MATTHEWS: Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is the right thing to do for female athletes 

Payton McNabb, a High School volleyball player injured by a transgender athlete, speaks at a committee meeting at the North Carolina General Assembly. A.P. Dillon/North State Journal

Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly debated the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” ultimately passing it in both Republican-controlled chambers. 

One would think ensuring that women’s sports are reserved for women who are actually women would be something that everyone could get behind, especially considering the statements made by two female athletes, former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines and North Carolina high school volleyball athlete Payton McNabb. 

Gaines made headlines after speaking out on former Penn State swimmer Lia Thomas, someone who was born a man but who now identifies as a woman, after having to compete against Thomas. She and other swimmers had to watch as Thomas lapped the female swimmers, broke records, and won championships in what were clear strength advantages for Thomas. 

“I felt betrayed and belittled and like my efforts and sacrifices I had made had been reduced to a photo op to validate the identity and feelings of a male,” Gaines told NC lawmakers. “But my feelings did not matter.” 

“But that is not all,” Gaines went on to say. “In addition to being forced to give up out awards and titles and our opportunities, the NCAA forced female swimmers to share a locker room with Thomas — a six foot four 22-year-old male equipped with an exposing male genitalia — and a room full of vulnerable undressed women.” 

McNabb, who was seriously injured during a September 2022 game after a transgender female player spiked the ball at what was reportedly a high rate of speed, with the ball hitting McNabb in the face, testified that her injuries included a concussion and neck damage. 

But that wasn’t all. 

“Other injuries I still suffer from today include impaired vision, partial paralysis on my right side, constant headaches as well as anxiety and depression,” McNabb stated. “My ability to learn, retain, comprehend has also been impaired and I require accommodations at school for testing because of this.” 

They made powerful statements, but they apparently didn’t register with most Democrats in the House and none in the Senate, many of who in the past have latched on to phrases like “war on women” in order to suggest Republican lawmakers were deliberately trying to hurt women with legislation designed to protect unborn life. 

In fact, Sen. Natasha Marcus (D-Mecklenburg) insulted the intelligence of female athletes everywhere when she not only downplayed McNabb’s major injuries but incredibly suggested that the discomfort female athletes felt playing around transgender women was “worth it.” 

“It might make other people a little uncomfortable in some cases but it’s worth it,” Marcus proclaimed while at varying points seeming to laugh over the entire debate. “I understand there was one report at a volleyball game where it’s unclear if the athlete was a trans-athlete and if that was the reason, injuries happen. I will point out injuries happen in sports all the time we don’t need legislation to try to protect everyone and in every case.” 

It doesn’t matter if there was only “one report.” We pass laws in this state based on singular incidents all the time. And in this case, it’s especially necessary because the women who play on women’s sports teams do not do so with the intention of competing against members of the opposite sex who are stronger and faster than they are and who have the ability not only to take away their opportunities but to physically hurt them. 

How many more similar injuries and lost opportunities would it take for Marcus to see the light on this issue? 

This is the real war on women, and yet it is Democratic women like Marcus who are leading the fight to set female athletes back decades. Thankfully, laws here aren’t written to appease far-left lawmakers who care more about scoring points with woke mobs than actually doing things that are beneficial to the people of this state. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.