Former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, now transgender icon Caitlyn Jenner, has signed up for a women’s golf tournament, stoking the fears of some feminists that transgender women may have an unfair advantage in athletic competitions.
Jenner has played golf for 15 years, and a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that she will compete in a sports event Wednesday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Britain’s Daily Mail reported that Jenner said her new breasts actually improve her golfing skills:
It comes after the trans I Am Cait star told the Mail On Sunday that her new breasts make her game better.
‘When people ask me about my new life as a woman, they always ask the same question about my golf game: “Are your breasts going to get in the way?” ’ she told the Daily Mail’s sister publication.
‘The answer is no, my game is still really good. And to be honest, the breasts are really good for putting.’I used to put a sock under my arm to help keep my arms straight, but now I don’t have to do that any more because I can hold my arms against my breasts, so it’s perfect.’
Jenner says she plans to use the competition to make a stand for women golfers who believe they are not treated equally to men in the sport.
Next Page: What’s wrong with this — such competitions may be unfair to women.
The announcement might strike others the wrong way, however. As The Federalist’s Brandon Morse noted,
In some sports, mixing male and female may not affect the outcome, such as tennis, equestrian sports, or curling, but in many others this is not the case. Men typically outpace women when running, lifting, throwing, jumping, etc. If men can claim to be women and invade a sport that only women are allowed to compete in, then it’s a safe bet men will win. All the accolades, rewards, and recognition will be taken from the women who rightfully deserve them and given to a man who essentially cheated by putting on makeup, injecting himself with hormones, and saying he’s a woman.
All in all, [the decision to let transgender women compete in women’s sports] is incredibly unfair to women. While the [International Olympic Committee] bends rules around people who bend gender, the athletes who legitimately spend almost every waking hour dedicated to their sports are being given a raw deal. They take their sports very seriously, and while transgendered athletes may also love their sports, they should do the honorable thing and recognize that regardless of how they identify, their body identifies as something else.
Caitlyn playing golf may not be extremely unfair to her competitors, but the presence of a former male Olympic athlete in women’s sports — especially a popular culture icon like Caitlyn Jenner — has terrifying implications. Women who were born female may be at a disadvantage when competing with biological males who recently entered the feminine ranks. Jenner’s decision only heightens the debate.