When a bedrock principle is carried to its extreme the bedrock begins to show signs of deterioration. The bedrock principle in this case is equality of opportunity as described in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the Constitution.
With the civil rights struggle inequality was redressed in a number of logically defensible ways until some means of redress were perceived to have gone so far as to unfairly deny equal opportunity to others. Some aspects of affirmative action come to mind and have been the subject of debate and litigation for many years now.
Title 9, originally intended to preclude discrimination based on sex, is now widely accepted as mandating equality of opportunity for females in high school and college athletics. Fair enough, and the law has had beneficial effect. But now the good in the law is being stretched to its extreme in some cases, actually diminishing its beneficial effect for female athletes. And the culprits are men who identify themselves as actually being women. And those with insufficient backbone to stand up to critics.
Modern thinking about gender identity has led to controversy concerning public bathroom facilities, causing consternation among those of a more traditional binary mindset. The issue is far from settled, although to minimal impact as yet. Much greater impact is beginning to be seen in the athletics that Title 9 addresses.
Men self-identifying as women are winning in women’s sports, sometimes to the exclusion of elite female athletes. This has come to light through lawsuits brought by Connecticut women who have trained relentlessly in track and field events, but who have been excluded from recognition by transgender male competitors who are winning, perhaps because of the strength of their formerly male bodies.
The Supreme Court recently affirmed the employment rights of transgender persons, indeed all of those who fall under the LGBTQ category, but the decision did not address the student athletes’ predicament. It’s just a matter of time before the Supremes address an issue in which actual rights are being usurped under cover of the law. Perhaps participation in women’s sports should be limited to people who were born with female physical characteristics. That seems a common-sense approach, so it probably won’t be considered.
It’s also just a matter of time before cynical and unscrupulous sports promoters realize that they have an untapped resource for winning in women’s sports. Imagine an Olympics in which all the medal winners of women’s events are males who claim to be females. Of course this would start in high school and college; it appears to have already started.
As is so often the case when second-order consequences are not fully considered or even understood when the government legislates, a bedrock principle is being dismantled.
James Sherry is a resident of Frederick County.