Letter to the editor: Defending Hoosier girls’ rights to fair competition in athletics

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When Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed commonsense protections for girls’ sports and equality, he suggested the state would face legal hurdles. He said lawsuits were already being drawn up to challenge the law and claimed this as the reasoning he vetoed the protections for Hoosier girls.

As the chief legal officer for Indiana, I can tell you that this reasoning was BS.

I’m proud Indiana legislators stepped up to the plate and voted to override the governor’s veto on May 24.

My office stands ready to uphold the new law and defend any challenges. Hoosiers won’t be bullied by woke groups threatening girls’ sports. We won’t kowtow to left-wing special interests and the Biden administration undermining equality in our state. We stand by the law and will proudly defend it in court.

The passage of HEA 1041 to ban males from competing on female sports teams is an important step in protecting youth sports and was championed by my office. Athletics are a core part of our kids’ development and growth. They provide a safe, beneficial outlet for children while also engraining a healthy competitive spirit in our future generation.

By opening the floodgates for biological males to participate in female sports, we were not only discouraging young women and girls from joining a team in the first place, but we were also stripping them of scholarship opportunities, starting positions and a chance to fairly compete.

The world watched as biological male Lia Thomas, who previously competed in men’s collegiate swimming as the 462nd-ranked swimmer, won gold in the women’s Ivy League championships. Thomas took qualifying positions and podium spots away from female athletes who trained their whole lives to reach these competitions, only to compete on an unfair playing field.

There are vast biological differences when it comes to women and men. Men have higher bone density, muscle mass, and cardiovascular capacity. This creates an unsafe and unfair atmosphere for young female athletes working to improve their athletic prowess. In 2018, over 270 high school boys crushed U.S. Olympian Allyson Felix’s time in the 400-meter in track and field.

The many examples of biological male athletes dominating female sports across the country show how many states are failing our girls. I applaud the commitment of Indiana’s legislators to preserve Hoosier values and get this legislation across the finish line.

Women have fought for equality for decades and to receive the same opportunities as men in sports—and yet, our country seems to have turned its back on these efforts. The pressure to cave is immense as woke corporations, Joe Biden, Hollywood, and cultural elites push their radical gender agenda.

By caving and vetoing this bill, the governor made clear that appeasing these woke special interests means more to him than equal opportunity for Hoosier girls. With the legislators’ commitment to this commonsense policy demonstrated by their veto override, Indiana is now one of the 17 states with laws to protect women’s and girls’ right to compete on an equal playing field.

Hoosiers can count on me to vigorously defend this law.•


Todd Rokita is Indiana’s attorney general. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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