilities,” according to the letter.

Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director Hudson Taylor issued a response to the bill in March and accused it of being part of “an ongoing, coordinated national effort to erase transgender & intersex children from public life.”

“Any policy that would apply the same standards to a child and a professional athlete is not a policy genuinely designed to protect anyone,” Taylor wrote. “It is my deepest hope that transgender & intersex kids will never have to feel the isolation, exclusion and othering that this legislation is seeking to enshrine in law.”

Athlete Ally referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the March statement. Steube did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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