An actress in a Disney-owned series has taken to social media to defend women's rights, causing her co-stars to criticize her thoughts on trans exclusion in women's sports.
Natasha Ward, who appears in the Disney-owned ABC series "Station 19" recently took to her Instagram account to defend biological women who are fighting for their rights in women's sports amidst the inclusion of transgender athletes in the category. Ward's comments come after University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological man who identifies as a woman, once again beat female-born athletes in a women's competition.
"Supporting trans freedom does not mean it's OK to violate the rights of biological women," Ward argued in her Instagram stories. "Pretending that trans women are not men who have a biological advantage, and therefore place an undue burden on biological women, is make believe and it is not science nor fact."
According to Faithwire, the Disney actress argued that "in the long run," women will need to "to take illegal substances" just to level out the playing field or "beat men 'identifying' as women in women's sports." Ward argued that the inclusion of biological men who identify as women in women's sports will eventually lead to "pushing women out of the upper echelons of elite sports entirely as we biologically cannot compete apart from enhanced substances, forcing women to endanger their health."
Ward insisted in her Instagram account, which has now been set to private, that "this is science" and that other people's "truth" does "[infringe] upon fact and places an undue burden, which displaces my rights, we have gone too far."
The Disney actress' latest comments in the transgender debate in women's sports have earned her criticism from her very own "Station 19" co-stars. Some have taken to social media to oppose her views, including actors Paris Barclay, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Shane Hartline, and Barrett Doss, who all took to Twitter to air their own opinions.
Paris Barclay, a 65 year old two-time Emmy Award winning director, argued on Twitter that there were "two sides to the argument," with one side being that of "love, understanding, empathy [and] support," while the other being "bigotry, ignorance, misinformation, [and] transphobia." He went on to call out Ward, saying she was on the "wrong side."
Jaina Lee Ortiz, who plays Lt. Andrea "Andy" Herrera in "Station 19," took to Twitter to say that "transphobia" and "queerbaiting" are "super lame."
Shane Hartline, who plays Maddox in season 5 of "Station 19," declared on Twitter that he is a "trans ally" and that he has "loved ones that are transgender," which led him to conclude that he does not "support anything that believes they don't deserve the same things everyone else does."
The heated arguments over transgender athletes' inclusion in women's sports come after Thomas beat two biological women in the 500-yard freestyle event of the Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Coming in right after Thomas was Olympic silver medalist from Florida, Emma Weyant, whom Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis declared as the official winner of the competition on Tuesday.
Gov. DeSantis described Weyant as "an absolute superstar" who "had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics." The Republican leader added that the NCAA was "basically taking efforts to destroy women's athletics" and "trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, crowning somebody else the women's champion, and we think that's wrong."