A roar for women’s rights

It finally came home. The men couldn’t do it, but the women did. In front of a crowded 90,000 crowded Wembley Stadium and millions watching across the country, the Lionesses won Euro 2022. They beat Germany 2-1. It’s something truly worth celebrating – England’s first major footballing trophy since 1966, when the men’s side also beat Germany, and also at Wembley. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered for our otherwise troubled nation: a moment of pure sporting joy. Who could not be moved by the sight of these brilliant footballers celebrating their victory as crowds of supporters sang ‘It’s coming home, it’s coming home…’? “I’m blowing my head off!” shouted striker Ella Toone after the game, and we all know how she feels.

There are two things to rejoice here. The first is the talent and flair of the footballers on this pitch. From Toone’s perfect lob as she scored England’s first goal to Chloe Kelly’s miss and then struck as she scored England’s second goal, it was great play. Then there was had the powerful play of Alessia Russo (I was exhausted just watching her), the consistent leadership of Leah Williamson and the many smooth saves of goaltender Mary Earps. And how about Beth Mead? Top scorer of the tournament, and best assistant too. Winner of the Golden Boot. A true European football champion. Not bad for someone who was omitted from the British squad at the Tokyo Olympics just a year ago. She showed them. The whole team has indeed proven beyond reasonable doubt that women and football make a great combination.

And the second thing we should encourage is women’s sport in a broad sense. It’s booming right now. Women are breaking into sports that were traditionally considered male pursuits, like horse racing, with the brilliant Rachael Blackmore, and darts, with fan favorite Fallon Sherrock. (Any discerning observers who have long considered darts a gammon sport will surely have been surprised by the sight of portly dudes on their seventh pint cheering Sherrock on to win.) Then there’s women’s boxing, led by the likes of Nicola Adams, and of course women’s athletics, which we’ll be seeing a lot at the Commonwealth Games over the next week. The claim that England’s victory over Germany today will put women’s football on an equal footing with men’s football is perhaps a little premature, but there is no denying that women’s sport is taken more seriously than he ever was.

And that’s great. But it is also fragile. Because, unfortunately, women’s sport is under attack right now. And not old-fashioned, leather-elbowed, monocle-wearing sexists who think a woman’s place is in the kitchen rather than the football field or the boxing ring, but so-called politicians , right-wing activists and thinkers. Anyone who claims to be a woman is literally a woman, these people madly believe, and this distorted ideology has had disastrous consequences for women’s sport. There are some sports that, unlike horse racing or darts, must be divided by biological sex, due to the unfair advantages in strength and bone density conferred on men as a result of the testosterone surge of male puberty. Which means if guys can say “I’m a woman!” and then engage in women’s sport, sportswomen will be sidelined, forced into second and third place, and stripped of their sporting glory by born men who ridiculously fantasize that they are women.

The alarming situation we find ourselves in right now is that we live under cultural elites who cheer on the Lionesses in one breath and then say “What’s a woman anyway?” afterwards. Elites congratulating the England women’s team on their victory at Wembley while believing that someone with a dick and balls should be allowed to play for the England women’s team if he (that’s transphobic to say “he”, I know) wants to. Consider Keir Starmer. Tonight he praised the Lionesses for inspiring “a generation of women and girls”. Do these women and girls have vaginas or penises? Starmer has previously ruled that the phrase “only women have cervixes” is “something that shouldn’t be said…it’s not fair.” Later, he was confused when a radio presenter asked him if a woman could have a penis. In the eyes of those who have been co-opted by the awakening – a disturbing number of people in positions of power and influence – gender identity now trumps biological sex, which means that a man who feels like a woman can literally be a woman. And play in women’s sports.

The impact of this eccentric and flat ideology on sport has been terrible. We’ve seen six-foot-four men like Lia Thomas steal medals from real women at college swimming meets in the United States. Thomas was ranked #462 among male student swimmers – then, following a “gender transition”, he was ranked #1 among female swimmers. In the 80s, we frowned upon East German swimmers who were stuffed with synthetic testosterone; now we encourage dummy swimmers who are filled with natural testosterone. In cycling and weightlifting too, mediocre guys took advantage of the opportunities of women who trained hard by identifying as women – and being accepted as such by the trans-corrupt elites.

That’s the problem: Some politicians and observers who applaud lionesses hold to the idea that a lion can literally be a lioness if it identifies as such. Which makes their support for the women’s team, and women’s sport more broadly, completely pointless. Imagine if the German team had produced males. Someone who was born Otto but is now called Ute, with more muscle and greater speed than our Toone or Kelly or Mead. Some would call it diversity. I would call that cheating. I would say it’s a misogynistic reversal of women’s football. So if you are truly on the side of Lionesses and women, then you need to speak out against the cult of gender fluidity and the pernicious ways it undermines women’s sport, women’s spaces and women’s rights. It was women who won tonight. If you don’t understand what this means, then go away and have a serious discussion with yourself.

To inquire about reposting dopecontent, a right of reply or a request for correction, please contact the editor, Viv Regan.