Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

Equal opportunity for me, not thee

Family | LGBT groups push the NCAA to boycott Idaho
by Mary Jackson
Posted 6/19/20, 04:52 pm

Some of the same professional athletes who have publicly pushed for equal opportunity and pay for women now want to punish Idaho for trying to assure women don’t have to compete against males who identify as female.

World Cup soccer champion Megan Rapinoe, former tennis star Billie Jean King, WNBA standout Sue Bird, and hundreds of pro-LGBT groups and athletes sent a letter to the NCAA on June 10 asking the organization to bar Idaho from hosting NCAA basketball tournament play unless it repeals the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Boise State University is scheduled to hold first- and second-round men’s games in 2021.

When the act takes effect on July 1, Idaho will become the first state to protect girls and women from competing against males who identify as female in sports at all public schools, colleges, and universities. After the law passed in March, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a judge to block it and sued the state on behalf of two transgender athletes.

The NCAA opposes the law and said in a statement it would address calls to boycott Idaho at its August board meeting. In 2016, the governing body for college athletics barred North Carolina from hosting its athletic events because the state required people to use single-sex restrooms and changing rooms that corresponded to their biological sex. After lawmakers repealed the restrictions, the NCAA reinstated championship games in the state.

Athletes like 19-year-old Madison Kenyon of Johnston, Colo., are closely watching the debate. During her freshman year as a cross-country and track runner at Idaho State University, Kenyon raced five times against a man who identifies as a woman.

“You can tell the difference. … They’re taller, they’re broader, they’re bigger, they can run faster,” she said. “No matter what I do, I can’t keep up with them. It’s unfair and discouraging.”

Kenyon, now a sophomore, and her teammate, sophomore Mary Kate Marshall, joined the lawsuit on May 26 to defend Idaho from the ACLU attack. Like a group of female high school athletes taking action in Connecticut, they want a fair shot at podium spots. Kenyon said competing against transgender athletes leaves her little chance. If the NCAA favors biological men who identify as women over biological women, Kenyon said, “They will be sending the message to all female athletes that they are boycotting fair competition.”

In February, June Eastwood, a male runner from the University of Montana who identifies as female, took first place in the women’s 1-mile run at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships in Idaho. Eastwood beat his female competition by more than 3.5 seconds. When the conference named Eastwood its “Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week” in 2019, it didn’t mention the athlete was transgender and formerly a winning runner for the Montana men’s track team.

“This is about bullying and gaslighting Idaho girls,” said Blaine Conzatti, advocacy director for the Family Policy Alliance of Idaho. “It’s telling them they’re intolerant” unless they’re willing to compete against men.

But the federal government has given the women a boost. The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday filed a statement of interest in the Idaho case, saying the law provides equal protection for women.

“Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes,” Attorney General William Barr said.

And in a recent 45-page letter, the U.S. Education Department threatened to withhold federal funding from Connecticut public schools for failing to protect female student-athletes under Title IX, the federal law designed to ensure equal opportunities for women and girls in education and school-based athletics.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of LGBT employees could affect future court decisions about women’s sports. Justice Samuel Alito in his dissenting opinion warned the high court’s reasoning may “force young women to compete against students who have a very significant biological advantage.”

Christina Holcomb, an Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing the Idaho athletes, remains hopeful.

“Courage begets courage,” she said. “As these female athletes are starting to stand up and lend their voice publicly to this highly controversial issue, that’s … emboldening other women across the country.”

Getty Images/Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP Getty Images/Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP Kara Bos in Seoul last week

Finding family

When Kara Bos set out to find her birth mother, she had no idea it would lead to a landmark legal victory or give hope to other Korean adoptees searching for answers.

Strangers found Bos, born Kang Mee-sook, alone in a market when she was 2. A Michigan couple adopted her. It wasn’t until having her own daughter that Bos decided to find her birth mother. A 2019 DNA test identified a relative, enabling her to locate her father.

Bos, now 38, became the first international adoptee to file a paternity lawsuit against South Korea, which has strict privacy laws protecting birth parents. Korea sent more than 200,000 children, most abandoned by their parents, overseas for adoption after World War II. A Seoul court legally recognized Bos as the biological daughter of an 85-year-old Korean man and listed her in his family registry on June 12.

“[The family] wanted nothing to do with me, forcing me to use the court to mandate a DNA test for him so I could prove he is my father,” Bos told the Manila Bulletin. “And even still I’m being held from him by his current family from finding out my story.”

The ruling makes Bos eligible for citizenship and inheritance. But it could also set “critical precedent,” City University of New York professor Hosu Kim told Agence France-Presse. It could help adoptees with little to no documentation apply for citizenship.

After the decision, Bos cried outside Seoul’s Family Court as she spoke to reporters. She took off her protective mask long enough to ask her mother in Korean to make contact: “Mom. Can you recognize my face? Please come to me.” —Julia A. Seymour

Getty Images/Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP Getty Images/Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP LGBT protesters in Los Angeles

Footing the bill

Taxpayer funding for gender transitions is one step closer to reality in California. The State Assembly voted for legislation to create a Transgender Wellness Fund on June 10. If the bill passes in the Senate and becomes law, Golden State residents would fund grants to transgender-led organizations for therapeutic arts, housing assistance, and “gender-affirming healthcare services.”

“Gender-affirming” treatments could include potentially dangerous puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones for youth. Only adults could get sex-change surgery.

A pediatric endocrinologist from Emory University and a family physician with the American College of Pediatricians issued warnings about the potential harm to minors from such treatments. The California Family Council and Family Research Council also opposed the bill.

