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Unequal opportunity

Sexuality | The federal government investigates transgender participation in high school sports
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 8/16/19, 04:36 pm

The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into a Connecticut high school sports policy that allows athletes who identify as transgender to compete against the opposite biological sex.

The families of three female high school track athletes complained in June to the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy discriminates against them. The complaint argues that forcing female athletes to compete against boys who identify as girls but have “male hormone levels and musculature” costs them higher race finishes and potential college scholarships. It also, according to the complaint, violates Title IX, the federal law designed to ensure equal opportunities for women and girls in education and school-based athletics.

Two boys who identify as girls have consistently displaced female high school track athletes in Connecticut during the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons. Andraya Yearwood won the Class M girls outdoor 100-meter and 200-meter races in 2017 as a freshman, taking third in the 2017 state open girls outdoor 100-meter race despite biologically being a boy. The next year, Terry Miller, who competed as a boy during the winter 2017, spring 2017, and winter 2018 seasons, later began identifying as female and competing in female track events. Since the spring 2018 season, Miller has dominated the girls indoor 55-meter, indoor 300-meter, and outdoor 100-meter. Miller and Yearwood took first and second place at last year’s girls outdoor 100-meter state open championships and this year’s girls indoor 55-meter state open championships.

Their victories amount to taking 15 girls state championship titles and more than 40 opportunities to participate in higher-level competition from female track athletes in the last three years, according to the complaint. “While highly competitive girls are experiencing the no doubt character-building ‘agony of defeat,’ they are systematically being deprived of a fair and equal opportunity to experience the ‘thrill of victory,’” the complaint says.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference said it will cooperate with the investigation but defended the policy, saying a state anti-discrimination law requires schools to treat students according to their gender identities.

Connecticut does not require transgender high school athletes to undergo hormone therapy or surgery before competing as their gender identity. (Yearwood and Miller said they started hormone therapy last year.) Some have argued Connecticut, like a handful of other state conferences as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), should require male-to-female transgender athletes to maintain suppressed testosterone levels, a regulation they claim would level the playing field and solve the problem.

But science says otherwise. A study released last month in the Journal of Medical Ethics found male-to-female transgender athletes who abide by the 2015 IOC guidelines and maintain suppressed testosterone levels still have a significant advantage over female athletes. The New Zealand–based researchers argued the IOC testosterone limit (10 nmol/L) is still significantly higher than the average for elite biological female athletes. They said hormone therapy does not eliminate all the performance advantages of a prior male physiology and concluded current IOC regulations further “intolerable unfairness.” In the face of vicious backlash online, the authors this week released a statement on the journal’s website clarifying they embrace transgender participation in sports, but advocate for the elimination of the gender binary in elite sports in favor of a more “nuanced system of categorization.”

The three girls who filed the complaint in Connecticut are after something much simpler: They want to run against other girls. “No solution can be truly fair if it results in biological males coming in and taking medals, podium spots, opportunities to advance, or scholarship opportunities from biological females,” Christiana Holcomb, the attorney representing the complainants and a legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told me. Holcomb said her clients have received support from across the political and ideological spectrum: “Average Americans recognize the blatant unfairness.”

There is no timeline on the investigation. Holcomb said it could take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years to resolve. But she said the results are important: “If the U.S. Department of Education declares that a policy of this nature violates Title IX, that will have ramifications across the country.”

Associated Press/Photo by Kristen Zeis/The Daily Press Associated Press/Photo by Kristen Zeis/The Daily Press Gavin Grimm

Transgender student wins in court

A federal judge in Virginia last week issued a long-expected decision in the case of transgender student Gavin Grimm. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen said a school board policy requiring students in a Virginia county use the restroom and locker room aligning with their biological sex, or use a private restroom, unlawfully discriminated against Grimm for gender nonconformity.

“Under the policy, all students except for transgender students may use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity,” Allen wrote. “Transgender students are singled out, subjected to discriminatory treatment, and excluded from spaces where similarly situated students are permitted to go.”

In court last month, David Corrigan, the attorney for the school board, argued the policy was based on an understanding of sex as biological and physiological, not of gender as a “societal construct,” and was therefore not discriminatory. In her ruling, Allen acknowledged the board had the “unenviable responsibility” of navigating challenges unimaginable a generation ago.

Grimm, a biological female who identifies as male, sued the Gloucester County School Board in 2015. The lawsuit, which has wound its way through the court system for four years, was scheduled for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017, but the high court sent the case back to the U.S. District Court level after the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era directive about transgender facility use in schools.

