Those were the words uttered by skater Taylor Silverman this morning while appearing as a guest on “Don’t @ Me” with OutKick’s Dan Dakich. Silverman discussed the discomfort and fear of being blackballed that she’s been dealing with since speaking out against the decision to allow Lilian Gallagher to compete in skate competitions against biological females.
As OutKick’s Alejandro Avila detailed last week, Gallagher, who is transgender, competed in a Red Bull-sponsored skating event against biological females, taking first place and $ 5,000. Initially hesitant to speak up, Silverman, who finished second, found the courage to speak out, saying in part: “…The trans competitor who won took $ 1000 dollars in qualifiers, $ 3000 in finals, and $ 1000 in best trick. This totaled to $ 5000 of the prize money meant for the female athletes.
She later added: “I deserve to place first, be acknowledged for my win, and get paid. I reached out to Red Bull and was ignored. I am sick of being bullied into silence.”
Predictably, Red Bull did not respond.
The woke mob, however, did acknowledge Silverman’s stance and unsurprisingly, began to crucify her as being transphobic and a “salty maggot,” amongst other pleasantries.
Dakich provided Silverman with the opportunity to expound upon her thoughts in a nearly 20 minute interview that shed light on the often ignored battle biological female athletes face when forced to compete against biological males.
“I thought it was unfair at the time. I was really uncomfortable,” Silverman said upon learning she would be competing against Gallagher.” So I just participated and went through the motions of a contest. Like I would try to be a good sportsman. But the more that I sat with it and thought about it, the more I felt like I needed to say something. Because I recognize that this is an issue bigger than skateboarding. This is impacting all different sports and girls and women on all levels.”
Those thoughts prompted Silverman to post her views on social media while simultaneously seeking a response from Red Bull. As she mentioned, competing, and the decision to post about it, left her feeling uneasy.
When asked by Dakich what made her uncomfortable, Silverman wasted little time, responding: “I think that like many other women, I was scared of being blacklisted, of being harassed, for speaking up for myself. And I also I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But when you see something happening that’s wrong, I think you need to speak up. And I was also kind of putting my own feelings aside when I didn’t speak up. So the longer that I went, not speaking up, the harder it got to stay silent. And I finally realized I had to do something. So I reached out to Red Bull, but I was ignored. So I went to social media.”
Silverman then went on to say she was uncomfortable throughout the entire event and fears what she will one day have to explain to her daughters.
“I was trying to just have a good time and skateboard like I usually would. I was enjoying everybody’s company because these events bring together people from all over the country,” Silverman told Dakich. “But in the back of my head the whole time, I just felt like what was happening was so wrong. And I’ve seen it before, and it’s finally happening to me. And I thought about how this could happen to my kids one day if I’m lucky enough to have a family in the future.”
That thought weighs most heavily on Silverman.
“And my fear of having to explain that to my daughters is far greater than my fear of a smear campaign online by people who don’t even know me,” said Silverman.
Silverman is already feeling the effects of the hateful smear campaign, though it’s coincided with an overwhelming amount of support. “I’ve received all sorts of crazy comments and messages,” commented Silverman. “The hate comments on my posts on Instagram are unmanageable at this point because there’s so many of them. But the reality of the situation is the majority of the messages I’m getting are supportive, and it’s from people all over the world. It’s parents of athletes, it’s female athletes, it’s professional athletes to compete in different sports who are reaching out to me and also a lot of people in the trans community who agree with me on this and see that it’s unfair.”
Any backlash from the vocal minority, most of whom are partaking in the very thing they advocate against – hate – will not stop Silverman from standing up and speaking out for what is fair to ALL females. “(Trans women competing against females is) just completely unfair to girls and women, and our voices don’t matter to most people,” Silverman added. “…and I really hope this encourages more girls and women to speak up because your voice does matter here.”
What shouldn’t be lost in Silverman’s stance is that she is advocating for women to get paid what they have rightfully earned and deserve. As long as biological males continue to compete against females, we will continue to see money line the pockets of those with an unfair advantage. Something that is not lost on the pro skater.
“I really realized how big of a problem this is,” Silverman said, referring to a trans woman taking home significant prize money. ” But the truth is, on any level, even if there’s not money involved, this is not fair for girls and women. And this should not be occurring in any sport.”
Silverman, along with plenty of others, is steadfast in her belief that speaking up was the right move. “Even if you’re scared, it’s. It’s still all right to speak up,” she told Dakich. “I was scared. I spoke up anyway. And it feels a lot better to get it off your chest and do the right thing than it feels to sit in fear and silence. It was a huge relief.”
In her final comments with Dakich, Silverman drove home her point: “I hope that my story can inspire more people to speak up. And I hope that it can inspire a conversation where people are able to talk in a reasonable way and come up with some solutions.”