WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, after a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games begin. The Tokyo Olympics represent a series of firsts: the first time the modern Olympic Games have ever been postponed and the first time an openly transgender athlete will compete at the Games. 

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who formerly competed as a man named Gavin Hubbard, will be the first transgender athlete at the Olympics. Hubbard’s historic participation in the women’s division, however, comes at the expense of biological women and puts women’s progress in athletics in jeopardy. 

Simply put, requiring biological females to compete against biological males is unfair. Women have been discouraged from speaking out, but it’s time for women everywhere to speak up to defend the fundamental concept of women’s athletics and ensure fairness for biological women athletes.

Here are a few of the women who are speaking out: 

Inga Thompson, a three-time Olympic cyclist who competed at the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympics, says it is unfair for biological males to compete against female athletes due to male physical advantages:

“…Male-bodied athletes can compete against women when we now have clear scientific evidence that it is not fair,” Thompson said. “…Men’s and women’s sports are separate, yet they are equal. Transgender athletes should be given the same respect of having their own sport, just like women were given our separate but equal status in sports. This would not only protect transgender athletes, but it would also protect women athletes.”

Selina Soule, a decorated college track athlete, worries about the opportunities that female athletes will lose to biological males. 

“It is discouraging for girls and women everywhere to think that they may have to compete against an individual that has a biological advantage over them,” Soule said. “Taking away our opportunities will run us out of the sports world, which we already had to fight so hard to be a part of. Knowing that no matter how much time, energy, and effort I put into this sport, I may no longer be able to experience the feeling of being first place again is devastating.”

Cynthia Monteleone, a World Masters track athlete specializing in the 400 meter, and her daughter have both competed against biological males in their women’s track careers and are fighting back against the notion that female athletes rarely compete against biological males.

In Cynthia’s words, “A lot of critics or a lot of people will say, ‘This doesn’t happen. This is a rare occasion. This is not really an issue.’ But what I’m here to say is that it is an issue. It’s happening all the time. It’s happening to myself, a mom. It’s happening to my daughter, a high school athlete. This is not just something that is happening very rarely.” 

“The stories of Inga, Selina, and Cynthia make it clear that allowing male-bodied athletes to compete with female athletes puts women’s physical safety at risk and takes away valuable opportunities for biological women and girls,” said Kelsey Bolar, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. “It is time for women everywhere to speak up and demand fair play for themselves, their daughters, and their sisters.” 

Independent Women’s Forum is compiling real stories from female athletes about the dangers of allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. Read their stories HERE.