Not separate, definitely not equal

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Not separate, definitely not equal
March 31
06:57 2022

I have debated about whether I should write about this particular topic for a couple of years in fear of offending someone. However, after reading a recent article about the subject, along with having three daughters, I can’t hold my tongue any longer.

Recently I saw a report on television that stated University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship.

Now let me start by saying that I have no problem with transgender athletes competing on any level of sports. My issue is when a transgender woman, who was born a man, decides to compete in women’s sports because there is a decided advantage when it comes to strength, muscle tone, muscle memory and endurance.

I know transgender athletes have to go through hormone replacement therapy to be able to compete on the women’s side. I am not a doctor, but there is no way you can tell me that simple hormone replacement levels the playing field between other women and someone who was once labeled a man.

Genetically speaking, men are the stronger and faster of the two sexes and I am not sure all of that goes away just by taking hormones. That’s the reason why an average male athlete can transition to transgender and become one of the best female athletes in their respective sport.

Thomas won the Division I national championship in the 500-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 4:33.24. The second-place finisher was Virginia’s Emma Weyant who finished with a time of 4:34.99. Thomas previously swam for the Penn men’s team for three seasons and was ranked #462 in the nation prior to joining the women’s team.

As you would assume, not everyone was happy or excited for Thomas’ victory. There were very few people cheering and multiple signs in the crowd were seen that objected to the presence of Thomas. Thomas tried to ignore the objectors and addressed it after the race.

“I try to ignore it as much as I can,” said Thomas. “I try to focus on my swimming, what I need to do to get ready for my races, and just try to block out everything else.”

There were people outside of the championships in Atlanta on both sides of the equation. Some were in favor of Thomas, while others, such as the Save Women’s Sports and Young Women for America (the college branch of Concerned Women for America) protested Thomas’ inclusion in the women’s events.

We’re not going to stand by and let women be displaced,” said Annabelle Rutledge, the national director for Young Women for America. “We must fight for their rights.”

CWA recently announced they have filed a Title IX complaint against the University of Penn stating that Penn is violating Title IX by allowing Thomas to compete on the women’s team.

“The future of women’s sports is at risk and the equal rights of female athletes are being infringed,” said CWA president and CEO Penny Nance in a statement. “We filed a formal civil rights complaint against UPenn in response to this injustice.”

This is not the first time the CWA has filed a Title IX complaint about a transgender athlete competing on a women’s team. They previously filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Education after Franklin Pierce University (FPU) track and field athlete CeCe Telfer won a Division II national championship in the 400-meter hurdles in 2019. The OCR concluded that FPU’s transgender inclusion policy violated Title IX and the school was forced to rescind its policy.

This situation with FPU was the first time this issue was brought to my attention. I knew then that it was only a matter of time before it happened again and here we are. And this is not going to be the end of us hearing about scenarios like this in the future unless the rules are changed.  

One of the most famous transgender advocates is Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner is a former Olympic decathlete and said Thomas was not the “rightful winner” of the event.

“It’s not transphobic or anti-trans, it’s COMMON SENSE!,” Jenner tweeted.

On a Fox News segment back in January, Jenner said this: “We need to protect women’s sports. I feel sorry for the other athletes that are out here, especially at Penn or anybody she’s competing against.  … It’s not good for women’s sports. It’s unfortunate that this is happening.”

If a transgender woman that is a former Olympian objects to transgender women competing in women’s sports, someone in power should probably listen to them. They obviously have firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to compete at the highest level and also what it is like to transition to becoming a transgender woman.

I don’t have the answers as to what to do moving forward. I don’t think there are enough transgender athletes out there to make a separate division for them in high school and collegiate sports. What I do know is transgender women have a decided advantage when they compete in women’s sports and anyone who disagrees with me is not being realistic with themselves. Hormones do not take away all of the physical advantages that men have. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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