It’s a simple legislative title. NH House Bill 1205 is an act relative to women’s school sports.
The New Hampshire House does not generally move at the rate at which public societal disturbances often roil over the boiling point on many cancel culture topics. This culture war broke out about more than a year ago.
Riley Gaines rose to prominence after many months of media appearances on the topic of men competing at the highest levels of women’s sports on the basis of gender self-identification. Seemingly overnight, men were able to compete against female athletes. The women competitors who objected reported facing intimidation and threats of scholarship removal, among other forms of coercion, to force their silence.
The fix was in.
But that didn’t stop Gaines, who was willing to withstand the pressure tactics of an organized progressive movement. A 12-time All-American swimmer with 5 SEC titles, Gaines could not be ignored. After being forced to share a locker room and then compete against biological male Lia Thomas at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship, critics couldn’t say the issue didn’t impact her directly.
But they did go on the attack. Gaines was “ambushed and physically hit” and forced to barricade herself for three hours when a mob swarmed her after a Saving Women’s Sports speech at San Francisco State in April 2023.
Gaines benefited from the legacy of Title IX, a landmark federal civil rights law banning sex-based discrimination enacted as part of the 1972 federal education bill. A key requirement included the number of female scholarships was to be functionally the same as the number of male scholarships.
The new demand began ripping up athletic departments so that the resources could be replanted to grow new female programs. This was an era when men’s football and basketball scholarships could account for 65 percent of all athletic scholarships and more than 90 percent of the revenue. Schools across the country, such as the University of Nebraska-Omaha, were trapped into shutting down football programs to reallocate the men’s scholarships to women’s athletics.
Over the next couple of decades, the transition to today’s excellence in competitive women’s sports was complete. The public has responded to the new reality as witnessed by events such as the University of Nebraska’s volleyball team hosting over 90,000 fans in the stands of the campus, the highest-attended women’s sporting event in history.
NH 1205 recognizes the progress women have made as athletes and how athletics has improved the lives and opportunities of the women who participate. We also recognize that women have thrived athletically as segregation was imposed by government edict on the genders. Reality mattered before 1972, and matters still. Men have a biological advantage over women. As we adapt society in part by using the levers of government obligations incurred through the bonds of purse strings and punishment, let’s recognize reality. No amount of fiction will sustain an overtly unsound model.
Men should not compete in physical sport against women. This is true regardless of the state of mind of the male athlete. While progressives use their control over public dialogue to paint this issue as “anti-trans,” it’s more clearly seen as pro-woman. The word “trans” does not appear anywhere in the House Bill. More practically, and therefore importantly, the protection of women’s sports is done by “prohibiting biological males from participating in female athletics.”
The USA Boxing Foundation added a policy to its 2024 rulebook declaring that male boxers who transition to female are eligible to compete in the female category. To qualify for the female division, a man must declare he identifies as female, has undergone gender reassignment surgery, has done hormone testing for a minimum of four years after such procedures, and has met testosterone limits set by USA Boxing. New Hampshire student-athletes probably won’t have the time to do four years of hormone testing following a gender reassignment surgery.
Is that the standard we want for our kids?