There’s some tension in the weightlifting ranks in New Zealand. A 39-year-old weightlifting champ who was born male, and who previously competed in men’s national weightlifting before his “transition” during his mid-30s is dominating. Unfortunately that dominance is in the female division. That dominance is seen by many other female weightlifters are unfair.
Others Dominating Too
This story is by no means an outlier. The number and frequency of transgender athletes who are born as one gender but who compete as another is rising.
A transgender athlete from Hawaii is on his way to the Olympics after switching over to the women’s volleyball division. From a recent article in the DailyWire:
Tia Thompson, a 32-year-old biological male who believes he’s a woman, competed in the men’s division for all USAV-sanctioned competitions up until January, when USA Volleyball declared him eligible to compete as a female. Unsurprisingly, Thompson is dominating biological women in Hawaii’s most popular sport and has set his sights on the Olympics.
In Alaska, a male born track athlete named Nattaphon Wangyot competed in Alaska’s female track and field state finals and took home medals and all-state honors. It should be pointed out that Wangyot would not have come close to medaling in the men’s division. In 2016 a transgender athlete won the El Tour de Tucson in southern Arizona. She had been competing professionally for 10 years as a man but who now identifies as a woman. Mack Beggs, a transgender teen in Texas, recently won the women’s state wrestling title, despite being born a boy. Even mixed martial arts (MMA) isn’t immune to transgender competitors.
Transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, initially born a man, was allowed to fight women. After a 39-second knockout victory in 2013, Fox admitted that she had not told the MMA community about her sex-change operation, which took place in 2006. The MMA fighter had five straight first-round victories and faced heavy criticism after criticisms after breaking the eye socket of an opponent, Tamikka Brents, in 2014. Brents went on to say:
“I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”
“His grip was different. I could usually move around in the clinch against…females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.”
The the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the International Olympic Committee has changed its position and now allows transgender athletes to compete based on their identified gender, rather than the one assigned to them at birth. It’s even more complex than that: Female-to-male athletes can compete without restriction, but male-to-female athletes must be on hormone therapy to be allowed to compete.
Currently hormone tests and criteria are the determining factor for males to compete in some sports as females. However, males are physically different than females, and hormones can have only a minor effect on that.
I had an athletic scholarship in college and during that time, progressives legislated Title IX across the NCAA, which mandated the equal, yet separate, access to sports for women. Title IX imposed policies that required women-only college sports programs, along with equal staff and coaching positions for both men and women. Some sports teams could barely field an entire team of female athletes, yet they received the same funding and staff levels as male teams. Title IX was tied to federal funding, and if schools couldn’t separate the sexes, they ran the risk of losing those critical dollars.
But now, progressive thought on gender is not to separate male and female, but to allow individuals to compete according to one’s gender interpretation and feelings about which sex they are (at the time). If someone feels they are female then they are basically allowed to compete in that division, even if a male born athlete is certain to have physical advantages over their biologically female competitors. It may feel good to allow transgender athletes to compete against the opposite biological sex, but what happens if a severe injury results from that act of such inclusion? What if a dominant male athlete like Bruce Jenner would claim to be female and compete at the highest level as a woman? What’s fair about that? The race to create a utopian word of equity has left wisdom and real equity in the dust. I’m not sure where we go from here.