April 2, 2024 - 8:00pm

On 31 March — the new Transgender Day of Visibility — the National Organization for Women (NOW) tweeted, “Repeat after us: Weaponizing womenhood [sic] against other women is white supremacist patriarchy at work. Making people believe there isn’t enough space for trans women in sports is white supremacist patriarchy at work.”

Safety and fairness for female athletes is the “white supremacist patriarchy at work”? One might be forgiven for wondering what happened to the National Organization for Women. Unfortunately, it has joined a disgraceful lineup of women’s organisations that have turned their missions inside-out in the name of trans “inclusion”. Rather than defend the rights of women and girls — to safety, dignity, single-sex spaces, and fair play — these organisations have lost their purpose.

The issue of who gets to compete in women’s sports has been a hot topic over recent months. Back in December, Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, praised the importance of female athletes learning to “lose gracefully” when pressed on the unfairness of letting male athletes compete in women’s sports.

NOW appears to have copy and pasted directly from the Transgender Law Center’s 2021 messaging guide, Transgender Youth and the Freedom to Be Ourselves: Building Our Choir with a Race Class Gender Narrative. The report shows that the public is deeply confused about trans issues, with one-third of respondents voicing support for a pair of contradictory policies: sorting sports teams by gender identity and sorting sports teams by sex. The report’s author spun this finding as positively as they possibly could: “Our base and persuadables want to support transgender student athletes, but are extremely susceptible to our opposition’s argument that excluding trans youth is necessary to protect the fairness of women’s sports.”

Unfortunately for activists, “people primarily understand sports through the individualistic lens of competition, where if one person wins then another, by definition, loses.” The report warns that political opponents “use the physicality of the issue to directly spout dehumanizing stereotypes about transgender women and girls” — specifically, by pointing out that “transgender women and girls” are, well, male.

To overcome this resistance, the report advises activists to reframe the issue. Never mind about winning and losing. Forget fairness. Focus instead on the “collective” values young athletes pick up on the playing field (one can hear Goss Graves’s appeal to “losing gracefully” here). Rather than making the case for why males belong in female sports, talk about “people of all races, backgrounds, and genders”. To excuse unfairness today on the basis of sex, simply hijack “the long legacy of discrimination against all women athletes” by informing the public that “women’s sports have never existed on an equal playing field.”

The report’s authors note that this argument “garnered a notably high ‘unsure’ response across the board, suggesting it helpfully caused people to question their understanding of the issue”. Or confused them, which was the whole point. That’s how we get NOW’s word salad about how it’s somehow racist — and sexist — to “mak[e] people believe there isn’t enough space for trans women in sports”.

Like every other argument in favour of overwriting sex with gender identity, the NOW’s arguments really don’t hold much weight. All the same, it is yet another organisation to succumb to gender ideology.

Eliza Mondegreen is a graduate student in psychiatry and the author of Writing Behavior on Substack.