When someone resorts to name-calling, it’s usually because they know they’re fighting a losing battle.

They childishly attack their opponent, rather than trying to argue with clear facts.

But to witness – and be the target of – such low-level mudslinging in Congress, the beating heart of American democracy, was especially shocking.

At a committee hearing on the impact of male inclusion in women’s sports earlier this week, Democratic ‘Squad’ member Summer Lee launched an extraordinary preemptive attack in her opening remarks.

‘We’re likely to be forced to listen to transphobic bigotry,’ she warned nonchalantly, as if her one-sided opinion was indisputable truth.

I was appalled.

How dare a sitting member of Congress trash as hateful bigots those who had come to speak about their own experiences and stand up for women’s rights – despite the grave risk of death threats and physical violence.

And so, when I was eventually allowed to talk, I responded.

If I was ‘transphobic’, then Lee’s opening monologue – defending the right of male-born individuals to compete in and take women’s sporting titles –made her a ‘misogynist’.

It was a quick quip in self-defense, but it is also painfully true.

Lee and the rest of the Democrats in the room went into a tailspin.

She dramatically stopped the hearing and demanded my response be struck from the record – typical of the one-way censorship demanded by trans extremists.

As well as excluding us from our own sports, must women now also be erased from the debate entirely?

Thankfully, Lee’s request was unsuccessful. Congressional records still show she is a misogynist.

How has it come to this?

Why is it more politically expedient for those on the Left to prioritize the whims of the trans lobby – a tiny but vocal minority – over the rights of millions of women and girls in every arena from sports to safety in prisons, domestic violence shelters, changing rooms and health settings.

Far too few are willing to take a public stance. I don’t blame people. The daily harassment I have received since I first started speaking out against trans swimmer Lia Thomas in earlier 2022 has been tough to weather.

But I refuse to stay silent. I’ve shelved plans to become a dentist and have instead committed myself to defending women for as long as it requires.

Though why, you might fairly ask, should it take a 23-year-old woman to hold our leaders to account when so much is at stake?

Why, for instance, isn’t the world joining in round condemnation of that shocking cycling podium this week?

Two males – Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson – unashamedly masculine and standing proudly in first and second place of the women’s Single Speed category at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships on Sunday.

The only female on the podium won bronze.

Is this what the feminist movement fought for?

Because two males atop a women’s podium seems to me like the perfect embodiment of the oppressive patriarchy that leftists love to scream about.

What hope is there for young sportswomen – like I once was – who have spent their whole lives training tirelessly, missing social events, eating carefully, paining for success within a tiny window of opportunity?

How can their mothers and grandmothers look them in the eye and tell them truthfully that hard work pays off?

Many people will know my story by now, tying at the NCAA Championships last year with 6’4′ Thomas, who had swum three years prior on a men’s team.

I was denied the trophy and told it was crucial that Thomas be seen holding it in front of the cameras. Despite achieving the exact same time, I had to go home empty handed.

Would I have sacrificed so much had I known that my success would be so cruelly snatched from me? Absolutely not.

But this isn’t just about unfairness, it’s about a grave danger to women’s safety.

In non-contact sports like swimming – as with much of cycling – competitors remain in their own lanes, posing little risk to each other. Perhaps that’s what makes it so easy for hardliners like Rep. Lee to sneer at my Congressional testimony.

But what about contact sports?

Already, the troubling headlines are trickling in.

In 2021, footage of trans MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin holding Celine Provost in a chokehold, Provost’s blood smeared on the floor, shocked the world.

In 2022, 18-year-old Payton McNabb suffered debilitating head and neck injuries after a trans student hit her in the face during a volleyball game in North Carolina.

More than a year later, McNabb is still recovering – suffering impaired vision and partial paralysis.

When will it be enough?

How many female athletes must suffer at the hands of biological males? If injuries like McNabb’s won’t stop this forward march of insanity in its tracks, must we – God forbid – suffer a death for our cause to be heard?

In less than a month we will once again be in an Olympics year. And as we look to Paris in July, I am in no doubt that we will bear witness to many more trans athletes like Laurel Hubbard – the New Zealand weightlifter who competed in a women’s category at the delayed Tokyo 2020 games – taking the places and podiums of real women.

All polling shows an overwhelming silent majority understands and sees this madness for what it is.

My appeal to women everywhere is that silence now means complicity. It is time we all called out the misogynists.