Take Back Title IX Summer 2024 bus tour visits Utah capitol

The Independent Women's Forum bus is parked in front of the Utah Capitol during the Take Back Title IX Summer 2024 bus tour in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

The Independent Women's Forum bus is parked in front of the Utah Capitol during the Take Back Title IX Summer 2024 bus tour in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. (Isaac Hale, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Independent Women's Forum brought its Take Back Title IX bus tour to Salt Lake City Tuesday as part of the Our Bodies, Our Sports movement, which claims to be the "largest and most ideologically diverse women's movement of our time."

More than 70 local residents came to the Utah capitol to welcome and mingle with the bus of activists involved with the movement, which aims to "protect women's sports, (and) call attention to the Biden administration's Title IX regulations and the devastating impact the new rules will have on women and the growing threat to women's equal athletic opportunity, privacy, and safety," the tour's website reads.

The tour features a number of former NCAA athletes and coaches who are sharing their experiences in athletics to raise support for increased protection for women's sports under Title IX, including enforcing single-sex spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms.

"Every single story of the ladies featured on this tour is unique, important and must be heard," said Brianna Howard, the Independent Women's Forum's external relations manager who currently manages the bus tour. "They're making change and it's important that their voices be heard."

Among the women on the tour is Kim Russell, who was terminated from her position as head coach of the Oberlin College women's lacrosse program in 2023 after a lengthy period of conflict with the school following her public comments regarding transgender individuals competing in college athletics.

"We are erasing all women to make a male who identifies as a woman feel comfortable," Russell told the Deseret News. "We are putting all women in harm's way in order to make one male who feels uncomfortable feel comfortable. That is not kind. There are only two sexes, and if we don't come back to that basic truth, women will be erased.

"We are here specifically to bring the truth. When people say this isn't about inclusion, it is. We are about the inclusion of women. We are about the inclusion of every human being. The truth is, there are two sexes, and kindness is telling the truth."

The Independent Women's Forum does not view the issues driving the bus tour as political, citing support received from members all across the political spectrum.

"Defending common sense and sex-based rights for women should not be political, and historically has not been as political as it is now, but we have folks who just do not understand what a woman is or refuse to define what a woman is, and it's why we're here," Howard said. "We shouldn't have to have this tour, but unfortunately we're doing this so women from future generations and current generations have the protections they need under the law."

The bus tour began May 29 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and continued on to Las Vegas Wednesday, wrapping up June 28 in Nashville. The Salt Lake City event was officially hosted by the Utah Eagle Forum.

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