Megan Rapinoe is wrong about the ‘anti-trans sports ban’
The footballer fails to understand that sex matters in sport
Sense seems to be returning to the debate over transgender inclusion in sports. World Rugby, World Swimming and now World Athletics have all stepped in to protect elite women’s competition. Meanwhile, in the United States, Republican congressman Greg Steube recently reintroduced the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act to Congress.
Steube’s bill would prevent male athletes from participating in federally funded athletics programmes or activities designated for women or girls. For the avoidance of doubt, the bill specified that “sex is based on an individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
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At a time when the United States is being torn apart by conflict over transgender rights, clear policy is needed. Not everyone is happy with this development, however. Reports have emerged about a petition to try and stop Steube’s bill in its tracks. Signed by 40 professional, Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the petition claims that the bill would have the effect of “banning transgender and intersex girls and women from participating in sports”.
That is simply not true. Sport is for all. Nobody is being prevented from competing; the issue is the class in which they should compete. But this is a petition that appeals to emotion. It continues:
The truth is that sex matters in sport. Separate men’s and women’s categories are needed because male bodies are different to female bodies. Transgender people like me might lose competitive edge when we transition, but we retain many advantages of our male biology. In short, women’s sports must not be compromised by including males who can no longer cut it in our own sex category.
Some notable women athletes are among the signatories: Megan Rapinoe, former captain of the US Women’s National Soccer Team; Becky Sauerbrunn, who is the current team captain; and ex-basketball player Sue Bird, a winner of four WNBA Championships. These stars might be acting with the best of intentions, but they are very wrong if they think that women will not be disadvantaged if they get their way.
One of their co-signatories is a case in point. Transgender powerlifter JayCee Cooper took USA Powerlifting to court — and won — after being prevented by the organisation from competing in the women’s division. If Cooper competes, women lose out. It stands to reason.
One athlete who does get it is swimmer Riley Gaines, who experienced this unfairness first hand when she competed in the pool against Lia Thomas, a biological male. Gaines has become increasingly vocal on the issue — but not without terrible personal cost. Last week, she attempted to talk about her experience to students at San Francisco State University. As events unfolded, she claims that she was assaulted and ended up barricaded in a room for three hours after she was ambushed by a group of activists.
Footage shows a baying mob screaming the usual refrains: “trans rights are human rights” and “transwomen are women”. Their antics are tedious and juvenile, but they are also terrifying for anyone who opposes them. It is foolish beyond belief to appease them.
Emotions are running riot. Not that it seems to trouble Joe Biden. Last week his administration proposed a rule change that would expand the meaning of sexual discrimination to include gender identity. As a consequence, schools receiving federal funding would not be allowed to operate blanket policies that prevent transgender students from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
America needs clear policy, not wishful thinking, and a president who is able to discern the truth, ignore naive petitions, and stand up to the mob. Sadly, that seems a bridge too far for Biden.
“Identifies as …” is an idea. Nothing more. If a person identifies as a bluebird they remain a human, but they have an idea that does not match physical reality. Historically, this has been called a delusion. In the past – and even in the present, when it comes to most delusions – we work to help the person with that psychological problem. We still respect them, they still have the same rights, and they are still free to reject that help and live in accordance with their delusions. But in the mental health field we have always seen the delusion, which is often a source of great distress and dysfunction to the delusional patient, as a symptom and we have recognized that endorsing that symptom does not help and often harms the patient. That is why we do not offer liposuction to the anorexic patient who is starving to death, even though they ‘identify as fat’ and we do not nail the person who believes he is Jesus to a cross.
Now, for the first time that I am aware of, we are being told that there is one delusion – that a person’s idea about their sex changes their physical sex – that is special and must be treated as though it were factually true. This helps no one and clearly harms many. This inevitably makes one wonder: who is really benefitting from this ‘new reality’?
Thank you, David, for your well-expressed comment, bringing sanity into this strange madhouse of gender identity advocacy. As you say, those who feel that they are in a body of the wrong sex are indeed to be pitied, and, if possible, helped, but they should not insist on their delusion being accepted as the truth. Your anorexic example is a very good one. I continually refer to trans-sexual Jan Morris’s comment in her book ‘Conundrum’: ‘No-one in the history of humankind has changed from a true man to a true woman’.
Somebody’s making money off this, of that you can be sure.
Big Pharma benefits hugely as do the surgeons…..
Abraham Lincoln once asked an audience how many legs a dog has – if you call its tail a leg. When the crowd answered “Five”, Lincoln told them, “No, it’s four. Just because you call the tail a leg, does not make it a leg”.
