Women in sports. Trans women in sports. To some, these are the same idea. Yet to older women who worked their behinds off to be taken seriously in a male-dominated game, there is a huge difference. Men are born with 8 percent more muscle mass than women, on average. That may sound minuscule, but in the world of racing, power, and endurance, it is everything.
There is a reason that men’s sports and women’s sports are separate. The Olympic Committee’s latest decision to allow transgender athletes to compete alongside whatever sex they identify with, without undergoing transgender surgery, will be the end of women’s sports, at least for natural-born women (women who menstruate and have working mammary glands).
We’ve all read the headlines: Trans girl wins high school wrestling championship. Trans woman wins cycling competition. Trans woman dominates. Trans girl comes in first. These cases are increasing and they won’t stop, because people are either afraid to be labelled transphobic for speaking out or they just don’t care about women’s sports.
I was a tomboy, a pudgy female who was stronger than the little girls who liked dolls and wanted to be ballerinas. I played basketball with the guys and learned how to take a hit when playing football with my male cousins. I filled in for the son my father never had.
I grew up hoping for a women’s NFL. Movies like “Love & Basketball” made me think that women had a chance in professional sports, that we could strive to be ball players and get the same respect as male athletes did. What I got was the Lingerie Bowl. Those women work hard. They are tough, but they still have to take off their clothes to get people to watch.
Viewership is what it’s all about. It’s no secret that the Olympic Games have been losing ratings for years. Blame their old-fashioned ceremonies, their cheesy endorsements, or the outdated network broadcast littered with commercials no one watches. Whatever the reason, they need something new, something fresh.
Enter the trans sports debacle and watch the controversy fly. People are talking about the games again. Maybe their ratings will skyrocket. Maybe trans competitors everywhere will finally feel loved and accepted. Maybe the Olympics will bring everyone together and the world will share a big loving group hug. I’m not counting on it.
The Most Likely Scenario
I expect to see women continue to get creamed by competitors who were biologically born faster and stronger. We’ve seen it before. It won’t come as a shock, but people will tune in to watch in the name of human rights. Who cares about the women who fought for equal opportunities?
Feminism doesn’t matter when combating transphobia. Creating a third category for people who do not identify with the sex they were born into wouldn’t otherwise gain a following. The trans population is less than 1 percent of humanity, and very few people would care to watch trans women destroy trans men. So we have to allow trans women to take on natural-born women in the name of solidarity.
This makes as much sense to me as forcing a woman to take off her hijab in the name of women’s rights. Yes, transgender rights are important, and yes they deserve equal opportunities, but allowing men with penises who have testosterone in their bodies to compete with women who do not is not leveling anyone’s playing field. It’s a direct attack on everything our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers worked for.
I watched women struggle to succeed and now that I can share our triumph with my daughters, it’s getting snatched away by dudes in dresses. Maybe I’m the only one who cares. The #BoycottTheOlympics movement on Twitter is barely thriving. Most women who speak out against trans women competitors are labelled as transphobic bigots and torn apart by internet mobs, which is contradictory to everything feminism taught me.
Goodbye to Equality
Natural-born men can say they’re women, not do anything else, and win women’s competitions now depending on the sport. Goodbye to equality. Women who speak out are told to shut their mouths and just go with it. Sound familiar?
I am beyond enraged; I am livid. The Olympic Committee is irresponsible and insensitive. They deserve nothing from me or other female athletes. Maybe that’s their ultimate goal.
Women’s sports don’t draw the same ratings as men’s, unless of course we parade about in lingerie. It’s a harsh reality. That is what makes news of the change in the Olympic rules so defeatist.
Very few people seem to care. And if we don’t come together to oppose the new changes, or push for them to do the right thing and open up a third category for trans athletes, then we’ve already lost. Women’s sports are being suffocated. It won’t last much longer, but at least we know what’s important. Allowing a man to prove he’s the best woman is now the norm.
Good luck, ladies.