MAUREEN CALLAHAN: America’s giving a big thumbs-down to the injustice of trans athletes
The backlash is building.
Women and girls are beginning to publicly agitate, to speak the unspeakable, to quit fearing the woke mob and say: ENOUGH.
Enough with trans athletes stealing hard-won victories and scholarships.
Enough with biological females reduced to ornaments on podiums, meant to happily stand alongside biological males who have unfairly won.
Enough with being forced to share once-safe spaces, be they locker rooms or sorority houses.
Enough with corporations turning womanhood into insulting pantomime, frippery, one big joke.
Our latest injustice — and it feels like there’s almost one a day now, doesn’t it? — came Saturday, when trans athlete Athena Ryan ran in the varsity girls 1,600-meter race at a California state championship qualifier event, placed second, then boasted a new personal best.
Our latest injustice came Saturday, when trans athlete Athena Ryan (pictured, right) ran in the varsity girls 1,600-meter race at a California state championship qualifier event, placed second, then boasted a new personal best.
‘I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,’ Ryan said.
Ryan’s ‘win’ cost 18-year-old competitor Adeline Johnson, who fractured her hip in two places last summer, a slot at the state finals.
And as she stood next to and below Ryan on the podium — how denigrating – she gave the crowd and the cameras a thumbs-down gesture. Good for her.
As the story generated nationwide outrage on Monday, however, the school denied that Johnson’s gesture had anything to do with her loss to Ryan.
Johnson herself has yet to comment. But parents at The Branson School told DailyMail.com that they’re ‘too terrified’ to speak out for fear their daughters won’t be allowed to race.
They worry that protesting such unfairness, under Branson’s code of conduct, would be considered ‘bullying’.
Let’s call this what it is: Gaslighting 101. Telling the victims that they are, in fact, the oppressors.
All the more reason, then, for the image of Johnson’s thumbs down to circulate with the velocity of the 1968 Olympics black power salute. For it says a lot when serious athletes, who consider losing with grace as important as winning, display resentment. Rage. Indignation.
We women need the iconography of defiance, because governing bodies — be they in sport, medicine, school boards or C-suites — aren’t listening. Yet.
But they will. After all, how much longer can they ignore the accretion of protests, anger and frustration that is starting to override the fear of being labeled a transphobe or a bigot or of being cancelled?
As the wise Kris Kristofferson once wrote, ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.’
‘I dropped like 17 seconds on my season’s best in the past two weeks,’ Ryan said.
Ryan’s ‘win’ cost 18-year-old competitor Adeline Johnson (pictured, left), who fractured her hip in two places last summer, a slot at the state finals.
Women and girls are realizing this. We really do have nothing left to lose, because so much has already been taken from us.
More iconography: The trans cyclist standing alone on the podium after beating two biological females in a 100-mile desert gravel race.
‘I have no idea why so many people bailed before the podiums,’ said Lesley Mumford, who transitioned in 2017 and raced in the all-female category. ‘But they did.’
The only thing more infuriating than biological males competing against females is their false wonderment upon wiping the floor with them: What could possibly be wrong? What could these women be so upset about? Why are they overreacting?
That latter sentiment, of course, weighted with centuries-old misogyny.
Mumford could have raced in a non-binary category but chose not to, beating the nearest female competitor by 17 minutes and the third-place finisher by half an hour. That’s what we call a stolen victory.
Mumford should be ashamed. Instead, all we see is pride.
Inga Thompson, the three-time American Olympic cyclist, recently called for female athletes to take a knee.
Days later, Cynisca Cycling – who claim they are ‘committed to advancing women in the sport’ – announced that Thompson was no longer on its board of directors and had no role whatsoever within the pro team.
Something tells me Cynisca will regret that.
Think, too, of the brave sorority sisters at the University of Wyoming, suing because the national Kappa Kappa Gamma organization allowed a 6ft 2in, 220-pound trans student to join their group and has done nothing while they ‘live in constant fear.’
More iconography: The trans cyclist Lesley Mumford standing alone on the podium after beating two biological females in a 100-mile desert gravel race.
Think, too, of the brave sorority sisters at the University of Wyoming, suing because the national Kappa Kappa Gamma organization allowed 6ft 2in, 220-pound trans student Artemis Langford (pictured, top left) to join their group.
They claim the Artemis Langford, a biological male, has sat and watched the girls silently for hours, and even had visible erections around the sorority house.
What decent person gets off on making college girls feel unsafe?
‘Our house is our home,’ one sister told journalist Megyn Kelly on her podcast. ‘You go home at the end of the day to feel comfortable and relaxed in your own skin. And you can’t do that knowing that this individual has full access to your house.’
How is this considered a big ask? How is feeling free from threat in your own home not considered a basic human right?
How is it okay that parents aren’t notified that their child identifies as transgender — as, most recently, California ratified in April? Or that two children’s hospitals in Texas are under investigation for providing transition-related medical care, despite a state-wide ban on such practices expected to come into effect in September?
And how is it that corporations such as Adidas and Target haven’t learned from Budweiser’s Dylan Mulvaney disaster? Or Nike’s, for that matter?
Budweiser’s sales have tanked every week since the beginning of April, and despite leaning back into their original branding — see their latest ad complete with a Clydesdale, wheat farms and veterans raising the American flag, hand over heart, none too subtle — the hit may be permanent.
Nike lost $4 billion in the days after the breast-less Mulvaney posted a video ‘working out’ in a women’s sports bra, mincing about as if mocking female sport.
‘Literally a kick in the teeth,’ said retired UK Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies of the Nike-Mulvaney partnership. ‘Women are being treated with total disdain at the moment, particularly in the world of sport where physiology makes so much difference.’
Make no mistake: This is no mere culture war.
And how is it that corporations such as Adidas and Target haven’t learned from Budweiser’s Dylan Mulvaney disaster? Or Nike’s, for that matter? (Pictured: Adidas launched a new range of women’s swimwear this month using what appears to be a biological male model).
Women and girls are realizing we have nothing left to lose, because so much has already been taken from us. (Pictured: Target’s new Pride collection contains a women’s bathing suits with a section to ‘tuck’ private parts).
This is about the eradication of girls and women, of their financial and professional opportunities, of their rights to compete fairly, of their physical safety.
There is no other cohort on earth, as I’ve said before, that would ever be so dehumanized, let alone expected to sit back and take it happily.
To allow this to continue is to weep for the next generation of girls. We women fought long and hard so they could have every freedom they deserve.
Now is the time to raise a fist, take a knee, add your voice to the protest.
Inga Thompson, Riley Gaines, Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, the sorority sisters in Wyoming, the mothers, sisters and daughters who boycott and defy — we’re all are on the right side of history.
The movement is building. The snowball will become an avalanche. Who next among the famous and influential is brave enough to join?