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It was a win for women, to be sure. But perhaps even more importantly, it was a win for reality in a day when so many decisions ignore basic facts and common sense. 
That’s the broad importance of a federal district court’s recent decision that upheld West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act — a decision that rejected a legal challenge to the law that would have undermined women’s sports in the state by allowing males who identify as female to compete in girls’ and women’s sports. 
I played soccer at West Virginia State University while this lawsuit was happening and, with the help of my legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom, intervened in the case, B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education. As a woman who has lived and breathed soccer since I was old enough to walk, I wanted to help defend the state’s law that ensures equal opportunities for women in sports. 

West Virginia legislators enacted the women’s sports law because they saw what was happening around the country — and how girls are the ones who suffer when those in power ignore biological reality. In Connecticut, for example, the state athletic conference adopted a policy that allows males to compete in girls’ athletic events, a decision that has consistently deprived girls of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels — women like Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith, whom I have come to know in our respective legal battles. Connecticut’s policy is directly at odds with Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics. 

Lainey Armistead is a former soccer player at West Virginia State University.

Lainey Armistead is a former soccer player at West Virginia State University. 

Title IX allowed me to compete for — and win — a substantial scholarship to attend the college of my choice, which set me on a personal and career trajectory that will shape the rest of my life. And West Virginia’s law protected me so I could play the sport I love safely and fairly — not worried a male athlete would take my place on the field, as is becoming increasingly, and tragically, common in other states. 
The truth matters, and it is crucial that our laws and policies recognize the physical differences between men and women. I grew up playing soccer, including playing pick-up games with my brothers and other boys, who are generally faster, stronger and bigger than girls. As any female athlete can tell you firsthand, sports showcase the biological differences between men and women. 

It’s okay to say that. It’s okay that we have sex-separated teams. It’s okay that a WNBA game is different than an NBA game. 
Actually, it’s beautiful; equal, yet different; worth defending and protecting. Women have had to fight for their place in sports. For 50 years, Title IX has protected us, and we can’t throw that away now. We’ve come too far, fought too hard. 

I want to ensure future generations of women can experience the life lessons learned from sports: tenacity and never giving up, the thrill of winning after working hard to defend or score a goal, just being on the field and everything else drifting away, and having your teammates’ backs no matter what. No girl should be deprived of those experiences, put on the back burner, or told she’s second to boys when it comes to athletics. 

Thankfully, at least one federal court has recognized that blurring the lines between the sexes causes women to miss out. As the court in my case found, fairness in women’s sports laws like West Virginia’s are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and Title IX. Eighteen states have enacted laws protecting female athletes, and I’m hopeful more states will join the fight and more courts will uphold these just laws. 
If we want a future where girls can earn a competitive scholarship and a spot on the team, we have to protect fairness in sports. And that starts by acknowledging that men and women are different — and that’s not only OK. It’s good, right and beautiful.