Republicans across the country have made protecting girls’ sports from biological male transgender athletes a campaign message as they seek to retake control of Congress next month, with at least one gubernatorial candidate highlighting the issue in recent campaign ad.
The issue of biological males who identify as females competing against women in women’s sports has garnered national attention and resulted in a feud among the two political parties in America, and one group believes the issue may help turnout for Republicans in the November 8 election.
“Americans understand that female athletes have had their scholarships, their trophies and their dignity stolen by males competing in their sport and will make their voices heard at the ballot box,” said Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, which is launching a bus tour to highlight the issue in five battleground states.
Republicans and Democrats are at odds with how the issue should be addressed, with those on the left defending the practice as affirming to transgender individuals and those on the right insisting it’s unfair to pit young women against men in female leagues.
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As outlined in the GOP’s “Commitment to America” agenda, a plan released last month by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Republicans have vowed to “defend fairness by ensuring that only women can compete in women’s sports” if they retake majority in the House next month.
Earlier this week, the re-election campaign for Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., launched its latest ad highlighting 12-time All-American female swimmer Riley Gaines, who said girls’ athletic aspirations are “being stolen by men competing in women’s sports” after tying with a biological male at the NCAA national championships.
The ad, titled “Girls Dream,” focuses on Gaines and her experience of being forced to compete against, and eventually tying with, a biological male, Lia Thomas, in the 200-yard NCAA championships in March.
“I’ve worked hard to accomplish my dream, becoming a 12-time All-American swimmer. But for girls across America, that dream is being stolen by men competing in women’s sports. And the extreme left supports it, like Jamie Smith,” Gaines stated in the ad.
While Republicans have been vocal in their support for preventing biological males from competing against female athletes, Democrats have been largely silent on the issue that has received criticism from many Americans.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Nance insisted that “Americans overwhelmingly understand that being male and female is a natural fact of life” and that “Democrats are denying these facts with their radical ‘transgender’ policies and know they are on the illogical side of the argument.”
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“Denying biological facts is not a winning issue,” Nance said. “Women across the political spectrum are tired of being silenced for demanding that our dignity and status be protected, and the voices of female athletes are among the most powerful. What happened in women’s NCAA swimming this year is the tip of the iceberg under the Biden Administration who continues to push radical policies and can’t even define a woman.”
The November 8 midterm elections, according to Nance, have the “potential of correcting this injustice.”
“Concerned Women for America will be highlighting these facts while we launch our She Prays She Votes bus tour on Monday in five key battleground states,” she said.
In contrast, Sara Norman, a former senior adviser to the Kamala Harris presidential campaign, said the concern over biological males competing in female sports events is “entirely manufactured” and insisted that’s why Democrats have not focused on the issue in campaign ads.
“There are a tiny number of transgender high school students, and an even tinier number interested in playing sports,” Norman said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “The Associated Press reached out to two dozen state lawmakers sponsoring such measures around the country and couldn’t find a single example of an actual transgender high school student that inspired such a ban. For example, the Tennessee House Speaker, Cameron Sexton conceded there may not actually be transgender students now participating in middle and high school sports, and that the bill was a priority so the state could be seen taking a stand.”
“In other words, this is a manufactured culture war issue designed to fire up the Republican base, and distract them from the Republican Party’s deeply unpopular agenda — from cutting taxes on billionaires, to banning abortion, to overturning elections that they lose,” Norman said.
In June, the Biden administration proposed new regulations on the 50th anniversary of Title IX that would sweep gender identity into the law’s protections.
“The regulations… will strengthen protections for LGBTQI+ students who face discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Department of Education said at the time.
Title IX, which was passed into law in 1972, prohibited sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. It stated that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll conducted in June found that a majority of Americans believe that greater acceptance of transgender people is good for society, but they overwhelmingly rejected transgender women being permitted to compete in sports against biological women.
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The survey asked a random national sample of adults whether they think “transgender women and girls should or should not be allowed to compete in sports with other women and girls at each of the following levels.”
The majority — 58% — said transgender athletes should not be allowed in college or professional sports, compared to 28% who said the opposite. Fifty-five percent of respondents said it shouldn’t be allowed in high school sports, compared to 30%, and 49% said it shouldn’t be allowed in youth sports, compared to 33%.
Fox News’ Aubrie Spady, Hannah Grossman, and Jessica Chasmar contributed to this article.