At the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships this weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, the former outdoor sports Editor-in-chief Dawn Ennis, a biological male who identifies as female, confronted a women’s rights activist about the use of female spaces.
Ennis was confronted at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Tournament by Standing for Women UK founder Kellie-Jay Keen about whether Ennis, as a biological male who identifies as female, is using the spaces reserved for women.
“I just want to ask, on the safety of women and girls, do you use women-only spaces, private spaces?” Keen asked.
“I’m a woman,” Ennis replied.
“Do you understand that using women’s private spaces makes women and girls feel uncomfortable? Keen asked in response.
“Nobody ever objected to me being there,” Ennis said.
Keen chimed in, saying the reason Ennis hadn’t heard any objections was that “they would be intimidated by [Ennis].”
” I am sorry. Do you know who I am ? Ennis questioned.
Keen replied “Yes” and answered Ennis’ questions about his own affiliation, to which Ennis replied, “Yes, I know all about this band, and let me tell you this: I’m not here to debate me, or bring from me.”
“Based on the comfort and dignity of girls and women, I ask you, I say to you, please do not use women-only spaces,” Keen said.
“My daughters and the other women I’m with here are very comfortable with me in the bathroom and locker room,” Ennis said.
“Well luckily I’m not your daughter, and my daughter isn’t your daughter either, and she would feel very uncomfortable,” Keen said.
The two started talking over each other, accusing each other of interrupting each other. “Beth, do you mind? I would ask you, please, to call your dog,” Ennis told Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports.
The remark sparked an outcry from those nearby.
“I ask you, as a mother, not to use women-only spaces. It makes women and girls very uncomfortable,” Keen said.
“As a mother,” began Ennis, who met a number of onlookers, including Keen, saying Ennis is not a mother.
“How dare you,” Keen said. “You are not a mother.”
“I’m doing mom’s job which is even more important,” Ennis replied.
“I was just asking you. Don’t use female-only spaces. You make women and girls uncomfortable,” Keen said, before Ennis turned to someone off-screen to ask. Have Keen and others escorted.
“It got ugly and security eventually stepped in and escorted out the anti-trans activists,” Ennis wrote on Twitter after the encounter.
Although, Keen later refuted: “I have not been escorted by anyone.”
“My hope in sharing this is not to defend myself or give more attention to activists, but to give perspective on what it is like to be bullied for being who I am,” added Ennis on Twitter over the weekend.
“I was there for one reason: to do my job,” Ennis, who works for several publications, continued on the Twitter feed on Sunday.
“I’ve been DM’ing @BethStelzer and we both regret that this interaction has escalated the way it has, and hopefully we can find a way to have more productive, less confrontational and mutually respectful engagements. in the future.”
The NCAA Championships saw a number of protesters there in response to the league allowing transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to swim against biological women, a move that protesters say is unfair to female athletes.