President Joe Biden spent International Women’s Day undermining fairness in women’s sports by mandating that schools allow biological males to compete. Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) actually chose to protect women’s sports, however.
On Monday, the South Dakota Senate passed H.B. 1217, “an act to promote continued fairness in women’s sports,” 20-15. It passed the state House last month, 50-17. Noem announced she would sign it.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating [International Women’s Day] by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem announced on Twitter.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
The bill states that “a team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex.” The bill would allow athletes to sue if administrators deny their rights to fair competition by allowing males to compete in girls’ or women’s sports.
South Dakota will become the second state in the country to officially protect women’s sports from the inherent unfairness of allowing biological males to compete. Idaho enacted the first such law last year, but a federal district court suspended it.
South Dakota’s law is certain to face challenges. After all, Biden signed an executive order pushing the exact opposite policy — also on International Women’s Day.
The president signed an executive order “Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” While he had already signed an executive order to a similar effect in other arenas, this order specifically directs the Department of Education to require schools to enforce transgender ideology in order to receive federal financial assistance under Title IX.
Scientific journals have confirmed the obvious: males have biological advantages over females that cannot be erased simply by identifying as female. Due to their XY chromosomes, males experience more testosterone from the womb onward, even if they take experimental drugs to “block” puberty or to feminize their bodies.
Last year, female high school athletes filed a Title IX lawsuit challenging rules that allowed biological males who identify as female to compete in their sports leagues, denying them first- and second-place finishes. The lawsuit listed eight broad physiological athletic advantages males enjoy over girls and women after the onset of puberty, including larger lungs, larger hearts, an increased number of muscle fibers and muscle mass, higher myoglobin within muscle fibers (enabling faster transfer of oxygen to those muscles), larger and longer bones, increased mineral density in bones, and height.
Due to these long recognized advantages, sporting events have had different standards for boys and girls to accommodate the athletic striving of biological females. For example, women’s volleyball nets are 7 inches lower, the weight of high school shot put for boys is 36 percent heavier, the hurdle is 6 inches higher for boys, etc.
Duke Law School professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman warned that if women’s sports must admit biological men, “the very best women in the world would lose to literally thousands of boys and men, including thousands who would be considered second-tier.”
Policies that allow males who identify as transgender to compete against female athletes erase fairness in women’s sports, a long-fought feminist priority with which most Americans instinctively agree. Men’s and women’s sports are separate for a reason, and even when transgender policies are well-intentioned, they essentially destroy the barrier between the sexes, and prevent fair competition.
This isn’t just a matter of pride. This kind of policy can translate into opportunities lost, scholarships denied, and college plans ruined.
“I’ve really felt defeated,” then-high school senior Chelsea Mitchell, the fastest biological girl in Connecticut who nonetheless lost four state championships to male competitors who identified as female, told PJ Media last year. “There really isn’t much more I can do than just run my race every time. Every race I’ve ever run against the biological males, I’ve lost. It’s definitely very defeating. It makes you wonder why you’re continuing to run.”
While Biden spent International Women’s Day propping up barriers to fairness in women’s sports, Noem will sign important legislation protecting women’s sports to mark this important day.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.