So, things are getting complicated…
I came across this article from the Alliance Defending Freedom on their petition to protect female athletes from being forced to compete against males in sports competitions. Their ambassador Selina Soule, finished two places away from qualifying for the New England Regional Championships, but first and second place were won by two biologically male athletes who identified as women. Terry Miller, shown above, was one of the winners. Honestly, the whole thing seemed very homophobic to me at first. I believe that in this day and age, people need to mind their business and respect everyone’s lifestyles. There are too many individuals going out of their way to be malicious and degrading to people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s harmful and creates an even larger divide in this very divided country.
However, I can understand the argument behind their petition. Don’t attack me yet, just hear me out.
We all know men and women are genetically and biologically different. Their bodies are completely different as men usually have larger bone structure and higher muscle and bone density. If a transgender person is competing without being on hormones or anything transitioning them, then it does seem unfair. Damani Hood, a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, said, “Transgender individuals in sports is a very controversial issue, because of the creation of all female-organizations. Institutions such as the WNBA demonstrate that the biological differences between men and women creates an unfair advantage in competition.” He makes a good point to show that organizations specific for women have been made to have a fair playing field.
But when it comes to international and world competitions, they cover that ground. According to The Guardian, “Such athletes…will have to reduce and then maintain their testosterone levels to no greater than 5nmol/L.” This means that transgender women competing professionally have to ensure they are having testosterone suppression treatments that are lowering their levels to closer resemble those of cisgender women. The guidelines are constantly changing to accommodate the increasing number of transgender athletes, but it’s still a fight to remain inclusive and fair. Ari Karifol, a transgender athlete from Whitney Young, explained, “It’s really frustrating to see trans people excluded from sports on the basis of “fairness,” when it’s clear that sports already consistently reward unfairness. Michael Phelps produces lactic acid at half the rate of normal people and his wingspan is several inches longer than his height, but his body is praised for being different when trans and intersex athletes are excluded.”
There’s this gray area. And it’s a big one. There is no clear right solution to this problem, and we will only continue to see more discussion on where members of the transgender and LGTBQ+ community stand in sports. This is important though and it just shows how we are growing as a society. We are continually creating new communities and values and we just have to work on being inclusive and understanding of each other.
By Kyla Hubbard, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School