MFC Team Blog

Men in Women’s Sports: 15 Examples

By Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern

Attempts to erase differences between the sexes always has a profoundly negative effect on women and girls.

This is incredibly apparent in women's sports when men who identify as women are allowed to compete in them:

  1. In 1998, a Swedish man who now goes by Mianne Bagger competed as an amateur women’s golfer, winning four titles. Bagger later competed in a women’s pro golf tournament.

  2. In 2001, a male professional downhill biker who changed his name to Michelle Dumaresq and identifies as a female created controversy when he started winning races. Dumaresq placed 24th at the women’s world championship. Although barred from competing as a woman in the Olympics at that time, Dumaresq’s attempt led to controversy and in 2003, the IOC chose to allow "transgender" athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time.

  3. In 2010, male professional golfer Lana Lawless sued the LPGA to compete as a woman in the world championship.

  4. In 2012, 50-year-old man Gabrielle Ludwig (born Robert Ludwig) joined Mission College’s women’s basketball team in California.

  5. In 2013 Women’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor Alaina Hardie revealed that, biologically, he was a man.

  6. In 2014, Jaiyah Saelua became the first man identifying as a woman to play soccer in the World Cup Qualifier

  7. In July 2015, Sylvia Castaneda – a man who identified as a female – won the Women’s division of Vittoria Eastern States Cup.

  8. In 2015, a man identifying as Savannah Burton played for Canada’s Women’s dodgeball team in the World Dodgeball Championship.

  9. In 2015, MMA competitor Fallon Fox, born a man, demolished a female opponent by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of the match.

  10. In 2015 Matt Kroczaleski legally changed his name to Janae Kroc. During his career, Kroc served as a Marine and later on Presidential Security. He went on to become a powerlifter and bodybuilder, setting a powerlifting world record in the 220 lbs. class in 2009. Since his "transition", he has begun training to compete in women's triathlons.

  11. In November of 2016, Jillian Bearden – a biological man who identifies as a woman – won the El Tour de Tucson women’s cycling race in Arizona. 

  12. In March 2017, New Zealand man Gavin “Laurel” Hubbard won a Women’s weightlifting competition, bumping two women from their Olympic qualifying slots.

  13. Rachel McKinnon, born male, has been competitively biking in women's competitions for the past three years. He has won 26 of the 72 races he competed in.

  14. Natalie Van Gogh, born male, currently competes as a female professional cyclist.

  15. Cate McGregor is a former Lt. Col. in the Australian Defense Force who now plays elite cricket in the Women’s Big Bash League, identifying as a 60-year-old woman.

What about men playing in women's sports is fair?

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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Why I’m Speaking Up: A Mother’s Perspective

By Josh Bailey, MFC Marketing and Communications Intern

“Last year my teenager got the opportunity to go to a three-week art program in Minneapolis,” related Molly Kavanaugh. “The first thing that they did on the first night together was to sit in a circle and asked what pronoun they wanted to be addressed by.” Kavanaugh described her son’s frustration as he tried to remember other students’ pronouns and his fear of offending them. This experience prompted Molly to more actively engage in the school system and to help inform others.

I reached out to Kavanaugh after she attended Minnesota Family Counsil’s press conference last week regarding a transgender Toolkit being drafted by the Minnesota Department of Education. The Toolkit serves as a pseudo “best practices” document for Minnesota schools related to transgender and gender non-conforming students. Among others, it recommends allowing mixed-sex access to changing rooms, showers, restrooms and overnight accommodations. An alarming number of recommendations within the Toolkit would violate the safety, privacy, and dignity of students as well as undermine parental rights. 

 A mother of seven, Molly also teaches elementary and middle school in the public school as a substitute teacher. As both a mother and teacher, Kavanaugh has both a vested interest in this problem and insight into the real situation. 

Kavanaugh explained that teachers are silent and afraid, and children are confused. Teachers "are afraid to stand up for what they believe for fear of losing their jobs,” she stated. “Last Christmas,” she recalled, “they told us that we could no longer line the kids up according to boys and girls.” From talking to others, however, she expressed that the new rules are not favorably received by teachers. Kavanaugh observed, “Most of the teachers are fine saying ‘boys' and ‘girls' because the kids know! They understand!”

 After listening to several stories, I asked Molly why she thought there is not greater public outcry against this shift in schools.

