Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2020

Women’s Athletics: the New Frontier in Transgender Rights

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:24 pm



[guest post by JVW]

If 2020 JVW arrived in a time machine to visit 2010 JVW sometime right after the “Affordable” Care Act had passed through Congress and been signed by President Obama (a big effen’ deal, right Mr. Biden?) and told his younger, leaner, more hirsute, less grumpy, more agreeable-with-new-things self that one of the major social battles ten years hence would be accepting athletes born as males — with all of the attendant size and musculature of that gender — but now self-identifying as female into competitions heretofore restricted to girls and women, 2010 JVW would almost certainly have packed it all in and repatriated to his family’s little ancestral hometown in rural Ireland to happily sell four-leaf clover knick-knacks to unsuspecting tourists. But here we are, so let’s try to unpack how all of this has happened and try to figure out where we might go from here.

Title IX, passed in the run-up to Richard Nixon’s re-election almost a half-century ago, was intended to ensure that girls and women in educational environments had access to the same sort of programs and activities that boys and men had. Through the years the measure has yielded some remarkable results, including the expansion of athletics programs at the K-12 and college levels, even though this expansion has come at the expense of men’s programs. American women athletes are now the envy of the world, as our teams dominate in the major sports of swimming and water polo as well as those lesser-known endeavors such as basketball, soccer, track and field, gymnastics and tennis. Indeed, no other nation on earth has done more to promote female sports than the United States has done, as evidenced by women from all over the world coming here for training and competition opportunities. This ought to strike us as absolutely amazing considering that we are told by activists that without an Equal Rights Amendment to our Constitution women will always be relegated to second-class citizenship. Just as American women have long since surpassed their brethren in academic accomplishment, so too do they now officially outpace them on the international playing fields.

So naturally as we close-out the first quarter of the Twenty-first Century, it is time to let complicated notions of intersectionality ruin all of that. The latest frontier for the cultural warriors has been to allow individuals born with male biological characteristics but who are more comfortable living life as females to participate in female athletics. This idea is taking root despite some of the obvious physical advantages that these trans-women athletes possess over what we now call cis-women. Heavily-moneyed sports organization like the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA are able to apply pretty strict regulations regarding maximum allowable testosterone levels and a minimum timeframe since the transformation process began, but less well-funded entities such as high school athletics associations and masters’ sports leagues continue to struggle to define who is eligible to participate.

So I was very interested to see a lawsuit filed earlier this month by a group of Connecticut high school girls who feels that their trans-female competitors are robbing them of potential scholarships by taking spots in championship meets, thus denying the girls opportunities to be evaluated by college coaches and recruiters. This is the clash of the intersectionality matrix: where compassion for people suffering from gender dysphoria is balanced with the need to provide biological girls with opportunities to have their day in the sun as athletes. It’s a debate that has exacerbated the rift among progressives as the trans rights lobby clashes with a group that they call TERFs — trans exclusionary radical feminists — who seek to protect the “safe spaces” that have been carved out for women over the past half-century.

You can bet that politicians are being called upon to take sides, and it should come as no surprise that a certain type of politician can be counted on to ignore any nuances in the arguments on each side and just let loose with mindless virtue signaling. Behold:

Though this situation calls for compassion, and perhaps outright bans are not the best way to negotiate this minefield, the ugly pandering by Lieawatha adds nothing of value to the public debate, and it’s probably as good a reason as any why her Presidential campaign seems destined to come to a close very shortly (knock on wood). It’s going to take a great deal of reasoned compromise to figure out a way of providing opportunity for trans athletes without unfairly disadvantaging their biologically female competitors. In the meantime, it will be awfully interesting to see what twists and turns await the Connecticut lawsuit along the way.

– JVW

43 Responses to “Women’s Athletics: the New Frontier in Transgender Rights”

  1. I respectfully ask for some compassion in discussing trans athletes here. I have more than one friend whose child has expressed the desire to live as a member of the sex other than the one assigned at birth, and I know firsthand the anguish and heartache this can cause families as they work their way through these complex issues. I hope we can limit this discussion to issues of fairness and safety, rather than focus on the virtues and vices of the trans rights movement.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. …perhaps outright bans are not the best way to negotiate this minefield…

    Well, they kind of really are. I don’t see a viable way to crack this nut other than preventing guys competing against girls.

    Ragspierre (d9bec9)

  3. Well, they kind of really are. I don’t see a viable way to crack this nut other than preventing guys competing against girls.

