Tipping the Level Playing Field

None of the following is intended to be a personal attack on any person of any sexual orientation: homosexual, lesbian, transgender or any other. The Word of God and the Catholic Church teach us to love and respect these people, who have the same human dignity as anyone else. They need our courteous help to live chastely despite issues of sexual identity. Our criticism is directed only towards the ideology that seeks to legitimize the harmful behavior and mentality of those same people, and as it applies to children, marriage, family and the society as a whole.

Male Transgender Athletes Assume Titles Once Held by Females

Males who identify as females are competing against females in female sports. This is creating immense problems because, as we know, simply identifying as a certain sex does not mean that you actually are that sex.

And it’s a worldwide debate. In Connecticut, “Two high school male athletes who identify as female have won 15 championship titles [in track and field] that were once held by nine different girls.” Now the young women have had enough. It’s hard enough to succeed in women’s sports without having to compete with men masquerading as female. The Alliance Defending Freedom has “submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging illegal discrimination.” Now the OCR has launched an investigation.

Most parents relate to the fact that their children are competitive in something in life. Maybe it’s board games at home, maybe it’s in academics at school, or maybe it’s on the playing field. All kids have strengths, and all kids want to be good at something. I dare say that all kids want to win. But this is why boys and girls play sports separately—to keep the playing field level and fair. Today’s reality—where biological males, with different DNA and different biological make-up can compete alongside females—is trespassing on hard-won territory. [Not until 1984 did the Olympics finally allow women to compete in a marathon. This is terribly discriminatory, given the many years women have worked hard to be allowed to compete at all.]

From the website of Alliance Defending Freedom

Physiology Differences Don’t Lie

A male who acts and dresses like a female is still biologically a male. His DNA, his physique, his bones, and his muscle mass are still inherently male, which gives him an advantage over females. Women are built smaller and thus have lower cardiac and lung capacity, while men have greater bone mass, more knee extension and less body fat with more muscle proportionally. Due to differences in muscle alone, men have types of muscle allowing greater speed, though surprisingly less endurance. According to the National Institute of Health, over 3,000 genetic differences exist between men and women’s skeletal muscle make-up alone.

There are other differences as well that give males an advantage when competing with females. For instance, “Elite male athletes have a higher oxygen carrying capacity than women, which allows them to reach their maximum training peak earlier.” The ligaments of females are more “lax and fragile,” which gives males an advantage in the sports that involve kicking, hitting, or throwing. And the larger structure of men’s bones allows for greater leverage and support.

Yet much of the basis for competition is measured merely by the amount of testosterone in men, which has to be below a certain level to compete as women. Because of ideological stigma, many are afraid to step up to the plate and defend women. This is not the case with Alanna Smith and Selina Soule of Connecticut, who have told their stories and shared their frustration about competing against biologically male athletes in their track and field events.

Alanna runs track in Connecticut. According to her mother, “As a freshman, [Alanna] led her high school team to its third straight team championship in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference by winning the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter in one of the most dominant individual performances in meet history.”

Her mother goes on to say that “two biological boys have won 15 women’s track championships, titles held by nine different girls in 2016. Not only that, the same two biological boys have taken away more than 50 chances for girls to compete at the next level of competition, running these girls right off the track and forcing them to be spectators in their own sport.”

According to Selina Soule, “I’ve lost opportunities to compete at world-class tracks, I’ve lost opportunities to compete in front of college coaches and gain attention, and I’ve lost opportunities to win titles. I know that I’m not the only girl who has missed out on opportunities.”

To date, over 130,000 people have signed a petition supporting Soule’s complaint to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights saying that “girls’ sports should be kept for biological girls only.”

Even the Olympics Has Bought the Ideology

Transgender athletes are also allowed to compete in European and international sports such as cricket, rugby, and cycling. In fact, they have been allowed to compete in the Olympics since 2004, but the initial rules were relaxed in 2015—something many athletes fear will create problems in the 2020 Olympics. The rules state, “Trans women athletes must have declared their gender identity as female, and this cannot be changed for sporting purposes for four years, plus they must demonstrate a testosterone level of 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.”

American cyclist Jennifer Wagner-Assali competed in a world cycling championship with a transgender woman and stated:  “Nobody asked us if this would be OK. . . . Women have just had to accept it. If we question it, we could be thrown out of our sports club or lose our sponsorship. Biological females are giving up their place on the podium to help transgender athletes succeed.”

British cyclist Victoria Hood agrees and said, “We have separate women’s and men’s categories because men are stronger than women. The inclusive attitude of most of our sports bodies abolishes fair competition for women and shows a complete disregard for women’s sport.”

Even the former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova spoke out about this issue, saying: “It’s insane and it’s cheating. . . . You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards.” When she faced backlash for calling transgender athletes cheaters, Martina apologized, but then followed that up with saying: “All I am trying to do is to make sure girls and women who were born female are competing on as level a playing field as possible within their sport.”

Male and Female He Made Them

“Even fools recognize that, between a man and a woman, there is a difference and a complementarity….this is the position of the Church, and all Christians, all families, are called to fight against this deviation.” ~Cardinal Robert Sarah (2016)

If we are to help create and sustain a Culture of Life, we must not fear the backlash we face when standing up for moral truths. God made us as males and females. The sex encoded in our DNA is our sex—and no outward signs, no conscious decision, and no manufactured hormones can change that.

And as a society, we must stop this nonsense of allowing the ideology of a few to rule and bully the multitudes. We have become cowering masses quivering in a corner afraid of backlash for speaking our minds about the way female athletes are treated.  As a society, we must have compassion and mercy for all people who struggle, but that mercy and compassion cannot translate to blind acceptance of anything society wants to foist upon us.


About Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials, and website content. Ten of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of its Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program, an educational nonprofit program for k-12 students.

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