Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Transgender Conundrum


WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

Let's face it, no doubt the coaching world, especially in female athletics, is salivating at the possibility of being able to create, acquire and promote transgender females into competitive sports.

Just the thought of finding some 150-pound male athlete with transgender leanings who could be converted into a 140 pound female basketball player has to have a lot of these high school and college basketball coaches absolutely ecstatic in the privacy of their own offices.

Given the competitiveness of high school athletics and continuing on through college and even into the pro ranks, we've seen repeatedly the real motivation, regardless of what they say about promoting intellectual growth and creating well rounded people, is all just about gaining advantage and figuring out some way to win.

Governor DeSantis says he is doing this for his daughters and all the other young women who desire to compete openly and fairly in women's athletic sports. You can't really argue with this motivation.

Equality and fairness of competitive athletes have never really been a big mantra of organized sports regardless of the level.

Once again, if you can recruit the biggest boy in the school to your football team, if he has any skill set at all, he can be taught to be a football player. Few middle school or high school coaches spend a lot of time looking around the most-recent 8th grade class for the wimpiest kid to invite to football tryouts.

The same is true in women's athletics. When looking at the available prospects, prowess along with skill set and ability are key factors in determining who gets picked to play for the team.

Now you add the wrinkle that there are a couple or so male students who are going through the transgender process and maybe the women's basketball coach has a few prospects that would not have been there before.

Add to this the almost unconscionable possibility that collegiate women's basketball recruitment programs may begin to search around in the grade school and middle school levels for transgender youth whom they could sponsor, pay for medical procedures in return for guaranteed attendance at their college or university. Sound like something out of this world, just do some research on collegiate athletic recruiting and see what you find. They call it “scouting.”

The NCAA and the women's athletic equivalent cannot be counted on to regulate in this environment. They have no power, no authority, and no ability to significantly reduce the abuse that can come if transgendered females are allowed to openly an unrestrictedly compete in female high school and collegiate sports.

Before you dash to the comment section with all those posts about what a sexist, I am, let me add this, I have a deep and abiding understanding of the issue of sexual identity, and I absolutely yearn for those caught up in this most difficult of life's problems. I passionately believe that all transgendered people should have every opportunity that is afforded to the general population.

This is a difficult set of circumstances. I'm not sure whether or not this legislation will stand the test of the court system in regard to discrimination, but I do believe there is as much to do with this issue about money and winning as there is about providing athletic opportunity.

In the pro sports world, I think the whole issue of transgendered athletes is irrelevant.

If the pro sports franchises want to engage in the employment and presentation of transgendered athletes as part of their professional sports teams, whatever those teams may be, I think that is their business, their business alone and their decision to make based on the sports markets that they serve.

In the middle school, high school, and in the collegiate athletic world, I think loading the deck with physically or genetically modified humans is just a step too far.

If the real objective of high school and collegiate athletics is to help further develop well rounded people to participate in society and enterprise, then there needs to be some control over our ability to create humans for that competition.

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