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Whip Emmer Hosts Meet and Greet with Female Athletes in Honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day

WASHINGTON – Majority Whip Tom Emmer today joined Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and Concerned Women for America (CWA) in hosting a meet and greet for National Girls and Women in Sports Day with All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, former NCAA head coach Kim Russell, former NCAA swimmer Paula Scanlan, and NCAA volleyball player Macy Petty.

“As a former hockey player and coach, I understand firsthand the hard work and dedication these women have put into their sport,” said Whip Emmer. “As a father, I also take great issue with girls and women being unfairly forced to train alongside, share a locker room with, or compete against biological males. Our House Republican majority will always ensure female athletes are given the fairness, safety, and opportunities they deserve.”

“Today, on National Women and Girls in Sports Day, we once again demand fairness and safety for women as they compete in sports,” said Representative Greg Steube (FL-17). “I’m glad to have led two critical pieces of legislation in the House: The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act and The Protection of Women in Olympic and Amateur Sports Act will prevent men from taking scholarships, roster spots, and championship titles from women in school athletics all the way up to the Olympics. Men have no place in women’s sports. I thank my colleagues for joining me in standing with women against the delusional, radical Left.”

“February 7 marks National Women and Girls in Sports Day, a beacon of celebration for the incredible achievements and advancements made by female athletes across the nation,” said Representative Erin Houchin (IN-09). “This day, however, has been clouded by controversy surrounding the inclusion of transgender athletes in women's athletics. While inclusivity is a noble pursuit, it must not come at the expense of fairness and integrity in sports, particularly for biological female athletes who deserve an even playing field and a secure locker room.”

“As a former athlete, coach, and mother of two active girls, ensuring that we protect our daughters’ ability to participate in women's sports is important to me,” said Representative Jen Kiggans (VA-02). “In too many places across our country, we’ve seen politics take the place of common sense and deprive young women of fair competition on the field of play, opportunities to succeed, and – in some cases –the chance to participate and excel in athletics at the college and professional level. I’m proud to support women in sports in this country!”

“Female athletes competing against biological men who are identifying as women is unfair and dangerous due to the physical differences between the two genders," said Representative Stephanie Bice (OK-05). "This year on National Girls and Women in Sports Day, it is important that we stand up to protect women’s sports, safeguard our daughters in the locker room and on the playing field, and honor all our female athletes."

“Without fairness, what are competitive sports? To believe women are deserving of fairness and equal opportunity, privacy, and safety is not anti-trans,” said Riley Gaines, Independent Women's Forum Ambassador and 12x All-American swimmer. “It is pro-woman, it is pro-reality, it is pro-truth, and it is pro-fairness. Women continue to be exploited in locker rooms, and injured by males playing a sport that they love. Allowing even one male athlete to participate in women’s sports inevitably takes an opportunity away from a female – this is a denial of equal opportunity.”

“I am fifty-six years old. All of my life has been because Title IX was passed,” said Kim Russell, Independent Women's Forum Ambassador and former head women’s lacrosse coach at Oberlin College. “Thirty-seven words changed not only my life, but the lives of millions of others. It gave us the opportunities to play sports in college, to get athletic scholarships, and the rest of my entire life was affected by that.” 

“Governing bodies are blatantly harming women to favor men in women’s sports,” said Paula Scanlan, Independent Women's Forum Ambassador and former University of Pennsylvania swimmer. “There are many, many girls who lost opportunities to race at the next level or even compete at all because Lia Thomas was allowed on the UPenn women’s swim team and cleared to compete in the women’s division. The NCAA contributed to the violation of our privacy, as my teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a six-foot-four tall male, fully intact with male genitalia. This did not happen once or twice, but eighteen times every week. UPenn's response to concerns from female swimmers was to offer psychological services to deal with it.” 

"I am honored to join Majority Whip Emmer to recognize female athletes, many of whom feel forsaken by their schools and the NCAA that are putting the safety and opportunity to compete on an equal playing field at risk to cater to the desires of a few," said Macy Petty, Young Women for America Ambassador and current NCAA volleyball player. “Women have come so far in the past fifty years and Title IX was a significant turning point for women which increased athletic, scholastic, and financial opportunities. We hope to continue to advance women’s sports and women’s rights by challenging policies that allow men to invade our spaces and our competition.”

“We must not only be the role models for this generation but also the heroes for generations of girls to come,” said Madisan DeBos, Independent Women's Forum Ambassador and current cross-country and track athlete at Southern Utah University. “Like young athletes and future female athletes, we too were once standing in those shoes with our own big dreams. I am sharing my story to explain the raw feelings and impact that allowing men in women’s sports has on women and girls in hopes that future generations of female athletes don’t have to face a male athlete like I did. I pray they have fairness and equal opportunity.” 

“Allowing males to compete against females is dangerous,” said Payton McNabb, Independent Women's Forum Ambassador and former volleyball player. “My story went viral last year when I was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe brain injury when a spiked volleyball by a male player on the opposing women’s volleyball team struck my head. In an instance, this game became a life changing event. The effects of my sustained injuries have been devastating — stripping away my hopes of playing sports in college and causing great challenges in school. However, I am committed to turning my situation into an opportunity to save other women and girls from suffering a sports injury because of a male athlete competing in their sport.”

“National Girls and Women in Sports Day is meant to celebrate female athletes,” said Carrie Lukas, President of Independent Women’s Forum. “Not just what they accomplish on the field, but everywhere. I'm so proud of what Independent Women's Forum Ambassadors Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan, Kim Russell and all of IWF's other outstanding ambassadors and athletes have accomplished. These strong women are inspiring change and defending other women and girls by insisting that women and girls matter. Women and girls should not have to give up their titles and scholarships to men and boys. Women deserve equal opportunity. Forcing female athletes aside isn't inclusion; it's discrimination.”

"The harm experienced by female athletes when males are allowed to invade their spaces and their sports must be addressed,” said Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America. “If we are celebrating National Women and Girls in Sports Day then we must protect women and girls by not allowing males who identify as females to steal their trophies, invade their spaces and knock them out of scholarships opportunities. After fifty years under Title IX, the harassment and discrimination faced by these young female athletes as well as the psychological gaslighting and compelled speech they are forced to endure should compel Congress to act to protect them now."


Whip Emmer was joined at the event by Representatives Don Bacon (NE-02), Aaron Bean (FL-04), Jen Kiggans (VA-02), David Kustoff (TN-08), Laurel Lee (FL-15), Rich McCormick (GA-06), Marc Molinaro (NY-19), Nathaniel Moran (TX-01), Greg Murphy (NC-03), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), and Greg Steube (FL-17). 

In April 2023, House Republicans passed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023, which ensures that school athletics comply with Title IX's recognition of a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth. Every House Democrat voted against the legislation.

A fact sheet on the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 from the House Education and the Workforce Committee can be found here.