“The affirming approach leads to lifelong painful medicalization, dependence on drugs, permanent sterility, increased cancers and cardiovascular disease, the destruction of healthy genital and breast tissue, as well as in many cases, deep regret,” said Dr. J. Michael Kuiper, a licensed California psychologist. —J.A.S.

Associated Press/Photo by Eugene Hoshiko (file) Associated Press/Photo by Eugene Hoshiko (file) A newlywed couple in Shanghai, China

Two husbands? No thanks

Malaysian professor Yew-Kwang Ng of Shanghai’s Fudan University drew scorn from Chinese women for suggesting polygamy as a solution for China’s gender imbalance.

Although Ng said he wasn’t “advocating” the practice of a woman marrying two men, he urged people to consider it in a business column that went viral in China. He cited prostitution to back up his argument that women could meet the needs of multiple men.

“It made me throw up,” said one woman. Another said, “Let me translate what he means: He wants to legalize sex slaves.”

China has roughly 34 million more men than women due to decades of one-child policies and sex-selective abortions of girls. So far, China’s efforts to remedy the imbalance have failed. —J.A.S.

Famiglia reunions

After going without visits for more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, residents at the Martino Zanchi Foundation nursing home in Alzano, Italy, reunited with family in May. The facility started barring visitors in late February to protect residents from COVID-19.

“It’s been very emotional,” Sergio Moioli said of seeing his mother, Carmen Bergamelli, after the forced separation.

The home allows family members to visit outdoors for 20 minutes. Visitors must wear face masks, stand 10 feet or more away, and can’t hug their loved ones. “That will come,” Moioli said. “We need more time.” —J.A.S.

Mary Jackson

Mary is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute mid-career course and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and four children. Follow Mary on Twitter @mbjackson77

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  • Big Jim
    Posted: Fri, 06/19/2020 06:44 pm

    Let me get this straight, men pretending to be women are competing against real women in sporting events and are being supported by notable institutions and accomplished athletes.  Where am I?

    Down the rabbit hole ...

  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 06/20/2020 08:52 am

    I wouldn't describe these athletes as "pretending to be women". "Pretend" implies that you know that what you're portraying does not match reality. While there may be some who are simply claiming a transgender identity as a means to victory, I think it's safe to assume that most transgender athletes (and transgender people in general) really and truely believe that they are the opposite sex than the one evidenced by their biology and genetics. Now, that doesn't make them right, but I think it's unfair and unhelpful to say they're just "pretending".

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Sat, 06/20/2020 01:14 pm

    Laura W-

    OK, I'll reword my statement: 

    Let me get this straight, men, who are either pretending to be or actually think that they're women, are competing against real women in sporting events and are being supported by notable institutions and accomplished athletes.  Where am I?

    Down the rabbit hole ...

    I actually think that is a more bizarre statement than the first.

    Deeper down the rabbit hole ...

  • RC
    Posted: Mon, 06/22/2020 02:23 pm

    Big Jim I think you had right the first time. I think it is safe to say that the majority of the transgender male athletes are faking their thing about feeling like a women. Let’s see, the ONLY thing they got is a “feeling”?  So, we are going to cheat real women based on a male who’s head is all messed up because of some weird feelings he has about himself?  When a feeling is not based in or on reality we don’t encourage or affirm it, accept when it comes to transgenderism. When it comes to being fair, it is absolutely, undeniably unfair to the real women with whom these mentally messed up males are competing against.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Mon, 06/22/2020 09:47 pm

    Thanks for your support, RC.  As misguided as the transgenders are, I have a much bigger problem with the authority figures who should know better and, instead of helping and steering the troubled souls in the right direction, condone and encourage their misbehavior and shepherd them towards a fiery end. Therefore, they will receive the greater damnation.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Sat, 06/20/2020 12:18 am

    Yep. The same for making California taxpayers foot the bill for gender transitions. 

  • Jarofclay
    Posted: Sun, 06/21/2020 12:33 pm

    God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Genesis1:27-28

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Tue, 06/23/2020 06:26 pm

    I'm with Idaho on this one...

    But wait, is there a solution that might benefit everyone? Just brainstorming...wrestlers compete by weight categories, such as heavyweight, lightweight, and so on. Could a physical classification system be used in other sports as well? To be fair, it may ultimately have to be applied to women's and men's sports. It might turn out that gender classification would be eliminated altogether. So, rather than women's sports/men's sports, perhaps there could be one sport with weight/size classifications open to all genders. That might even make some women happy who currently don't get to compete against males, even though they may want to, and the field could possibly open up to more males as well.

    I'm sure there's lots of other scenarios people could come up with to reorganize how we do sports. How about classification systems according to number of events won--once an athlete has won so many times, they get elevated to the next higher level. Super tennis, golf, and ice skating champions don't keep playing against beginners, do they?

    (BTW, hasn't that restroom thing mostly worked itself out?)

  • Neil Evans
    Posted: Wed, 06/24/2020 06:34 pm

    Why not transgender leagues?  Transgender compete against transgener.

    If the issue is what a person "feels" they are, why can't a 200 lb. wrestler "feel" like 150 lb.? Or, a 30 year old golfer "feel" like a 65 year old and compete in the senior division?  Why can't a 25 year old "feel" 35 and run for President of the U.S.? Why can't a college athlete "feel" like a HS student athlete. Why can't a person "feel" like they won an election and take a seat in a legislature? This road can only end in chaos. It is actually chaos all along the road.

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