We currently live in a world where many people – even among our elected representatives and in our elite academic institutions – believe that calling something by a different name somehow changes reality.
It’s time we remembered – and reminded them – that just is not so.
1000 upvotes, David.
I’m the father of a daughter who loves to ski has competed in track and cross country. Anyone who has a scintilla of common sense and anchor with reality can watch a track or XC competition (or swimming, skiing, etc.) and realize that BIOLOGY MATTERS. Boys, especially post-puberty, run faster, swim faster, and ski faster. It is what it is. It is delusional on the part of trans activists, athletic associations, and others to insist otherwise.
If trans athletes want to compete FAIRLY, let them compete in their own divisions. Otherwise true women will watch their hard-won achievements evaporate.
You are, of course, right that biology makes a difference BUT even if men and women had identical sporting ability it would be wrong to allow men into women’s, or vice versa, sport. That is because men’s sport is for men and women’s for women. Not complicated.
As someone who used to work in a unit for those with mental health problems, I have made this point over and over. My time working in mental health was thankfully before trans political ideology took over, so we were told to never enable delusional thinking, we were never to indulge delusions as if they had any basis in reality, in fact, we spent a lot of time teaching skills that would allow those suffering from severe issues with delusions to differentiate between reality and delusion.
A friend of mine ended up in the unit that I used to work in only a few years back, and when I went there to see her, I was shocked by the amount of trans individuals. Everyone in that unit is there because they are under a section, they are there because multiple doctors agree that they are sufficiently unwell to be a danger to themselves and others, and to be unable to distinguish reality from delusion, yet they were still considered capable of determining their gender identity (even if they also believed that God or their long dead family member was communicating with them telepathically).
That’s very interesting
Well said. I had a close relative with drug induced delusions. They were afraid the government would kill them for not complying with the covid mandate. We didn’t tell them they were in a safe house. We worked to bring them out of the delusion. Now people can self-identify, and doctors, abdicating their responsibility, are giving people (children) off-label drugs, not knowing the long term consequences. Instead of taking 2 years for an adult to live as a “woman” while undergoing therapy, it is now 3 sessions (according to Jordan Peterson) and it is the child who decides not the doctor who diagnoses. Indeed something is up – the question is why is it happening?
A close relative is a singular. Why do you use ‘they’?
Caitlyn Jenner, who clearly knows more about elite competitive sport and transgenderism than most, risked the ire of the hair-triggered offence peddlers of the Trans lobby by speaking out on this issue. “This is a question of fairness. That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports. … It just isn’t fair, and we have to protect girls’ sports”.
In the current climate it took real bravery to voice that opinion publicly.
Say what you like about Caitlyn Jenner, but you’ve gotta admire her [email protected]
It’s extremely hard to speak sense against one’s own tribe and so I salute Ms Jenner for doing so.
What a bizarre and anxious feeling stirs inside when we feel compelled to congratulate someone for speaking the absolute truth.
I admire his [email protected] too.
Crude and unnecessary.
Well I admire his b***s. He may be able to change his name, clothes, hairstyle but he cannot change his sex and that is male. So he is a ‘he’.
His…not her or ludicrous their.
I have two transsexual friends who are happy to tell people they are biological men who present as women. They are bullied and harassed by younger trans people and their allies. Both would have been happy to grow old as gay men but for the time and attitudes they were subjected to growing up in the Bible Belt of the US. They fully support women’s right to keep their sports, spaces and rights. I am really thankful that they are in my life and have been for 50+ years.
Megan Rapinoe et al know perfectly well that sex makes a difference in sport, their fame and livelihoods have depended on that fact. But if they want to keep the commercial offers flowing, especially with retirement looming, then throwing younger women under the bus is the best way to ensure endorsements and media deals keep coming in the US.
Exactly right. But she’s been a lying piece of sh*t for years. The original complaint about the women’s team salaries and bonuses was all completely based on lies. They could have signed the exact same contract as the men, but chose not to.
I wish Lebron James would identify as a woman and play in the Women’s Basketball League to end this nonsense once and for all.
The transmaniacs would love it.
Or a lowly ranked male tennis player against Swiatek?
Remember, Rapinoe and her teammates (World Cup winners no less) were beaten decisively by a team of 14-15 yr old Texan boys.
Maybe that all male team (now a few years older and better) should declare themselves to be girls/women to bring home the Gold for the US again!!
Perhaps if Rapinoe had to compete for her US team position against 15 y/o elite boys declaring themselves women she would feel differently.
