“The Glorious Victories of Trans Athletes Are Shaking Up Sports” said the original headline for a Wired article published Monday under the “Science” category. The subhead read, “Some critics claim transgender athletes are ruining competition for cis women and girls, but they forget: Sports — and life — have never been fair.”
That wasn’t at all overstated, of course. As The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland quipped, the first title must have been “Trans Victories: They’re Real. And They’re Spectacular.”
After a massive pile-on from the residents of reality, Wired demonstrated that it does, in fact, get mail in its fortified compound overlooking the social justice dreamscape. It changed the title to “Trans Athletes Are Posting Victories and Shaking Up Sports” and de-snarked the subhead to “Transgender athletes at all levels of sport are winning medals, spurring a contentious debate over the future of gendered competition.”
Wired deserves the public shaming for its first title, but the real scorn should be reserved for the content of this loathsome article, which, as far as I can tell, remains unchanged.
Transgender ideology is deleterious to the wellbeing of children and society as a whole. That much is obvious to the vast majority of observant parents, whether their children play sports or not. One may wonder how it has permeated all manner of information thoroughfares to the extent it has, from social media platforms to major news outlets, from college lecture halls right down to the brightly decorated play rooms of preschoolers.
Transgender Activists Change Language to Change Culture
The key to its successful implantation in the minds of citizens, young people in particular, is the skillful replacement of the semantic framework we all know and have, until recently, been very contented with: Boys and men are males, and girls and women are females. Women’s sports, men’s sports; women’s bathrooms, men’s bathrooms. Sex, not gender.
How did we come to the point where male victories over females in their own sports are not just “glorious,” but affirmed as the victories of women? The answer lies in the introduction and replacement of basic terminology, which is meant to break the reader’s grasp on reality. The argument of the author, Christie Aschwanden, that trans athletes pose no threat to women’s sports, and in fact that we should consider doing away with the men and women categories altogether, provides several examples of language manipulation, some more subtle than others.
Take, for example, the phrase “cisgendered girls and women” she used in her opening paragraphs. Are women and girls “cisgendered,” or are they simply women and girls? But if we are to believe that males can be women, too, then we need an adjective to demarcate the girls and women who identify with their biological sex from the ones who do not. So now “girls” is just an umbrella term that has nothing to do with biological sex, and beneath that umbrella are “cis” and “trans” girls.
By stripping the terms of their original biological denotation, Aschwanden has equalized biological and nonbiological “girls and women” in the reader’s mind. They are just different types of women and girls, you see, and that’s the important thing. Not sex.
But we can’t just pretend that males and females aren’t a thing, because we’re reminded of it every time we look in the mirror or go to the bathroom. So Aschwanden goes on to write, “Nowhere are the debates around transgender rights as stark as they are in sports, where the temptation [is] to draw a hard biological line.”
Biology Sets Many Needed and Useful Parameters
It’s just a social construct, you see, this idea of biological distinctions, and up to this point, we’ve been tempted to “draw” a line (where presumably there needn’t be any). That line isn’t “drawn,” though; it’s inherent to human anatomy. There are two sexes. They are physically distinct from one another, and the creation of new human beings by sexual intercourse between the two proves it.
If biology isn’t so clearcut, then obviously we need a “fair” way to organize athletes into competitive categories. Perhaps, as physiologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand Alison Heather argues, we need to “create a handicap system that uses an algorithm to account for physiological parameters such as testosterone, hemoglobin levels, height, and endurance capacity.” A new system, you say? We don’t have a way to account for these things? Well, that sounds like something we need in order to be fair and science-based, right?
Except we already have physiological parameters that work quite well: dividing sports by male and female. Aschwanden is apparently hoping you’ve forgotten that at this point in the article.
You’re not buying the dismissal of biological reality? Well, we need to take other important characteristics into account too, such as “social factors like gender identity and socioeconomics.” Or try this on for size: Men attempting to live as women are “a very repressed minority,” who “only want to enjoy the same things that everybody else does, including participation in sports.”
Are you beginning to see the strategy? Biological realities can be pushed aside to make gender ideology more plausible to the average observer. Some of the details must be nodded at, to be sure: a little talk about testosterone ratios here, a mention of bone structure there, and really, what’s all the fuss about? Just ignore the glaring disparities — for example, that “cisgender men typically have testosterone levels of 7.7 to 29.4 nano moles per liter, while premenopausal cis women are generally 1.7 nmol/L or less.”
What Is a Woman?
Whether you acknowledge the science or not, though, is not all-important because it can simply be subjugated to “social factors.” Men attempting to live as women are a repressed minority at a high risk of suicide. Are you so cruel as to deny them the joy of sports? Would you willingly perpetuate the matrix of oppression?
In short, peddlers of gender ideology can pretend it’s not a controversy, and then when it becomes a controversy, they can apply intersectionality to guilt people into accepting the dominance of men in women’s sports. Aschwanden’s final line essentially admits the real goal of transgender ideology. She says, “At some point the question of who is a woman becomes a cultural inquiry: How athletically outstanding can a girl or woman be before we no longer see her as female?”
In the span of 1,100 words, the author has taken you from the declaration that trans (male) athletes are achieving “glorious” victories over biological females, to a discussion and prompt dismissal of the scientific data that evinces the vast differences between men and women, to a final question, posed in all seriousness, of “what is a woman?”
The question of who is a woman has gone from a scientific finality to a “cultural inquiry,” because the end goal of gender ideology’s proponents is to separate identity as a whole from biology. You are what you think you are, not what physical reality reveals you to be.
Look, Men and Women Are Just Plain Different
The transition of terminology from “sex recognized at birth” to “sex assigned at birth” is clear evidence of this, as Stella Morabito has written. You’re not recognized as a girl (female) or boy (male), you’re “assigned” a sex, because that pesky word “sex” can’t be thought of as an indelible, inherent human trait.
The ironic thing is that as much as these postmodernists are frantically trying to build a dome around their fiction to keep reality out, as much as they assert this is all about deconstructing oppressive social constructs, the physical truth couldn’t be clearer. In the overwhelming majority of cases, men beat women in feats of strength, speed, and agility. Men are stronger and faster and have greater lung capacity. They have better muscle memory and bigger bone structures.
The most primal truth of human physicality, the one that helps drive the survival of the species, shows up again and again in the athletics and mock violence of sports: Men are the hunters, the aggressors, and the protectors. The more physically demanding the task, the more we look to men to perform it. The “triumph” of men in women’s sports, far from blurring the distinction between the sexes, instead sharpens the contrast.
We cannot transcend our bodies or change them into some other kind. Sex is an intrinsic aspect of our identity, and no amount of semantic meddling will change that.