WashPost Op-Ed: Transgender ‘Equality Act’ Threatens Women’s Sports

AP Photo/Dallas Morning News/Jae S. Lee

The Democratic Party’s pro-transgender “Equality Act” would wreck women’s sports, says a Washington Post article by three liberal women, including former tennis champ Martina Navratilova.

“The [transgender] legislation would make it unlawful to differentiate among girls and women in sports on the basis of sex for any purpose,” says Navratilova, and Doriane Coleman, who is a law professor and a former elite track athlete, and Sanya Richards-Ross an NBC Sports analyst and four-time winner of Olympic gold medals. The authors continue:

For example, a sports team couldn’t treat a transgender woman differently from a woman who is not transgender on the grounds that the former is male-bodied. Yet the reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose.

The authors also say transgender advocates prefer that women’s sports be used to help men who claim to be women:

Advocates of the Equality Act who know sports or aren’t science deniers make a different argument. They say that it’s time to shift our focus from supporting female-bodied athletes for whom Title IX has already done a lot of work, to supporting transgender women and girls who need our help more. Even if the legislation results in some females being displaced from the podium, they say, it’s enough that they get to participate.

The pending equality act has two halves.

One half of the act would outlaw distinctions between heterosexual and non-heterosexual people in hiring, housing, and other regulated practices.

The second half of the act would bar “discrimination” against people who claim to have the “gender identity” of an opposite-sex person. This part would implement the transgender ideology’s demand that the government forcefully prevent American women from recognizing the biological and civic differences or complementarity between men and women.

The act is backed by nearly all Democrats, including Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy who recently told Breitbart News on video that sports competitions are for “human beings,” not for just men or just women.

In practice, the Democrats’ pro-transgender law would prevent women from excluding men who say they are women from women’s showers, homeless shelters, prisons, and civic groups. The law also would prevent women from excluding men from women’s civic competitions for athletic awards, education scholarships, professional accomplishments or style status.

The ideology’s revolutionary demand has been ignored by establishment media outlets, partly because many of the reporters are people who are very favorable to the transgender ideology.

The Washington Post‘s op-ed also ignores the broader debate about whether the government should suppress the public’s recognition of the complementary differences between women and men.

The three authors say they support the proposed transgender law — but then plead for a special exemption for their peers. So the three authors endorse the use of the FBI and the courts to make American women pretend that men become women whenever the men wish — yet they also ask Congress to allow the authors’ peers a special right to exclude men from women’s sports (although not from shower facilities used by women athletes).

The three authors build their case for a unique exemption by noting that men’s bodies are different from women’s bodies:

Team USA sprinter Allyson Felix has the most World Championship medals in history, male or female, and is tied with Usain Bolt for the most World Championship golds. Her lifetime best in the 400 meters is 49.26 seconds. In 2018 alone, 275 high school boys ran faster on 783 occasions. The sex differential is even more pronounced in sports and events involving jumping. Team USA’s Vashti Cunningham has the American record for high school girls in the high jump at 6 feet, 4½ inches. Last year just in California, 50 high school boys jumped higher. The sex differential isn’t the result of boys and men having a male gender identity, more resources, better training or superior discipline. It’s because they have androgenized bodies.

Then they plead for their special sports exception:

We do hope that lawmakers won’t make the unnecessary and ironic mistake of sacrificing the enormously valuable social good that is female sports in their effort to secure the rights of transgender women and girls.

But the public recognition of the two sexes’ different bodies, abilities, and preferences is the central dispute in the debate. So the three authors admit Americans rightly know that men and women are different — yet they endorse legislation which seeks to suppress that knowledge in every area outside sports.

Unfortunately for the three authors, the transgender lobby opposes the knowledge that men’s bodies and preferences are different from women’s’ bodies and preferences, and likely will reject their plea for an exemption. In March, the ACLU claimed:

There is a long legacy of sex discrimination in athletics. Myths, such as the idea that physical exertion would harm women’s reproductive systems or that women were inherently inferior athletes, were historically used to “protect” women out of participation in entire fields, including marathon racing and contact sports, despite ample evidence that girls can compete and win against boys.

More importantly, the ACLU argues that legal rights for people who wish to switch sex are more important than the right of women to organize their own sports leagues, regardless of biological differences:

When misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls [with male bodies] from sports in schools receiving federal funds, it amounts to the same form of sex discrimination that has long been prohibited under Title IX. Schools should look for ways to support all girls [including people with male bodies] who want to participate in athletics, rather than attempt to police gender on the basis of impermissible sex stereotypes.

Several ordinary Americans are forming organizations to protect sports from the transgender ideology. They include Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports, and Jennifer Bryson, founder of Let All Play.

Polls show the transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents.

In 2017, former President Barack Obama told NPR that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Donald Trump to win the presidency.

Multiple polls show that most Americans wish to help and comfort people who think they are a member of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology’s claim that a person’s legal sex is determined by their feeling of “gender identity,” not by biology. A U.K. survey shows a similar mix of some sympathy for people with lopsided opposition to the ideology.

The transgender movement is diverse, so its different factions have competing goals and priorities. It includes sexual liberationists, progressives, feminists who wish to blur distinctions between the two sexes, and people who glamorize the distinctions between the two sexes. It includes high-profile children, people who are trying to live as members of the opposite sex, troubled teenage girls trying to flee womanhood, and people trying to “detransition” back to their sex. It also includes men who demand sex from lesbians, masculine autogynephiles who say are entitled to women’s rights, wealthy donorspoliticians, political professionals, and revenue-seeking drug-companies and medical service providers.

Transgender advocates claim that two million Americans say they are transgender to a greater or lesser extent. But very few people who describe themselves as transgender undergo cosmetic surgery of the genitals. Only about 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex, according to a pro-transgender medical study. A Pentagon report commissioned by former Defense Secretary James Mattis said: “rates for genital surgery are exceedingly low- 2% of transgender men and 10% of transgender women.”

Yet the gender ideology is rapidly gaining power, aided by huge donations from wealthy individuals and medical companies. In Ohio, for example, in February, a judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she can begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that will allow her to appear as a male.

The progressive push to bend Americans’ attitudes and their male-and-female civic society around the idea of “gender identity” has already attacked and cracked many of the popular social rules that help Americans manage the cooperation and competition among and between complementary, different, and equal men and women.

These pro-gender claims have an impact on different-sex bathrooms, shelters for battered women, sports  leagues for girls, hiking groups for boys, K-12 curricula, university  speech codes,  religious freedoms, free speech, the social status of women, parents’ rights in childrearing,  children’s safety,  practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women’s ideals of beauty, culture and civic society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men’s sense of masculinity, law enforcement, military culture, and children’s sexual privacy.

Follow Neil Munro on Twitter @NeilMunroDC


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