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(LifeSiteNews) — British Rowing has declared that only only biological women may participate in women’s competitions. 

On August 3, British Rowing, the governing body for the sport in England, announced it will ban biological males who claim to be female from competing against females and potentially stealing their awards. 

“Only individuals who are assigned female at birth will be eligible to compete in competitions under British Rowing’s jurisdiction and/or be selected to represent Great Britain, or England, in international events,” the new regulations read.  

The new regulations also establish an “open category” where anyone can compete regardless of their sex. The policy, set to take effect September 11, 2023, applies to all athletes who compete in rowing and para-rowing, including the Olympics and Paralympics.  

The British Rowing protocols to protect women are not supported by all rowing organizations. World Rowing allows men to compete against women if their “serum testosterone concentration has been less than 2.5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least the previous 24 months.” 

In recent months, many female athletes have spoken out against allowing biological men who claim to be women to compete against females and forcing women to share changing spaces with them.  

In July, Paula Scanlan, a sexual assault survivor and female athlete who swam on the same team as gender-confused male William “Lia” Thomas, testified before the U.S. Congress that she and fellow female swimmers were forced to change in front of the male athlete 18 times per week while the university tried to “re-educate” the women in an attempt to lower inhibitions about sharing their locker room with, and undressing in front of, a man.  

Thomas made national news when he was allowed to compete on the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team last year after having represented the men’s squad in the previous three seasons.   

Predictably, Thomas went from being one of the lowest-ranked male swimmers in the country to an above-average female competitor, even winning the 500-yard freestyle national championship.  

As the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) continues to defend allowing Thomas to steal women’s awards, many of the women forced to swim with him have come forward to condemn the institution.  

NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines was the first to speak up in defense of women. In March 2022, Thomas swam against Gaines at the 200-meter event, tying with her for fifth place.  

During the subsequent photo shoot of the winners, officials made Gaines pose with the sixth place trophy, while Thomas posed with the trophy for fifth place. The NCAA eventually mailed a trophy to Gaines.   

In July, Gaines condemned the NCAA for nominating Thomas as the NCAA Woman of the Year, saying, “It’s a mockery. That’s what this whole thing has turned into, something we as female athletes have dedicated our whole lives to. It’s something that people are laughing at. It’s an insult. It’s incredibly disheartening. And quite frankly it’s wrong.” 

Other female swimmers and athletes complained about Thomas’ participation in the event. Virginia Tech swimmer Réka György told the NCAA in a letter that “[e]very event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females.”  

A letter sent by former Olympians and coaches from the University of Arizona after Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle also asked the NCAA to protect women’s sports.