Is It Fair for Boys to Compete on Girls Sports Teams?
Under normal circumstances, last week’s State Open high school girls track and field championships in Connecticut wouldn’t be a significant news story, even though one student broke some records:
Terry Miller of Bulkeley won the 100 meters in 11.72 seconds, beating the previous State Open record, set in 2004 by Shanea Calhoun of Wilbur Cross, by one-tenth of a second. She also won the 200 in 24.17 seconds, breaking the previous State Open record of 24.24, which was set in 1997 by Shayla Wallace of Northwest Catholic. Miller also placed fourth in the 400 (57.61).
What makes this story significant is that Terry Miller is not a girl. Terry Miller is biologically male—a transgender student who was allowed to compete on the girls team to match his “gender identity.” Miller had previously competed on the boys track team. This story gets worse. Another transgender student, Andraya Yearwood, came in second place in the 100-meter dash. So, two girls lost their opportunities to compete in the New England championships because two biological boys who "identify" as girls were allowed to compete on their team, and won handily.
How is this fair? According to Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) executive director Karissa Niehoff, the girls who lost out to boys just need to suck it up. “We do feel for them. Fully agree it doesn’t feel good. The optic isn’t good. But we really do have to look at the bigger issues that speak to civil rights and the fact this is high school sports.”
But it’s not just high school sports. Over the years, stories like this have become more common in professional sports, too. Several years ago, a transgender MMA fighter who was biologically male but “identified” as a female made headlines for his shockingly brutal defeat of a real female opponent.
Transgender mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor Fallon Fox is facing new criticisms after breaking the eye socket of his last opponent.
On Saturday, Fox defeated Tamikka Brents by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. In addition to the damaged orbital bone that required seven staples, Brents received a concussion. In a post-fight interview this week, she told Whoa TV that "I've never felt so overpowered ever in my life."
Brents’ description of the fight is simply horrifying. “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night,” she said. “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right.”
As author Ashley McGuire wrote in her book Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female, “The willful blindness to basic biological difference under the mantra of equality ultimately disempowers women.” And what has happened in Connecticut and schools across the country is absolute proof of that. Is this fair for girl athletes? Is this what equality looks like?
To the Obama administration, it was.
While we can’t blame Obama for causing this movement, his administration did legitimize it with their 2016 guidance on the enforcement of Title IX. As a result of this guidance, schools risked losing federal funding unless they allowed transgender students to use the bathroom and changing facilities of their choice. Also, for sex-segregated sports and extracurricular activities, “transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
Athletics. Title IX regulations permit a school to operate or sponsor sex-segregated athletics teams when selection for such teams is based upon competitive skill or when the activity involved is a contact sport.16 A school may not, however, adopt or adhere to requirements that rely on overly broad generalizations or stereotypes about the differences between transgender students and other students of the same sex (i.e., the same gender identity) or others’ discomfort with transgender students.17 Title IX does not prohibit age-appropriate, tailored requirements based on sound, current, and research-based medical knowledge about the impact of the students’ participation on the competitive fairness or physical safety of the sport.
The Trump administration rescinded the Obama administration guidance in February 2017, but even though the federal government is no longer enforcing gender identity nonsense for bathrooms, changing facilities, athletics, and other activities, that hasn’t kept various school boards from mandating them locally. So, despite Trump’s efforts to bring sanity back to this issue, it remains an unfortunate legacy of Barack Obama’s that can’t simply be erased like others have.
It’s going to take more than reversing the Obama administration’s radical reinterpretation of Title IX to bring back common sense. People who aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect and who recognize that boys and girls are different need to get on school boards and reverse these extremist policies that do more to hurt girls than achieve equality.
The scary part is, while school boards continue to enforce the policy, those who disagree are scared to speak out. One coach who said the situation “wasn’t fair to the girls,” also said several coaches have privately told him they agree with him but haven’t spoken out publicly. “This is a big issue a lot of coaches have, that we’ve got to do something, but how come you’re not saying anything? I’ve said what I needed to say. I’m getting a little annoyed with the coaches that we haven’t been able to get together and do what’s best for everybody.”
Coaches, students, and parents need to speak out and fight back. It is not right that girls who have spent years training can find their dreams crushed when they have to compete in their sport with boys when science agrees boys and girls are very different. Instead of pretending these differences don’t exist, we need to acknowledge and celebrate the differences between men and women. We can’t stop ignoring these differences by arguing that gender is a social construct and a mere expression of psychological identity while ignoring science.