Things are getting real spicy in the world of women’s sports.
First, there was the controversy involving Lia Thomas, the biological male who absolutely dominated the competition in the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships in Atlanta. Now comes news of a fiery exchange between Kellie Jay Keen, a spirited women’s rights activist from the UK, and the trans activist Dawn Ennis at the same event.
Keen, a married mother of four, made a pilgrimage to the U.S. from England in order to attend a number of women’s-rights protests, including at the NCAA championships. As part of her activism, Keen runs an organization called “Standing for Women,” and sells novelty t-shirts to raise funds.
At the NCAA swim finals Kellie Jay Keen takes on transgender activist who lived nearly 50 years as a man, fathered three children, and now says “I’m a mother.” pic.twitter.com/7vPadNbW2g
— Madeleine Kearns (@madeleinekearns) March 21, 2022
At the time of the incident in question, she was wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words “I’m not a vet but I know what a dog is.”
This is, of course, a cheeky reference to an earlier spat in which Keen confronted Schuyler Bailar, another transgender activist.
“I’m not a vet but I know what a dog is.”
A clash of views as Lis Thomas races ahead at the NCAA 500 freestyle prelims. pic.twitter.com/X9J5yzmozd
— Madeleine Kearns (@madeleinekearns) March 17, 2022
Dawn Ennis, on the other hand, was once known as Don Ennis — who was, before that, known as Dawn Ennis, who was, in turn, once known as Don Ennis. It’s all a bit confusing, but the point is, Dawn Ennis was once a married man and sired three children to boot. At the age of 49, he split from his wife and decided to become a woman. Then he decided to become a man again, and finally settled for being a woman.
Kellie Jay Keen encountered Dawn Ennis at the NCAA championships, and that’s where the fireworks started. After introducing herself as the founder of Standing for Women, Keen asked: “Do you use women’s spaces?”
“I’m a woman,” Ennis replied, apparently shocked that there could be a question on that score.
Keen pressed on, “Do you understand that using women’s private spaces makes women and girls uncomfortable?”
“No one has ever objected to my presence—”
“That’s because, that’s because they’d be intimidated by you,” Keen interrupted.
As the altercation unfolded, a man stopped to enjoy the show. According to Madeleine Kearns, who filmed the incident, he is the father of a female athlete who was knocked out of the swimming competition by Lia Thomas.
At one point, annoyed with the confrontation, Ennis turned to Beth Seltzer, the founder of “Save Women’s Sports,” and asked her to “call off your dog.”
“As a mother, I am very…” Ennis began.
“You never birthed your children, you are not a mother, Don!” Seltzer interjected, before storming off.
The unfortunate thing is that the drama swirling around Lia Thomas and transgender activists has rather spoiled the event, and detracted from what should be the true focus of the swimming championships — the young female athletes who worked so hard to compete in this once prestigious event.
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