In the wake of the furor that erupted over Lia Thomas — a biological male and self-described transgender woman on the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team — dominating women’s swimming competitions, one female track athlete spoke out on Thursday to condemn the idea of biological males competing against women in sports and urge the women on the Penn swimming team to come forward and join her in speaking out.
Appearing on Fox News, Madison Kenyon, who runs for the Idaho State track and cross country team, majoring in biomedicine while having made the dean’s list in 2019 and 2021, asserted, “I just kind of want to say to the female athletes in Pennsylvania, don’t let anyone silence you. Speak up. Tell the NCAA your athletic directors and your coaches that you want fair competition, because doing this is nowhere near as scary as it seems. And the amount of support is overwhelming.”
Fox News host Will Cain prompted Kenyon, saying, “I should say that while Lia Thomas hasn’t had gender-affirming surgery, he did have a year’s worth of, I believe, hormonal treatment, which is what the NCAA requires in many situations. But Madison, it doesn’t change the biological fact that he’s a man. He went through puberty as a man, he has muscle structure, and everything through 22 years of his life as a man and Madison, you’ve competed against this exact situation in track you’ve competed against transgender athletes. … Would you tell us tell all of us watching right now? What is it like to go into a competition against a transgender athlete when you know, the outcome ahead of time?”
“Yeah, it’s extremely deflating,” Kenyon responded. “I’ve experienced it five times. And each time I lost to a biological male. And the fact that that’s still happening, that women are still losing to biological males, in their own sport shows why we need more female athletes to speak up about this. And so I just kind of want to say to the female athletes in Pennsylvania, don’t let anyone silence you. Speak up. Tell the NCAA your athletic directors and your coaches that you want fair competition, because doing this is nowhere near as scary as it seems. And the amount of support is overwhelming.”
Cain turned to Kenyon’s attorney Kristen Waggoner, asking, “I mentioned what the NCAA rules are about hormonal treatment. And, you know, different states at the high school level have different laws. What should the laws be when it comes to this?”
“They’re simple.” Waggoner replied bluntly. “The law should be the biological women compete against biological women and the NCAA policy doesn’t require the University of Pennsylvania to deny a fair playing field to women. It doesn’t require that at all. In fact, what it’s doing is prioritizing activists over women athletes, and by denying them a fair playing field, they’re refusing again to recognize legitimate biological distinctions and that hurts women and girls the most.
Cain concluded, “I think many are guided by empathy, but they’re prioritizing empathizing with one individual over the hundreds, the thousands of Madisons out there that have trained their entire lives. Very selective in where you apply your empathy, and by the way, it’s the end of women’s sports.”
Kenyon and teammate Mary Kate Marshall were represented by Alliance Defending Freedom as they supported Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act earlier this year, which was challenged in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Hecox v. Little. ADF noted:
The oral arguments concern a district court order which temporarily halted enforcement of the law. The district court’s hold on the law means female athletes must compete against males who identify as female while the lawsuit proceeds. ADF attorneys are asking the 9th Circuit to reverse the district court’s order, and so are numerous female athletes, medical professionals, feminist groups, and 14 states that filed friend-of-the-court briefs.
Kenyon stated in April 2021 regarding the lawsuit, “As a cross-country runner for Idaho State University, I’ve been forced to compete repeatedly against a male athlete—and lost each and every race. Losing unfairly to someone who has natural advantages is frustrating and unmotivating, not just for me, but for my teammates as well. Idaho’s law protects my athletic future, the same way Title IX provided athletic futures for the female athletes who paved the way before me. I joined this lawsuit because I knew I had an opportunity to be a voice for girls and women in sports today and in the future.”
“Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bars transgender women and girls from competing on collegiate and K-12 women’s and girls’ sports teams, hasn’t been active for over a year while it’s being challenged in court. Now, the law’s defenders are pushing a federal district court to unfreeze enforcement. The legal challenge, made in the Hecox v. Little case, led a judge to freeze, or enjoin, the ban in August of 2020 to prevent “irreparable” harm to two student-athletes who brought forth the challenge. But in June, a higher court remanded, or sent the case back to a lower court, because both students were no longer enrolled in their perspective schools and wouldn’t be immediately affected by the law,” Idaho Ed News reported in late November.
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