SAN MARCOS – On March 31, 2023, the World Athletics organization banned transgender women who have gone through the stages of male puberty from competing in top-level competition(s).
The World Athletics organization consists of track, field, and other running competitions – so this is not a ruling that will affect the entirety of female sports as a whole. But, should this ruling influence other organizations to put forth the same restrictions?
Riley Gaines, a 23-year-old American swimmer has been the victim of not only disregard, but oppression. In 2022, Gaines and a transgender swimmer named Lia Thomas tied in the 200-meter freestyle of the NCAA championship.
When the women went forward for their trophy, an NCAA official stated to Gaines that Thomas would be receiving the trophy and they would mail hers. When questioned by Gaines, the man replied to her, “For photo purposes, Lia has to have it,” Gaines stated during an interview via Youtube with the channel, Crain & Company.
Prior to the 200 meter competition, Gaines was ranked 3rd in the nation behind another woman and Thomas, who was ranked number one. Before competing in the freestyle, Gaines saw the name of “Lia Thomas” before her and was confused as to why she had never heard of her before since she was clearly very successful. Upon finding out that Lia Thomas was a male assigned at birth, Gaines stated, “surely the NCAA wouldn’t let this person compete with us.” But, they did.
In 2020, Thomas began transitioning and was still competing in men’s events until 2021. During this time period, Thomas was ranked 462nd in the men’s division but when she started competing in women’s events, she was leading the nation by “multiple seconds in multiple events,” stated Gaines.
When looking at men and women competitions in athletics, they are separated by sex rather than gender. Gender is a social concept, but biological sex is not. The main basis for the separation of men and women in athletics is the fact men contain a monumental amount of testosterone compared to women. In a 2018 article featured in the Journal of Endocrine Reviews states, “The strongest justification for sex classification in elite sports is that after puberty men produce 20 times more testosterone than women, resulting in circulating testosterone concentrations 15-fold higher than in children or women of any age.”
The article also states, “The striking male post-pubertal increase in circulating testosterone provides a major, ongoing, cumulative, and durable physical advantage in sporting contests by creating larger and stronger bones, greater muscle mass and strength, and higher circulating hemoglobin as well as possible psychological (behavioral) differences.” So why would it be fair to allow individuals assigned male at birth, who have gone through the stages of puberty, to compete against biological women? The painfully truthful answer is that it’s not. The only way it would be fair is allowing these women to consume steroids in order to level the playing field, but that’s illegal.
Proceeding the ruling by the World Athletics organization, there has been discussion on how to rectify the justified outrage seen by the transgender community. Many have been stating there should be a formation of a transgender-only league where they can compete freely and fairly against their opponents.
Giovanni Razo, a Palomar student since 2012, stated, “I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but there is kind of a borderline issue where you’re purposely segregating people away from the sport and I don’t know if that’s a good idea either.” Agreed. There is a fear present that the transgender community would see this as further discrimination, which we do not want.
So, what do we want? Well, many women athletes are displeased by the allowance of transgender women within their sports, and they should be allowed to be heard without fear of backlash or facing the “cancel culture” that has an everlasting presence within our society.
Just because these women have an opinion about something that directly affects them, does not mean they are against the community as a whole. They just want a solution. The main takeaway here is to recognize that just as the transgender community has a platform to speak on and share their opinions, biological women should as well when they are also facing a sense of discrimination.
Within this, it is clear to see that both sides are facing a form of discrimination and should be working together in order to combat it and find a solution that fits the needs and wants of everyone.
Riley Gaines stated truthfully that women athletes are “being sidelined to validate the feelings and identity of a man.”
Link to youtube interview with Riley Gaines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_TjTVA1W3c
Article from Journal: https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/39/5/803/5052770
- Telescope Opinion: Trina McLeary | The Telescope | All Rights Reserved