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BRIDGEPORT, West Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Five female middle school athletes in West Virginia refused to throw the shot put against a male after a circuit court exempted the boy from a state law that prevents males from competing on female sports’ teams.

Former All-American swimmer and women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines posted Thursday to X a video showing five female athletes on Bridgeport Middle School girls’ track and field team stepping up to the ring and then stepping out instead of throwing the shot.

Gaines alluded to the fact that just two days earlier the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a West Virginia law barring boys from girls’ sports cannot be enforced to exclude a 13-year-old boy, “Becky Pepper” Jackson, who competes on the Bridgeport Middle School girls’ team.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Toby Heytens wrote that offering Jackson a “choice” between not participating in sports and participating only on boys’ teams “is no real choice at all.”

“The defendants cannot expect that (this athlete) will countermand her social transition, her medical treatment, and all the work she has done with her schools, teachers, and coaches for nearly half her life by introducing herself to teammates, coaches, and even opponents as a boy,” Heytens wrote in his decision.

The court noted that the state of West Virginia has issued Jackson a birth certificate listing him as female, and that he takes puberty-blocking medication and estrogen hormone therapy. He has participated only on girls’ athletic teams since elementary school. 

While the ruling does not impact the law of concern, Outkick noted it “does potentially pave the way for other, similar cases.”

According to one of the girls who stepped out, Jackson won the shot put event. 

“It’s a sad day when 13-14 (year) old girls have to be the adults in the room, but I couldn’t be more inspired by and proud of these girls,” Gaines wrote on X. “Enough is enough. The tide is turning.”

Indeed, scientific research continues to reaffirm that males have an edge over females in sports due to their physical capabilities that are not eliminated by cross-sex hormones. 

In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men (do) not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen (biological men) afforded by the (International Olympic Committee) guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

A 2021 study has noted that “the performance gap is more pronounced in sporting activities relying on muscle mass and explosive strength, particularly in the upper body.”