Monday, June 24, 2019

Misrepresenting a trans problem in amateur athletics

via Mercury News
Brian S. Brown has a new plea for money on behalf of National Organization for Marriage titled: Track records dropping like flies. The Catholic Church recently reiterated its anti-transgender dogma. Brown, and much of the Christian right, are using athletics as a means of attacking transgender people.

Sometimes the religious right are implying that people are claiming to be transgender in order to have an unfair athletic advantage. The very idea that someone would voluntarily subject themselves to the persecution that transgender people endure makes the theory preposterous. All of the time they are claiming that transgender women have an unfair advantage in sports.

They never pose any solutions because they aren't really interested in athletics. They want to disparage transgender people, mostly transgender youth. Brown's solution is about what you would expect:
Send us money and oppose the Equality Act which is another concocted reason to send us money.
Unfortunately, the transgender community has not done much to blunt this challenge. Martina Navratilova was informed by Renee Richards (a trans MD) that there is a problem. While I have great respect for both, they have not researched the issue.

The International Olympic Committee believes that they have solved the problem through an evaluation of testosterone levels. Does that solve the problem and is it realistic to expect amateur athletic conferences at the collegiate level to impose testosterone testing? How about secondary schools? I sent off a couple of emails to HRC. Perhaps they have some ideas.

Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a formal complaint to the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights on behalf of three high school girls. The complaint targets the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. ADF alleges that the girls have been unfairly discriminated against which could deny them college scholarships. They also allege:
Unfortunately for Complainants and other girls in Connecticut, those dreams and goals—those opportunities for participation, recruitment, and scholarships—are now being directly and negatively impacted by a new policy that is permitting boys who are male in every biological and physiological respect— including unaltered male hormone levels and musculature—to compete in girls’ athletic competitions if they claim a female gender identity.
That is not really the policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference:
The CIAC has concluded that it would be fundamentally unjust and contrary to applicable state and federal law to preclude a student from participation on a gender specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student for all other purposes. Therefore, for purposes of sports participation, the CIAC shall defer to the determination of the student and his or her local school regarding gender identification. In this regard, the school district shall determine a student’s eligibility to participate in a CIAC gender specific sports team based on the gender identification of that student in current school records and daily life activities in the school and community at the time that sports eligibility is determined for a particular season. Accordingly, when a school district submits a roster to the CIAC, it is verifying that it has determined that the students listed on a gender specific sports team are entitled to participate on that team due to their gender identity and that the school district has determined that the expression of the student’s gender identity is bona fide and not for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in competitive athletics.
ADF's assertion that all one has to do is to “claim a female gender identity” is clearly untrue. The person must have socially transitioned. Could they tighten it up? Sure. They could require a minimum time in transition along with confirmation that the student is on hormones or puberty blockers which act as testosterone suppressors and has been taking those drugs for a minimum period of time.

ADF;s complaint is based mostly on the differences in athletic achievement between girls and boys. It is somewhat irrelevant because they are assuming that transgender girls are capable of the same level of accomplishment as boys and that is probably not the case.

For us the problem is not high school athletics. The real problem is that the religious right is using athletics to undermine transgender rights, LGBT rights and the future of the Equality Act.

One of the questions I have is just how many kids we are talking about. Trans students probably comprise about 0.5% of the total school population. Trans girls about 0.25%. What percentage of those are involved in competitive athletics?

I am investigating this matter further with the Conference and will update this post accordingly.

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