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Assemblywoman Fantasia defends girls’ sports, safe spaces for females in Roxbury schools

ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Assemblywoman Dawn Fantasia spoke in defense of protecting safe spaces for females and hard-won advances in girls-only sports at the Roxbury Board of Education meeting Monday.

The Board was considering whether to abolish its transgender student policy, which allowed males who identify as females to participate in girls’ sports.

Fantasia, a longtime educator and school administrator, said the state’s guidance on transgender students, Policy 5756, hurts female athletes.

“It completely hurts our children. It targets female student athletes and rolls back decades of progress under Title IX,” Fantasia (R-Sussex) said. “It is a simple physiological fact that male athletes, biological males, are superior to their female counterparts. As a result, female students now face an increased risk of injury, loss of scholarships, loss of records and titles, loss of playing time and the list goes on and on.”

Title IX, part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, opened up federal funding for girls sports. But because the title does not define “sex,” questions remain whether males who identify as female are being discriminated against if barred from girls-only teams. Updated regulations are expected to be released in summer 2024. In the meantime, at least 23 states have banned or limited male participation in female sports.

Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky All-American swimmer, has filed suit along with a dozen other female college athletes against the National Collegiate Athletic Association for violating their Title IX rights.

In 2022, she received national attention for tying for fifth place with University of Pennsylvania swimmer William Thomas, who identifies as a female named Lia, in the 200-yard NCAA freestyle championship. She was also forced without warning to share a locker room with the “fully intact” Thomas. Gaines recently joined forces with former Levi’s executive and world championship artistic gymnast Jennifer Sey, who launched a clothing brand, XX-XY Athletics, which supports female athletes and women’s-only sports.

“[These policies] make things unsafe for our females. Another example of zero common sense is separating students not based on physiology, but self-identification,” Fantasia added. “Think for a moment how unsettling it may be for a female to be alongside a biological male in a human sexuality lesson. She may feel intimidated. This may stifle her questions. Women are not second-class citizens. There are no longer safe spaces for girls; their privacy should be protected.”

The board abolished the policy in a 5-4 vote.

Fantasia is sponsoring a bill (A775), “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” that would require student athletes participate on teams that align with biological sex.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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