Reason | Nov 26, 2020 | 0
A Civil War In Sports: Identity Politics Vs Science?
A decade ago, declaring that a man is a man and a woman is a woman would have been self-evident and uncontroversial. In recent years, however, the debate over transgender rights and identity politics has changed that. In sports, we have seen the rise of biologically male athletes who have been allowed to compete in women’s sports because they self-identify as female.
But not everyone is on board with this postmodern progressive agenda. Some people in sports are fighting back, albeit carefully. In April 2018, the International Association of Athletes Foundation created rules that regulate the maximum amount of testosterone people competing in women’s sports can have, and this would affect among others South African Olympic gold medal winner Caster Semenya.
She challenged the new rule, but on May 1, 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected her appeal. If she wants to compete in sports, she now must take testosterone-suppressing drugs.
A critical fact that has been left out of the story as reported in most mainstream media outlets is that the new rule applies only to intersex individuals who have male chromosomes (XY). The press release by CAS makes this clear:
“The DSD [Differences of Sex Development] covered by the Regulations are limited to athletes with ‘46 XY DSD’ – i.e., conditions where the affected individual has XY chromosomes. Accordingly, individuals with XX chromosomes are not subject to any restrictions or eligibility conditions under the DSD Regulations.”
Since Semenya is covered by these regulations in the ruling by CAS, it implies that she was born a biological male but with some female traits. As early as 2009, media outlets reported that she did not have a womb and that she had internal testicles.
This crucial fact means that the new testosterone rule is only a partial victory for biological females. Although the new regulation requires intersex people to suppress their testosterone production, it indirectly acknowledges the right of people who are born as biological males to compete in a category of sport that is specially created to allow women to compete.
Women’s physiology is optimized to make them superior at giving birth. They are highly specialized baby factories. That comes at a cost. Men are typically better athletes. Even the fastest woman to have ever lived, Florence Griffith Joyner, is regularly beaten by junior male runners in colleges all over the country.
Women’s sport was created in recognition of that fact. Just as you need different weight classes in boxing or wrestling to make the competition fair, you also need a separate category for women so that they have a chance to compete on equal biological terms.
That had been considered fair by all – until the progressives came along and demanded that people who self-identify as women should be allowed to compete in a category created explicitly for humans with XX chromosomes.
So far, the progressive left has been allowed to colonize sports and other fields without much opposition by using a designated victim group as a moral spearhead. The CAS ruling shows that resistance is slowly mounting.
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