In 2017, a boy who identifies as a girl won the Connecticut girls’ state titles in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. Many in the press applauded the victory. Carl Smith, writing for USA Today High School Sports, wrote,
The sentiment is universal: Everyone agrees that Andraya Yearwood should be allowed to compete in her chosen races as a girl. After all, she identifies as a girl, trains alongside fellow females and plans to eventually undergo hormone therapy to complete a transition from her male birth gender to female.
Sports writer Jeff Jacobs was somewhat more equivocal, writing, “The question of what is fair competitively is nuanced and difficult.” At the same time, he writes, “Should Yearwood be allowed to participate with the girls? Yes.”
In 2018, Yearwood was joined at girls’ track events by another boy who believes he’s a girl, Terry Miller. The two crushed the girls in the state’s 100-meter sprint, coming in first and second. Miller also took first in the 200-meter race, and the two appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America.
While Jacobs was still questioning the fairness of allowing biological boys to run against girls, he also writes, “Let me be clear. I support high school transgender athletes’ right to compete where they want and would not want to live in a place where they wouldn’t honor that right.”
That’s the corner transgender ideologues and allies have boxed themselves into. They know it’s not right for a biological male to compete in girls’ sports, but they also can’t bring themselves to question the transgender ideology that says a boy who believes he’s a girl somehow is a girl.
This year, the two athletes took first and second at the state’s indoor championships in the 55-meter dash. The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance responded by awarding them the 2019 Bob Casey Courage Award.
While the media is celebrating these victories – even if “questions remain” – not everyone is joining in the supposedly universal sentiment that says athletes should be able to compete as the “gender” they identify with. Some of the girls losing to these biological boys are starting to push back.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on behalf of three Connecticut girls. Two of the girls fear retaliation and remained anonymous, while one, Selina Soule, is publically speaking out.
In her first encounter with Yearwood, she remembers seeing a “very muscular person with long braided hair completely dominate the race.” The next year, “As she and the other young women were two-thirds into the 100-meter race, two male competitors had ‘already finished and were doing the chest bump—the thing that the boys do when they do well.’” Evidently girls don’t often chest bump when they win.
The complaint alleges that the girls, after years of training and work, lost opportunities for “participation, recruitment and scholarships,” because biological males competed in their sport. The complaint notes that since the two boys began competing, they’ve won 15 girls’ state championship track titles and took away from girls “more than 40 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions” in three seasons.
The complaint says that this violates Title IX, the federal civil rights law banning discrimination in education based on sex. In 1972, when the law was passed, it was clear that there were two sexes, male and female, and that sexual differences were rooted in biology. Now, however, gender activists believe and teach that biology doesn’t really matter—what really matters is peoples’ sense of their “gender identity.”
Tell that to a female runner who’s just lost to a male athlete: Whatever he may believe about himself, there are real physical differences between men and women. In 2017, researchers published a report showing the more than 6,500 genes expressed themselves differently in men and women.
Male-female body differences go beyond the fact that men have more testosterone and women have more estrogen. Science and medical writer Heather Zeiger notes that those differences include “the hip structure along with everything attached to hip movement. … men and women differ in how the lower parts of their bodies move as a coordinated wholes.” Men tend to have more fast-twitch muscle. They tend to have larger hearts and lungs, which increases oxygen uptake.
The bottom line is that men and women walk, run and sprint differently. Opposite sex hormones and surgery don’t change these genetic and biological differences.
Activists and their allies, ignoring genes, anatomy and physiology, have worked for years to add “gender identity” to non-discrimination laws. Now they also try to redefine “sex” in non-discrimination laws to include “gender identity.” In addition to changing laws, they also work through local, state and federal human rights commissions, agencies and courts to push this agenda. In this instance, it was the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which oversees school sports, that allowed the boys to compete as girls – based not on biology, but on their internal beliefs.
LGBT activist groups such as GLSEN and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) push for school policies to allow transgender-identified students to use opposite sex restrooms, showers and locker rooms and to participate in sports congruent with their “gender identity.” Their “2018 Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” tells educators, “Gender identity is a core aspect of personal identity. The model policy is based on the basic principle that only an individual can determine their own gender identity.” It tells educators that a student’s transgender status is “confidential personally identifiable and medical information” disclosing this to third parties – such as parents – may violate privacy laws.
The Transathlete website demonstrates how successful activists have been: 18 states and Washington, D.C. have “inclusive” policies which allow athletes to compete as the opposite sex – without hormones or surgery. Nine states require a birth certificate or surgery and six states have no policy. Seventeen states have a mixture of policies, such as a waiting period after taking opposite-sex hormones or requiring a revised birth certificate. Some of these also make decisions on a case by case basis.
Selina Soule describes the frustration of sprinting against boys who think they are girls, “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing.” Hopefully the Department of Education will return Title IX to its original purpose, allowing more opportunities for girls, rather than taking them away.