Trans Women Belong Everywhere — Especially in Sports
Originally Published on The Pitt News
As a competitive runner for almost seven years, the victories aren’t what stand out in my memory. Rather, I’m grateful for the experiences and lessons the sport taught me — how to persevere through challenges, accomplish a common goal with other people and how to manage my time.
With larger conversations going on about trans women in sports, I fear that many women won’t have access to the same critical experiences I had. Why should this experience be limited to just cisgender individuals?
Preventing trans athletes from participating with the gender they identify as neglects the most important part of sports — building community.
However, the debate surrounding trans women in sports often revolves around winning. Some people are concerned that someone assigned male at birth has advantages over a female when it comes to physical competition. Not only does this argument fail to consider the biological advantages many of the best athletes have — who are celebrated for their prosperity rather than ridiculed — but these ignorant arguments miss the whole point of sports and its culture.
Sports provide participants with a community. They connect individuals from all walks of life who have similar interests. They teach people how to collaborate with others to achieve a common goal and to persevere through tough circumstances.
In each game, match or competition, most of the athletes participating won’t win. Think about it — in a race, there is only one winner. In team sports, only half of the people will leave victorious. If winning was the only reason to play a sport, most athletes wouldn’t be successful.
Sports movies, such as “The Longest Yard” and “Miracle,” celebrate a team, often of individuals from diverse backgrounds coming together to accomplish a common goal. Even our depictions of sports are not complete without portraying values other than winning.
Ultimately, this debate is a product of a culture shock. For many people, it’s uncomfortable to think that gender is a spectrum rather than a binary. In the United States, the Pew Research Center reports that only 5% of young adults identify as trans or non-binary. And of this 5%, not every individual is interested in sports — or even the same sports.
Trans individuals face higher rates of discrimination, suicide and poverty than the cis population. Their lives, existing out of the human-constructed gender binary, are not easy. We should at least allow this minority group who faces many other challenges to participate in sports so they can build community and find people who have common interests.
The debate around trans women in sports often surrounds the highest level of sports. But most athletes don’t participate collegiately or even professionally — they are kids in school. While growing up, sports help kids develop social skills, discipline, compromise and teamwork.
These are skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives to connect to other people. In fact, in any activity, including sports, children develop these skills to a greater extent when they participate with people from a variety of backgrounds. Collaborating with different people builds acceptance and nurtures ideas of empathy. Not only do trans women belong in sports, they enhance the values that sports instill in kids.
Building community is only accomplished when we include people from all backgrounds — and that includes trans individuals. So while rhetoric preventing trans women in sports is based on alleged “fairness,” there is nothing fair about preventing trans women from the same experiences many cis women treasure.
In a world that encourages women to constantly compete against each other rather than realize the power of working together, this debate that separates women in sports based on their biology is doing the same. Sports shouldn’t be yet another area where women are made to feel less than men.
Accepting trans individuals includes allowing them the same privileges to play sports and build community.
One of our country’s most important freedoms is that of free speech.
Agree with this essay? Disagree? Join the debate by writing to DailyClout HERE.
11 replies added
Trans women are free to compete in the men’s division, if all you’re after is the “experience” — you can experience it there. But of course, if what you’re really after is winning, then picking a division (women’s) where you have an advantage would then be your agenda if you can get away with it.
Recently I was at HomeDepot lugging 50 lb bags into my cart. I was proud that as a 50+ woman, it wasn’t a big deal. But when I had to pull them from an upper shelf, my ego hit reality. I knew there was a good chance I would drop a bag and make a mess for someone else to clean up. Reluctantly, I asked the overweight out of shape guy, my age, to help. I knew based on the odds, he was still stronger than me. Before all this Covid garbage came upon us, I commented to a friend that maybe the time of women’s wisdom and contributions (we do raise the kids primarily) would finally be recognized. We could re-enter the paid workforce because our organizational skills and flexibility would be recognized. The untethered reality of covid to science, unfortunately, spread like pee in a pool to help spread the erasure of women by more pseudo-science. It is ironic that the young are told to not respect our country’s founding fathers because they are a bunch of dead white men, but neo-Marxists from the Frankfurt School? Well, those dead old white men are gods.
Love this, yes if you want a social experience, then be with the sex you were born with. Women want to have a social and sports experience with women born women of which they are pretty much equal in ability.
I agree with Talia Spillerman. If modern gender Ideology has taught us anything it is this: men are better than women at everything, including women’s sports. Congratulations, neo-Marxist and Postmodernist feminists — you drank the Marxist Kool-Aid; now, suffer the consequences. Catharine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin would be proud!
Sex is binary as a Scientific fact, you are XX or XY, which determines your genitalia. There are a few inter-sex individuals who ate biological errors. This is similar to a person born with no arms. Having arms is not a spectrum, you have two arms or an error occurred.
And how dare someone say women should not be competitive? That should not desire to win-the communal experience should be enough? Good God this is sexist drivel. But Marcuse did say that while women ‘is a social construct’ the social construct would be helpful to spread the neo-Marxist ideology. This article proves their success.