Rip’s Modest Proposal: End Men’s and Women’s Divisions in Sports

In this photo taken Thursday, May 12, 2016, signage is seen outside a restroom at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham, N.C. North Carolina is in a legal battle over a state law that requires transgender people to use the public restroom matching the sex on their birth certificate. The ADA-compliant bathroom signs were designed by artist Peregrine Honig. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The recent weeks have provided many wonderful distractions from a White House occupied by a Russian spy, the absolutely trustworthy and objective media being ignored because of their alleged “bias,” and the Republican-controlled Congress charging enthusiastically forward with reform after much-needed reform. But the pressing issue of the day is cis-women/trans-women/men in sports, and rightfully so. Let’s get our thoughts right on this, and let’s propose a common-sense meaningful solution.


The terms sex and gender are sometimes mistakenly and unfortunately regarded as separate concepts. This oppressive semantic distinction is apparently based on the flawed observation that men and women have different physical characteristics, capacities, and potentials. This is nothing more than a contextual weapon, largely employed as a mechanism for the continued “doormatting” of roughly half the population.

In addition, those individuals who decide that their gender/sex is sufficiently fluid that they cannot be limited, restricted, or denied access to the identity and opportunity of their own choosing must be given every option for self-expression. And the other members of society who regard themselves as cis-normative (“normal”) should just get used to the idea that sex/gender will be henceforth regarded as obsolete semantics in search of a rusty storage container.

Sports is the most high-profile remnant bastion of this dated sex/gender construct, the final realm of cis-/trans-normative confusion, based on the bankrupt notion that the terms “men’s” and “women’s” actually hold significant meaning as descriptors of meaningful meaningfulness.

This blatant division where no division should be, where division is still tolerated and must not be, must be tolerated no longer.


It must stop.

Here is a list of recent examples why:

Transgender Teenager Taking Testosterone Wins Texas State Girls Wrestling Tournament

Transgender Freshman in Connecticut Competes With Girls Track Team for First Time

Transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox Faces Toughest Opponent Yet: Prejudice

Meet the First Openly Transgender NCAA Athlete

New Zealand Transgender Weightlifter Creates History

Let’s just cut through the nonsense, shall we? The logical end of all this controversy is painfully obvious.

“Men’s” and “Women’s” divisions in competitive sports must be eliminated, for the good of the sports and for the good of the athletes.

We must eliminate “women’s sports” and replace it with simply “sports” — open to everyone who wants to compete against each other, damn the sexism and damn the misogyny.

Clearly, the time has come for the arbitrary distinctions in sex/gender in competitive sports to end. And its ending will provide fresh opportunities for individuals previously relegated to secondary status, long overdue in the repressive and arbitrary world of high-level sports at the professional, D-1, and Olympic levels.

For example, Ronda Rousey would finally have an opportunity to showcase her boxing talent in a match with Floyd Mayweather, earn a real paycheck for her trouble, and truly unify the title. The players of the WNBA, eligible for the higher-profile slots of the NBA, would finally be recognized for their talent and athletic ability in a truly competitive arena. “Women,” both cis- and trans-, could finally display their potential in the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the U.S. Tennis Association, and the PGA.



No longer “protected” from real competition, people of all sexes/genders would rise or fall based on their actual talent, strength, power, skill, and heart. The Olympics would see the end of any reason to do away with Greco-Roman wrestling, since it opens up that competitive venue to a whole new group of athletes who were formerly barred from the sport, thus providing more opportunities to excel. All sexes and genders would be able to showcase their abilities in Olympic weightlifting competition, with all artificial barriers removed. Track and field events would no longer be hampered by the clutter of misogyny, with all distances and implements being contested once, the taint of “twice” being removed forever. Finally.

The use of steroids would actually be mandatory under this new competitive paradigm. We fans are not concerned with the health of athletes — we are concerned with enjoying the game. If you want to win, take steroids, you fools. Their effects on secondary sexual characteristics are as much an artificial contextual remnant of an irrelevant pre-postmodern reality as a breast enhancement clinic. If you don’t like the idea, don’t be an athlete.

And think of the savings in money and time! One set of facilities instead of two. One set of trophies, one salary scale, one standard for equipment, uniforms, and drug testing. Fairness becomes codified as reality, as opposed to merely an optimistic abstraction.


And most importantly, with the taint of transphobia completely eliminated from sports at all levels, we can get back to the real pressing issues of the day — like whether Vladimir Putin is really a Russian oligarch, or merely the puppet of Kim Jong-Un.


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