I’m so confused.
It was just a decade ago that we were being told that society needed to evolve and understand that women can compete with men physically in sports. It was time to drop female leagues and just have leagues in which boys and girls, men and women, would all play together and against one another. From golf to football this has been the cry for years.
Michelle Wie and Annika Sorenstam both played in PGA men’s tournaments (and did terribly) and we were told that they could absolutely go toe-to-toe against men driving the ball more than a hundred yards further than them. We needed to grow up as a society.
As of 2018, there were over 2400 girls in America playing tackle football with and against boys, and of the more than 4 million kids aged 6 to 12 playing baseball this year 100,000 of them are girls. And this, we’re told is how it should be. How dare we exclude girls from “male,” sports and thereby insinuate or, worse, say out loud that females are built differently than males and simply don’t have the same biological makeup and structure and therefore simply cannot compete physically against them. https://operations.nfl.com/gameday/analytics/stats-articles/more-girls-are-playing-tackle-football/
Just last year, Haley Van Voorhis became the first woman to play college football at a position other than kicker when she played Defensive Back At Shenandoah University https://www.su.edu/blog/2021/09/29/shes-got-game-haley-van-voorhis-making-history-as-defensive-back-at-shenandoah-university/
As recently as 2020, articles were aplenty with arguments such as “Girls should be able to play the same sports as boys. No matter how strong or how much tougher boys are it doesn’t mean that girls can’t be the same way,” and “girls are just the same as boys,” and even the argument that “Girls’ learning systems are faster and they care more about what they are working on…that proves that girls are definitely able to learn the sports that boys play.” That last one is a brilliant counter-argument to the “physical differences,” rationalization in that it almost cedes the point that females are not equal to males physically, and instead says that they can overcome that with their intellect and discipline. https://students4sc.org/2020/08/18/why-girls-should-be-allowed-to-play-the-same-sports-as-boys/
So, for more than a decade the case has been made on a variety of levels how and why males and females can and should compete against one another head-to-head when it comes to sports. Many toxically masculine men find this to be an unwarranted and unwanted intrusion and they are told to sit down, shut up, and get with the times.
And yet, when women are the ones who are intruded on, their tune sure changes. Thus, my confusion.
Front and center this week has been the story of Lia Thomas, a collegiate swimmer who is demolishing her competition and shattering NCAA records as she literally swims laps around all of the other women in college swimming.
This is a problem.
Why, you ask? Is it some silly “woke” thing about how unfair it is that one person is better than another, like when everyone screams if a basketball team beats another by 100 points? Not exactly.
Is it that she’s taking performance-enhancing drugs, giving her an unfair advantage? Not quite.
The problem with Lia Thomas is that she was born a biological male. She’s a transgender female. Thomas previously competed as a man at the University of Pennsylvania for two seasons, but she started her transition in May 2019 with hormone replacement therapy. And then came out to her teammates in the fall of 2019 while competing on the men’s team.
NCAA rules state that transgender players must be on testosterone suppressants for at least one year before they can compete as women. Thomas has been on an ongoing regimen of estrogen and testosterone blockers, and thus is now competing as a woman. In other words, she’s not merely “identifying,” as a female, she’s in the process of changing her body and appearance. Now, this should be a nothing burger based on all of the arguments that we’ve had screamed at us for the past many years. After all, while it’s true that Thomas was born in a male body, it’s already been established that “girls are just the same as boys,” (other than the fact that girls are much better at learning), and thus Thomas’ competitors should welcome her and simply figure out how to outsmart her and/or accept the fact that regardless of how she was born, boys and girls are the same.
Except, that’s not even close to what is happening.
A brief pause; I have no position on this. In fact, I’m quite literally beyond bewildered as to how we should, as a society, be handling sports as it relates to people transitioning from one gender to another. I understand arguments on both sides of the debate and waver back and forth as though I’m one of those wavy guy air dancers at a car lot. My fascination with this particular story, and others like it, is the pure, unadulterated hypocrisy of the arguments being made.
