Save Women’s Sports founder Beth Stelzer says her group’s protests are not against Lia Thomas, but “pro-woman.” Controversy surrounds the University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer who won the NCAA 500-yard freestyle on Thursday night.
Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win an NCAA championship in any sport, racing past three female Olympians for a season best 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds.
Stelzer, the 37-year-old amateur powerlifter who founded SWS, told reporters the group fights to preserve women’s athletics and feels abandoned by Democrat’s “radical ideology.” And she’s not alone.
Another protester, Amy Sousa, said she’s a “lifelong registered Democrat” who feels “politically homeless” by the way the party abandoned her views and beliefs.
At the 2022 NCAA Swimming Championships at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Center in Atlanta, demonstrators from Save Women’s Sports were outside the arena. They were joined by Young Women for America in protesting Thomas being allowed to swim in the women’s competition.
Stelzer is adamant in her and her group’s position that defense of women’s sports is not a religious or political issue. Rather, if males are allowed to compete in women’s sports, there will be men’s and co-ed sports, but not women’s.
Across the street, Georgia Tech Gay Pride President Naiki Kaffezakis told reporters the two groups “are bringing off-campus hate onto our campus.”
Thomas was ranked #462 while swimming collegiately against males. However, since coming out as transgender and moving from the men’s to the women’s team, Thomas ranks number one in the 200- and 500-meter freestyle. One race late in the season was won by a 38-second margin.
Concerned Women for America filed a civil rights complaint against the University of Pennsylvania this week. The filing asserts the school failed to protect the rights of female collegiate athletes by allowing Thomas to compete on its women’s team.
Title IX protections were enacted in 1972 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon for a reason–to protect female athletes and expand opportunities on fields, courts, tracks, and in pools. In the half-century since they have largely been successful, but allowing biological men to compete in women’s athletics tears down decades of progress and nullifies the hard work of millions of girls and women.