jasonbwatson

October 30, 2019

The Illegitimacy of “Identification”

In 1972 the United States Congress passed education amendments that included Title IX. Title IX prevents discrimination against females in federally-funded education, including in athletics programs. The impact of Title IX on sports is hard to argue with. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), “Women who were under 10 when Title IX passed have much higher sports participation rates than women who grew up before Title IX. Fifty-five percent of the ‘post-Title IX’ generation participated in high school sports, compared to 36% of the ‘pre-Title IX’ generation.” Despite that, the FMF also states that “progress women and girls have made under Title IX falls far short of gender equity.”

It is on that note that I wish to comment. Any and all progress made by Title IX and other efforts to ensure that females have equal opportunity to participate in athletics is being negated by the current transgender nonsense that is sweeping the country.

In August, Juniper (June) Eastwood, formerly known as Jonathan, became the first transgender athlete to compete in Division I Cross Country. Eastwood runs for the University of Montana. According to an article on Runner’s World by Taylor Dutch, “Eastwood, now a 22-year-old senior, says she has identified as female since middle school and made the decision to transition during her third year competing on the men’s track team at Montana.”  Dutch also wrote that Eastwood’s hope was that making this move would “be a step forward for trans athlete inclusion and an important phase of self-discovery.”

Keep that term “self-discovery” in mind as I will return to it shortly.

The NCAA has a lengthy policy on transgender inclusion for athletics. In fact, it runs to 38 pages. It begins with this statement about inclusion:

As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. We seek to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.

The policy goes on to define what transgender means. “‘Transgender’ describes an individual whose gender identity (one’s internal psychological identification as a boy/man or girl/woman) does not match the person’s sex at birth.” It goes on to state, “It is important that all people recognize and respect the transgender person’s identification as a man or a woman.”

The policy requires that trans females must be treated with testosterone suppressing drugs for at least a year before they can participate in women’s sports. Be that as it may, males—even with testosterone suppression—often have physical advantages over females. Eastwood is a case in point. In the August 31 race referred to above in the Runner’s World article, a 4K, Eastwood finished seventh, 19.3 seconds behind freshman teammate Beatrix Frissell. But on September 21 Eastwood finished third in a 3M race, just one second behind Frissell. On October 4 Eastwood finished first, besting Frissell by one second. They finished nearly thirty seconds ahead of the third place finisher. Then in a 6K on October 19 Eastwood finished in second place, just under one second behind first place finisher Jenny Sandoval and seven-and-a-half seconds ahead of the third place finisher. Frissell, by the way, finished more than fourteen seconds behind Eastwood.

Last week the Big Sky Conference names Eastwood the Big Sky Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week. According to the press release, “June Eastwood finished second in a field of 204 runners at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational at Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, Calif. Eastwood clocked a time of 20:18 in the 6k race to help Montana place seventh as a team.”

At the high school level the problem is usually even worse. Connecticut has been getting significant attention in recent months, since the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allows students to compete based on the gender they identify with. Transgender runners Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood have been cited in a Title IX complaint that essentially alleges that they are denying biological females the opportunity for fair competition—and this for scholarships. Yet, the CIAC stands by its policy, with its executive director Glen Lugarini even stating,

The CIAC is committed to equity in providing opportunities to student athletes in Connecticut. We take such matters seriously, and we believe that the current CIAC policy is appropriate under both Connecticut law and Title IX.

So what is my point? Simply this. Allowing male athletes who have gone through “self-discovery” to determine that they do not identify with the gender they were born to compete against biological females is unfair and flies in the face of the intent of Title IX. The Feminist Majority Foundation, of which I am not fan, asserts that Title IX has not successfully corrected the gender inequalities it was crafted to address. Allowing biological males to run as women, with women, serves only to increase the inequality.

Notice, by the way, the vagueness of the terms “self-discovery” and “identification.” The NCAA policy states that it is important to recognize and respect someone’s identification as a man or a woman. Self-discovery and identification leave the canvas wife open. If we have to include people based on their self-discovery or their identification when it comes to their gender, why not when it comes to their race? Their age? Where do we draw the line? Suppose a teenager, or even an adult, through the process of self-discovery, chooses to identify as a 12-year-old. Do we allow them to play Little League baseball or Pop Warner football? Of course not. But that is the track down which we are headed. Once people are allowed to self-identify, and everyone else is forced to accept that identification, we eliminate the possibility of any restrictions of any kind.

Since we are talking sports here, next time you go to a professional sporting event buy whatever ticket you want and then try to sit in the really expensive seats. You know—the sky box, or the 50 yard line, or courtside. If denied entry to those seats just tell them you identify with those seats. Then let me know how that goes over. I feel quite certain that it will come down to what it says on your ticket—regardless of how you identify.

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