Transgendered athletes has been a hot-button issue for conservative politicians and religious leaders for a number of reasons, but none of them relate to the sports themselves.
We’ve heard that they’re worried about how other cisgendered athletes will feel in the locker room. We’ve heard that they’re worried about fairness. We’ve heard they’re worried about people intentionally changing their sex in order to compete in athletic sports.
None of this is really the issue at hand. One of the biggest jokes for decades about softball is how mostly lesbian or bisexual women play the sport. Regardless if this is true or not, what does it matter?
A person’s sexual preference has nothing to do with their athletic abilities. This is just men (and some women) thinking that women have to be gay in order to play softball. In other worlds, it’s not lady-like. I mean, the absurd part of A League of Their Own was that these young women were forced to play a sport in skirts, even though the pants the regular ball workers wore are better fitted for their lower-body movements.
How many gay men and women have played sports and been in a locker room for decades, without any of the other people knowing about their sexual prefederence? This goes back to the myth that all gay people are sexual predators, even though that’s just not true.
Next, the issue that people would intentionally change their sex in order to compete implies that hormone replacement therapy can take days instead of months or even years. And this goes with the last issue of fairness.
The implication is that transgendered women will compete in women’s sports to make more achievements. This goes back to the inaccuracies that women can’t play sports as good as men or the goals are set easier for women.
Having covered sports, I can tell you that the young women competing were far better many times than the men. This, of course, is sexism, with the argument men are better at sports than women. If it sounds familiar, it’s similar to the myth that BIPOC are better at sports.
It’s different strokes for different folks. Not every BIPOC has to be good at football, baseball, soccer or basketball. White men can jump. Black people can play golf and excel. Women can also play golf and be better.
But this is where the issue becomes about accomplishments and goals. Naysayers say women athletics are held to a lower standard. Colleges give scholarships to women athletes who don’t have as high stats as their male counterparts. But is it really true?
The problem is that even in 2021, the male sports are considered the bigger draws. And that makes it more competitive. But to say women aren’t the better athletes because of a few point difference is insulting.
I covered a story of a young woman who was the best golfer in the school at the time. And she hadn’t started playing until high school. She took on the sport after a leg injury prevented her from playing softball.
One of the best basketball games I covered was a playoff match to go to the state championship. It went into four overtimes. And both teams played with determination. Also, both teams got really into it. Even better, they had a bigger audience as the boys teams and their fans were waiting to the next round.
I was covering a soccer match where the women’s team performed well, but the boys’ team had a bad record. I overheard the coach, who did both the girls and boys, more or less criticize the fans and belittle the achievements of the girls team because some of the fans left.
Yes, some may have stayed, but having both soccer matches lasts up to five hours. It’s poor planning on the athletic department. But it wasn’t the girls who were the bad players. It was the boys who thought they should naturally be better and their coach who shouldn’t be playing favoritism.
But this favoritism is probably why many of these sports are scheduled the way they are. Honestly, how many people would hang around to watch the girls teams if the boys teams came first? But the notion that male athletes are better is a stereotype that’s hurting all athletics.
Title IX may not be liked by all. But when a football team can have 10-12 coaches and a softball team has one or two, there’s a problem. I’ve seen some locker rooms for softball teams I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to find homeless people living in them. Yet, football locker rooms rival the big leagues. And this is just a regular small-town school district.
It also goes back to control and this outdated sexist notion that men don’t want to be showed up by women. “You play like a girl,” is an outdated sexist comment. It should be a compliment or words of encouragement.
It’s also about control. When I was in high school, the football team players got some of their favorite cheerleaders to provide them with goody bags every Friday. I think the cheerleaders (or their parents), had to pay for these out of their own pockets. There was no booster club. And mind you, I graduated high school in 1997 so it’s only a generation ago.
If these people really cared about the safety and concern of all athletes, they’d be doing a lot more for all of them. Female athletes don’t have the proper training and exercise facilities. They don’t have the proper resources for uniforms or equipment.
If they cared about the safety of athletes from sexual predators, Dr, Larry Nassar would’ve been stopped many years ago. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would have resigned years ago just as Andrew Cuomo is resigning as governor of New York.
Sexual assault and harassment is too big of a problem in athletics. But it was tolerated because it used to be considered hazing. Well, hazing is a problem too. I, quite frankly, don’t give a damn about the “traditions” your parents and grandparents endured. I think it seriously traumatized a few generations, which is why we’re seeing problems we’ve had for decades.
People want to scream, “Will someone think of the children?!” But it seems that’s all people want to do, because actions might make some needed changes.