    One idea, as in the Connecticut case, is that you can just expand the number of competitors in championship meets so that trans-girls don’t take the place of biological girls. You could also experiment with having weight classes like they do in wrestling so that more heavily-muscled trans-girls don’t go head to head with more lean and lithe biological girls. Where i think the real conundrum lies is in team sports like basketball, volleyball, softball and soccer. I’m not sure what to do there.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  4. I understand the impulse to “be fair to both sides” this but there are not two sides here. There are female athletes, and there are male athletes. No matter how the male athletes feel inside, no matter much it would mean to them to compete in women’s sports… they’re male. I know many women who are beyond offended this is even considered; women are not men with low testosterone, men who lose their penis or testicles are not less of men for it.

    There is no way to test a man’s sincerity when claiming this status, but women are today excorciated for even wondering whether convicted rapists might have motives for claiming to be women in prison (another universal policy of today’s Democratic candidates). Muddying the waters at all leads to forcing women to lie about their own reality and when it comes to state funded sports and more I don’t think even the slightest of ambiguity can be allowed for the harm we’ve already seen done to women.

    We can let boys wear dresses without forcing girls to pretend it changes their sex, or destroying women’s sports for that matter.

    John S. (61ff02)

  5. A teen girl beat the boys to become the first female wrestler to win her state championship

    (n.b. She’s the real deal, with two X chromosomes, and the move she put on the poor guy she beat to win the state title is amazing…)

    Dave (7dbf87)

  6. I’m so glad that my daughter is, for all practical purposes, out of that sh!t. Her mother and I watched the propaganda Blitzkrieg being waged against children by the filthy [alternative lifestyles], to force them to accept [alternative lifestyles] and to question their own identities, since middle school, and it was sickening.

    nk (1d9030)

  7. Wrestling is always such an interesting example because it is naturally divided by weight class. I see that the girl in the article that Dave cites competes at the 106-lb. weight class so she’s up against boys who are largely defined by their lack of solid muscle to begin with. I don’t think any of us would expect a champion girl wrestler to beat a champion boy wrestler in the 167-lb. class.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  8. I don’t think any of us would expect a champion girl wrestler to beat a champion boy wrestler in the 167-lb. class.

    In WWE, anything is possible.

    😀

    Dave (7dbf87)

  9. There is a flip side to this issue in which a biological female initiates the process of becoming a male. This happened to a Harvard swimmer some years back. As a girl he had been part of a relay with Katie Ledecky which had set a national age group record, and he had been recruited to Harvard with the expectation that he would swim with the women’s team as a valuable contributor. Instead, he ended up on the men’s team where he just wasn’t Division I material (or, frankly in this age, Division II or III material either), though he did stay on the team for at least a couple of years and started a career as a trans rights activist.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  10. In WWE, anything is possible.

    Well sure, smack anyone over the head with a folding chair. . .

    JVW (54fd0b)

  11. 9. So you can be unfair to real girls (yeah, I said it!) by letting “trans-women” compete against the genuine article, or you can be just plain dumb by letting “trans-men” compete with competitors they will never have any business being in the arena with. I can not see an advantage of any kind to splitting the difference in any way here. No matter how you feel, you are defined at birth by the presence of a Y chromosome in your genome, or the lack thereof. All the caterwauling in the world won’t change that.

    Gryph (08c844)

  12. Give trans-people their own sports classes. Let them complete against each other. How better to satisfy those who plead for equal treatment? What is more equal than like competing against like?

    ColoComment (2429fb)

  13. All 17 of them, ColoComment?

    nk (1d9030)

  14. Like Greta Thunberg and the climate change crowd, the high school athletes that make the news are a handful of poster children. The majority are like the adult homosexual who hung around my high school in the early 1970s in a blonde wig and a sun dress — they’re just looking to “go on dates” with teenage boys.

    nk (1d9030)

  15. Generally I don’t consider it my business what someone currently, or at some other point, has or does not have in their pants unless I am in a romantic relationship with them. If someone wants to be called Teddy instead of Theodore or Dora instead of Theodore, fine, it’s their name. However, there are also places where biology is what it is. A transwoman doesn’t need to go to the gynecologist.

