Boys Will Be Boys, Except When They Are Girls

There are two sexes, male and female, depending on whether one possesses two X chromosomes or an X and a Y chromosome.  There are rare exceptions, where someone had a third chromosome, and his sex is indeterminate.

Today, "gender," a now longstanding feminist buzzword and stand-in for sex, has become more complicated than the tax code.  For most individuals, gender corresponds to biological sex, which gender theory proponents call "cisgender."  A few identify as something other than their biological sex, or "transgender."  Traditional identification as male or female is considered "binary," while those who don't fit neatly into the either-or choices are "non-binary."  "Genderqueer" is another name for non-binary, referring to those who "express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression."

How many genders are there?  Facebook, the arbiter of political correctness, provides 71 gender options in the U.K.  For Americans, there are fewer choices: only 58 as of 2014.  Seems we are less enlightened or woke on this side of the pond.  One might blame that on President Donald Trump, but in 2014, he wasn't even a candidate yet.

If you are not confused yet, delve into the nuanced differences between the 60-plus genders and see if you can actually understand the differences among "Trans Female," "Trans* Female," "Trans Woman," "Trans* Woman," and "Transgender Female."

If one watches any popular television drama or comedy, there is likely to be a transgender character, leading viewers to believe that transgenders represent a significant portion of the population.  The reality is that only 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender, according to one statistic, or 0.6 percent of the population.

For comparison, in 2002, on the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, 8 percent of those surveyed believed that Elvis could still be alive.

Moving from the realm of belief to reality, gender confusion is turning athletics upside-down, particularly women's sports.  In the recent Connecticut girls' state indoor track championships, two men calling themselves women finished first and second place in the 55-meter sprint, one of them setting a state record.

Connecticut is one of 17 states allowing high school athletes to compete without restriction with members of the opposite sex.  States, in an effort to be diverse, tolerant, and woke, have passed anti-discrimination laws requiring students who so desire to be treated in school as members of the opposite sex.

Interestingly, the sporting competitions are binary: male or female.  If these school administrators were true to their intentions, they would have separate sporting events for each of the 60 genders in order to make things fair.  After all, is it fair for a "Trans Female" to compete against a "Trans* Female"?

Humor aside, who is asking the question about the fairness of allowing "transitioning males" to compete against females in sport?

As one of the Connecticut female athletes observed, "we all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it's demoralizing."  Of course it is, and it should be obvious to school administrators and government officials, despite their desires to be tolerant and politically correct.  Feminist groups are a bit tongue-tied on this issue, conflicted between the rights of women and the politically correct position of supporting transgender rights.

Physical realities of strength and speed don't come in 60 flavors.  Instead, there are only two: male and female.  Let's look at a few examples —  specifically, Olympic records.

For the 100-meter run, the men's world record is 9.63 seconds, compared to the women's record of 10.62 seconds — a full second difference, or about 10 percent.  In fact, in the 2016 Summer Olympics, every man running in the three 100-meter semifinals would have broken the women's world record.  In the eight heats before the semifinals, all men except a small handful would have beaten the women's record.  What happens when a few of those men decide to transition and compete in the women's 100-meter event?  Guess who will win the medals.

The Olympic record for the marathon is 2:06 for men, 2:23 for women.  For the long jump, it is 8.9 meters for men, 7.4 meters for women.

Now move from the track to the pool.  The 100-meter Olympic record for freestyle is 47.05 seconds for men, 52.70 for women.  The other events show a similar trend.

For weightlifting, the differences are even starker.  For example, compare the men's 62-kg weight class to the women's 63-kg class.  The men's record for total lift is 327 kg versus 262 kg for women, a 143-pound difference.

Sex differences played out recently at the 2017 Australasian Championships.  New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard, a man competing against women, easily won a gold medal in his (women's) weight class.  His testosterone levels were below the specified threshold for the twelve months preceding the event, making a mockery of testosterone levels as an arbiter of who can compete as which sex.

Team sports show a similar trend.  The U.S. women's national soccer team is among the best in the world, having won the 2015 World Cup and multiple Olympic gold medals.  They competed against an under–age 15 boys' soccer team from Dallas — basically a team of freshman high school boys — and guess who won: the boys.

The same thing happened in Australia in 2016, where the Australian women's national soccer team lost a practice match 7-0 against a team of teenage boys.

The point is that identity politics with catchphrases of tolerance and diversity sounds nice but defies the realities of biology and sex.  Female athletes should be outraged over the prospect of competing against males, regardless of testosterone levels or the open-mindedness of athletic officials.

This is a real war on women, setting back women's athletic achievements to the point that in many sports, they need not bother competing.  Will feminist groups speak out against this?  How about female politicians, quick to jump all over Brett Kavanaugh but with little to say about these athletic disparities?

Tennis great Martina Navratilova, herself a lesbian, learned firsthand what a sensitive issue this is.  As reported this week, "[s]he now stands accused of being 'transphobic' after asserting that many transgender women [sic] — even if they've undergone hormone treatment [sic] — have an unfair advantage over other [sic] female competitors."  She spoke the truth but was crucified for it on the altar of political correctness.

This is another example of the unintended consequences of political correctness taking precedence over common sense.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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