I entered high school in September of 1971, the year before Title IX was enacted. We had no girls’ teams except possibly bowling. We asked to start a girls’ track team but were told there was no money nor support for this odd request which challenged the status quo at that time. We didn’t take no for an answer and eventually were allowed to practice with the boys’ team. We actually ran in meets to prove we were serious, losing every time. But the next year, we were granted a team thanks to Title IX.
Because of media coverage and word of mouth, we inspired every school in our county to start girls’ track teams. We weren’t the best at every category, so we were thrilled to win a medal at state championships the following year for our relay team. Competing with my “sisters” was life-changing.
This experience of standing up for what I believe in, along with my sister athletes going against the grain has left an indelible mark on my life. I became the first female in my family to become a college graduate. I received my diploma and got great support from Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University, just before my 30th birthday.
After dabbling in different career paths, I became certified as an elementary teacher and never looked back. As a mature woman, I knew I had a powerful opportunity before me. I was determined to create the most nurturing and encouraging classroom I could. I was determined to inspire my students, especially my female students, to question the status quo. Ultimately, after 25 years in the classroom, my life has come full circle with the publishing of my novel Lily Unleashed.
I truly believe I found my voice back in ‘71 when I and my female classmates united behind the cause of speaking up for female participation in sports. And what’s happening today in women’s sports, with Title IX being trampled in the name of equality, is ludicrous. And it’s why I oppose “transwomen” competing with biological women. While I respect their desire to compete as athletes, it should never come at the expense of women.
I worked exclusively in communities of color and with different cultures. I recognize diversity as a strength. Regarding “transwoman” athletes, I believe we can have an open category in female sports competitions for these individuals. Their scores could be put into a pool of other “transwomen” athletes across the country and therefore they would be competing against other “transwomen.” In this way, I can see female athletes being supportive of “transwomen,” and “transwomen” understanding that they need to compete on a level playing field with other “transwomen.”
For me, the bottom line is that no biological female should ever lose her chance for athletic success and scholarships to a biological male who simply says he identifies as a woman. This would be a slap in the face to female athletes and a step backward once again for women. I totally support protecting women’s sports and Title IX.