Of course it’s not fair.
In fact, it’s ridiculous. So the real question is, why does anyone, activist or otherwise, argue with a straight face that it is fair?
That photo is from Oct. 13, 2018, when transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon of Canada won the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Carson, California. The other cyclist is Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands. The other competitors were similar in stature and build to Carolien. She was born female, and unlike McKinnon, grew up female.
It makes a difference.
In fact, as Martina Navratilova wrote in a February 17 op-ed for The Sunday Times of London, “It’s insane and it’s cheating.” Well, it’s not cheating if a sport says it isn’t. It is, however, insanely unfair, and unarguably unfair. Advocates, like McKinnon herself, an educated trans woman, actually try to deny these conclusions that are as plain as that photograph. In her debate with the legendary tennis star, she argued,
“She imagines a nonexistent cisgender man who will pretend to be a trans woman, convince a psychologist and a physician to prescribe hormone therapy, undertake the process for legal changer recognition, then wait the minimum 12 months of testosterone suppression required by the current IOC rules, compete, and then change his mind and ‘go back to making babies’? No such thing will ever happen. This is an irrational fear of trans women.”
But, significantly, she does not argue against Navratilova’s central assertion (which she garbled badly by making the lame slippery slope argument), which is that it’s unfair to allow women who have matured as men to compete against women who haven’t. Obviously. Look at the picture.
I’ve discussed the ethics of allowing trans athletes to compete against non-trans competitors, and frankly, the only interesting part of the topic is that fear of trans activists and being accused of bigotry has succeeded in so many locales in bullying officials into allowing it. It is unfair. It is obviously unfair. It destroys the integrity of the competition; it makes women’s sports a joke. Why do they allow it? Well, this is a small but revealing example of how ideology can strangle common sense and reality when those committed to the ideology find facts and ethics hostile to the world as they would like it to be. The result is that people, with nothing but good intentions, convince themselves that wrong is right and that what doesn’t work, does.
The analogies with many current policy debates are so apparent that I’ll eschew mentioning them. You know what they are, I hope.
The news media, of course, is doing all it can to make the false reality seem real. “Across the U.S. and in many places abroad, transgender athletes are breaking barriers in high school, college and pro sports.” writes the Associated Press. Well sure they are: you would break such barriers too if you started out with massive advantages over your competitors that they had no chance to overcome.
The advocacy group, Athlete Ally, that kicked Navratilova off its advisory board for speaking the truth, said, “Trans women athletes aren’t looking to take over women’s sport. They are women and want to compete in the sport they love, just as any other athlete would.” True enough, but, again, this avoidis the issue. It doesn’t matter that trans women athletes aren’t looking to take over women’s sport: because of their unfair advantages, they will. I have no doubt that they love their sport and want to compete. Unfortunately, they ruin the women’s sports they compete in and destroy those sports’ competitiveness and fairness. Sorry. Too bad. It isn’t easy being trans. Life is unfair, but rules must not be.
There are three alternatives. and three only. Eliminate all gender barriers in all sports. Have trans athletes compete in their own category, however sparse it may be. Ban trans athletes from competing against non-trans women.
Meanwhile, the homework assignment for progressives is to look in the mirror and practice accepting reality even if when it proves some of their woke dreams to be just that. Dreams.