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The trans panic and sports


The worst state ever is fighting back attempts by Florida, Texas, etc to wrest that title from it:

As soon as House Republicans passed a bill to block transgender girls from playing on female sports teams in K-12 or college, opponents started questioning how physicians would verify a minor’s biology.

They claim girls of all ages could be required to undergo full pelvic exams if an opposing team’s coach, player or parent questioned their sex.

They’re right.

House Bill 151, also called the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” says if a participant’s sex is disputed, she must verify her sex with a physician in “only” the following ways.

  1. An exam of her internal and external reproductive anatomy. 
  2. Her normal “endogenously produced levels of testosterone.”  
  3. An analysis of her genetic makeup.

It’s not clear whether student-athletes could pick one of these options or would have to provide all three.  . . .

Options two and three would require a blood draw, but option one is a full pelvic exam that could include ultrasound and/or insertion of a doctor’s hand to confirm the presence of a uterus and ovaries, said Melissa Wervey Arnold, CEO for Ohio’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Here’s how to tell the difference between a legitimate political issue and an old fashioned ginned up moral panic: Imagine if the issue here didn’t trigger the typical right wing freakout about sex, sexual orientation, etc. In other words, imagine the issue here was merely one of a countless number of issues that come up when people involved in youth athletics are debating the fairness of the competitive rules.

For example, people involved in these sports debate rules allowing or restricting the ability of public high schools to recruit student-athletes from outside the district, and rules regarding whether athletes from colleges that don’t offer athletic scholarships should compete in the same national competitions with athletes from colleges who do, and rules on age restrictions on high school and college competitors. And on and on. (Few people are as obsessed with questions of “fairness” as the parents of youth athletes).

What all those issues have in common is that they are of zero interest to anyone not involved in those competitions, and therefore turning such debates into national political issues would be completely impossible, since nobody cares if Connor’s and Maddie’s teams are getting a fair shake except for their parents and (maybe) Connor and Maddie.

So yes, arguments about what the fairest regime would be for regulating competitions that feature or could feature trans athletes are legitimate, in the extremely limited sense that those arguments are relevant to the tiny number of people who care about and could potentially be affected by those rules.

But that’s not what any of this is about, of course. None of these legislators had spent a nanosecond thinking about “saving” [sic] women’s sports until the opportunity arose to burn a few folk devils, and terrorize girls and young women who might not want to participate in scholastic athletics if the price is being subjected to the perverted investigatory curiosities of the Ohio Republican party.

These people are the scum of the Earth, and stories like this long chin-scratcher from the NYT about the controversy surrounding the participation of trans athletes in their sports fail to acknowledge that this “controversy” is something created and then exploited in the most cynical possible way by a bunch of patriarchal ethno-nationalist theocrats, who are no more interested in fairness in girls’ and women’s sports than they are in reading Ulysses in Sanskrit, or in actually ensuring that people with unlimited access to military-grade weapons also have some minimal level of access to mental health services. Etc.

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