A major American newspaper has faced criticism for retroactively editing an op-ed it published because the author used the word "male" to describe boys who identify as female, which the publication deemed offensive.
The op-ed piece, published by USA Today, was written by Chelsea Mitchell, a track athlete from Connecticut who is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state's athletic association over its policy of allowing boys who identify as the opposite sex to compete in girls' sports.
In the op-ed, Mitchell wrote about the inherent unfairness in allowing boys to compete against girls because of the physical differences between males and females, such as strength and stamina, and the losses and missed opportunities that she and her fellow female runners experienced because they were required to compete against boys.
Because she used the word male to describe the bodies of the trans-identifying competitors, LGBT activists complained that the language was "hurtful," and the newspaper then re-edited the column after it was published to replace all mentions of the word male with transgender.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Mitchell and the other female runners in their lawsuit, balked at the revision and republished the original version of the op-ed on their website.
"USA Today violated its principles to appease the mob. This blatant censorship violates the trust we place in media to be honest brokers of public debate," tweeted Christiana Holcomb, an ADF attorney who has been representing the girls.
Abigail Shrier, a Wall Street Journal contributor and author of the book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, called USA Today's removal of the word male "outrageous."
“The activists know well that Mitchell can’t make her argument without that word. Shame on the useful idiots of USA Today. If only they had half Mitchell’s courage,” Shrier tweeted Wednesday.
Mark Hemingway, a senior writer at Real Clear Investigations, tweeted: “Absolutely incredible. You literally can’t make an argument in corporate media with conceding to the terms set by the left.”
Mitchell wrote in the op-ed that because of the athletic association's policy when she was competing in the state championship for the 55-meter indoor race, "all I can think about is how all my training, everything I’ve done to maximize my performance, might not be enough, simply because there’s a runner on the line with an enormous physical advantage: a male body."
USA Today also omitted "male body" from Mitchell's op-ed and replaced "male runners" with "transgender runners" in a subsequent paragraph.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny dismissed a lawsuit Mitchell and her fellow runners, Selina Soule and Alanna Smith, had filed. Chatigny said that since the two transgender-identified boy athletes at the center of the dispute had both graduated, "there was no further dispute to resolve," according to the Hartford Courant.
An appeal of the ruling will soon be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The female athletes argue that allowing males to compete against girls, regardless of how the males identify, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX, the section of the Civil Rights Act pertaining to education, including sports.