Female athletes speak out after appeals court requires West Virginia to allow biological males to compete in women's sports

"Hey ACLU, the girls don’t want this," Riley Gaines wrote.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

West Virginian female athletes spoke out against the inclusion of biological males in female sports in their state after an appeals court blocked a state law banning biological males from competing in women’s sports. The case against the state was brought by the ACLU.

These women shared their experiences with former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who began speaking out against the inclusion of males in women’s sports after tying with trans swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships in 2022, and being forced to hand the trophy over to Thomas for the podium photo.

"Hey ACLU, the girls don’t want this," Gaines wrote in response to the organization celebrating the ruling. "All of these messages are from West Virginia athletes who have had to compete against this boy. History will not look kindly on the ACLU or anyone who clearly sends a message to girls that their rights don't matter."

"Okay so there’s this boy that’s competing with the girls," one athlete wrote. "West Virginia was going to rule out on it but then they said just wait till Supreme Court does. So he’s been beating us all and I’ve heard he says very inappropriate things to the girls and that he goes in the locker room with the girls."

"So I know that if there’s one person that’s going to stand up to it, it’s gonna have to be me," she added.

Another athlete wrote that she has gotten "4 or 8 throwers willing to step out Thursday."

"The plan is to just step in and step out. If he gets kicked off the team or suspended or anything I will let you know," she told Gaines.

Yet another athlete told Gaines that she sent a letter to the board of education and did not receive a response, sending both the letter as well as score sheets from a recent track meet.

"Science is taking over and he keeps getting stronger," she wrote.

A fourth athlete told Gaines, "Listen, I really hate to keep bugging you but I really need help. The boy threw 95 today. I just really need someone in my ear telling me what to do because I’m willing to do anything to stop this problem."

The ACLU brought forth a lawsuit against the West Virginia law on behalf of transgender track athlete Becky Pepper-Jackson. The ACLU claimed that the law discriminated against transgender students, according to The Hill.

The ACLU claimed that Pepper-Jackson did not undergo male puberty, and therefore had no inherent advantage against female athletes, and should be allowed to compete.

The law was signed into law in 2021. Fourth Circuit Judge Toby Heytens overturned a lower court ruling, adding that the law violates Title IX protections.

“The Act’s sole purpose — and its sole effect — is to prevent transgender girls from playing on girls teams,” Heytens wrote in the Tuesday ruling.

"Offering B.P.J. a ‘choice’ between not participating in sports and participating only on boys teams is no real choice at all,” he continued. “The defendants cannot expect that B.P.J. will countermand her social transition, her medical treatment, and all the work she has done with her schools, teachers, and coaches for nearly half her life by introducing herself to teammates, coaches, and even opponents as a boy."

“By participating on boys teams, B.P.J. would be sharing the field with boys who are larger, stronger, and faster than her because of the elevated levels of circulating testosterone she lacks,” he wrote. “The Act thus exposes B.P.J. to the very harms Title IX is meant to prevent by effectively ‘exclud[ing]’ her from ‘participation in’ all non-coed sports entirely.”

The West Virginia law required athletes to play on the team of their biological sex.

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