She shared two reasons. “First, people aren’t aware of it,” she explained. Second, she used the analogy of a frog boiling slowly in a pot. It is happening so gradually that people are not concerned. “Parents are sick of the news,” she pointed out, “We just start to tune it out and hope it takes care of itself.” However, she continued, “the other side doesn’t do that. They are very active.”

Responding to my next question about a solution, she began simply. “If people start speaking out even in their own circles, I think that would help a lot,” she asserted. In her mind the biggest obstacle to people speaking out on this issue is that they do not see others doing so. If Christians began speaking out within their circles, Molly noted that it would provide, “accountability and a support system.”

In closing Molly shared a few words of encouragement to those like herself. “Pay attention… but don’t be afraid. Have courage and look into it. If we don’t, the truth will not come out.”



Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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I'm sold, but what if my teen isn't?

I'm sold, but what if my teen isn't?

By Amanda Hage, SSI Administrative Assistant

You have probably heard enough amazing things about MN Student Statesmanship Institute that you are convinced your high school student should attend the program this summer. But what if, like Grace, your teenager has a different opinion?


“Terrified, I was absolutely terrified. It had been a good idea in March, but now that I was face to face with the dorms and people milling about with suitcases in hand, apprehension overwhelmed me. Begging my mother to drive me back home, I clung to the seat of the car. I was absolutely afraid of going to this camp! I was afraid of SSI!” – Grace, 2016 Alumnus

Does that kind of scenario sound familiar? At some point, everyone fears the unknown. Foreign ground is never comfortable, even if it fuels growth. Usually, it takes someone else to push us toward the dreaded new thing. Sometimes it takes a good swift kick. But once the pain is over, we’re glad someone forced us to face our fear.

“After SSI, I had new-found motivation; while I still struggle with the terrible habit of procrastination, I remember the sense of accomplishment I savored at the end of that stretching, wonderful week. Diligence as a lifestyle is something I choose to pursue into my adult life. Looking back, it seems quite humorous how frightened I was of something that was so good for me.” – Grace

On the other hand, maybe your high school student is not scared of trying a week-long summer program. Instead, maybe he or she is set on only having fun and thinks a leadership program sounds boring! They might be able to relate to Shaohannah…

“My parents signed me up for 'government camp' and I was none too pleased. (After all, who wants to go to government camp for a week anyway?!)” – Shaohannah, 2016 Alumnus

SSI blog 2.png

Summer is the season for kicking back and having fun, right? In contrast, “government camp” may sound like all work and no fun. But Shaohannah learned SSI is so much more than that.

“I had SO MUCH FUN! After SSI, I was begging my parents to let me come back next year!! SSI wasn't just a boring 'government camp'. I learned more about how government works at SSI than in a whole year of civics. The feats of strength, the caucus meetings, worldview speakers, worship, everything was awesome! I was refreshed in my spiritual walk and challenged to learn more about government. I can't wait for next year!!!” – Shaohannah

Pushed to do what they would not have done on their own, both Grace and Shaohannah reached a change of mind.  In fact, they are returning for SSI 2017! What Grace and Shaohannah experienced is an important part of becoming a leader: learning to step up even when something looks frightening or hard.

To those who are on the fence about coming this summer, Shaohannah gives this assurance:

“You don't walk away from SSI empty. Besides the Biblical worldview training and the hands-on legislative teaching, SSI is an amazing camp to just fellowship with like-minded students and staff. [Students] share struggles, eat together, and dump water on one another . . .! SSI-ers walk away empowered to serve God and counter the culture!” – Shaoannah

So if your student is hesitant, help them take the first step. The first step, after all, usually proves the hardest! Share Grace and Shaohannah’s stories with them as an example that new friends can turn this experience into a thrilling one.

Published on by Joshua Bailey.

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A Catalyst for Calling

by Josiah Young, SSI Program Administrator

”It would be impossible to [overstate] how impactful SSI was on me. It was essentially the catalyst for everything I’ve done over the past two years.” –Cole Birkeland (2015 SSI Alumnus)

Currently a student at the University of Northwestern St. Paul, Cole first attended MN Student Statesmanship Institute in 2014 as a House Track student. He then returned in 2015 for the Senate Track. Looking back on his SSI experience, Cole writes,

“SSI has substantially shaped the direction in which I’ve gone, and has given me valuable experiences.”

In reflecting, Cole identifies two specific ways SSI impacted him: his calling and his faith.

It was at SSI that I feel I found my vocation, and synonymously revitalized my faith. Ever since, I’ve been doing everything I can to serve the community for good and ultimately, hopefully, serve the Lord according to his will.

