COLUMBUS, OH — On Tuesday, June 18, dozens of supporters joined current and former female athletes and prominent women’s advocates in Columbus, Ohio, for the multistate Our Bodies, Our Sports “Take Back Title IX” Summer 2024 Bus Tour. The rally-style event, held in front of the Ohio State House, is part of the landmark tour traveling from coast to coast throughout the month of June, building widespread support to protect women’s sports ahead of the Biden administration’s Title IX rewrite taking effect on August 1.

Women’s and girls’ equal athletic opportunity, privacy, and safety will take a devastating blow under the new Title IX rules, which replace “sex” with “gender identity.” The regulations strip away protections for women—taking opportunities from women and giving them to men. This doesn’t enforce Title IX, it violates it. That was true before the Biden administration dropped this rule, and it is still true today.

The bus tour is hosted by the Our Bodies, Our Sports coalition, the nation’s first and only coalition of women’s advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum fighting to protect women’s sports.

Speakers at the event shared personal stories of impact and harm due to misguided policies that allow males in women’s spaces, and the need for policymakers to restore equal athletic opportunity and fairness to women’s sports. Here is what they had to say:

May Mailman, director of Independent Women’s Law Center and former deputy solicitor general for the state of Ohio: “Women exist. We are biologically distinct from males, and we have the right to attend school and hold jobs without being forced to shower and change with men and to compete with men on the field. We aren’t the only ones who know this.”

Paula Scanlan, Independent Women’s Forum ambassador and former University of Pennsylvania swimmer, where she was a teammate of Lia Thomas: “The Biden administration has decided that they support that behavior the University of Pennsylvania treated us with. They support the idea of women not having equal opportunity to their own sports. And again, nobody should be banned from sports. We need to have sex-based categories, and Thomas was more than welcome on the men’s team, so he’s not being discriminated against. But by him being on our team, we were the ones being discriminated against.”

Janell Holloway, who was forced to share a YMCA women’s locker room with a male who exposed his genitalia, and former collegiate tennis player at Cedarville University: “My college tennis coach, Dr. Pam Deal-Johnson, fought tirelessly in the 1960s for women to have equal access to athletic opportunities. Even though she has now recently passed away, I want to faithfully carry on her legacy for the rights and protection of women. What the Biden administration has done to Title IX must be reversed. No woman or young girl should lose her place on a team or have her privacy taken from her in a locker room.”

Madisan DeBos, Southern Utah University Division I cross country and track athlete whose relay team competed against a male: “We must not only be role models for this generation, but also the heroes for generations to come. Like the young athletes and future female athletes, we too were once standing in their shoes with our own big dreams. I am using my voice here today in hopes that future generations of female athletes don’t have to.” 

Selina Soule, 4x track and field National Qualifier, forced out of regional championships due to males taking women’s spots: “As a result of their inaction for the past five years, we’ve seen an increase in male participation in women’s sports in all levels of competition across this country, robbing women of titles, recognition, and their dignity. We now have a president who is in essence trying to undo the protections that Title IX provided for women, and it will infringe upon our rights. By allowing males to compete in our sports, no girls will stand a chance to win that medal that they so rightfully deserve.”

Hon. Betsy DeVos, former U.S. Secretary of Education: “No young woman should ever lose an opportunity to a man. That’s the whole reason Title IX exists in the first place. Title IX was a bipartisan issue when it passed just over 50 years ago, and as this rally shows, it should be a bipartisan issue today. I think there should be 100 votes in the U.S. Senate to save women’s sports.”

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Click HERE to see upcoming stops on the bus tour.

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