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.