More than 300 female US athletes have signed a letter calling on the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) to defend the “integrity of women’s sports”.
The letter was written by Save Women’s Sports in response to recent calls from pro-trans athletes and the American Civil Liberties Union for the NCAA to boycott the State of Idaho after it passed a law preventing males from competing in women’s and girls’ sports.
It was signed by current and former female athletes, including tennis legend Martina Navratilova, double Olympic swimming gold-medallist Donna de Varona, and Dr Jen Wagner-Assali, a US cyclist who lost out on a silver medal after a man who lives as a woman took first place.
The letter said: “Each one of us has benefitted personally, and many of us professionally, from a fair and level playing field. We have achieved striking success in the sports we love, and we are committed to preserving the same equality of opportunity for future female athletes.
“We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to compete, but true athletic parity for women demands that women’s sports be protected for biological females.
“Protecting the integrity of women’s sports has, for decades, played an integral role in remedying past discrimination against women and empowering them to achieve their full athletic potential.”
Their letter also pointed out that “comparably fit and trained male athletes have innate physiological advantages over females”, noting that testosterone suppression fails to undo these advantages.
‘Bullying and harassing’
Christiana Holcomb, of religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom, said: “Women deserve equal opportunities to experience the thrill of victory, but allowing males to compete in women’s sports disadvantages women and destroys their athletic opportunities”.
She added: “If we ignore these clear biological differences, female athletes will lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete in the sports they love.”
After the letter was published, LGBT group Outsports reacted by publishing the names of all 309 signatories online, most of whom had not been made public.
In a statement, Save Women’s Sports called the move “disgraceful” and accused Outsports of “bullying and harassing women”.