Tuesday night, I was honored to attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address as a guest of Rep. Lisa McClain, R-MI, who I met through my work to protect women’s sports. Since the 1980s, the address has served as an opportunity for the president and members of Congress to highlight the way that public policies impact ordinary people by inviting Americans to attend as their guests.  

I am hopeful that my presence brought attention to the way that the Biden administration’s policies on school sports discriminate against women like me.  

From his very first day in office, the president has fought to require women’s athletic competitions to include biological males who identify as women.  

He has done this by trying to rewrite Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include gender and gender identity. This means that anyone who simply claims to be a woman can compete in women’s sports and undress in female changing spaces.  

That is exactly what happened last year at the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Female swimmers from around the country and I were forced to compete against a biological male named Lia Thomas. We watched in dismay as Thomas swam to a national title in the 500-yard freestyle, beating out the most impressive and accomplished female swimmers in the country, including Olympians and American record holders.  

When I raced Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle, we tied. But the NCAA handed the trophy to Thomas for photo purposes. I was shocked. I felt betrayed and belittled. 

On top of unfair competition, we were exposed to male genitalia in our locker rooms while we undressed. When girls in the Ivy League tried to initially speak out, they were immediately silenced by their universities and the NCAA and told that their schools had taken a stance for them.  

Biden has attempted to rewrite Title IX to require (not just allow) sporting organizations to continue this discriminatory conduct.

Supporters of this policy claim that it merely expands opportunity. But while the president’s Title IX rewrite is promoted under the guise of “inclusion,” it, in fact, excludes the very people that Title IX was passed to protect: women and girls. Biden and his administration are taking us back to the early 1970s before Title IX was enacted. This is pure discrimination against females.

I was curious whether the president would defend his policies Tuesday night, since women like me have started to speak out.

But he said only that we need to ensure “transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.” And who could disagree? We all want our fellow Americans to be protected and safe, but our laws can’t discriminate against one group in order to appease the feelings of another.  

What is the president’s rationale for elevating the rights of one disadvantaged group over another? There is more than one group’s well-being at stake here as I can wholeheartedly attest to. When we put men on women’s podiums, we send a message to every girl and woman. It’s a message that they should step aside for men and that they don’t matter. 

Tuesday night, the president said nothing about the struggles of female athletes. Perhaps that is because, deep in his heart, he knows that the public doesn’t support allowing trans-identified males to take opportunities from women and girls.

I hope my presence at the State of the Union sent a message to President Biden that his policies hurt women. 

We need leaders who are able to unapologetically acknowledge the biological differences between men and women, which is why I was thrilled when Rep. McClain asked me to join her at the State of the Union. She understands the value of female-only spaces and how sports empower young girls. As a mother herself, McClain is passionate about ensuring women have equal opportunities, privacy and safety in sports. 

As a female athlete, I could not be more grateful for her leadership.