It’s beginning to feel as if we’ve been covering this unpleasant trend forever, though it’s actually only been five or so years. In West Virginia this week, a 13-year-old boy who identifies as a girl is in court suing his school for the ability to compete on the girls’ track and field team. Becky Pepper-Jackson’s attorneys are seeking to have the court force his middle school to allow this, despite West Virginia’s Governor signing a law in 2021 banning males from competing against females in school sports. (The courts blocked the ban, a move which is also being challenged, but many schools still enforce the rules.) This legal battle has been dragging on since Becky was eleven and it’s expected to drag out even longer. NBC News covers the story with the usual leftist slant, using incorrect pronouns to reinforce these beliefs.
Becky Pepper-Jackson, 13, sat in a courtroom Friday morning while lawyers argued over a law in her home state of West Virginia that would ban her from running on the girls’ cross-country and track teams at her middle school.
The hearing in front of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was the most recent update in her more than two-year legal battle, which began in May 2021, when she was 11, a month after West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that bars transgender girls from playing on girls sports teams in middle school, high school and college.
The appeals court will decide whether the law will take effect, and its decision could also start a chain of events that could land Becky’s case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
How a child gets ideas like this in their head at the age of eleven remains a mystery to me, particularly in a traditionally sensible state like West Virginia. Eleven is barely at the edge of the age range when boys begin puberty, but young Master Pepper-Jackson had somehow already been convinced that he was a girl. Two years later, his family is being thrust into the national spotlight and the case could conceivably wind up dragging them to Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the family tells NBC that Becky was put on puberty blockers two years ago and has still not gone through normal puberty. That may decrease some of a male’s competitive advantage, but the long range effects of this practice on the male body have never been fully studied.
The linked article makes it sound as if the family is receiving a surprising amount of support from the community, but what will the parents of the actual girls attending the school be saying when he starts breaking school records, bumping them out of state competitions, and eliminating them from the running for potential college scholarships? In other schools where this has happened, there hasn’t been much unanimity on this question.
Track and field is the area of school sports where this entire battle started. Back in 2018 we began covering the saga of Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood of Connecticut. They were two average, but not exceptional high school track and field competitors who then declared they were girls (absent any obvious medical procedures) and began wiping the field in events like the 100 and 200 meter dash. That school also wound up facing lawsuits from the families of actual girls who missed out on state events and scholarship opportunities as a result.
After that, the transgender craze spread to all manner of other women’s and girls’ sports, ranging from weightlifting to bicycle racing. Perhaps most glaring was the period when transgenders athletes totally upset the apple cart in college swimming, famously featuring the ongoing battle between Lia Thomas and Riley Gaines. Thomas may have walked away with the trophy, but Gaines has risen to national prominence, organizing a movement intended to save women’s sports and preserve the original intent of Title IX.
Progress has been made in many areas since then. As NBC mournfully reports, 23 states in addition to West Virginia have passed laws or regulations banning boys from girls’ sports. The country is effectively divided in half on this issue and that’s a problem for a variety of reasons. In the states without such bans, girls are being shut out of opportunities that might otherwise have been available to them. And girls from states that wind up imposing these rules may end up excelling in high school only to reach college and find that they are suddenly in a race for the back of the pack if they are forced to compete against men. It’s a tragedy to observe, but I’m not holding my breath for a national return to sanity any time in the near future.