Sports: When trans women win gold
“Women’s sport may never be quite the same again,” said Rich Lowry in the New York Post. Last month in Connecticut, two male-to-female transgender high schoolers took first and second place in the girls’ 55-meter dash at the state indoor open track championship, “crushing the competition.” They also placed first and second in last year’s 100-meter dash. This was, of course, wildly unfair. Whether he identifies as male or female, the average man is bigger, taller, stronger, and faster than the average woman. “All this is obvious to those of us with eyes that see and minds capable of critical thought,” said Madeleine Kearns in NationalReview.com. Yet tennis great Martina Navratilova was pilloried by social justice warriors for making the same observation in a recent op-ed for the U.K.’s Times. Even though Navratilova is a lesbian and a longtime champion of gay rights, she was kicked off the board of the LGBT group Athlete Ally for her unforgivable “transphobia.”
“Chill out,” said Jonathan Liew in Independent.co.uk. Trans people aren’t coming to ruin all that is “pure and good” about sports. For one thing, sports aren’t fair to begin with. The best basketball players are blessed with remarkable height. That doesn’t mean they have an unfair advantage over short people. It’s also ridiculous to think that biologically male athletes are trying to “game the system” just to win trophies. The process of transitioning is arduous and traumatic, with trans people enduring extreme prejudice. What’s the harm in allowing some of society’s most marginalized people a chance to showcase their talent? “Imagine the power of a trans child or teenager seeing a trans athlete on the top step of the Olympic podium.” Some things are bigger than sports.
The solution to this problem “is surely somewhere in the gray,” said Greg Cote in the Miami Herald. For her part, Navratilova has apologized for explicitly accusing trans athletes of “cheating.” “All I am trying to do,” she said, “is make sure girls and women who were born female are competing on as level a playing field as possible within their sport.” Good for her. You can be in favor of trans rights while still recognizing that there are “unique difficulties” when it comes to sports. “Imagine a retired NBA player who is now a transgender female and dominating in the WNBA.” Raising these issues shouldn’t be taboo. “When the only goal is being fair to both sides, the discussion is always worth having.”