Prof argues 'white cisgender patriarchy' is the greatest threat to women's sports

In a recent Guardian op-ed, prof. Johanna Mellis argued that Republicans, conservatives, and white 'cisgender men' were pursuing a 'proto-genocidal assault to eliminate trans people.'

'Their strategy also tries to limit our athletic success and opportunities by reinforcing sexist notions of cisgender girls and women as the ‘weaker, slower sex.''

On July 7, Ursinus College assistant history professor Johanna Mellis wrote an op-ed for The Guardian, in which she called for female athletes to defend women’s sports from white “cisgender men.” 

Dr. Mellis argued that the “main threat” to women’s athletics is not “trans women,” but instead “cisgender men,” who are the “common perpetrators of sexual assault, abuse and harassment in sport.”

According to Mellis, “cisgender men” possess “nearly all the levers of power in sport,” which causes “near-unfettered access to use and abuse athletes of all genders.” 

“The GOP is using sporting exclusion as an entry point to gain support for their proto-genocidal assault to eliminate trans people,” Mellis said. She alleged that Republican politicians and conservative commentators were “trying to ban trans people’s access to gender-affirming care” and ultimately “eliminate them from existence.”

[RELATED: FSU teaches students about ‘Transgender Etiquette’]

“They are instrumentalizing us cisgender women as weapons in their anti-trans assault,” Mellis continued. “Their strategy also tries to limit our athletic success and opportunities by reinforcing sexist notions of cisgender girls and women as the ‘weaker, slower sex.’” 

Mellis, a former collegiate swimmer, then directed her article to attack former All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, saying that she was “famously making a right-wing career” after competing against transgender identifying swimmer Lia Thomas.   

“Gaines has used 79% of her interviews to argue that trans women have an unfair athletic advantage over cis women – a claim with no evidence,” Mellis wrote. “In 28% of her interviews, Gaines has argued that cis women are at risk of being sexually assaulted by trans women in locker rooms.”

Mellis states that Gaines’s claims were a “complete lie” due to “evidence” from her own “experiences as a cisgender, white female swimmer.”

“Telling our stories of sporting abuse and harassment to identify the specifically cisgender perpetrators show why we must stand locked in solidarity with trans people in our common fight against the cisgender white patriarchy,” Mellis said.  

[RELATED: WATCH: ‘When they want you silent, speak louder’: Riley Gaines attacked at SF State]

“To not do so implicates us in this emergent genocide. It reinforces patriarchal attempts to control not just trans’ people’s bodies, but ours too through sexual abuse, harassment, forced pregnancies, and other eugenic schemes,” she added. 

The professor claimed “transgender athletes” were not the ones “sexually endangering” women in locker rooms, but rather “cisgender reporters.” 

“Their obsession with Thomas’s body betrayed a horrific exoticization of trans people’s bodies. Talk about possible sexual harassment and trauma,” Mellis noted. 

[RELATED: Boise State professor drops hard data on the trans sports controversy]

“It is essential that as the group with closer proximity to the cisgender white patriarchy in charge of sport – and thus with more power and protection – we loudly use our agency to lock arms with transgender people to resist transphobia,” she stated. 

“Not doing so will harm us both to varying degrees, with transgender people standing alone to face dire genocidal policies,” she concluded.

Campus Reform has reached out to Mellis and Ursinus College for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.