June 06, 2019
There are a lot of issues race organizers have to deal with in a 100-mile endurance run. "Sponsors, weather, permits, volunteers." But gender? In 28 years, John Medinger has never had to think about it, he told the New York Times. Until now.
From June 29-30, runners will tackle one of the most grueling challenges in the sport: the Western States Challenge. Three hundred sixty-eight competitors who plan to be there don't pose a problem. One does: Grace Fisher, who happens to be a biological man. Now that he's been selected through the lottery to participate, Medinger's crew watched the debate about transgender sports land right at their front door. Like a lot of race and match organizers, one board member explained, "We felt that this was not something we should ignore. If it turned out that [he] finished in the top 10, it would be better for [him] and everyone that we had a policy in place."
The folks at the 100% Powerlifting Federation understand. They found themselves in the middle of this raging controversy when a biological male smashed four world records earlier this spring. He "put down female," the head of the federation explained. "Clearly, she's not a female. Not biologically anyway." Days after the headlines broke, they stripped Mary of his titles. "In our rules, we go by biological," the federation insisted. "According to the rules, she can only lift in the men's division... I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, but I have to follow the rules."
Last week, in the women's NCAA track championship, fans were outraged when a biological male -- Franklin Pierce University senior Cece Telfer -- placed first, roiling the sports world. The NCAA ignored the uproar, arguing that "the assumption that a transgender woman competing on a women's team would have a competitive advantage... is not supported by evidence."
Now, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) dropping the requirement for gender reassignment surgery, level-headed people on both sides of the aisle wonder: Will women's sports survive? House Democrats are doing they part to ensure they don't, overwhelmingly voting for an Equality Act that would destroy competition for girls the world over.
Meanwhile, athletes like former Brazilian volleyball player Ana Paula Henkel can't believe how quickly radicalism is hijacking her sport. In an open letter to the IOC, she complained, "This rushed and heedless decision to include biological men, born and built with testosterone, with their height, their strength and aerobic capacity of men, is beyond the sphere of tolerance," Henkel wrote. "It represses, embarrasses, humiliates and excludes women."
Turns out, the vast majority of Americans agree. A new Rasmussen Report spells trouble for liberals rushing head-long into this makeover of women's sports. Only 28 percent of U.S. adults support the idea of letting students participate on the sports team of the gender they identify with. Fifty-four percent oppose, and 18 percent are undecided.
"Believe it or not," Amelia Koehn wrote in the Federalist, "there was a time women's sports teams did not exist. Women had to strive and earn the right to have leagues of their own. They had the desire to compete, and they wanted to be treated fairly." Now, political correctness is forcing them to fight again -- and this time, there's no guarantee they'll win.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.