And we’re back with Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series! Each week, we reach out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We ask one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those who choose to respond will have their answers shared on our website every Wednesday through Sunday. (Please see a special statement on unresponsive candidates here.)

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania’s nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Congress discussed the future of women’s sports in our state. Today, nominees for the General Assembly weigh in.

If you are a candidate for public office in Pennsylvania and would like to participate, please reach out to

This week’s question: The International Swimming Federation (FINA) recently voted to enact a new policy that will restrict most transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s aquatics competitions. Do you think that decision is a model for other women’s sports in Pennsylvania?

Broad + Liberty thanks the following campaigns for their participation. Click a link below to jump to the response from your district’s candidate!

Rob Davies (R), Running for State Senate, District 12

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) policy which places limits on transgender athletes competing in women’s events is certainly an improvement over a policy that places no limits on the ability of biological males to compete in women’s sports. Ultimately, however, it is an unnecessarily complicated set of rules that risks creating competitions that remain unfair to biological females while encouraging biological males to undergo risky medical procedures at very young ages.

I will also note that the FINA policy is silent on the issue of the use of women’s changing, locker, and bathroom facilities by biological males. To have biological males, even if they are eligible to compete as women, sharing these facilities with biological females violates the privacy and modesty of women. This is unfair and inappropriate. 

It would be far better to accept the reality of biological sex and have athletes compete in the category into which they were born.

Rob Davies’ opponent, Maria Collett, chose not to respond.

Ilya Breyman (D), Running for State House, District 178

I do not think my opinion on this question is in any way relevant. I don’t believe that the state (or federal) government has any business regulating athletic eligibility. Athletic leagues, which operate elite competitions, are private associations that can make their own decisions. 

Everyone should be afforded equal protection under the law, and should be allowed to grow up without fear of government persecution, capricious legal exclusion, or prejudicial discrimination. That should be the end of the discussion as far as anyone in the state legislature is concerned. Allowing any policy beyond this would mean that the legislature would not only violate Pennsylvania’s own laws regarding individual privacy, but would violate Amendments IV, V, and XIV of the U.S. Constitution in such an egregious fashion, you’d have to wonder if they were choosing to ignore the Constitution entirely. 

I believe the state has enough on its plate, dealing with actual challenges inherent in balancing We, The People’s rights against what our Founders saw as the compelling government interest to “insure domestic tranquility” and “promote the General Welfare.” The state should protect its citizens from discrimination, protect minors from abuse, including sexual harassment and abuse by coaches, and guarantee equal and fair treatment under the law to everyone. And that’s what I would fight for if elected — for every Pennsylvanian, regardless of their political affiliation, gender, origin, race, etc. — just as our state and federal Constitutions require.

Ilya Breyman’s opponent, Kristin Marcell, chose not to respond.

Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty

One thought on “General Assembly Candidate Spotlight: Women’s Sports”

  1. Ilya Breyman’s POV is fine for a private citizens perhaps, however the issue has become one where politics have taken over and are trumping reality. The laws around sex discrimination are being interpreted by those in power in such a way as to put the issue before our legislatures and courts. Someone running for office and not taking a stand on this issue is no different from someone running for office and not taking a stand on racial discrimination.

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