There is one category of issues in which my libertarian nature comes to the fore. It has to deal with most gay issues. It is that belief in personal freedom and individual choices. As far back as the 1980s, when I headed up the City Club of Chicago – a prominent civic force in the Windy City – I approved the formation of the first Gay Rights committee.
I initially favored civil unions that would provide committed gay partners many of the rights and legal protections afforded married couples. When the Supreme Court decided that gays had a constitutional right to marriage, I wrote that the normalization of gays in American society was fully established. One could argue the morality, but the constitutionally was affirmed.
I viewed it from the standpoint of secular conservative principles. On the other hand, I also respect the religious conservatives right to question the morality of the gay lifestyle if their beliefs did not lead to discrimination or violence. I was okay with the frequently stated Christian admonition to “deplore the sin but love the sinner.”
There is one issue in which I strongly disagree with the more militant individuals in the gay communities – and that is transgender men playing in traditional women’s athletic activities. That is just not fair.
One can claim to be emotionally and psychologically a woman, dress as a woman and even undergo the operations to change the bodies gender markers physically and chemically – but there are some things that do not change – basically body mass and strength.
The very fact of the physical advantage is a factor that leads some transgenders to enter competitive sports. I was first made aware of that fact by a transgender who worked for one of my clients. She openly admitted that she joined an amateur baseball league because she could hit those long balls better than any woman on the team. She was not merely bragging. She carried her teams to championships and won outstanding player awards.
It is curious that many of my progressive friends fully support transgenders in women’s sports – the same folks who carry the banner for women’s equality and rights. Yet, they seem oblivious to the contradiction of their positions.
Transgenders who take top honors in sports – and often the financial rewards that accompany them – are literally taking those honors and rewards away from women who have the natural limitations of their biology – and have trained for years to excel.
The differences in abilities between men and women in sports – particularly certain sports – has been an accepted standard. It is the reason why there is a history of men’s teams and women’s teams in most sports.
And it is not always a gender issue. Participation in one-gender sports is often organized by physical attributes. In boxing, there are the heavy weight, middle weight and bantam weight groupings. Short people do not play professional basketball. Bulked-up athletes play football but are not gymnasts or jockeys.
And an exclusion of transgenders may not be necessary in every sport, where the comparative physiology is not significant. Men and women already play together on bowling teams and in a number of Olympic sports in which the physical attributes do not apply.
To see the problem, imagine a women’s basketball team with a few 6’8” transgenders on one team. It is possible for a person to feel differently than their birth biology. The body can be transformed through surgery and chemistry. The emotional and psychological issues can be addressed through counseling. But the foundational genetic attributes cannot be changed entirely.
I do not claim to understand the internal dynamics that drive gender dysphoria, but I do accept it as a reality. I willingly grant transgenders all the rights and freedoms of a conservative society based on individual rights and personal choices. But no one has a right to play on a team with a built-in unfair advantage.
In this case, my sympathy goes to the young girls who are denied the honors and rewards of their sports activities because a transgender enjoys a fundamental physical advantage.
So, there ‘tis.