    The reality is that women’s sports is essentially a special league for people with less ability to build muscle-mass. You can choose to build less muscle mass, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the ability, it means you’ve made a choice. A trans-woman has chosen to limit their ability to build muscle mass through medical intervention, they shouldn’t be able to play competitively with people who have maximized their natural ability to build muscle-mass but simply can’t do more without medical intervention, just like you aren’t allowed to compete if you use medical intervention to take your ability to build muscle mass beyond what would naturally occur for your body. If a transwoman wants to play funsy-league, I say go for it, but competitive, no.

    Nic (896fdf)

  16. 12. 13. This really cuts to the heart of the matter as far as I’m concerned. Without massive pressure from interest groups and media outlets, there aren’t enough “trans-women” and “trans-men” out there to really constitute an honest-to-God political bloc. That is unless children are exposed to it and encouraged to be something they’re really not, never will be, and never can be.

    Gryph (08c844)

  17. If someone wants to be called Teddy instead of Theodore or Dora instead of Theodore, fine, it’s their name.

    Just as a vaguely-related aside…

    Since I started teaching 20 years ago, I have responded to students who raise their hand to ask questions during class with “Yes sir?” or “Yes ma’am?” as a polite way of showing respect.

    Last quarter, for the first time, I received two complaints on my teaching evaluations about “gendering” students by doing this. I imagine they won’t be the last.

    Good grief…

    Dave (1bb933)

  18. If they want to be ungendered, I remember how my father did it with male shoats. Can’t help you with the females, we hired someone for that.

    nk (1d9030)

  19. All 17 of them, ColoComment?
    nk (1d9030) — 2/27/2020 @ 5:33 pm

    Hey, sure, however many show up. If there’s only one trans person in a swimming, tennis, track & field, or whatever trans-class competition, they’ll just be solo.
    Dunno what one does with team sports –

    ColoComment (2429fb)

  20. Is it really too expensive to apply the NCAA/IOC test to young transgender athletes?

    John B Boddie (286277)

  21. Is it really too expensive to apply the NCAA/IOC test to young transgender athletes?

    Probably. I don’t know of any high school leagues that do drug testing, for example.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  22. Since I started teaching 20 years ago, I have responded to students who raise their hand to ask questions during class with “Yes sir?” or “Yes ma’am?” as a polite way of showing respect.

    Last quarter, for the first time, I received two complaints on my teaching evaluations about “gendering” students by doing this. I imagine they won’t be the last.

    As a certifiable old fuddy-duddy I am pleased that you were trying to maintain a level of courtesy in your classroom. Sorry that no good deed continues to go unpunished. In the future, I suggest you address everyone as “Citizen,” at least until the international students start to complain. But nobody probably reads A Tale of Two Cities or Les Miserables these days anyway, so the irony would be lost on them.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  23. The parents of the real kids should hire a lawyer and sue. One would think a good lawyer could stop this abusive b.s. in a heartbeat.
    Boys with boobs and a penis competing with girls, who the heck comes up with this b.s.? A lawyer?

    mg (8cbc69)

  24. In the future, I suggest you address everyone as “Citizen,” at least until the international students start to complain.

    In the dawning Bernie/AOC era of socialist utopia, presumably the gender- AND class-neutral “Comrade” will be the salutation of choice…

    Dave (1bb933)

  25. I wonder how this plays with “soccer moms”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  26. Until the Olympics accepts trans rights, we should boycott!

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  27. It is one thing to want to express a different sexuality than one’s birth sex. There are all kinds of ways to do that, and vaya con Dios. Live and let live. It is another to demand that everyone else pretend that one’s choice is made manifest physically. Sports are segregated by sex not because of sexuality or identity, but because of obvious, factual, physical differences between XX and XY.

    Conflating the actual and the virtual is not the way forward.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  28. Conflating the actual and the virtual is not the way forward.

    Look around you. We’re living in the post-truth era.

    Dave (1bb933)

  29. 28, ah, that’s the derivative of a famous line back about 10-15 years ago straight guys would tell their girlfriends if she ever brought up marriage.

    urbanleftbehind (e12298)

  30. Maybe Kobe Bryant wasn’t the victim of poor flight related decision making…maybe, thinking of his daughters’ future in basketball or other competition, he was getting ready to tell off NBA contemporary Dwayne Wade. Tell me the Wade’s wont eventually steer that kid into the WNBA given the gene pool.

    urbanleftbehind (e12298)

  31. BorisB is using his Russian browser again. Just highlight and copy his name from his comment and paste it into the blocking script or spam/ban filter. The codes will carry over and he will be blocked.

    nk (1d9030)

  32. Thank you for the article you linked at 5:19 am, urbanleftbehind, although I have to confess to confirmation bias.

    nk (1d9030)

  33. Kobe Bryant was killed because the pilot listened to bad or impractical air traffic control instructions.

    First, he was told to stay above the highway. That was good, because the airspace above the highway has no mountains in it, if you stay just above the highway. Then he was told to circle. He was low nnd it was very noisy. That was also good. Then he wanted to, or needed to, switch highways. They told him to switch over to another air traffic control. But that air traffic control said that he was too low for them to see him on radar and he should climb. He climbed while moving. Crash!

