Since this issue doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon and the federal government doesn’t seem inclined to deal with it, a number of states are attempting to take matters into their own hands this year. The subject at hand is transgender students who “identify” as females competing in girls’ high school sports. It’s a topic we’ve discussed here often, but solutions that would prevent the utter implosion of competitive women’s sports have been hard to come by.
That may be changing in at least some locations in 2020, however. As the Wall Street Journal reports, multiple states are working to pass legislation restricting girls’ high school sports to actual girls. The protests will be loud and frequent, but at least somebody is trying to do something.
More statehouses are wading into the contentious debate over the participation of transgender athletes in men’s and women’s sports.
In recent weeks, Republican legislators in at least five states have drafted measures aimed at preventing athletes from competing in categories different than their biological sex. Lawmakers say they are specifically concerned about female athletes facing unfair competition.
The bills—introduced or prefiled in New Hampshire, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri—reflect growing attention around the issue of whether transgender-rights protections are leading to unfair competition in women’s sports.
Policies regulating the eligibility of transgender high-school athletes are usually set by school associations and vary. In about a third of states, transgender students can freely compete on teams of the gender they identify with, according to transathlete.com, which tracks athletics policies nationwide.
I was a little surprised to see New Hampshire and Washington on the list, but apparently they’ve been keeping an eye on the news and want to head these problems off at the pass. Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri should have less trouble passing their laws, but they will then have to survive the inevitable court challenges to come.
I’m not exactly sure why the restrictions have to go in both directions. If a girl wants to compete against the boys, particularly in cases where smaller schools may not have a competitive program for girls in some sports, I don’t see the harm in letting them try. In fact, it can cause an entirely different set of problems if you forbid them. The clearest example of that would be Mack Beggs from Texas. She was “transitioning” to become a boy in eleventh grade and taking testosterone supplements. Because of state laws already in place, she had to compete in the girls’ division despite having asked to be allowed to compete against the boys. She easily won the state championship two years in a row.
I don’t know if Beggs would have been able to compete at the top level against the boys, but that’s really not the issue here. The point is that it’s just as unfair to make the rest of the girls compete against a female classmate who is bulking up on testosterone as it is to make them compete against a boy. For only one of many examples of the latter, look no further than Connecticut. Two boys “identifying” as girls swept the competition in track and field events for two years running, resulting in a lawsuit brought by the parents of some of the actual girls who were shut out.
Assuming any or all of these pending state-level bills are passed, they will end up on a direct collision course with the federal government if the Democrats retake control of the Senate and the White House and pass the Equality Act. That would codify the ability of these gender-bending competitors to cross the line all across the nation. And that would basically spell the end of competitive women’s sports as we know it today.
As a reminder, consistent polling shows that a majority of Americans oppose allowing transgender girls to compete against actual girls in sporting events while less than one-third support the idea. And yet somehow the practice continues to proliferate. None of this touches on the question of whether or not doctors who distort the bodies of children with foreign hormones or postpone the natural onset of puberty using drugs should be prosecuted, but that’s a debate for another day.