Timcast's outspoken skateboarding superstar Taylor Silverman fights like hell for women in sports

I met up with Taylor Silverman in the green room at the Timcast studio, the Castle. She was flipping a mini skateboard on her fingers and had just finished shooting an episode of Cast Castle. She laughed when I asked her about it, hesitant to give away too many details as the episode had not yet aired.

Silverman is part of the burgeoning community of creators filling in space in and around Timcast, an emerging media empire that offers a core news roundtable every weeknight, along with topical entertainment, music, pop culture analysis, a popular channel dedicated entirely to chickens (yes, chickens), and skating content.

Silverman plays herself on Cast Castle Vlog, a members only show featuring the personalities of Timcast. "It's a silly version of what goes on at Timcast," she said. The events that landed her on Cast Castle, and as a part of the Timcast crew, were anything but. While nothing about Silverman says victim, she was definitely on the receiving end of anti-female trans activism and backlash.

It all started when Silverman, an amateur skater competing in amateur events, took second place at a 2021 Red Stone Cornerstone event in Lincoln, Nebraska. First place prize, and the $5,000 prize money, went to Lillian Gallagher, a trans-identified biological male competitor who had entered to compete against women. It wasn't the first time she had faced biological males in competition designated for women, but it wasn't one she could ignore.

"I at first I thought this is just a coincidence that keeps happening to me so much," Silverman said. "And then I realized that this is actually pretty common. And it was seeing interviews of people like Riley Gaines, who spoke up about swimming and tying with Lia Thomas and also the Connecticut high school track runners Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alana Smith."

Those track runners are still fighting to earn back the titles they lost to Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, two biological males who determined in high school that they were actually women and should race against women. Biden's education secretary Miguel Cardona served in that role in Connecticut, and advocated for the rights of male students to steal the women's awards and titles. Cardona refers to his policies on the subjects as "inclusive."

The loss of the award and the money rankled with Silverman, who had seen the emergence of biological males competing in women's sports after growing out their hair and taking a little estrogen, but had not experienced it first hand to her own personal and professional detriment.

"I think I had seen an interview from Selina and maybe one other track runner who had done an interview on Fox or something," Silverman said. "But when it it kept happening to me, I started to do some research and like see if there were any other girls speaking about this, or anybody speaking about this, and I also looked up if there were any, like trans athletes speaking about it to kind of get an idea of what that stance was. But I came across videos of trans people who were opposed to it instead of like Blair White and Sarah Higden. And that was kind of what got me to speak up already."

She reached out to Red Bull, and after receiving no response, decided to go public with her complaint. Silverman posted to Instagram, saying "I deserved 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." 

She was embraced by women who had gone through the same thing she had, losing hard fought opportunities as soon as men show up, claim they are women, and steal not only the wins but the accolades. She made appearances on news programs and podcasts across the US and globally, and despite the intense backlash of those trans activists and supporters calling her "perennial second-place," "bigotted," or taking aim at her on the grounds of her Judaism, Silverman did not back down.

Thousands of DMs came into her Instagram from people who were glad she had spoke up and wanted to share their stories, and she was able to connect with the Independent Council on Women's Sports, which has been collecting women's stories of trying, and failing, to compete on a fair playing field.

"It's not just high school or college," Silverman said. "There's like grassroots programs. There's stuff like the kind of amateur skateboarding contests that I was in." And she's found that the influx of biological males using their trans identification to compete against women is only increasing, despite the amount of women speaking out against it. But even so, Silverman is able to find community with these women.

"I've actually gotten to make friends with a lot of these girls and it's cool because when it first happened, I felt like there was not really anybody I could talk to about it or who would really understand and I realized there actually are a lot of girls who understand," she said.

YouTuber and skater Tim Pool was also among those who could see the unfairness of what Silverman, and other women athletes, was going through. He offered to replace the prize money for Silverman, saying that Timcast would cover the difference between the first place prize she should have taken home, and the second place kitty which she did.

Silverman appeared on the Timcast IRL, and the two skaters formed a friendship and working relationship. It's given her a home base, and a platform where she's been able to speak out for the rights of women athletes to compete on a fair playing field and work to put a stop to the idea that there are no substantive differences between women and men.

Those differences, she said, go deeper than hormones. "It's like kind of offensive to suggests that women are just a hormone," she said. "Yeah, there's so many differences. That's true. Like we have less bone density we have less red blood cells. We have smaller lungs and lung capacity. We have a whole other organ that takes up space. We have menstrual cycles that affect an impact our training."

"I know not everybody is impacted that much but like most female athletes, I know, it impacts them to some degree that they have to adjust their training. And, like with skating, we have like lower center of gravity, and our hips are built different. So our the angle on our knees and ankles is different. We're more susceptible to injury. Because we don't have, testosterone, we don't have the same like fearlessness to just like jump down a stair set. Like I don't do that the same way that my male friends do. Like there are still women who are phenomenal and who are amazing, but that's the exception not the rule. We have totally different bodies," Silverman attested.

When asked why she thinks some men do this, see it as their right to compete against women, she said that "there may be different motivations." 

"On one hand," she said, "I think it's possible that there are like trans-identifying male athletes who are encouraged to do this and told that it's okay and then applauded for it. So they may not fully understand why it's unfair to female athletes. But I also wonder if there are people who do it with malicious intent, and they kind of know what they're doing and maybe even don't experience gender dysphoria, but may have another issue going on."

"Maybe like they enjoy changing, or they do it for the attention they know a lot of people will support it, it will make them money. You can make a lot of money doing this. And we've seen athletes do that, especially in skateboarding, the athlete to do this oftentimes make thousands of dollars at every contest. And I think that some people may just genuinely not get it. And they just want to be involved and people tell them that it's okay and anybody who disagrees with it is just a bigot or whatever. But the longer that it's gone on, the harder it is for me to believe that this isn't with malicious intent, because the girls have made themselves pretty clear that this isn't okay," she said.

And she's clear that there are plenty of trans people who see the lie for what it is, and the slings and arrows launched at women who speak up, the mean names, are starting to lose their meaning.

"People are scared because they don't want to be labeled as something like transphobic or hateful or like a bigot. But what more and more people are realizing is that those words are losing their meaning when they're thrown around like this, when female athletes speak up about something as simple as fairness and safety and equal opportunity and sports," Silverman said.

"So I think that it's actually going to, in the long run, hurt the trans community, because when this is all they see about trans people, and they are made to believe that this is an opinion that all trans people hold. It's not going to make people want to support trans people. But the truth is, this doesn't represent everybody's opinion, even in that community and in that community who speak out about it. They also get attacked by people in their own community."

Being an outspoken voice for the rights of women athletes was not something Silverman thought she would be doing, but the pivot has landed her in a space where she can skate, speak her mind, and imagine a future where she can write her own ticket and not be relegated to second place due to unfairness. 

Image: Title: taylor silverman skates


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