    Now there is another thing: The pilot was not certified for instrument flying although the helicopter was capable of it. But none of the helicopters were because it is too expensive and wouldn’t be needed.

    Kobe Bryant wouldn’t fly in any helicopter with any other pilot.

    Sammy Finkelman (9e0380)

  34. I would keep the sports split by birth sex. We need to draw a line somewhere and I find it very hard to support the idea that is unreasonable.

    You talk about the need for compassion and grace with respect to trans athletes… but where’s this compassion and grace with biological girls?

    Yes, it’s unfortunate that the trans athlete may be excluded from competition of the preferred gender, but that’s life. Everything is not cut and dry… nor should it be.

    Nothing is stopping trans girls from competing against other biological males.

    I don’t care what bathroom trans want to use…

    I don’t care that trans want us to use their preferred pronouns so long as grace and compassion is reciprocated…

    But, I don’t think we should disregard biological girl’s concerns about the impact of trans girls competing with them.

    whembly (51f28e)

  35. Way back in the 1980s I was teaching junior high. In one of my classes there was this girl, named Maureen, who thought she was a boy, demanded to be called Mo and insisted on using the boy’s rest room. Her parents not only encouraged her delusion, but met with the principal and demanded that she/he be given all consideration. And the principal agreed!

    The problem was that whenever she asked to go to the boy’s rest room, the teacher had to escort her, clear out the rest room, make sure there were no boys using it, then stand outside the door to prevent any boy from entering the rest room while she was, I don’t know, squatting on a urinal.

    To my mind, this is insanity. Inconvenience the boys because some girl thinks she’s a boy; inconvenience the girls because some boy thinks he’s a girl. Where does it end? In madness.

    I’ve always thought that modernity, since the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, has been in complete denial of nature and biology. It’s why I majored in the Romantics in graduate school.

    Gender is a grammatical term, referring to the sex a noun or pronoun indicates or denotes. Biologically, there are two sexes, male and female. It is a mutilation of grammar and logic to equate gender with sex.

    English is largely a genderless language, unlike Spanish. We don’t associate a sex to a particular object. For example, el lapiz (the pencil) is male, while la puma (the pen) is female, just as la casa is female, while el carro is male. English does not make these distinction; a pencil is a pencil and a pen is a pen; a house is a house and a car is a car; there is no gender assigned.

    Biologically, there are two sexes, male and female. Some people and children may confuse the two, but that is not the reality.

    So we’ve got these trans-gender people, girls who think they are boys and boys who think they are girls. Fine, let them form their own trans-gender league. Let them participate in sports and compete against those of their own kind.

    It will be the most minor league is sports, to be sure, because the trans-genders make up about!5 of the population. I see no reason to allow a boy who thinks he’s a girl to participate in girl’s sports; I see no reason to allow a girl who thinks she’s a boy to participate in girl’s sports.

    Let the trans form their own league. Let them compete against real boys and girls. And we’ll see how that works out.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  36. The ‘transgender’ movement intends to persuade the rest of us that a person is the sex he claims to be, even if he wasn’t born that sex.¹ Yet when biological males, especially those who have gone through puberty as males, claim to be female, and then compete in, and dominate, women’s athletics, it does nothing as much as to point out the very obvious physical differences between biological males claiming to be female, and real women. Every sports story about the athletic accomplishments of such people points out the differences, far more blatantly than Major League Baseball’s * behind Roger Maris’ 61 home runs just so Babe Ruth’s 60 wouldn’t be erased from the record book. These ‘athletes’ aren’t assimilating as women, but pointing out how different they are from real women.
    _________________________
    ¹ – I refuse to use the cockamamie expression ‘the sex assigned at birth,’ given that sex is determined by genetics, at conception.

