Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California claimed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida was among those who “weaponized” the issue of men competing in women’s sports.
“I think the trans issue has — has come on as a more divisive issue in the context, particularly of sports, where it’s also been weaponized, and issues around pronouns,” Newsom said during a Wednesday interview with Fox 11 reporter Elex Michaelson. “I remember the first time I was on Zoom, and all of a sudden I saw these different pronouns. And that even took me, I was like, ‘What’s this?’ I didn’t fully understand that.”
“I think, a combination of those factors, the weaponization of grievance and dehumanization that I see, politicians that are exploiting this, like Ron DeSantis, notably, but not unique to DeSantis, have also exacerbated this,” Newsom said.
The issue became controversial following University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas’ participation in the 2022 NCAA championships, where the biological male won the 500-yard women’s final. Riley Gaines, who competed against Thomas as a member of the University of Kentucky’s swim team during the 2022 NCAA championships, has been a vocal critic of allowing transgender athletes to compete against women.
Glenique Frank’s participation in the London Marathon in April, where the biological male finished ahead of over 14,000 women, and the retirement of cyclocross champion Hannah Arensman also focused attention on the issue.
The Biden administration proposed new Title IX regulations April 6 that would prohibit states from barring biological males from competing in women’s sports. Two dozen governors called on the Biden administration to withdraw the proposed regulations May 12.
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