An ounce of compassion

If you read or listen to certain media outlets, you might be under the impression that an army of

men, dressed as women, are coming to destroy everything you hold dear in your life. They're

coming to invade women's sports, indoctrinate little children and spy on sorority houses.

If you believe all this, I have some prime ocean-front realty in Wyoming to sell you. Complete

with a bridge.

Compete Like A Girl

The biggest front of the culture war over whether transgender people should be treated the

same as cisgender people is in sports.

For years, transphobic narratives have been spewed which paint transgender women as

nothing more than men who couldn't compete in their own category. Apparently, it is much

easier to take estrogen, block testosterone and be faced with death threats than it is to condition

oneself.

Historically, finding ways to police whether or not a woman athlete was transgender or not has

backfired on the very population they purport to protect: cisgender women.

Remember Caster Semenya of South Africa?

Semenya, and other cisgender women, were blocked from competing in the Tokyo Olympics

because of their naturally high testosterone levels. The only way they could compete, in fact,

was if they were to take medications which blocked their testosterone levels. The argument for

this was it would create a level playing field and ensure fair competition.

It just comes down to the chromosomes, though, right? Everyone knows that women have XX

chromosomes and men have XY chromosomes. Except for people like Semenya, who are

cisgender women and have XY chromosomes. Not to mention, there are at least six types of

chromosome variations beginning with the commonly known XX and XY and including

combinations such as XXXY and XYYY.

Semenya and other cisgender women with DSD (Difference of Sexual Development) aside, the

argument is still made that barring transgender women from competing in women's sports only

helps cisgender women. What this does, in fact, is reinforce outdated stereotypes that cisgender

women are the "weaker sex." And while people are clutching their pearls about transgender

women competing in sports, the various state laws reinforcing these stereotypes have backfired

similarly to Semenya and the Olympics.

Let's look at Mack Beggs, a transgender male wrestler from Texas. Due to state law, Beggs was

forced to compete according to the sex assigned to him at birth. This meant Beggs couldn't

compete with cisgender men, but had to compete with cisgender women. Beggs went on to win

the Texas Girls' 110 pound Championship.

Finally, there's Lia Thomas, the trangender female swimmer who was a lightning rod for hate in

2022. Thomas, it was alleged, had an unfair advantage over her competitors because she was

a "biological male" and could easily beat her cisgender peers. Except, aside from winning the

women's 500 yard freestyle race, there is little evidence to show she had some unfair

advantage over others.

According to The Independent (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/lia-thomas-

trans-swimmer-ron-desantis-b2091218.html), a total of 27 NCAA records were broken in the

women's category. None of them belonged to Thomas and 18 of them belonged to Kate

Douglass, a cisgender woman. In fact, Thomas' time in the 500 yard freestyle race made her

only the 15th fastest college swimmer in the women's category. Not exactly blowing the

cisgender women out of the water, so to speak.

Trust Men, But Not Trans Women

One of the other major arguments against the inclusion of transgender women in anything is the

threat of sexual assault they pose to cisgender women.

While there have been cases of transgender women commiting sexual violence against

cisgender women, it is almost a statistical anomaly. Transgender women are far more likely to

be victims of sexual violence rather than perpetrators of it. Additionally, recent research has

shown that transgender youth are four times more likely to experience sexual violence than their

cisgender peers and are less likely to commit it than their cisgender peers.

This concern over sexual violence and cisgender women would almost be believable, if there

wasn't so much evidence to bely it. In the United States, a rapist can sue for parental custody of

a child conceived by their victim from their sexual assault. In fact, only 15 states have passed

laws which terminate their parental rights (https://prismreports.org/2022/03/22/in-multiple-states-

rapists-can-sue-their-victims-for-parental-custody/).

Let's not forget cases such as Brock Turner, in which he raped Chanel Miller while she was

unconscious and was given a slap on the wrist by the judge because of how it might impact his

future. Let's also not forget the number of state-level abortion bans which outlaw the procedure

even in the case of rape and incest.

Language Matters

When we were all in school, we memorized the chant "Sticks and stones may break my bones,

but words will never hurt me." The phrase, while well intentioned, was far off the mark. It is often

words which lead to the stick and stones.

The term "biological male" is not some neutral term, fairly presenting both sides of the

argument. It's the same as using the term "pro-abortion" over "pro-choice" or "racially charged"

over "racist." There is a reason that word is used and it's a way to dehumanize those who are

some of the most marginalized and who are at the greatest risk of harm from others or

themselves.

It's a dog whistle, used in the same fashion as "thug" and "ghetto" for black people or the term

"Soros-backed" to hide anti-Semetic language.

This language may seem to be "just words" or "someone's opinion" has very real

consequences. Since 2013, there have been 302 violent deaths of transgender and gender

nonconforming people in the United States. Last year, there were at least 32 violent deaths

according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign. That's not including the number of

transgender people who die by suicide.

According to a report released in 2021, transgender and nonbinary youth who reported gender

identity acceptance from at least one adult had 33% lower odds of reporting a previous year

suicide attempt. Similarly, transgender and nonbinary youth who were accepted by at least one

peer had 34% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt the previous year.

Transgender and nonbinary youth are four times more likely than their cisgender peers to

attempt or commit suicide, including those who are in the LGBQ community. That number

drastically decreases if they feel they are accepted by adults and other youth.

The rallying cry in support of this language is "protect the children." Yet, the transgender girl

who wants to compete in girls sports is also someone's child. They're not a cisgender male in

their mid-30s trying to get on a girls basketball team.

They are a child, looking for a place to belong and wanting to be included just like anyone else.

At the end of the day, this language should sound familiar.

The claims of "following the science" of there being only two sexes and two types of

chromosomes should sound familiar. It's the same pseudo-science which claimed black people

were mentally inferior to white people, that Jews were genetically predisposed to greed and that

vaccines are the cause of autism. It "others" things which we don't understand or want to

understand and makes it easier to dehumanize them.

If you think it doesn't matter, the language you use or how you talk about transgender people,

just remember that there may be someone in your life who is and has decided they can't trust

you.

 

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