    The Dana who was born male, and never thought he was anything but male (b7cfab)

  37. ColoComment wrote:

    Give trans-people their own sports classes. Let them complete against each other. How better to satisfy those who plead for equal treatment? What is more equal than like competing against like?

    This was part of the problem with Title IX interpretation under the Obysmal Administration. Schools attempted to accommodate ‘trans’ students by assigning them private bathrooms and locker rooms, but no, that wasn’t good enough! They had to be treated as if they really were the sex they claimed to be, rather than their biologically determined sex, because it was discriminatory not to do so. Thus, their rights were held to trump the privacy rights of normal students.

    The same would be true of attempting to assign the ‘transgendered’ their own sports leagues: such would be a legal acknowledgement that they were not he sex they claimed to be.

    The cisheteronormative Dana (b7cfab)

  38. This article https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/27/dwyane-wades-kid-underscores-how-gender-fluidity-is-erasing-homosexuality/, linked by urbanleftbehind upthread, really touches on the truth. They’re homosexual fetishists more than they are anything else, and that is not news to anyone who sees lesbians in men’s button-down oxford or checkered work shirts, or male gays in various degrees of effeminate dress, grooming, and general swishiness.

    nk (1d9030)

  39. ¹ – I refuse to use the cockamamie expression ‘the sex assigned at birth,’ given that sex is determined by genetics, at conception.
    The Dana who was born male, and never thought he was anything but male (b7cfab) — 2/29/2020 @ 7:05 am

    I am with you on that point, Dana the great.

    felipe (023cc9)

  40. filipe wrote:

    I am with you on that point, Dana the great.

    One of the sadder things about our esteemed host’s anti-Spam® protocols is that when I try to use my many-adjectival names, the system frequently, though not always, throws my comments into the trash. :( I always get away with commenting as The Dana in Kentucky, so I write the comments, then copy them, so that if a comment under a new adjective gets trashed, I can paste it again and try under the name that works..

    The Dana in Kentucky (b7cfab)

  41. Look around you. We’re living in the post-truth era.

    Well, image is mistaken for substance, but when has it not? Just the same if Donald Trump tried to claim he was now “a woman”, both his supporters and detractors would have issues. I wonder whether the Right or Left would come around first.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  42. I’d say “Yes, Donnie, we know.”

    nk (1d9030)

  43. @34. Women’s Athletics: the New Frontier in Transgender Rights

    Music to my ears: speaking of junior HS; here’s one for your notebook.

    Back in the day we had a music teacher named Paul Grossman. Grossman had a fairly exuberant teaching style — and wardrobe to match, which made the classes and Grossman’s classroom persona memorable for decades. Bowties, colorful silk socks and unforgettable footwear… we nicknamed him him ‘Beatle-boots Grossman’ when the shoe style– and the Fab Four, were in popular fashion. Fast forward to the early ’70s. Ex-students perusing the papers learned why: Paul became Paula.

    It was a significant story for the time and generated a big lawsuit when the school district fired him/her and Grossman took it to the Supreme Court which refused to hear the case.

    Google him/her. Here’s the background:

    ‘Paula Grossman (1919 – 2003) music teacher – Blogger

    Paul Monroe Grossman was born in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in New Jersey, graduated with an A.B. in 1941 from the University of Newark (now called Rutgers), and spent the Second World War in the U.S. Army. He then went to Columbia University where he earned an M.A. and a Professional Diploma in Music Education (S.M.E.) in 1947. In 1949 he married Ruth Keshen, and he spent the next 21 years as a music teacher in public schools in North Dakota, Montana, upstate New York and in 1957 he finally returned to New Jersey to teach at Cedar Hill Elementary School in in the town of Basking Ridge.

    In 1971 Paul became Paula, and was suspended as a teacher. She sued, and lost. She fought the dismissal to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case. However since she had been declared to be ‘disabled’, she eventually won a disability pension. She did stay in the same small town, and was well known as a transsexual. During the years of litigation, she became something of a celebrity, appeared on television, the guest of Johnny Carson and David Frost. She gave lectures all over the eastern United States. She supplemented her income playing as a musician in night clubs. When it was over, she wrote ‘A Handbook for Transsexuals’, which is long out of print. She was never allowed to teach in a school again. She stayed with her wife until she died in 2003.’

    https://zagria.blogspot.com/2007/08/paula-grossman-1919-2003-music-teacher.html

    DCSCA (797bc0)


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