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Olympic champion and CA Recall candidate Caitlyn Jenner in Venice, Los Angeles on August 12, 2021 (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Transgender Athletes in the Spotlight

Is it time to consider separate competition?

By Martin Marks, February 19, 2022 3:26 am

Former California gubernatorial candidate, Olympic champion, and perhaps the most renowned transgender person on the planet, Caitlyn Jenner recently appeared in a Fox News interview and took full on the continuing controversy of transgender athletes participating in women’s sports.  Jenner pulled no punches stating, “Biological Boys should not be playing in women’s sports…….All this Woke world is not working.”

Perhaps the most notorious transgender athlete at the moment is Lia Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania swimmer now identifying as a woman and absolutely crushing the competition in NCAA division I women’s swimming.  Thomas has caused an uproar not only with fellow competitors, but also among teammates who have voiced discomfort sharing the same locker facilities as the swimmer. Of Thomas, Jenner went on to say, “I respect her decision to live her life authentically, 100 percent. But it also comes with responsibility and some integrity.” Jenner added that Thomas and those like her are not only hurting women’s sports, but also are a detriment to the Transgender Community.

The battle over transgenders athletes in the public schools has been fought and acted upon in the various statehouses across the country. Many states have enacted legislation or imposed executive orders that prohibit or limit transgender student athletes participating in sports based on their gender identity.  Several others have like legislation in the works. 

By contrast, California is the only state to have enacted legislation that specifically protects a student athlete’s ability to participate on scholastic sports teams based upon their gender identity. California Globe has previously reported on California Assembly Bill 1266 passed in 2013. But California has taken it a step beyond. In reaction to the many states enacting legislation limiting transgenders’ access to sports teams and other public entities based upon their gender identity, California enacted Assembly Bill 1887 which forbids all state-paid travel to states that have laws that discriminate “based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.” California Globe has also reported on these developments and the list of states covered by AB 1887 continues to grow.

Under pressure to address the issue of transgender athletes at the collegiate level, the NCAA finally announced an update to their policy on transgender participation.  Essentially, the NCAA punted the ultimate policy down to their many individual sports divisions where decisions that would allow individuals born as biological males to participate in women’s athletics will now be based upon assays for blood testosterone levels at specific time increments.  For instance, USA Swimming announced its new policy Feb. 2 which states in brief:

Elite transgender female swimmers under the new policy will be required to provide evidence that a competitive advantage does not exist because of their prior development as a male. Athletes must also show the concentration of testosterone in their blood has been less than 5 nanomoles per liter continuously for at least 36 months.”

The immediate conjecture was that swimmers such as Lia Thomas would not be able to meet these new guidelines and would be prohibited from further competition.

Beyond the official battles being fought at various levels of government and sanctioning sports bodies over transgender athletes,  traditionally left-wing advocacy groups appear to be at odds with each other as well. While some women’s rights groups are in support of “the full inclusion of transgender people in athletics,” others such as the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) are adamantly opposed.  Citing federal Title IX guidelines that among other things ensures full and equal access for females in sports, WoLF states, “When men and boys are allowed to compete in athletic leagues designed for women and girls, they deprive female athletes of the opportunity to fair and safe participation in sports, and negate all benefits derived from athletic participation.”

What is the fair answer here? We might start by first asking the question, why are there separate athletic competitions for males and females? The answer is patently obvious or should be. When it comes to strength, speed, height, weight, and other factors dictated by biologic fact, males have a clear advantage over females. Most unisex athletic competitions would be unfair. But, let’s take it a step further, shall we? We are all aware of the numerous para-athletic competitions around the world that allow athletes with physical disabilities or who are differently abled to compete among themselves to great acclaim. The Special Olympics is a highly successful and inspirational competition for those athletes with intellectual or cognitive disabilities.  Would it be reasonable or fair to have para-athletes or Special Olympians compete against fully abled athletes?  Of course not, hence the separate competitions.

For whatever the reasons, the prevalence of transgender individuals in society is on an upward swing.  Accordingly, we are likely to see more and more trans athletes vying to compete in various sports at all age levels, but first needing to comply with some rather esoteric testing guidelines and perhaps insurmountable governmental prohibitions. 

While trans athletes are not disabled, they are certainly differently abled, and it is therefore reasonable to establish separate competitions for them. I for one am very much looking forward to the Trans Summer Olympic Games of 2024 in Paris.

Problem solved and case closed.  You’re welcome.

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4 thoughts on “Transgender Athletes in the Spotlight

  1. Why do only women have to pretend these guys are women?

    Guys can just as easily pretend these guys are women too. Dump this issue on the least vulnerable biological sex. And stop pretending it is anything else -unless totally surgically rearranged and rendered incapable of impregnation.

    Transgender guys go with the biological guys. No one is fooling anyone. Just own it. Like they do in Polynesia – the “third sex” – guys who act and dress like women – but are comfortable in both worlds and don’t force the issue on anyone.

  2. Excellent analysis. Thank you very much. I am a coach with Special Olympics and we figured this out years ago. Imagine someone pretending to have an intellectual disability in order to beat athletes who actually have one. Folks would be furious. Men pretending to be women in order to beat them are not so different.

    1. Excellent point Alan. Personally, I can’t imagine competing and feeling good about beating women in a league that should not include biological males. If you are a male changing your name and/or the gender you were assigned does not change your lung capacity, limb and digit length, wing spans etc. Let’s say Shaquille O’Neal was a transgender woman playing basketball in the WNBA??

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