There’s no crying in baseball. Tom Hanks told us that in “In a League of Their Own.” There’s also no cheating in sports. Allowing natural-born men to participate in women’s sports on the basis of gender identification is, in essence, cheating.
On February 16, two biological males who identify as transgender girls took first and second place in the Connecticut state open indoor track championships. The high school juniors, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, have captured both state and national accolades. Miller is the third-fastest runner in the country in the girls’ 55-meter dash. Yearwood trails, tied for 7th.
Here lies the problem: While those two students identify as women, their genetics reflect otherwise. In the purest form, sports should celebrate physicality: the natural female and male forms as they exist, not as they are altered through steroids or hormonal replacement. We don’t allow steroids in professional sports, so why should we allow genetic enhancement or alteration drugs in amateur sports?
In the past, the two students have told “Good Morning America” that women should simply work harder to beat them. This sentiment is ludicrous, particularly in a sport like track and field where there is no trainable skill other than form and God-given physicality. It is possible to strengthen fast-twitch muscles (responsible for short-distance speed intrinsic in these sprinters’ performances), but only to a certain point of maximization. Translation: You’re either born with it or you’re not. And the average man is born with more speed and strength capacity than the average female athlete.
For example, I played competitive soccer throughout high school and into college at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. I trained for hours every day to perfect my dribbling and ball-handling skills, in addition to spending time on strength training and sprinting. I wasn’t slow by any means, but I wasn’t particularly fast. When you reach the highest competitive levels, the smallest degrees of speed difference matter. It’s, in part, what separates future Olympian soccer players from standout collegiate stars. You cannot simply “work harder” to achieve genetics inherent to your competitors who are also working just as hard.
Kudos to Connecticut student-athlete Selina Soule, who finished eighth in the Connecticut competition, for calling this imbalance out. Had the two transgender runners not participated, Soule would have earned a berth into the New England Regionals (only the top six finalists make it).
She told the Washington Times, “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing. I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”
Political Battles Over Transgender Athletes
Liberals, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), insist on the value of science. The 2020 presidential hopeful recently tweeted, “I believe in science. And anyone who doesn’t has no business making decisions about our environment.” This was in response to a report that the White House climate panel will include a climate alarmism skeptic.
Alright, Warren. If you believe in science, then don’t selectively feign interest in it. Don’t now choose to ignore science as it pertains to basic genetics because it might alienate the kumbaya identity politics espoused by the far-left reaches of your party.
Here’s just one glaring physical difference between men and women, scientifically examined by the National Institute of Health: “At birth, females have smaller lungs than males with fewer respiratory bronchioles. The sex-related differences in lung growth persist from childhood to adulthood. They are present also during the brief period of adolescence (from 11 to 13 years) when females are taller than males because of the onset of the pubertal growth spurt…Because boys have bigger lungs per unit of stature, they have a larger total number of alveoli and a larger alveolar surface area for a given age and stature.”
South Dakota is being proactive about transgender people participating in female sports. The state’s lawmakers are considering a bill, House Bill 1225, that would make a student’s birth certificate the determinant of “sexual identity” for participating in high school athletics. It’s being sponsored by five Republican members of the House of Representatives and three Republican state senators.
South Dakota lawmakers reportedly said they were inspired to take action after hearing about the Connecticut state track results this month. Connecticut is one of 17 states that allows full participation from transgender athletes in female sports, according to Transathlete.com. Seven other states make it more difficult, looking for proof of sex or mandatory hormone therapy before participating—measures South Dakota’s House Bill 1225 seeks to include.
What’s Next for This Issue
Trans athletes can compete in The International Olympic Committee’s affiliated sports, but with the same guidelines states like South Dakota are looking to secure. In 2016, the committee mandated transgender female athletes demonstrate their testosterone level has been below a certain point for at least a year before competing. Male counterparts have no restrictions.
But what happens to any American who has a difference of thought, not sex? Tennis legend Maria Navratilova was recently ostracized and dropped from LGBT groups for daring to speak up about the physical inequity for natural-born females against transgender women.
In fall 2018, Twitter announced a new policy prohibiting “misgendering” or “dead naming” transgender people. It includes repeated or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, and anything that deliberately refers to a transgender person with pronouns they dislike. But as we’ve consistently seen in the past, Twitter is inconsistent at best with its enforcement. The question remains will social media platforms now ban or lock accounts simply for disagreeing on trans athlete participation levels.
Our society shifts more and more to an all-inclusive membership even when legitimate reasons for boundaries exist. There is no reason transgender athletes cannot compete against other transgender athletes. But blindly supporting women competing against men who identify as women makes no biological sense.
Life is not perfect or fair, despite strong, misguided efforts to manufacture utopia. In the process to equalize opportunities, many advocates—specifically in female trans athlete inclusion—are making the social strata even more unbalanced.