17-year-old La’Choicia Stribling, a Mississippi high school student and color guard performer, believes that biological males shouldn’t participate in women’s sports. When she has stood up for female athletes, however, Stribling has been called slurs and faced verbal attacks.

“I believe that biological males should not participate in womens’ sports,” she said. “When I say this, the first thing I’m called is ‘bigot’, ‘transphobe’, and ‘homophobe.’” 

Stribling experienced competing against male athletes first-hand during her middle school years.

“I was in track in the 7th grade […] it wasn’t gender based,” she explained. “We’d go up against both genders, but no girl ever won against the boys – they always ran faster.”

Now a high school student, Stribling said that sex-segregated sports and spaces are necessary for women’s comfort and safety. 

“These spaces can aid us a lot because boys tend to be very sexualizing,” she said. “I’ve even had homosexual men comment on my body,  but you really don’t think much of it because of their attraction.”

Although Stribling’s high school provides female athletes with their own changing rooms, the overall culture at the school disparages those who challenge the LGBTQ+ agenda. 

“There was a debate on whether ‘trans women are women,’ and I disagreed, which led to me being called all kinds of slurs – words I didn’t want to be called […] ‘ciswoman’, ‘transphobic’, ‘bigot’, etc.,” she said. “Mainly they were saying that trans women are more women than real women, and as I continued to disagree I was called more slurs and attacked by not women, but by non-binary men.”

Although Mississippi hasn’t yet followed in the footsteps of states like California, which mandate LGBTQ+ education for all students, Stribling is worried that the few protections still in place for women and girls may disappear. She told IWF that there is already one biological male at her high school that uses the girls’ restrooms – to the consternation of female students. 

“Girls started speaking out about how [the student] was using our restroom and she was a boy,” Stribling said. “She wasn’t transitioned, she just put on girls’ clothes and a wig. It’s not talked about much, but lots of people disagree with it.”

Despite the harassment that Stribling has endured, support from the women in her life has inspired her to hold fast to the truth. 

“I spoke to my mother about it and she told me to continue standing up for what I believe in,” she said. “So I am still standing up for what I believe in.”