Sporting campaigner Riley Gaines on Friday pointed out that two transgender girls who had qualified for the state finals failed to show up, archly noting: ‘Did they realize they clearly possess an unfair advantage?’
Gaines, a college swimmer, has become a campaigner against trans people in sport since she competed against Lia Thomas. Gaines argues that having trans people in school sports discourages others from competing.
Gaines on Friday referenced a controversy in California, where Athena Ryan, who transitioned from male to female and had been running in the boys team until 2021, came second in last weekend’s 1,600m race.
Ryan’s performance in Dublin saw her qualify for the state finals, and anger fellow competitor Adeline Johnson, who came fourth. Furious at being pushed out of the final by Ryan, Johnson stood with her thumbs down during the presentation of prizes.
Athena Ryan is seen competing in the 1,600m. On Friday, she failed to compete in the preliminary race ahead of the state finals, amid controversy about her participation
The video of Adeline Johnson’s apparent displeasure with her loss was posted by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports and shared on social media. Johnson, standing by the 4th place podium, has her thumb down
A second trans athlete, Lorelei Barrett, also qualified for the state finals in the 1,600m.
Both Ryan and Barrett declined to compete on Friday in the preliminary round.
Gaines tweeted: ‘Both boys (Athena Ryan and Lorelei Barrett) who qualified for the girls high school track and field state championship in California didn’t not compete in prelims today.
‘Did they realize they clearly possess an unfair advantage? Or is that too optimistic?’
Barrett qualified in the fall, but Ryan only made the finals last weekend.
In the aftermath of the race, Ryan boasted about her rapid progress, shaving vast amounts of time off her best performances.
She vaulted from sixth place in her last 1,600-meter race to second ahead of a field of senior high school females.
Riley Gaines, seen on April 19 lobbying against a trans sports bill in North Carolina, criticized Ryan and Barrett for taking part in the 1,600m track race
Gaines (right) competed against Lia Thomas (left) in March 2022, at the NCAA swimming championship – an experience that spurred her activism
Ryan’s second place finish (right) pushed Johnson (left) out of the running for the women’s state title
‘I wasn’t expecting that. I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,’ Ryan told MileSplit after the race.
‘After last weekend, I didn’t think I could run low 5s again. I was just coming here trying to break 5 – just glad I finished it out.’
But her second-place podium meant that Johnson, 18, missed out on a place in the state finals.
Johnson gave the cameras a thumbs down after securing fourth place after losing out to the transgender athlete.
The senior at Branson School appeared unimpressed at losing her chance of running at the state finals – and had been improving after coming back from fracturing her hip in two places in the summer of 2022.
Johnson was seen waving at people in the crowd before giving a thumbs down during the medal presentation in Dublin, California on Saturday.
The video of Johnson’s giving the thumbs down was posted on social media by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports.
According to their Twitter bio, the group is a ‘network of women athletes & our supporters advocating for female protected categories in sport.’
‘I wasn’t expecting that. I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,’ Ryan told MileSplit after the race
Another group that goes by ‘Women Are Real’ on social media also showed up at the meet to voice their opposition.
Several protesters were seen at the track holding banners that read ‘protect women’s sports’ as Ryan crossed the line – only for one attendee to scream at them before having security escort them off the premises.
The California Interscholastic Federation follows ‘Gender Identity Participation’ rules first implemented in 2013.
It means that any transgender student can compete in athletics and activities which is ‘consistent with their gender identity’.
The guide adds: ‘Athletes will participate in programs consistent with their gender identity or the gender most consistently expressed.’
Once a student has been granted eligibility to race as their gender identity, they do not need to be renewed each school year.
Transgender runner Athena Ryan of California is shown in an interview by California MileSplit published Nov. 19, 2022
Protestors were at the meet and made banners to voice their opposition to trans people being allowed to compete in women’s events
A woman at the meet in Dublin, California took exception at protestors who had signs saying ‘Protect Female Sports’
The state became the first in the nation to allow transgender kids from across America to access hormones and puberty blockers, as well as treatments being widely available across the Golden State.
The legislation also shields families from child abuse investigations or from being criminally prosecuted for seeking gender-affirming care.
But World Athletics in March banned trans athletes from competing in women’s events at international level, and the NCAA is in the process of introducing new rules which will see trans athletes adhere to much stricter regulations and undergo regular testing to ensure eligibility.
This led many social media users to call for female athletes to boycott events in which trans athletes take the field, with many pointing out that biological female athletes lose may lose out on scholarships and the chance to take part in major events due to the unfair advantages enjoyed by trans athletes competing against females.
The angry protesters held up a banner reading ‘Protect Female Sports’ and video posted on the Women Are Real Twitter account showed an altercation involving one spectator who took issue with the banner.
‘That is f**kng disgusting,’ the woman said. ‘I find that f**king offensive.’
Another video shows security removing the group from the premises.
‘They’re kicking us out because we care about women and girls,’ one protestor declared.
In Washington, D.C, House Republicans in April passed a ban on transgender women and girls from competing in female school athletics.
Republicans say the issue is about protecting women’s rights while Democrats say it opens up a fresh salvo to attack trans kids who already face bullying in schools.
‘Anyone who claims to be a feminist or believe in what feminism was founded upon, should probably stand with us,’ said Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, in a news conference at the time.
Those on the other side of the aisle disagreed vehemently with Republicans.
‘These kids are kids and should be able to play with their friends,’ said Mark Pocan, a Democrat representing Wisconsin.
‘This isn’t about protecting women and girls, it’s about attacking trans kids.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk