All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
Back in January, I wrote an OpEd about gender prejudice, and how one office holder expressed such prejudice against transgender women in general and, specifically, prejudice regarding the then-current Jeopardy champion, Amy Schneider. A discussion following that OpEd indicated this prejudice was based on a general disbelief that being transgender was a medical and physical condition rather than a hoax or a so-called “woke” perception of something that was in fact not real.
We live in a complex world, and as our knowledge of human genetics and psychology increases, that complexity manifests itself in a number of ways. The validity of the transgender condition among some of our fellow human beings is one such complexity that is widely misunderstood, and therefore it is not yet accepted by many Americans. Our country has expanded its initial announced basis of liberty and freedom from “All men are created equal” as stated in the Declaration of Independence to include not just white men (as it was generally understood to mean in 1776) but all menregardless of race, creed, or national origin; then, after generations of discussion, all men and women. We are struggling now to expand this to include “all people,” as evolving Science brings us into the knowledge that gender does not entirely fall into the binary categories we once thought. All people, we should now acknowledge, are not only created equal but are entitled to equal treatment as part of their inherent right to the pursuit of happiness.
Some Americans, including unfortunately some who represent us not only in Congress but in our State Legislature, continue to reject that notion. The latest manifestation of the gender prejudice inherent in such a rejection is a bill currently before the South Carolina Legislature entitled the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” It should be voted down again (it failed to be enacted last session), and here is why. The announced premise sounds reasonable enough: to require student athletes between grades 6 and 12 to compete in team sports based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender prejudice hides in the word “assigned.” The vast majority of the fellow members of our species are, indeed, fully male or fully female. But science is learning that for some small number, this is not the case. Some of them are inherently transgender – having important physical and/or psychological traits appropriate to the gender opposite to that initial “assignment,” which really means “assignment” by our society based on an initial external assessment of just their plumbing.
If we recognize transgender youth as being who they reallyare, even when they are only in grades 6 through 12, would that not compromise team sports, in particular by allowing some girls who were initially (and wrongly) assigned as males to play? Wouldn’t such children have an unfair advantage? The short answer is advantage perhaps yes, but unfair advantage no – not any more than allowing exceptionally tall girls (or boys) to play basketball despite being taller than anybody else, particularly anybody else in their school grade. If their pursuit of happiness includes trying out for a team and, if they are good enough, making that team, then we need to recognize and honor that. To do otherwise does not “Save” anybody’s sports. It sets up a fundamental fairness issue that is even more important to teach our children: in the United States of America, we assure to all people the unalienable rights to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. Even transgender people.