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Trans athletes in women's sport: Two views of fairness & inclusion

Lia Thomas
-
/
AP
University of Pennsylvania transgender athlete Lia Thomas competes in the 500-yard freestyle finals at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Today, we’re going to talk about transgender rights.

We are having this conversation in the context of dozens of states passing laws that not only limit or prohibit trans women from competing in women’s sports, but also impose legal limits in areas like health care, school policy, and public accommodations. The ACLU is currently tracking 185 anti-LGBTQ bills that are under consideration in state legislatures across the country.

We will examine those efforts and those bills in other shows. Today, we will focus on youth and professional sports, and efforts to prohibit trans women from competing against cisgender women. We speak with two top-flight athletic competitors who hold fundamentally different views on the issue.

Riley Gaines_Veronica Ivy_COMBO.png
(L-R) Riley Gaines, a former NCAA All-American swimmer at the University of Kentucky, is a spokesperson for the conservative Independent Women's Forum; Dr. Veronica Ivy is a trans athlete and activist, and a Master track-cycling world champion.

Tom's first guest is a 12-time All American swimmer who competed for the University of Kentucky. Riley Gaines is a spokesperson for the Independent Women’s Forum, an organization formed in the 1990s to support Justice Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the Supreme Court. The IWF opposes allowing trans women to compete against cisgender women, and supports a number of other conservative causes.

Riley Gaines joins Tom on Zoom from Nashville, Tennessee.

For another perspective on inclusiveness and equality in women’s sports, Tom speaks next with Dr. Veronica Ivy. She is a queer trans woman, a two-time Masters track-cycling world champion and a previous Masters world-record holder, the first known trans woman ever to win a track-cycling world championship. She is an advocate and activist for trans and intersex rights.

Veronica Ivy joins us on Zoom from Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.

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