The Story: Lawmakers in five states have drafted measures aimed at preventing high-school-age athletes from competing in sports categories different from their biological sex.
The Background: Lawmakers in Georgia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Washington have introduced or prefiled legislation aimed at preventing athletes from competing in categories different than their biological sex, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Currently, in about a third of states, students who identify as transgender can freely compete on teams of the opposite sex. While some schools require completing a period of testosterone-suppression treatment or gender-reassignment surgery, other schools have no requirement other than a profession of preferred “identity.”
The result is that female students are often put at an unfair disadvantage by being forced to compete in women’s events against biologically male students. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has even opened an investigation into whether female high-school athletes were discriminated against when the state of Connecticut allowed males who identify as females to compete with them. The three high school girls pursuing the complaint missed qualifying for the 55-meter dash in the New England regionals, The Daily Signal notes. Two biological boys who identify as female were allowed to compete in Connecticut’s girls indoor track championship, and won first and second place in the event.
Lawmakers say the legislation is needed to prevent female athletes from facing unfair competition. “I’m just trying to maintain fairness,” said Rep. Bruce Griffey, a sponsor of a trans-athlete bill in Tennessee. “I don’t want girls to be at a disadvantage.”
Why It Matters: In the beginning, God created mankind to be male and female (Gen. 1:27, 5:2). But over the past few decades, mankind has rejected reality and decided that individuals can create themselves as either male or female. The result is what often happens when we subvert God’s intended roles for humanity—the domination of the weak and vulnerable by the strong and privileged.
Many Americans are finally beginning to realize—perhaps too late—that transgender ideology primarily benefits men at the expense of women.
For the past decade, LGBT activists have been using the arena of sports to push transgender ideology. They won a significant victory in 2015 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) began allowing transwomen (i.e., biological men) to compete in the women’s division if, among other things, their testosterone is held below 10 nmol/L. But making such cosmetic changes does not change biological reality.
The stubborn fact remains that men are, on average and by God’s design, physically stronger than women because of the increased levels of testosterone, which creates more total muscle mass. Men also have greater cardiovascular reserve and greater lung volume per body mass, as well as denser and stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments. In contrast, women produce more estrogen than men do, which leads to higher body fat and less lean muscle. Women also produce progesterone, which burns both fat and muscle tissue. These factors give men a natural physical advantage over women in sports that require strength and endurance.
Even the suppression of testosterone or gender reassignment surgery does not negate the advantage of male athletes. As Mackenzie Bettle notes, scientific studies have shown that, because of muscle memory, the muscle mass and strength of biological males can be “rebuilt” through training. Studies have also found that giving opposite-sex hormones to transgender people post-puberty did not alter the athletic-enhancing effects of testosterone on the male body.
Because such reality is difficult to ignore, transgender activism requires either the denial of science or the rejection of fairness in sports. For example, a study published last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics concluded that the advantage to transwomen (i.e., men) afforded by the Olympic committee guidelines is an “intolerable unfairness.” But the authors of the study concluded that rather than exclude transgender athletes the “existing male/female categories in sport should be abandoned in favour of a more nuanced approach satisfying both inclusion and fairness.” As the authors of the study added in a follow-up, “our solution is not to exclude transwomen but to raise the idea that attempting to squeeze everyone into a gender binary is the problem.”
In other words, rather than continue to deny science, we should deny reality and redefine “fairness” in a way that makes it ethical for women athletes to be treated unfairly.
In the early 1970s, women athletes fought for and won the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ensured that the “athletic interests and abilities of male and female students must be equally and effectively accommodated.” But the new transgender ideology is attempting to erase such equal treatment.
Currently, only a slim majority (51 percent) of U.S. adults oppose allowing transgender students to participate on the sports teams of the gender they identify with (i.e., letting biological males, for example, play girls’ sports). About a third (29 percent) support such participation, and one-in-five (20 percent) is undecided. Within the next few years, though, we’ll know who has won the race for public opinion. And then we’ll know if women athletes—and reality—have lost out once again.