From Idaho, Common Sense Measures Regarding Transgender Competitors In Women’s Sports

Naturally, the common sense measures are being condemned as bigoted and unethical.

Idaho is now Ground Zero in the controversy over the ethical and equitable treatment of transgender individuals. In addition to the newly passed and signed Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bans biologically male transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports events,  Idaho Governor Brad Little (a Republican, of course) signed a bill making it more difficult to change the sex designation on a birth certificate.

Ethics Alarms has discussed the transgender/women’s sports controversy in many posts. It’s admittedly a difficult ethics conflict that has played out in many strange ways across the country, including a female high school wrestler transitioning to male being forced to compete against females, and many instances of formerly male athletes competing as women crushing their double-X opposition while giving us photographs like this:

Female athletes who have protested the unfairness of this development, like Martina Navratalova, have been attacked as bigots, while some feminists have predicted that allowing trans athletes to continue to take advantage of their passing through puberty as males will destroy women’s sports, negating the salutary effects of Title IX, the law that made gender discrimination in sports illegal.  Idaho state Rep. Barbara Ehardt , who played basketball at Idaho State University and later coached Division I women’s teams, led the way in pushing the legislation through to law. “If I had had to compete against biological boys and men, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to play,” she told reporters. “Honestly, I know firsthand that we simply can’t compete against the inherent physiological and scientifically proven advantages that boys and men possess. We simply can’t do it, regardless of any hormone usage.”

Intersex competitors, like Caster Semenya, pose a different ethical problem.

In the New York Times story and others, the two new pieces of legislation were described as “anti-transgender bills.” Fake news: that’s an intentional misrepresentation that reduces a difficult resolution of a true ethics conflict (a problem with valid ethical arguments on both side) to mere bigotry. That’s the official narrative, however.  The Human Rights Campaign said “Idaho is leading the way in anti-transgender discrimination,” while the Southern Poverty Law Center called the laws “another cruel attempt to deny the existence of transgender people.”

Boy, the SPLC is shameless! Who’s the one in denial here? Transgender advocates keep saying that their athletes have no advantage over lifetime female competitors. Who believes that? Does she  believe it?

The legislation isn’t “anti-transgender,” it’s pro-women’s sports, pro-fairness, and anti-imaginary versions of reality driven by ideology.  As British commentator Neil Bamforth wrote today,

The only fair solution is to have, alongside the able bodied and disabled sporting events, events specifically for transgender people. That is the only fair way to go. Is it feasible? Would there be the sponsorship or money available for such a thing? I have no idea nor care. If there isn’t then tough, they can’t compete. If there is, great, they can.If they are allowed to continue competing against women born women, with the clear advantages they have, then many women’s sports will end.

Harsh but true.

10 thoughts on “From Idaho, Common Sense Measures Regarding Transgender Competitors In Women’s Sports

  1. Self-identification combined with genetics…compete within that identification. Seems totally reasonable which is why the unreasonable object, because there is a wholly different agenda from the competitive aspect.

  2. I agree with the sports ban – but what was the purpose of the birth certificate bill? Was that related to sports in any way? The skimming I’ve done doesn’t indicate whether that bill was in any way related to sports and, if not, what the intent was.

    • They are linked, I assume. If you are going to be required to compete according to your sex at birth, then the record of your sex at birth has to be immutable. Changing one’s birth certificate always seemed improper to me, unless it was in error.

      • But that’s just it, if gender *is mutable* then a birth certificate in contradiction to whatever I feel like I am is by definition “in error”. If we are to declare that a birth certificate should NOT be changed (except for error), then we are telling people that on a fundamental level, they are only pretending to be something else not actually being something else (which is the basic premise that the advocates for transgenderism rely on).

        • No, because even if it changes, that WAS your sex at the time of birth. Birth certificates also contain the location born, but moving later doesn’t make them invalid. Some of them have characteristics like birth weight, including the federal recommended form, but not all or I would have used that as an example.

          I think birth certificates should be treated as a immutable snapshot. I’m not certain how name changes are handled.

  3. “Idaho is leading the way in anti-transgender discrimination,” while the Southern Poverty Law Center called the laws “another cruel attempt to deny the existence of transgender people.”

    I’d move to Idaho instantly if these accusations were correct. Alas, they’re not.

  4. I actually think the only solution is to get rid of male/female sports and just have divisions. Naturally, the divisions with the best players would be biological men and then there would be all female teams too. But this would force the better trans players to compete at their level.

    That’s essentially what the male/female sport teams are doing anyway. Segregating.

    Also, I’ve heard arguments that this will essentially be a nonissue since more trans people will be transitioning earlier, so a biological male will take drugs earlier, therefore giving them the muscle mass and all that of a female.

  5. I hate this entire topic. Seems to me the whole quandary could be solved by the use of unfettered good old fashioned common sense. Quit listening to organizations like the SPLC and do not be afraid to hurt, literally, a few peoples FEELINGS. If competitive sports mean that much to the transgendered, they can find their own way. Competitive sports are not mandatory to live. Life is already complicated enough without having to bend over backward and change the status quo for the fray. If I sound like a grumpy old man to you, well then, I am coming through loud and clear.

  6. Am I the only one who is troubled by the requirement for physical genital examinations of all children even accused of being transgender? Or the unconsented taking of blood and tissue samples for pathological analysis on the sole basis of unevidenced allegations?

    Not that any of those are positively dispositive of someone’s sex. 1 in 300 boys aren’t 46,XY. 1 in 600 girls aren’t 46,XX.

    Some children look like girls at birth – so would be adjudged female by the physical genital exam – but have 46,XY “male” chromosomes.

    Those with CAIS can’t have children, but are otherwise female. Only a very invasive internal exam by a gynecologist can detect the lack of uterus.

    Those with Swyer syndrome will be able to carry children using donated eggs, they just lack functional ovaries.

    Girls who have had a bone marrow transplant from a male donor to treat juvenile leukemia will appear as male on blood tests.

    Those with 5ARD, or 17BHSD will change to look male at puberty.

    And some will be able to get pregnant in the usual way. A very few will have 46,XY daughters.

    The legislation had to use chromosomes and reproductive anatomy in order to target Trans people, as they have the anatomy of their gender identity in other areas. Neurology, always. Sometimes skeleton, musculature, and secondary sex characteristics to a lesser degree.

    This is a great way of “knocking off” troublesome rivals. Just send in an anonymous letter and accuse them of being Trans. The rival must either endure what amounts to sexual assault or be disqualified. Very effective if the rival is, say, 7 years old.

    All of these disadvantages were pointed out during debate of the bill, and alternative clauses proposed. None were adopted.

    I’m surprised too that you didn’t mention that this is the second time a bill preventing change of birth certificstes has been passed. A near identical bill that was passed 2 years ago was deemed unconstitutional by Federal Court, and distinguishing the two cases would require a very clever lawyer indeed.

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