Five middle school girls have been banned from competing in track and field in West Virginia after declining to compete against a biological male in shot put earlier this month. The male athlete reportedly placed first at the Harrison County Championships track meet on April 18 with a 32-foot, nine-inch throw — beating the second place competitor by more than three feet.

The students’ families have filed a lawsuit, alleging they are being unconstitutionally punished for exercising their freedom of speech. The lawsuit notes:

On April 18, 2024, the minor student athletes attended the 2024 Harrison County Middle School Championships track and field meet at Liberty High School and were scheduled to compete in shot put. The transgender student . . . was present at the meet and competing against the minor student athletes in shot put.

The minor student athletes, along with one other female student from Lincoln Middle School, stepped out of the shot put circle, forfeited, and refused to compete in protest of the court decision and the ongoing unfairness of permitting a biological male to compete in women’s sporting events.

The minor student athletes’ protests were silent. They each stepped into the shot put circle, raised the shot put to their chins, and then stepped out of the shot put circle and handed the shot put to the official.

The minor student athletes’ individual protests lasted approximately 10 seconds each and did not disrupt the track meet in any way.

The minor student athletes’ protest did not affect any other competitors.

Following their protest, the minor student athletes did not receive any notice that further action would be taken against them for protesting and forfeiting.

We have written repeatedly about how women’s athletics is at risk of being erased in America.

In particular, female cyclists, swimmerspowerlifterssprinters, and others have seen their sports radically changed by biological males who identify and compete as women.

Letting men compete in women’s sports reverses 50 years of advancements for women.

It hampers girls’ abilities to compete for athletic scholarships, and it hurts their professional opportunities as adults.

In some sports, it can even be dangerous.

That’s part of the reason why the North American Grappling Association clarified its competition policy last fall, saying biological males must compete against other men, regardless of their gender identity.

Earlier this year the professional golf league NXXT Golf announced that only biological females would be eligible to participate in the NXXT Women’s Pro Tour.

And recently the NAIA announced a policy that should prevent male athletes from competing in women’s collegiate sports.

Many states — including Arkansas — have enacted laws that preserve fairness in women’s sports.

In 2021 Arkansas passed Act 461 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R — Mountain View) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R — Smackover) preventing male student athletes from competing against girls in women’s athletics at school.

This good law protects fairness in women’s sports in Arkansas.

It’s worth point out that public opinion is shifting on this issue, with more Americans agreeing that athletes ought to compete according to their biological sex rather than their gender identity. 

Public opinion supports laws and policies preserving women’s sports. These laws protect women’s sports from being erased, and they help make sure students like these middle schoolers from West Virginia get a fair competition. There shouldn’t be anything controversial about that.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.