CITIZEN: Kentucky is 15th state to ensure fairness for female athletes, pass Save Women’s Sports Act.

KY Senate honored Riley for her accomplishments, then overrode Gov. Beshear's veto of the Save Women's Sports Act.

With an overwhelming vote to override Gov. Beshear’s (D) veto, Kentucky became the 15th state to Save Women’s Sports since 2020 and the 6th this year.

When the Save Women’s Sports Act originally passed the Senate, it only protected female athletes in grades 6-12. The Family Foundation team, bolstered by your phone calls and emails, was able to work with House bill author, Rep. Dotson, to amend the bill to also include protections for female athletes at the college level. The Senate concurred with the stronger protections.

While the bill was being considered, the need for this legislation was on full display as Lia Thomas (a biological male) dominated NCAA Women’s Swimming, making it easier for legislators to see the need to protect fairness for all female athletes.

University of Kentucky swimmer, Riley Gaines, who was forced to compete against Thomas, also began to speak out and raise awareness of the unfairness that our female athletes, herself included, were facing (see below).

The passage of the Save Women’s Sports Act ensures they can continue to enjoy Title IX’s promise of a fair and equal playing field. Kentuckians won’t soon forget that Beshear turned his back on the Commonwealth’s female athletes. He chose a radical gender ideology and national politics over science, biological reality, and common sense.

UK swimmer takes a stand for female athletes.

Riley speaks out after being forced to compete against a biological male at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship.

Riley Gaines, an accomplished University of Kentucky swimmer, joined the Save Women’s Sports bill author, Senator Robby Mills, for a press conference after the Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto.

She courageously expressed her concerns about the unfairness of allowing biologically male athletes to compete in women’s sports and voiced her support for the bill.

“…We cannot ignore the biological and anatomical differences between males and females — they’re blatantly obvious and scientifically proven. Things like heart size, lung size (which affects aerobic capacity), and larger and denser skeletal structures all play a factor. These things are particularly prominent with respect to activities where speed, size, power, and strength; or cardio/respiratory characteristics are determinative of performance. While hormone suppression does slowly decrease testosterone levels, some of the previously mentioned advantages do not disappear, and will never disappear.”

Gaines also pointed out the inherent unfairness of the rules and criteria organizations such as the IOC and NCAA have put in place for transgender participation in female competitions. “…the maximum testosterone level set in place by these organizations and committees are not compatible with the levels of elite female athletes. The IOC, which is the International Olympic Committee, set the maximum level at 10 nanomoles per liter where the average female is 0.12 – 1.8 nanomoles per liter… Divisions are put in place for a reason. Why don’t you see feather weight boxers competing against people in the heavy weight category? Why is the Olympics a separate event from the Paralympics? These are rhetorical questions because the answer is obvious and only requires common sense to understand. If these divisions weren’t created, the winner would be obvious in virtually every scenario.”

She concluded her remarks with an appeal for fairness in women’s sports, “I know I speak for a majority of female athletes across every NCAA sport when I say that biological males should not be competing against women. It’s crucial for the NCAA to open their eyes and recognize the irrefutable damage that is being done to everything Title IX stands for — equity, fairness, and creating opportunities for women to succeed at an elite level. Allowing biological male athletes to switch teams when they feel necessary is not only an infringement on female athletes, but a mockery of Title IX.”

The Family Foundation is grateful for Riley Gaines and her courage to speak out against this unfairness. We will continue to stand with her and work to ensure fairness for all female athletes in the Commonwealth.

Click here to view and download the PDF of the print version of the Citizen paper.