". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Blackballed Coach Cheers on Brave Girls Who Sat Out against Trans Player

April 24, 2024

When she thinks back on that day, she feels the knot in her stomach. There was a “dark energy,” Kim Russell remembers, as her bosses sat in a circle around her — one in a long line of disciplinary hearings the Oberlin lacrosse coach had endured. “I hope you feel remorse for it,” her athletic director said. Kim didn’t. Voicing her support of girls’ sports — her life's passion — was what she believed. If that’s the case, Kim was told, “you fall into a category of people that are kind of filled with hate in the world.” Life, as she knew it, had changed forever.

Kim finished out the season, the most difficult one she’s ever coached. Despite her own players’ hostility and the administration’s determination to push her out, Russell refused to leave or apologize. In a devastating meeting with Oberlin athletes, she was told, “It’s not good enough just to work for women’s issues or white feminism. Your feminism has to be inclusive for everybody and work for everybody.”

“I knew by the end of that meeting that it didn’t matter what I said,” Kim explained in a special Independent Women’s Forum video of her story. “There was cognitive dissonance; nobody would hear me.” But the worst part was hearing her lacrosse girls, who she loved like children of her own, turn on her. It was “heartbreaking,” she said of being berated by every player but one. But, after 27 years of working with high schoolers and college students, she decided to stick it out for the incoming freshmen and the single player who’d stood up and supported her.

“I’m at a loss anymore for what they’re doing,” she said of Oberlin at the time. “I’m not transphobic or transgressive or unsafe. This is about protecting women’s rights. This is about protecting women’s private spaces. I really don’t understand where the Me Too movement is — what happened to it?”

A year later, when Kim went public with her story and the recordings of those meetings, she was demoted to a “wellness manager” — and ultimately left. Now, she’s an Independent Women’s Forum ambassador, devoting her life to protecting the girls’ sports she loves.

On Tuesday, she sat down with “Washington Watch” guest host Joseph Backholm to talk about the one man in the way of that goal: Joe Biden. Like most women in America, she thinks the president’s idea of dismantling Title IX — the law that gave girls a chance to compete on a level playing field in the first place — is not only crazy but cruel. Talking about the final rule the administration just released, she argued that the 1,500-page document is all about covering up what the Left is ultimately trying to do: erase women.

“The original version of Title IX was 37 words,” Kim points out, “and the fact that the Biden administration [took] 1,500 pages is trying to hide that they are equating the word ‘sex’ with ‘gender identity.’” As she warned, this idea of throwing women overboard for the sake of biological men like Lia Thomas will affect every institution in America that takes federal funding — schools, daycare facilities, colleges, even some private colleges. This radical rewrite of the law, she explained, strips away “all the rights women have had for 52 years — including me. It’s how I went to college on an athletic scholarship to play two sports at the DI level at William and Mary. And what enabled me to do what I’ve done for the rest of my life, which is coach and teach. So it’s really insulting, because it’s not speaking the truth.”

And frankly, Kim wanted people to know, the administration is “trying to trick us.” “They are making it sound like they are doing the right things for us,” when in fact, she said, they’re putting biological men back in women’s restrooms, locker rooms, showers, and dorm rooms. “So that, to me, is sexual harassment right there,” she argues. “And I’m waiting for more people to step up. I’m waiting for the MeToo movement. Where is it? Because we’re telling girls to be silent in locker rooms when there’s a fully intact male in the locker room, and basically we’re grooming them to be sexually assaulted, because they’re not going with their gut feeling, which is, ‘This doesn’t feel comfortable to me.’ So that’s where we are.”

Meanwhile, girls all across the country are forced to deal with the very real physical, mental, and emotional threat that trans-identifying players create. In West Virginia, a 13-year-old biological boy competed in the Harris County Middle School Track and Field Championships this month and won when five real girls sat out of the competition in protest. The drama unfolded just two days after a the Fourth Circuit Court refused to uphold the state’s new girls’ sports protection law (a case that Alliance Defending Freedom is now appealing to the Supreme Court).

“It’s a sad day when 13- and 14-year old girls have to be the adults in the room,” former NCAA All-American Riley Gaines posted. “But I couldn’t be more inspired by and proud of these girls.”

The display was encouraging to activists like Kim, who applauded the girls’ courage to stand up for themselves. “They all stood down so that he would have no one to compete against. … And the fact that we’re putting this on the shoulders of middle school girls who are already going through so much, the adults in the room [need] to step up. And in this case, the coach did not.” Incredibly, she found out from Gaines that the five players were actually punished for their bravery.

Even so, she hopes that more of these stories will “set off a country-wide [wave] of girls saying, ‘No more!’ and the adults saying, ‘No more! We are not going to put our girls and women through this.’” Look, Kim wanted people to know, “There’s a reason Title IX happened 52 years ago, and it’s because it isn’t fair when girls have to compete against boys at any level. … There are boys teams, there are co-ed teams, and there are girls and women’s teams for a reason — to give opportunities.”

That’s not to say that going against the flow is easy. “People are afraid to be called … ‘transphobe’ when they’re not.” No one wants to hurt someone’s feelings, she added. But here’s the reality, “… Speaking the truth is the kindest thing you can do,” Kim said. “It is the highest vibration of a love is to speak the truth.” And yet, too many people stay silent — “whether it’s because they’re afraid they’re going to lose their job, [or] they’re afraid they’re going to lose friends. They’re afraid they’re going to be ostracized by their teammates. Let me tell you, since I have spoken up, I have had more positive support than you can imagine from all across the political spectrum. Pretty much everyone is on the same page, with the exception of a very few.”

At the end of the day, Kim predicted, “We will be coming out on top on this. Women have rights. … Coaches, parents, administrators,” she urged, “you have got to fight back. You’ve got to stand up. Our girls are depending on us. Let’s go.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.