Rantz: WIAA makes wildly inaccurate claims to pressure trans HS sports competitions
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is making wildly inaccurate claims to pressure high schools and sports leagues to allow transgender girls to compete against biological girls in sports. They have the backing of major Seattle professional sports teams — none of which have transgender athletes on their teams.
Using LGBTQ Pride month as a catalyst, the WIAA released a resource guide for “inclusive transgender and nonbinary youth sport best practices.” They hope schools or leagues will implement the best practices to make Washington “the most inclusive place for youth sports participation in the country.”
But many of their arguments are not based on even a basic understanding of biology. Indeed, science is brushed aside for virtue signaling and woke activism that disadvantages young female athletes.
It’s possible to discuss this issue with compassion — for all sides. But instead of doing that, too many leftists try to silence anyone with an opposing view, labeling them transphobes. In doing so, they’re merely depriving girls of equal access to competitions, and athletic scholarships generations fought so hard to attain.
WIAA claims no competitive advantages
One of the biggest controversies surrounding transgender female competition in sports is the competitive advantage a biological boy has over a biological girl.
It is not remotely controversial to acknowledge that male athletes have an overall physical advantage against comparably gifted female athletes. This is true of teens and adults. When puberty kicks in, the differences are stark. Males are generally taller, have more muscle mass, and hold greater lung capacity. Despite one’s gender identity, a male’s biology is different from that of a female, and it gives them a competitive advantage.
The WIAA pretends none of this exists. Indeed, they claim that trans athletes on teams have “not been shown to diminish opportunities for others.”
A bad argument
To make their claim, the WIAA ignores science and argues a point few people are making. They argue that because some trans athletes aren’t very good, there’s no unfair advantage.
The athleticism of any female athlete, as we know, can vary widely from that of other peers. Height, musculature, build, and weight are a few variables that impact performance. Additional factors that contribute to a potential advantage include access to skills-building opportunities at earlier ages, access to facilities and coaching, greater funding for programs and teams in certain privileged communities, chronological age, birth order, and more.
This is, of course, a remarkably disingenuous argument. It’s like saying it rarely rains in Seattle because it happened to be sunny on Saturday.
No one argues every trans athlete is gifted. There are bad trans athletes the same way there are bad male and female athletes. No one argues a female athlete can never beat a male athlete, nor that a female can’t beat a trans female athlete. But a comparable male athlete has a biological advantage over a female athlete. They’re not starting as equals, on average. The WIAA knows this.
Joanna Harper is a trans female athlete. ABC News calls her one of the world’s leading researchers on transitioning athletes. She acknowledges there is an advantage for trans athletes — she’s just OK with it.
“Many critics of transgender women have suggested that trans women have unfair advantages over gender or typical women, and it is certainly true that as a population group, trans women do have athletic advantages over [cisgender] women,” she said. “We do, however, allow advantages in sports.”
When talking about competitive sports, which is generally where this topic has centered, we’re talking about peak athletes. They are competing for both trophies and the attention of college scouts who will offer, in turn, scholarships to colleges. Whether or not there is an unfair advantage between the best trans athletes and the best female athletes, the answer is a categorical yes.
WIAA says ‘nonbinary’ students can switch teams whenever they’d like
The WIAA also wades into the non-binary debate. This gender identity is used by those who choose not to identify as either of the two biological genders.
As you can imagine, it can pose issues in deciding which teams to allow a non-binary student-athlete to play for. The WIAA makes this more confusing.
According to the WIAA recommendations, a non-binary athlete can play for the girl’s team one season, then move to the boy’s team the next. The student-athlete must say the change is a “result of a deeper understanding of their gender identity.” Or, according to the guidance, it can be based on “optimizing the athlete’s confidence, safety, and privacy.”
One can very easily see how this can be abused. It’s also easy to see how this can be seen as a mockery.
The necessary conversation
Activists on the left don’t want to have conversations about this.
Using feel-good and increasingly meaningless terms like “inclusion” and “equity,” activists hope to guilt you into accepting positions that deny equal opportunities to biological girls. In the world of intersectionality, progressives choose transgender girls as more worthy of advocacy than biological girls.
There’s a way to address this issue with compassion and understanding without harming a girl’s ability to compete for trophies and scholarships fairly. It starts with both sides owning up to facts.
Biology (yes, it exists) offers males competitive advantages over females. WIAA pretending otherwise is nothing more than woke, virtue signaling. There’s no doubt well-intentioned folks who are looking out for the well-being of trans athletes. Kudos to them. But this toolkit reads like a document striving to earn social currency with the area’s progressives. Unfortunately, it does irreparable harm to the athletes they claim to support. And with all due respect to the professional teams that are getting on board, thinking they’re doing it for the right reasons: Hit us up when you have trans athletes succeeding on your teams, especially in your competitive youth leagues.
Trans people must overcome a lot to live comfortably and openly. They’re stigmatized, too often mistreated, and mocked. It’s important to acknowledge that. It would help if you offered understanding and empathy to another human being. Too often, in this debate, trans people are dehumanized or just pushed aside without even an attempt to come up with a solution that does allow them to participate in some way. That’s wrong. These are kids.
Trans athletes should be able to play sports in high school, but not at the expense of basic fairness. That means they should not compete. Do I feel bad? Yes. But I also feel bad for the girls who would be in an unfair system.
Club sports? Do what’s safe, as deemed so by the community and participants. If schools want to provide transgender competitions in certain sports, where it makes sense due to the small population of trans athletes? Then go for it.
But it’s important not to lose the forest for the trees: You can’t pretend to push for equity while institutionalizing policies that actively discriminate against biological females because, suddenly, fighting for female rights isn’t woke enough anymore.
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