Let’s be fair and clear: golfer Hailey Davidson is not like Lia Thomas, who has crushed collegiate swimming competition by just “identifying” as female. Davidson went all the way, if you know what I mean. She is about to become the first transgender woman to earn a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour card by excelling in the first two qualifying rounds in the first stage of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying School in Palm Springs.
Still, though she now lacks the capacity to produce male hormones, Hailey competed as a male golfer as recently as 2015, and had the permanent advantage of going through puberty as a male. Though she claims that her drives off the tee have diminished since her transition, the question remains, is it fair for her to compete in a sport against women who have never been anything but. 18 states have outlawed transgender students from competing in girls’ sports. Golf, however, is not weightlifting, and some female pro golfers have competed in men’s tournaments.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day...
Is it fair to allow a transgender female to compete against biological females in golf?
I think the real question comes down to whether transgender female participation in women’s sports should be determined on a sport by sport basis, or if there needs to be an across the board ban.
Incidentally, Davidson has been quoted as saying that opposing her competing is “transphobic.” That biases me against her, frankly. It’s not transphobic to conclude in good faith that a woman who had recently been male has an unfair advantage in women’s sports. “Transphobic” means a fear of transexuals, an irrational hate. If Davidson and her supporters can’t make their case without name-calling, then they don’t have a case.
Pointer: An esteemed commenter sent this story, but I lost the email, Ethics Alarms is grateful, whoever you are…