I tend to think you’re right— at least partly so. Megan’s career is basically over as is Sue Bird’s. Their careers now are as former athletes and their financial interests have to be aligned, or so they probably think, with the trans- positive or at trans- appeasing mentality of the companies who are paying them. If this is even a partial motivation for their statement, it shows an appalling lack of solidarity with female atheletes.
The list of signatories, predictably, is overwhelmingly female, with a handful of men.
The male athletes probably know that any trans-identifying female will never be able to compete with them anyway, and the female athletes have almost certainly never competed against a trans-identifying male, which would have revealed to them the cold hard reality that they are not in the same league as a post-pubescent bodied male.
It’s virtue-signalling all the way.
Bingo! Rapinoe et al are wallowing in virtue signaling. Of course, that’s easier to do after you’ve made your fortune as Ms. Rapinoe has.
Margaret Atwood prophetically called these women handmaidens. Feminist Mary Daly called them token torturers.
Thanks for keeping up the commentary on this, Debbie: it’s helpful to have a measured and fair take on the situation.
As an aside, I’d like to point out that whilst I support the aims of the proposed legislation in the US, there was a technical error in the wording (“sex is recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”). A person’s genetics at birth are a constant throughout their life (at least in terms of what sex chromosomes they possess, even allowing for age related loss of the Y chromosome in males).
Thanks again for an informative article and apologies for releasing my inner pedant (I try to keep him tamed but sometimes he gets out…)
Thank You, Debbie! This is exactly why I will be voting Republican for the first time in my life in 2024 presidential election.
Jordan Peterson talks about the ‘agreeableness’ of women, their tendency to be ‘sympathetic’ as opposed to aggressive/competitive. But it is still astonishing to see so many women supporting the rights of male bodied athletes to compete in women’s sport. Get real ladies and stand up for yourselves.
Unfortunately, this whole affair has me less trusting of women. If women cannot stand up for themselves on matters of simple biology, how can they be expected to be competent CEOs of companies, leaders of political parties and educators in schools and colleges? Of course, there are exceptions, but I just can’t understand why many women, particularly those with college degrees, have bought into this ideology. What do they stand to gain from it?
Power, prestige, and social standing among their peers. They have been told throughout their lives that they can be anything they want to be, and thanks to technology and government legislation, the major differences between men and women have been erased in the workplace.
I’m flummoxed, but I had a good friend who identified as female when I met him (as a fellow psychotherapist). He was an extremely kind and gentle man, had been unhappily married and was 6ft 2in tall. He took female hormones only, grew small breasts but fortunately had no surgery as he detransitioned after 10 yrs.
I, and my colleagues who knew him well, properly loved him and we were very sad to lose him to cancer at 60. But he was so far from the angry, in-your-face caricatures of women that we are now expected to give way to. And he would never have dreamt of intruding into women-only spaces.
Transwomen are almost all heterosexual males who retain their male genitalia and desire sexual relationships with women. Maybe women misconstrue what is going on? Maybe they accept trans identifying men as would-be ‘sisters’? Maybe their ‘nurturing’ instinct and empathy quotient gets the better of them?
Who the hell knows? But I know my old friend would be mortified to be identified with, or represented by, the threatening trans activist mob (or with the 6ft+ transwomen who shamelessly ‘compete’ with women and girls in sports).
In the early days gay men who were afraid to come out and who may be feminine would get dressed up to disguise their homosexuality. Very few women would do the reverse, because gay women didn’t have the same pressure as gay men. These days young lesbians are told being gay is not cool, so they adopt a new identity – trans man sounds better. This is a bad advice by the medical professionals or at least those who buy into the crap. No wonder there are more and more trans girls these days. As for the trans activists, the aggressive and violent ones – they are just angry gay men with a bad wig and badly painted nails. These are not trans, and they do not represent trans.
I think that psychologists are profoundly mistaken about this “agreeableness” or “niceness” of women.
Theory notwithstanding, anyone who has lived in this world past the age of 20 of 30 should know very well from personal experience that this doctrine is nonsense. Until recently, it’s true, women were usually conditioned to avoid confrontation–that is, to achieve their goals manipulatively instead of directly. And even then more than a few non-conforming girls or women made their underlying competitive, malicious or selfish motivations obvious. This gave rise to negative stereotypes (such as “hags” or “hen-peckers”) just as surely as the opposite conditioning gave rise to negative stereotypes of non-conforming boys or men (such as “sissies” or “cowards)–although unusually brutal men, too, were negatively stereotyped (as “bullies” or “brutes”). But even these cultural promptings no longer prevail for girls and women in Western societies. On the contrary, girls learn from an early age that they can, and should, express themselves openly and attack all those who get in their way as “misogynists” or men who “fear” women.
