The issue of transgender athletes has become one that is very contentious, understandably. I want to go on the record as saying that I fully support the LGBTQ community, wrote on this blog in support of same sex marriage and wholeheartedly believe that never should there be discrimination in business or housing or any other area of our society. However, this should not apply to athletic competition. The issue of rights changes dramatically when one person’s rights are sacrificed in favor of another person’s rights. In this case, two different groups, transgender girls vs. biological girls. Once again, we are in the midst of a controversy concerning athletic competition.
In the most recent case, a transgender female runner Aspen Hoffman, from Seattle Academy High School, won a x-country race, helping her girls team qualify for the state championships. It has created controversy because in the previous season, when Aspen competed on the boys’ team, as a boy, she was a below average runner at best, finishing in 72nd place at the championships. She finished 48th in the 500 meters also competing in the boys’ division. When she started competing against the girls, it became clear that she had a distinct advantage.
Competing against the girls, she finished first in cross country and broke the Seattle Academy High School record for the 500 meters, qualifying for the state championships. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it’s clear that competing against girls turned an average athlete, into an elite athlete, simply by competing as the other gender, and that is categorically unfair. Unlike opinions, which everyone has, times don’t lie. I recognize the fact that there will be people who refuse to recognize this for what it is, just like there are people out there who still believe that Trump is President, but that doesn’t make it so.
This is not an attack on Aspen but rather support for girls across the country. You can’t do one without causing an uproar with the other. When I was captain of my cross-country team in high school, my teammates and I marched at New York City Hall in support of Title IX. At the time, Title IX was only seven years old when I entered high school and things were still very uneven in terms of what funds the girls’ teams received vs. the boy’s teams. Not only that, but there were also fewer girls’ teams because most of the athletic funds were going to the boys’ teams, football receiving the vast majority of the money. This isn’t what I had in mind when I participated in those protests.
In order for this wrong to be righted, there needs to be another category of athletes whose genders differ from their biology. The argument has been made that if transgender female athletes are taking hormones, it levels the playing field. But the very fact that they must take hormones to do that, means things aren’t equal. Does it also mean that transgender males are allowed to take mega doses of testosterone and or steroids in order to give them a fairer chance of winning vs. the biologically male athletes?
Those who downplay this issue, refuse to look at the facts, although I would welcome facts to the contrary. We do know that in several instances, transgender female athletes are dominating or have dominated their biologically female competitors. And on the other hand, we know that not a single transgender male athlete is an elite competitor in any of the major sports. That’s enough evidence to disallow transgender athletes from competing against their biological counterparts. It’s disturbing that the trans community speaks in absolutes which they hope, I suppose will keep people from speaking up. Basically, the narrative is you’re either with us or against us and that is not the case at all.
However, if one biological female loses a scholarship or a place on the Olympic team, to a transgender athlete, then Title IX meant and means nothing. The thing about competition that so many people fail to accept, is that it’s not about making people feel good. In sports there are winners and losers. It’s a harsh reality but the foundation of sports. Sportswriter Grantland Rice, who coined the phrase, “it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game,” wasn’t a competitive athlete. Although he was a great sportswriter. Playing the game fairly is important but is it fair to our daughters and granddaughters to allow biological males to compete against them? I would question anyone’s motives who competes on one team and is average at best, only to willingly accept accolades simply for competing against athletes that they would never have competed against, had they not changed their gender. This is not about anger, hatred or anti-anyone. It’s about fairness. To allow formerly male athletes to compete against biologically female athletes, defies the very reason Title IX was adopted in the first place.