In just the past generation there has been a sea change in the way US society regards the LGBTQ community. And that has been a good thing.
It is hard to believe that less then 20 years ago, a very liberal state like California voted to outlaw gay marriage. Now, in a very short span of time, gay marriage is the law of the land. Yes, it was technically a Supreme Court opinion that legalized it. But it is impossible to imagine that such a question would be approved today in California…or in about three dozen other states.
This sea change has come about largely because of the work of the LGBTQ community and their allies. Their message of simply wanting to live their lives with dignity and a reasonable assurance of security struck a chord with most fair-minded people. As a libertarian, there I simply no way I can make myself care what two (or more) adults do behind closed doors. So long as consent is involved and minors are not, go for it.
One of the concerns we heard from the Cis community was that LGBTQ supporters wanted more than just tolerance. They wanted acceptance. Or even endorsement. I dismissed those concerns as hyperbolic. Recent events demonstrate they may have had a point.
I worked nearly 20 years with a gay man. I remember one morning he came into the newsroom, visibly upset. He had watched a story the night before where a group of gay protestors had trashed the house of a Town Council member somewhere in New Mexico. His apparent crime was voting against a measure that the gay community supported. My co-worker was livid. I will paraphrase him here.
“I’ve been trying for forty years to convince people that I am just like them, that I am not a monster. It’s only been recently that people don’t automatically dismiss me. After all this work and all this goodwill I and others have helped foster, these little (expletives) are going to f*ck it up for us.”
Of course the contemporary debate on such issues goes far beyond just the gay community. In their effort to gain numbers, the movement incorporated trans people into the fold. By definition, homosexuality and transgenderism are two very different things. But common enemies create allies, so the trans community was lumped into the larger effort.
Now, just as we have seen with some of the more militant elements of the gay community, the extremes of the trans movement have made it clear that unconditional surrender is the only concession they will accept. Just as the gay community morphed from “leave us alone” to “bake us a cake or we will ruin you,” the trans community has adopted an all-or-nothing approach. Their demand has become not just anodyne pronouns, but the unquestioned acceptance of trans people into every segment of society. Really “acceptance” is too mild a word. They are demanding “endorsement.”
The latest flashpoint in the debate is one Lia Thomas. She won the NCAA 500 meter freestyle championship on Thursday by a comfortable margin. Up until two years ago, Lia was a man competing on the men’s team at Penn. As a man, he was ranked #462 in the US. As a woman, she magically became an Olympic-caliber swimmer. Her times are not quite what they were two years ago when Thomas competed on the men’s team, but they are still significantly better than even the best amateur female. That is entirely unsurprising. This website graphically shows the difference in athletic development between males and females. Basically, not a single women in Olympic track and field events would have qualified for the Boy’s High School championships.
Here is the issue. Sports are segregated based on biological sex, not the sex with which one identifies. Period. Here are more facts. Male puberty includes biological enhancements that females simply cannot replicate. It is the very reason we have segregated sports in the first place. All of the Hormone Replacement Therapy in the world cannot undue puberty’s gifts of increased heart and lung capacity, bone density, and a dozen other things. Prepubescent boys and girls can and do compete in many areas because there is no major difference. After puberty, it is over. This doesn’t mean that a 40-year old out of shape dude can transition and win’s the women’s marathon the next week. But it does mean that an in-shape man who is competing at a collegiate level in a sport can transition to female—and even after a year of HRT they will dominate that same sport at the women’s level.
If your defense is that this is a victimless crime, you’re wrong. The Virginia Tech 5th year senior female athlete knocked out of the 500 free finals by Thomas was 2016 Hungarian Olympian Reka Gyorgy. She lost her chance at an NCAA championship because of Thomas’ time. The second-place finisher from the University of Virginia was denied a championship because of Thomas. Every time Thomas qualifies for an event, there is a biological female athlete who worked just as hard to achieve their dreams—only to have them dashed because everyone is force to act like all of this is OK.
Lia Thomas hasn’t broken any rules. She is within NCAA guidelines which stipulate one year of Hormone Replacement Therapy. But when she looks in the mirror—when she thinks about the entire situation, surely Thomas must see that this is wrong. At least I hope that is the case. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible that she is so narcissistic, so caught up in the Cult of Me, that she sees nothing wrong with any of this and is truly mystified about the opposition. It may be that growing up in a world where children are told that their feelings are the most important thing in the universe, she feels this it is entirely natural for her choices to force a lot of other people to make major adjustments in order to edify her. I hope not, but I fear that is the case.
In every debate, note the side that is trying to squelch discussion. That is the side you want to avoid. That is the side you want to oppose. NCAA officials, school leaders and most everyone directing these events is telling the participants they can NOT talk about this farce for risk of losing their scholarships. If this were a defensible position, they would invite commentary. But it is quite indefensible. The body language shown in this picture clearly demonstrates that the women competing against Thomas, the ones who are barred from saying anything about her, know what’s going on.
Much like my co-worker who watched the wonderful gains he and his community made become threatened because of radical elements, we will soon witness a backlash against the trans community so long as it’s most radical elements insist that situations like Lia Thomas’ are perfectly normal and that we are terrible people for even noticing the obvious injustice. This is an issue where the left loses support they would otherwise win by going well beyond what normal folks will bear. Why can’t we accept every part of trans people’s requests like equality, pronouns, workplace protection laws, etc. — while also realizing that allowing biological males to compete against biological females in sports is insane?
Surely there must be a way that we can treat trans people with dignity and respect, withOUT allowing farces like this to continue. Us boring cis white dudes are not going to be able to do this alone. It is imperative that the sane elements of the LGBTQ community and traditional feminists take the lead in pointing out that we passed “a bridge too far” about six exits ago. If not, many of the incredible gains made in the past generation will be lost.