Other than being vaguely aware of this issue, I really never imagined that there could be conflict over whether or not a boy who identifies as a girl should be allowed to compete on a girl’s athletic team.

The term for this condition is transgender. But what does it mean to be transgender? Here’s a definition that makes sense, in a way, I guess: “Trans is an umbrella term for those whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were given at birth, for example, transgender or transsexual people. Some trans people may feel that they are a man born into a female body or a woman born into a male body, but not necessarily.”

While I am prepared to acknowledge that it’s possible for a boy or girl to feel they should have been born with the body of the opposite sex, when it comes to athletic competition I can also see how feeling like you’re a girl in a boy’s body could be one of the biggest scams ever in high school and collegiate sports ever imagined. Why is that? The primary reason is no matter how much a biological male feels like a girl, he’s going to have a huge advantage over nearly every biologic girl he/she competes against.

Here’s the deal, boys and girls just aren’t the same physically, just in case anyone reading this didn’t just know that instinctively.

I found an article that explains several aspects of the problem. I’m not going to just copy the thing from beginning to end, but rather, use it to cite some of the more subtle problems that being transgender can cause. As far as I’m concerned, claiming you feel more like a girl than a boy, even if you’re a boy in every other respect, only enables the boy to win lots of athletic events in high school and college and not much else, but certainly hurts the chances for a girl to compete for a college scholarship and go on to higher education – and that’s a pretty big deal. The peculiar part is transgenderism, if there is such a word, doesn’t work the other way around.

What if you’re biologically a girl but feel like you should have been born a boy? Let’s say you’re even born a big girl, it’s really not going to matter when you try out for the high school football team – except for kickers – no matter how much a biologic girl feels like a boy, she’s not going to make the team as a linebacker or offensive tackle. The physical differences are just too great.

But back to the article I found. Written by Bianca Stanescu, opinion editor for USA Today, “Over the past few years, athletes, coaches and parents have been watching in disbelief as girls are being replaced on the winner’s podium by boys who identify as girls at all levels of competition.”

Here’s what the mother of a outstanding female athlete had to say: “I am the mother of an elite track-and-field athlete in Connecticut. Through our attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, my daughter … and I filed suit in February with two other female athletes and their mothers to challenge Connecticut’s policy of allowing biological boys to compete in girls’ sports. Connecticut is one of at least 17 states that allow this.”

Until I heard about this very recently, I had no idea it was a problem. Who would have ever imagined that any state’s athletic commission would allow a boy who “feels” like a girl to compete on a girls’ volleyball, track and field, field hockey, or basketball team, just to mention the sports that come readily to mind?

Here’s the heart of the problem in this particular state, “the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows athletes to compete based on gender identity rather than biological sex in violation of Title IX, as the Department of Education recognized.” That means, once again, you can “identify” as a girl when you’re biologically a boy. As far as athletics are concerned, biology does matter. “Whatever you believe about gender identity in general, the simple fact is that biology is what matters in athletics, not a person’s identity. Gender identity can be changed. Sex is embedded in our DNA and cannot be changed. It is reflected in realities like lung capacity and bone density. ... Boys will always have certain physical advantages over girls. That’s the reason we have women’s sports in the first place. Boys’ bodies are simply different on average: They’re bigger, stronger and faster, even if the male athlete receives hormones. Science and common sense tell us this. And so do the times at track events.”

So, what’s the answer to this “equality verses fairness” problem. In my opinion, it’s pretty clear we have separate programs for boys and girls. Furthermore, which ever program you get to participate in should be based solely on whether you were born a boy or a girl in biologic terms. I’m sympathetic to those people who were born one gender but feel like the other, but I would submit there are plenty of other ways to find satisfaction besides athletics – and even if a girl identifies as a boy, she can still be on the girls track team. So, she’s not being denied the chance to participate, it’s just a matter of against whom.

That’s —30— for this week.

Retired Rush County businessman Paul W. Barada may be contacted via this publication at news@greensburgdailynews.com.

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