Today I learned a few interesting things.
1. Transgender refers to someone whose identity differs than the biological sex at birth
2. Transsexual is someone who has transitioned or transitioning from one sex to another
3. A transvestite is an archaic term, but now refers to one who cross-dressing. A transvestite does not necessarily have to be homosexual or bisexual.
I got this info from Sterling Washington, who also let me know that DC Public Schools are in the processing of writing legislation that would allow transgender students to participate in sports specific to the gender they identify with. In laymans terms, if 17-year old Paul wears a dress and sees himself as a Paulette, he would be able to play on the girls high school basketball team. I think what DC has done to create equal opportunities for the GLBT community is rivaled only by San Francisco. Creating an environment where people can feel respected and included in whatever they choose to do is great, as long as its not hurting anybody. Which is precisely why I think this is a terrible decision.
Let me be clear: this isn’t a hate bashing article. I’ve played with gay teammates and I’ve coached gay players, and I view them the same as I would view a white NFL running back or an albino squirrel: initially perplexed, but quickly accepting when I realize you’re just going about your business. How a person lives off the field doesn’t bother me as long it doesn’t affect the rest of the team, but there’s a big difference between my experiences and what DCPS is trying to do.
My gay teammates and players still identified as men, both biologically and emotionally. Outwardly, they weren’t the ‘flamboyant’ type often portrayed on reality TV or gossip blogs. Dressed like a normal guy would, too. You wouldn’t catch them in dresses or heels. At the end of the day, they were men playing on a men’s team…and they happened to be attracted to men.
A transgender teammate? Now thats a little tricky. Emotionally and psychologically, I could identify myself as a woman. But my self-identity isn’t going to change my 6 foot 2, 215 pound athletic frame. If I was a high school student and asked to play for the women’s basketball team, I’d average 45 points a game and thats not because of my high basketball IQ or skill. I have a genetic advantage over everybody on the court, and that would be the case with most men who played a sport designated for women. Im not saying that I think a man is going to automatically dominate every woman’s sport simply by showing up, but name me a sport where naturally being faster, stronger, quicker, and having less body fat is a disadvantage. Allowing this to happen is bad news for everybody involved. Lets say Paulette, my imaginary case study athlete, is actually a dominant basketball player, good enough to earn college scholarships…scholarships that were initially intended for players who were born women. What if one of those overlooked women happened to be one of Paulette’s teammates? The recruiting process for every sport is a virtual meat market, and there’s not many better ways I to stand out as a college prospect than being a biological man competing against biological women. I cant see how that isn’t an unfair advantage, and I’d really like to talk to someone who can argue against that. Yeah, there are gender reassignment surgeries, but its very unlikely that a high school student can afford that. Even if they can afford the pills, who says they’ll take them? If that athlete is aware of their genetic advantage, WHY would they take them?
The locker room situation is going to be the icing on the cake. How comfortable will athletes feel showering and dressing around their transgender teammates? God bless the coach who has to deal with a locker room full of teenage guys and their first experience with a transgender male. Its a recipe for disaster, and according to DC Human Rights Act, you have to allow a transgender male to use the mens bathroom. I see bullying and sexual abuse written all over that. No sir.
Look, I’m all for inclusion, but exclusivity is why we created Title IX. If we are basing gender on one’s identity, we are falling into a slippery slope. As we grow as people, we begin to change how we view ourselves, and its usually unexpectedly. Who’s to say this won’t happen for a transgender athlete that suddenly wants to play women’s soccer after an identity crisis. Make the men sports for the men, and the women’s sports for the women.