We had this same debate a year ago over a transgender female bodybuilder named Laurel Hubbard being allowed to compete in the Summer Olympics, and the same objections were made then as are being made now…and they completely contradict everything we’ve been told about males competing against females. https://www.npr.org/sections/tokyo-olympics-live-updates/2021/08/02/1023724506/trans-weightlifter-laurel-hubbard-tokyo-olympics
For example, Cynthia Millen, who officiated USA Swimming meets for three decades, stepped down in protest of Thomas being allowed to swim against girls saying, “the fact is that swimming is a sport in which bodies compete against bodies. Identities do not compete against identities…men are different from women, men swimmers are different from women, and they will always be faster than women.” https://canoe.com/sports/its-horrible-transgender-swimmer-lia-thomas-destroying-sport-says-official/wcm/196f2a1c-403d-4a74-a789-6797fbd823ea
Oh my…imagine if she would have said that were the story to be about a biologically born woman wanting to compete against biologically born men…she would have been canceled! She went even further…
“Boys will always have larger lung capacity, larger hearts, greater circulation, a bigger skeleton, and less fat…and no matter how much testosterone suppression drugs (s)he takes, (s)he will always be a biological male and have the advantage.”
I am not here to debate her on the merits of her argument as it relates to transitioning, nor do I appreciate Millen being so classless that she refuses to even use Thomas’ preferred pronoun. The audacity is in the brazen use of the very same set of arguing points that has been used in reverse to justify females competing against males.
She’s far from alone, too. No less than Caitlyn Jenner has weighed in with essentially the same logic:
“We need to protect women’s sports,” Jenner said, “She was born a biological boy, she was raised as a biological boy. Her cardiovascular system is bigger, her respiratory system is bigger, her hands are bigger, she can swim faster. That’s a known.” https://edmontonsun.com/sports/other-sports/woke-world-not-working-caitlyn-jenner-speaks-out-against-trans-swimmer-lia-thomas
Sorry, ladies…you can’t have it both ways.
Either female bodies can compete equally with male bodies or they cannot. Which, again, is not me weighing in on transgender transitions and how it does or doesn’t alter the body, but rather is a commentary using their premise; people, a lot of people, mostly women, are arguing, as was just demonstrated by Caitlyn Jenner, that transgender females have superior athletic bodies in a variety of ways as a result of having been born biologically male. Anyone who made that argument previously was a misogynist. Yet now that women are losing left and right to a biologically born male swimmer, seemingly everyone is coming out of the woodwork to scream from the rooftops that men are superior physically, even on Thomas’ own team! The father of a UPenn swimmer says his daughter and ‘a good number’ of teammates are furious and ‘crying on the pool deck’ because feel they can no longer compete fairly with trans swimmer Lia Thomas on their team. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10427265/Parent-UPenn-swimmer-says-daughter-angry-lost-spots-races-Lia-Thomas.html
It’s so bad that a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s swim team claimed that Thomas, her own teammate, deliberately lost a race last week to a transgender competitor, conspiring with Yale swimmer Iszac Henig, a biological female, prior to a meet, to prove men aren’t always stronger. Thus, the very argument that has been shoved down our throats as a justification for women playing tackle football, baseball, and anything else they want with and against men, is ignored and deemed to be part of a grand conspiracy. https://dailycaller.com/2022/01/20/penn-swimmer-alleges-transgender-teammate-purposely-lost-transgender-opponent/
None of this even begins to touch on how stunning it is that somehow, America’s national feminist movement has found a way to actually become more despicable by totally abandoning trans females…but I digress…that’s for a whole other soapbox.
This singular argument over transgender women and women sports has laid bare, yet again, how selfish, vapid, and meaningless almost all of these “causes,” are. Women playing men’s sports under the guise of “equality,” has been destroyed by those who had been advocating for it now arguing against transgender women using the very objections that have been made against them as their reasoning. That’s it…game over. No more of this.
And what of all of these woke supporters of trans people? What does it say about their resolve when the first thing they see upon hearing this debate is the need to “choose a side?” Boy, that’s who you want covering you when you’re heading into battle, isn’t it?
In the end, I don’t have an answer, I have an observation. There’s an absolutely stupid and meaningless piece of symbolism known as The Doomsday Clock which is supposed to represent the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. It’s a dopey part of the radical environmentalism movement, but the premise gives me an idea. We need a crumble clock to tell us theoretically how many figurative minutes or seconds we are from completely collapsing as a society. In 2019, I’d have set it to 5 minutes to midnight. After 2020, we were at 2 minutes, and after 2021, 1 minute left. With our reaction to this debate, we just clicked a few seconds closer.