Transgender Sports Debate Is Impacting 2022 Election

Lia Thomas
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

The womens’ advocacy groups that emerged to defend womens’ sports from “transgender” men are moving into politics, as multiple polls show the public is increasingly rejecting transgenderism.

“At Save Women’s Sports, we’re rallying our team to make a direct impact with our voices in the polls,” said founder Beth Stelzer:

We need to let these [politicians] — basically the Democrats who are erasing women — know that women say no, that we’re not going to stand for it. We need to start making our voices heard at the polls. We fully encourage everyone to speak to their local representatives about all of the aspects of the erasure of women, just not not just in sports.

“There have to be some edits to the Equality Act, or to Title IX,  that will preserve [and] protect sex segregation and sport based on science and biology,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an athlete, lawyer, and a Democrat who helps to run the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group.

But she declined to say if her wide-ranging group would take the next step of endorsing or criticizing political candidates. She said:

[Male swimmer] Lia Thomas was a turning point for people to hear from their constituents that they didn’t hear before. People recognize what’s at stake with Title IX [laws on womens’ sports]. This is the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and there are some rights that need to stay sex-based — meaning biology-based — not gender-identity based.

The two groups may be politically influential – especially because the Democrats need every vote they can get in the increasingly polarized 2022 election. Stelzer’s group has forged alliances with many groups on both sides of the political divide. Hogshead-Makar’s group has won large-scale support from the U.S. swimming sector.

In many prior debates, voter rebukes have been used by party leaders to squash unpopular and damaging demands by party activists.

The GOP, for example, regained power in 2016 by quietly burying opposition to Obamacare from wealthy business interests. GOP voters have also killed the GOP’s business-first support for free trade and labor migration since 2016.

Similarly, the Democratic leaders boosted their votes from swing districts by suppressing demands by urban party activists for gun control after their presidential candidate, Al Gore, lost his home state in 2000.

This year, Democrats have abandoned progressive demands for defunding police forces and anti-epidemic masks. Also, New York’s Democratic leaders are reversing their prior support for unpopular laws that allow the easy release of suspected criminals before trials.

But despite the political danger signs in 2022, Democratic leaders have not yet challenged the progressives’ growing hostility to single-sex sports.

Many progressives have cheered as activists: claimed sports is about personal liberation, not fairness; portrayed opposition to cross-sex athletes as akin to racism; insisted that young children be trained in transgender claims; declared their inability to define women; and organized high-pressure re-education campaigns on teachers to embrace the ideology.

Surveys and polls show that the activists’ fervent support for transgenderism is fueling public support for a clear, biology-based definition of women. For example, Democrats have enjoyed a multi-decade trust advantage on education issues. But a March 23 poll showed that “Forty-three percent (43%) of voters trust Republicans more to deal with education issues while 36% trust Democrats more.” The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on March 17-20 by Rasmussen Reports.

Amid the transgender advocacy, GOP candidates are now beating Democrats by an average of 3 points in the RealClearPolitics‘ average of “Generic Congressional Vote” polls. In 2020, the GOP almost won a House majority even though the Democrats had a three-point advantage.

In the GOP, most legislators are zigzagging between the business-first Republicans who prefer to avoid a fight with Democrats over transgenderism and the GOP’s base of voters who are alarmed at the top-down cultural changes that make it harder for them to manage their families and communities.

The GOP’s voters are winning the debate against the business-first Republicans, partly because the sports issue is particularly important outside the major cities where many GOP-leaning suburban parents want to help their daughters and sons participate in sports. In Virginia, those voters helped an establishment GOP candidate win a come-from-behind race for the Virginia governor’s office.

GOP leaders are responding to voters’ demands.

The injection of men into women’s sports is “unfair,” the GOP’s House leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (RCA), told Breitbart News on March 23.

“There’s a number of ways we combat that—we’re not just now combatting it, we’ve had a number of pieces where we have through [motions to recommit] and whatnot from members like Steube,” McCarthy said. “We saw this problem on the forefront coming to it but now the American public is being informed about it. But you see a lot of women athletes standing up and saying time and again that this is unfair. They’ve watched it.”

“Facts are facts, the earth is round, the sun is hot, there are two genders … To say otherwise is to deny science,” said the campaign document released February 22 by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who is the 2022 chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In exchange for Americans’ votes, Scott’s document promises to protect the government’s recognition of the two different-and-complementary sexes:

No government forms will include questions about “gender identity” or “sexual preference.”

No doctor will be allowed to perform irreversible surgical or gender-altering procedures on any minor child. Once they become adults, they can do what they wish.

We will protect women’s sports by banning biological males from competing. It is hugely unfair and would erase many of the gains women have made in athletics over the last 50 years.

Republican staffers are also using the transgender issue to undermine President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court:

Republican legislators in the House and the Senate have introduced bills to protect sports from the transgender ideology. No Democrats have co-sponsored the bills.

Also, the GOP’s establishment members are backing away from prior support for transgenderism. On January 9, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) ended her support for the pro-transgender Fairness for All Act bill. Reps. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) and Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), also withdrew their support for the bill which would make “gender identity” a judicially-enforced civil right against Americans’ single-sex associations, institutions, and community groups.

Breitbart News has closely tracked the expanding partisan divide as progressives pull the Democratic Party towards the transgender ideology and as conservatives increasingly champion the reality of the two sexes. A March survey from The Economist/YouGov found:

Most Americans, 56 percent, said biological sex assigned at birth determines if someone is a man or a woman, although 44 percent believed otherwise. 

However, a majority of Democrats — 66 percent — believed that someone can be a man or a woman regardless of what “sex they were assigned at birth.” That coincides with the statistic from the poll that 70 percent of Biden voters thought the same way. 

On the flip side, 88 percent of Trump voters said sex is wholly determined by what a person is assigned at birth, and 86 percent of Republicans overall shared that belief. 

Of the independents who were polled, a majority — 58 percent — agreed that being a man or woman is determined by biological sex, compared to 42 percent who thought otherwise.

Advocates for transgenderism quietly admit they have failed to persuade the public. “Right now, our opposition wins the debate on trans youth in sports against any and all arguments we have tried for our side,” admitted a  recent “Messaging Guide” by the Transgender Law Center in California.

But the activists are trying to sideline the public opposition, for example, by denying the existence of the sex-versus-gender dispute in sports:

Progressives are also trying to portray the opposition as bigoted hostility to gays. In Florida, for example, Democrats are denouncing a bill they label as “The Don’t Say Gay Bill,” even though it only bars gender-and-sex training for kids below fifth grade. Yet Democratic voters are still backing the Florida child protection bill, according to two polls.


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