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George Washington University: No Men Allowed to Participate in Debate Tournament

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ALANA MASTRANGELO

George Washington University will be hosting a “gender minority” debate tournament in April, meaning that men will not be allowed to participate, as the tournament will be reserved exclusively for women and transgenders.

George Washington University (GW)’s Parliamentary Debate Society has decided along with Wellesley College to host a debate tournament exclusively for women and biological males who identify as women. Males who identify as men will not be allowed to participate.

“George Washington University and Wellesley College requested that their tournament weekend be designated a gender minority tournament,” reads the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA)’s meeting minutes, adding that the body had “approved this request.”

One GW student, Galen Ekimov, argued that “separating participants by gender is not the answer” in a recent op-ed published in the independent student newspaper, the GW Hatchet.

“Instead of instituting structural changes about the way gender power dynamics in debate play out and attempting to solve the issue, the American Parliamentary Debate Association is effectively shelving the issue of gender inequality and pushing it to its own tournament,” stated Ekimov.

“Gender-separate tournaments are contrary to empowerment because they reinforce the negative stereotypes that women and gender minorities cannot compete against men,” added the student.

The former president and vice president of GW’s Parliamentary Debate Society, Rachel Kane and Joey Schnide, responded to Ekimov’s criticism in a letter to the editor, seeking to justify the decision to exclude males from the debate.

In their letter, the two students accused Ekimov of comparing the exclusionary decision to the Jim Crow era, adding this had been “an exceptionally serious accusation.”

The students went on to argue that excluding men is crucial in order to combat the “institutionalized sexism” that they believe may exist within debate tournaments.

“Any individual who is not male faces significant discrimination on the parliamentary debate circuit,” argued the students, “Non-cisgender male debaters are frequently assigned lower speaker scores as well due to sexist attitudes by judges.”

“Non-cisgender” is a term referring to individuals who do not identify as their biological sex.

“Creating a space where women and gender minorities have to tolerate fewer microaggressions leads to a better tournament experience and increases the likelihood that gender minorities continue to participate in debate,” added Kane and Schnide.

“Microaggressions” is a term referring to incidences in which individuals unknowingly or unintentionally offend somebody belonging to a group that Leftist activists consider “marginalized.”

“Combatting years of structural sexism in the debate community requires structural changes like creating a tournament for women in conjunction with serious conversations in the community about the role of sexism in debate,” affirmed the students.

The “gender minority tournament” for GW and Wellesley College are scheduled for April 19-20, according to the APDA.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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