Allen’s ruling requires the school board to update the gender on Grimm’s high school transcripts. Grimm, now 20, graduated from Gloucester High School in June 2017. It is not clear if the school board plans to appeal the ruling. —K.C.

iStock/Damir Khabirov iStock/Damir Khabirov

Online, but not harmless

Virtual infidelity is on the rise and devastating for marriages, according to a recent report by the National Marriage Project. The study looked at American adults’ perceptions of online behavior like sexting, secret emotional relationships, and following former girlfriends or boyfriends on social media. The survey found younger generations were less likely than older generations to see online infidelity as cheating. But the results transcended perceptions: Across all generations, the report found people who held to strong online boundaries had the happiest and healthiest real-life relationships.

“The bottom line is that young men and women who have come of age in the age of the internet are the least committed to ‘iFidelity,’” W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia professor and the director of the National Marriage Project, told UVA Today. “What they probably don’t realize is that they could pay a big relational price in the real world for pushing emotional and sexual boundaries in the virtual world.” —K.C.

Associated Press/Photo by Andre Penner (file) Associated Press/Photo by Andre Penner (file) Valentina Sampaio during São Paulo Fashion Week in Brazil

The secret is out

Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret announced earlier this month it had hired its first openly transgender model. “This represents a victory for society, not just the trans community but for all people who are currently underrepresented in fashion,” Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, a biological male who identifies as a female, told Elle magazine. “Brands are finally learning and catching up to the importance of inclusivity and diversity.”

Less than a year ago, critics blasted Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who told Vogue magazine the brand would never hire transgender models for its annual TV fashion show. Razek announced last week he is retiring. —K.C.

Open the floodgates

Adult victims of child sexual abuse filed almost 500 lawsuits this week in New York state under the Child Victims Act. The measure, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, in February, expands the statute of limitations and provides a one-year reprieve for victims to file civil lawsuits no matter when the alleged abuse took place. The one-year period started on Wednesday. Accusers filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, and others already this week. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley reports on marriage, family, and sexuality for WORLD Digital. Follow Kiley on Twitter @KileyCrossland.

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  • news2me
    Posted: Sat, 08/17/2019 05:36 pm

    Since transgender can trans whenever they want, there should be protection for the opposite gender.  

    I don't care what a person feels like today. They should not expose someone else to their whatever. Use a "family" bathroom. The public should not be exposed to private whatever. 

    It's like this, if you want to commit suicide, don't involve anyone else. Like a person who drives into on-coming traffic because they want to die. That's just WRONG! 

    If you want to transgender, don't involve our children, or taxpayers who would like to use the restroom of their birth gender without encountering a person who isn't. 

    There are TOO MANY WOMEN who have been SEXUALLY ABUSED who are NOT comfortable with being exposed to birth male body parts. I don't care how comfortable the male is who feels like s/he should be a female today. If they are comfortable with exposing themselves to the opposite sex, there is no transgender going on, just PERVERSION!

  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Sun, 08/18/2019 06:03 pm

    I recall Malcolm Muggeridge making a comment, to the effect, that the difficulty with writing political satire was that the things people actually did were far more absurd than your wildest imaginings.  Once again, the Left proves that it destroys everything it gets its hands on.  

  • RC
    Posted: Wed, 08/21/2019 03:53 pm

    The transgender issue could be solved simply saying if you want to compete in sports reserved for a particular gender, you must get every strand of your DNA changed to that gender.

    Judge Arenda Wright Allen needs counseling as she has lost the mental capable of understanding basic biological reality. Anyone who believes “sex” is determined by how they feel is mentally disabled. You can believe anything you want but you have no right to subject, much less demand, others to get suckled into your delusions, no matter what they are.

  • Bob R
    Posted: Wed, 08/28/2019 01:03 pm

    If our society were to be consistent, we would insist that a person who believes they're actually a different species, (say a dog or cat), should be allowed to run around outside naked, and be fed from a bowl on the floor.  

    The power behind this mad rush to accept "transgenderism" is because of its sexual nature; notice who's behind this, the LGBTQxyz crowd.  Once society abandoned God's design for sex (one man, one woman, committed, lifelong relationship), sexual perversion became mainstream.  So, any behavior even remotely associated with "sex" must not be restricted in any way, but in fact "celebrated" for the new "freedom" it provides.

    I understand that the American Psychiatric Association has removed the term "Gender Identity Disorder" from the latest version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  When a society (or an individual) has lost the ability to distinguish something as basic as one’s genetic sexual identity, we are far down the road to utter insanity.

    Ultimately, it is the latest symptom of how completely we’ve rejected God’s purpose for our lives.  We are repeating the historical period in which Israel so rejected their God, that “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”  It didn’t turn out real well for them.  Nor will it for us; God help us!

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