—October 22, 2018
A biological male took first place and a gold medal in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Masters Track Cycling World Championship for women in the age 35-44 division last weekend, making him (her?) the first transgender woman to win a gender-specific world sports championship. While the LGBTQetc. community is celebrating the victory as another major step in the recognition of transgender rights, women should be rightfully concerned that this marks the demise of true female sports competition, as naturally born women will not be able to engage in fair competition against transgendered women or those men who otherwise decide to identify as female.
Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, was born a male, but decided to transition into a female at age 29. McKinnon has not undergone any surgeries in his/her transition, and as far as can be determined, only takes hormone-blocking drugs to drop testosterone levels below the required threshold for competition.
Policies regarding transgender women in sports have been changing in recent years, leading with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which now allows transgender women to compete in Olympic sports provided they suppress naturally occurring testosterone levels below a specific limit (10 nanomoles per liter) for more than one year before competing. The IOC’s standards for transgender female sports participation have been adopted by those organizations, such as the Boston Marathon, now accepting transgender women athletes in competition. McKinnon’s participation in the UCI championship was made possible after that organization lifted restrictions against transgender female competitors following a Canadian Human Rights Commission settlement between another transgender female cyclist and Cycling Canada.
Despite any reduction in testosterone levels, McKinnon, and presumably other transgender women athletes, have benefited from years of male biological privilege that provided them athletic advantages over naturally born females through natural differences in muscle mass, bone density, height, coordination, and numerous other biological and physiological factors.
For his/her part, McKinnon doesn’t believe biological, physiological and hormonal factors should play a role in transgender women participation in women’s sports. In fact, McKinnon believes that hormone suppression is against human rights and that testosterone testing is “insensitive” and should not be a factor in competing. “Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn’t be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead,” he/she told USA Today.
Like many in the transgender movement, McKinnon believes that the only determinant of what it means to be female or male is one’s self identification. Never mind the obvious biological and physiological differences between the genders, it’s all in the mind. By that measure McKinnon is just going to have to imagine menstruation, childbirth, menopause, and other intrinsically unique female experiences because they are just not going to happen for him/her under any circumstances.
Winning an international sports championship as a woman, though . . . despite the obvious unfairness, is now a reality, and one which may mark the death knell for female sports competition. Perhaps saner minds will step in and put an end to this nonsense, but rational thinking tends to be discouraged in relation to the transgender movement—their beliefs trump reality.
Not to say that gender dysphoria and related conditions do not actually exist, or that those choosing to identify as transgendered whatever-they-want-to-be should be prohibited from doing so. But the rights and beliefs of the transgendered should not come at the expense of everyone else’s reality.
Anyone should be allowed to believe that “two plus two makes five,” but no one should be forced to accept that belief nor have their own “two plus two makes four” reality compromised because of it.
—Originally published in Discernible Truth