Moreover, many of the various women’s movements in our time have either promoted or condoned overt hostility toward men.
Reality, in short, should take precedence over theory.
Women’s sport is gonna die a slow and miserable death if things keep on as they are.
Women’s professional sport in particular will take a major hit. It is already struggling. Just look at the WNBA and women’s soccer. They cannot fill stadiums and they cannot compete for TV time or viewers. This is just gonna make it worse. First time a women’s team wins anything with a biological male player…women will stop watching and men already do not watch.
Yes! I just wish Lebron James would start identifying as a woman and play in the WNBA and put an end to this whole mess.
If your’re petitioning for a dodgy cause, ask sports people to sign. Reliably dumb and impressionable.
We need a total and complete shutdown of Americans called Megan until we can figure out what is going on.
That would be of imense benefit to us in the UK too!!!
Clearly some sturdy campaigning work was undertaken. A grand total of 40 signatories from professional sport past and present. Hardly comparable to, say, the millions the Chartists signed up to petition for legislative consideration.
Maybe transgender campaigners are lazy. Maybe they’re too distracted deciding which grotesque parody of woman they wish to dress as each day. Maybe the left-incel wing of transgender identity cares only about dressing ISIS-style to intimidate women defending their rights.
Or maybe, they sense that petitioning for the legalisation of men invading women’s spaces will be about as popular as petitioning for Carl Beech’s early release from prison and rehabilitation via employment in an infant school.
I understand that leading stallion ” Frankel” is now identifying as a mare, and wants to be covered by other stallions.
meanwhile some of his mares are identifying as stallions…. and I’ve just heard that a colt wants to run in The Oaks, rather than The Derby, as he has decided he is non binary, but only if he can be ridden by a gay transexual.
OK Now I am confused. Is the transexual rider male to female &, if so, would ‘his’ being gay make him a lesbian now?????
PS. I have heard of transexual (who hasn’t?), but what on earth is intersexual & cisgender (both used in the article)????
Let the so-called “trans” athletes really compete: against their own biological sex. Then we’ll see just how competitive these wusses really are. Pull up your jock strap and get real…
Biology is paramount in sport and as I understand it regardless of any hormone treatment if you go through puberty as a Male science indicates you will always have some advantage if competing with those who did not.
This begs the question what category should Trans-women compete within and some have recommended the establishment of an ‘Open’ category. This probably needs a bit more thought, but an option should be available to still provide the opportunity for competition. It may be the lack of alternative options is exacerbating things. Let’s sensitively distinguish between those who lack an option and those who may want to cash in on an unfair advantage. Let’s have a bit of compassion all round.
My feeling is that people should compete in their sex category not their gender category. It might mean that men who claim a female gender would not be competitive against other men but that is too bad, few of us can compete at top level sports but it doesn’t mean we are excluded from sport.
An issue that has not, however, received much attention to date is how women’s sport will be affected by an influx of women who have been pumped full of testosterone to enable them to transition to meet their desired male gender. Presumably they would have some essentially unfair advantage in competing in Women’s Sport.
Men transitioning to Women get female hormones. That reduces physical performance, but can’t correct for some benefits that are life-time after puberty as I understand it from the latest science. Ditto in reverse.
If you living the rest of your life as a Women after transitioning to insist you compete in Male sport and line up with males isn’t reasonable, and more importantly would likely diminish the desire to do sport. Which is where the Open category comes in. We can be kind and understanding and it costs us v little. I suspect in future Open cats will become fairly standard. I mean 150yrs ago the thought of Women doing sport at all would have been shocking to most Victorian men, so ‘plus ca change’.
There are strict regulations about male hormones in women’s sport, such that Caster Semenya has been excluded even though she is anatomically female. I presume the same would apply to trans men competing in women’s categories.
There is nothing to stop “trans women” competing with their fellow men.
XX category and XY category.
Wear a frock if you want and lets just get on with the competition!
Little dose of reality: in the USA a man cannot avoid the draft by ‘transitioning’. The Army knows what’s what…..
“The truth is that sex matters in sport.” It is sad that Rapinoe, a talented athlete, does not understand the impact to girls/women by the trans athlete. I previously had great respect for her, but no more. I am indifferent to her sexual preference, but not to her prejudice. It is also unfortunate that a small vocal minority negatively impacts the majority. The far majority of Americans support the author’s position, but as noted, the President is too weak to recognize it.
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