For Cole, serving the Lord and his community means pursuing a career in law and politics in order to fight for religious liberty. SSI helped him discover that passion, and it laid a foundation for the course he has now set.

Cole is not the only teen whose life was positively impacted at SSI. Many others, even those who have no interest in politics, have benefited immensely. After all, the purpose of SSI is not to turn students into politicians. The purpose is to inspire students to be men and women of integrity and courage who are leaders in their daily lives. This is the calling of every Christian. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount,

“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything . . .” (Mat. 5:13)


“[L]et your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat. 5:16)

How does SSI create this type of leader? By challenging students in their faith through powerful testimonies of local speakers, and by teaching students to think critically about the toughest social issues of our day. They learn that they can be true catalysts for change right where they are—at home, school, and work—for society changes only as people change.

As for Cole, he is “extremely grateful” for his time at SSI and hopes to come back—but this time as a team member, so that he can invest in other teenagers!

I am extremely grateful for the time that I spent there, and for the impactful work that the program does.” –Cole

Learn more about SSI here!

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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Heartbreaking & Trendy: Celebration of Gender Confusion

By Emily Zinos, Consultant for Ask Me First MN, a Project of Minnesota Family Council

Are you watching the transgender phenomenon and scratching your head over it's popularity? It seems like just yesterday that biological sex was an unquestionable fact. But that's not the case for many young people, who are feeling confused about their sex at younger and younger ages. As a mom and a Christian, I believe this is a call to proclaim the truth with boldness and compassion.

As many Christians know, it can be a challenge to raise your kids to embrace God's truth within a secular - and sometimes hostile - environment. Over thirteen years, I helped to organize parents to fight comprehensive sex-ed, created an abstinence-only program, fought for students’ free speech rights and a parent’s right to opt kids out of material they find objectionable at school. Little did I realize that this was a time of preparation. As we read in Luke 12:35-38, “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” These battles were, for myself and my family, invitations to grow in courage and boldness.

Last year the invitation to engage came again.  I received word that the grade school would be teaching children from kindergarten to fifth grade about transgenderism in order to “accommodate” a kindergarten student who was confused about their sex. It was heartbreaking to hear that this child was being encouraged to live as the opposite sex and it was equally heartbreaking to hear that our school was willing to teach every single student that such confusion is something to celebrate. Genesis 1:27 so clearly tells us the truth of our bodies, and more fundamentally our selves: “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Our sex is not what we do, the clothes we wear, or the things we enjoy -- it’s who we are. That’s what our children deserve to hear and that’s especially what children who struggle with their accepting their bodies need to hear.

Gender Confusion is Heartbreaking
-Not a Call to Celebration-

With these sentiments in our hearts, parents at our school shed their apprehension of involvement in school politics. Over one hundred parents gave their time, talents and energy in defense of the truth. We attended board meetings, wrote letters to the editor, met with administrators and enlisted the help of Minnesota Family Council in hosting an event that presented the truth about the transgender movement. We spoke to the media, we signed petitions and we testified at the legislature. Some parents were, like me, prepared for this battle. But others were blessed with courage and boldness just by saying “yes” and joining in the fight for the first time ever.

Though we gave it our all, the school ultimately made the dangerous decision to implement what is known as a “gender inclusion” policy. This policy allows students to use the locker rooms, showers and bathrooms of the opposite sex, allows students to wear the uniforms of the opposite sex, and intentionally keeps parents in the dark when a student of the opposite sex will be sharing locker rooms with their children.

This is a problem the size of Goliath, but we can’t give up the fight.  Psalm 112:7 encourages us to persevere, strengthened by faith: “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” We know God doesn’t make mistakes and we know our true identity lies in Christ. It’s our duty and our privilege to pass that onto our children, even if it means speaking at a school board meeting, reviewing the books in their classroom, or having an uncomfortable conversation with administrators.

My “yes” to God has paved the way to my involvement in a project led by MFC called Ask Me First MN, which provides opportunities to develop a better understanding of transgender ideology and everything it seeks to undermine: Chiefly the appreciation of the gift of our body, safety and privacy rights, and respect for the differences between men and women. Ask Me First MN also encourages engagement in the public square to advance policies that protect safety, privacy and dignity for all. Telling our stories and taking action in a spirit of loving concern are key to healing confused hearts and minds. Ask Me First MN is an opportunity to speak out in defense of God’s most beautiful creation: men and women.

Published on by Stephani Liesmaki.

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