June 18, 2019
They don’t just represent their countries. When players step onto the field at this year’s FIFA World Cup, they represent something else: the fragile state of women’s sports. Will soccer’s biggest tournament live to see 2023? Or will the tradition die, along with so many young girls’ dreams of competing on the world’s biggest stages?
Selina Soule doesn’t play soccer – but her courage could go a long way to saving it for other girls. In a just world, Selina would’ve been running in the New England regional championships this month. Instead, she’s training for next year, hopeful that her fight with the state will give her another shot at competing in front of college scouts. Like too many female athletes, Selina was robbed of that chance when two biological boys were allowed to compete in her event.
What should have been a sixth-place finish was an eighth-place disappointment. Selina missed the cut, ending her season and sparking a personal campaign to end the injustice. “Track means everything to me,” she said seriously. But “[w]hen I’m lining up and getting in my blocks, everyone already knows the outcome. Those two athletes are going to come [in] one and two. And everyone knows it.”
Her teammates, she says, are just as heartbroken and frustrated as she is. “No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this,” she told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. “I’m not the only one affected by it. There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out winning the state open championship, because of the team that the transgender athletes [were on].” No one in her state “is happy about this,” she said. “But no one has enough courage to speak up.”
With the support of her parents, Selina did. She told her story on national television and wrote about her experience -- even though it’s meant retaliation from some of her coaches. This week, she took an even bigger stand, filing an official complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. “Girls like Selina should never be forced to be spectators in their own sports,” ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb argued, “but unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s taking place when you allow biological males to compete in sports that have been set aside and specifically designed for women like Selina. Title IX was designed to ensure that girls had a fair shake at athletics.”
It’s time for the government to step in and restore a level playing field. On this, the American people – and a surprising number of die-hard liberals and feminists – agree. The only people who don’t seem to understand are Hill Democrats, who voted with unbelievable clarity to eradicate girls’ sports in the Equality Act. Apparently, they’re part of the 28 percent who actually believe in taking away opportunities for women to advance. “It’s grotesque and insane,” Carlson fumed. “And the very people who claim to be defending women and girls are abetting this and making it possible.”
For the silent victims, the ones on Selina’s team and elsewhere, having someone brave enough to raise their voice is half the battle. When the Daily Signal made the trip to Connecticut to talk to four teenage girls running track, most of them wanted their names withheld. “There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” one said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far-Left, and how just immediately you’ll be shut down.” They’ll just say, “You’re ‘transphobic.’” And that will be that.
But as people twice Selina’s age have said, this has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel. It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.” “It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” one of the girls explained. “It’s just an equality issue…” And in this current debate over “equality,” it may just be the only real one.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.