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Transgender participation in female sports

James Giago Davies

By James Giago Davies, Native Sun News Today Correspondent

Fairness is the foundation of social justice. All participants just want to compete on an even playing field. You don’t want a 15-year-old playing 12-year-olds in Little League, and you don’t want a high school team loading up with gifted ringers because wealthy members of the booster club gave all their parents jobs.
It would be nice if the lines weren’t fuzzy, if it was obvious what the right call was every time some social justice controversy leaped headlong into the world of sport. Some things are easy. Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in 1947 is a no-brainer. Title XI giving girls equal opportunity to play high school sport, another slam dunk victory for fairness.
When the USA stopped making the finals of the Little League World Series, they changed the rules. Forming two new divisions: the World, and the USA. So, no matter how bad things went on the field, the USA was always assured of making the World Series. That decision still reeks—it was just plain wrong. The USA had the power to alter the playing field to their unfair advantage and they jumped on it, rationalized why it was a good idea, instead of an ugly act that shamed this country.
Then there’s Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, because he feels compassion for other humans, despite being a wealthy celebrity, getting nothing out of his protest monetarily, basically killing his NFL career. A principled stand, when no other explanation exists for why the police disproportionately kill people of color, must be made somewhere and by somebody with a platform, because no one with power was listening. This led to the George Floyd movement, which led to FEDEX threatening the Washington NFL team that if they did not drop the blatantly racist moniker, “Redskins,” they’d drop the Washington football club. Redskins got dropped fast.
Problem is, there is not a one-size-fits-all certainty that every call for social justice is grounded in the foundation of fairness. Three centuries ago, Joseph Addison wrote, “Even the stopped clock is right twice a day.” Governor Noem, by that definition is probably only half as right as a stopped clock, because despite being wrong about every other social issue imaginable, and by an eyebrow-arching wide margin, she got it right when it comes to transgender participation in high school girls sport.
Richard Raskind was captain of the Yale tennis team and one of the best college players in the country. After a transgender transition into Renee Richards, she achieved the rank of 20 in the WTA in 1979, when she was 45 years old, well past her athletic prime. Although the Supreme Court ruled she could play in the WTA, this does not change the reality—she had an unfair biological advantage over female players, and had she been 25, instead of 45, odds are good she would have cut that WTA ranking at least in half, and probably took home some trophies.
Stella Walsh was a Polish American sprinter who won the gold medal in the 100-meters at the 1932 Olympic Games. Upon her death, it was discovered she was intersex, and had the Y chromosome. Did this confer an unfair competitive advantage? You bet her spiked sprinter shoes it did.
Every major study indicates athletes Trans gendering from male to female have a distinct biological advantage tempered only by the level of their natural athleticism. When transgendered males compete against males, they have a decided biological disadvantage and tend to perform poorly. There is no reason to bar their participation. There is good sound reason to bar transgendered females from participating in women’s sport.
Tarring those who would object to the patently unfair transgender participation in female sports as sexist and phobic is as unfair and inaccurate and ugly as mischaracterizing white people supporting black rights as race traitors. Many racists objected to President Obama because he was Black, but many people objected to him because he was a fake progressive. The distinction was critical, the objections could not be tossed in the same dismissive basket, and the objections against transgender participation in female sports are based on bigotry against transgender, if you are Noem, but are motivated by respect for competitive fairness, if you are a person of conscience.
Bottom line is this—if LeBron James transgendered into the WNBA he’d score a hundred points a game, and he would be the top player in the league until he turned 60. He’d make a mockery of the sport.

(Contact James Giago Davies at

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