Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 03/18/19
I’m fascinated with the arguments about transgender people engaging in athletics. Renée Richards, an ophthalmologist and professional male tennis player, underwent male-to-female sex reassignment and competed as a woman in the 1976 US open. This caused a furor at the time. We’re seeing similar issues today in track and field, wrestling, and other sports.
Gender and sex are biological, not a social construct. I understand gender dysphoria and the vast distress it causes. I’m supportive of whatever medical and psychological support is needed to redress it, including reassignment surgery.
However, I’m entirely sympathetic to parents who are concerned about someone “identifying” as the other sex and joining their children in the restrooms. And I’m also wondering about something else.
Isn’t there a reason that we have predominantly men’s and women’s separate sports events? It seems to be that in some areas, such as dressage, chess, billiards, and the like, it wouldn’t matter. But it certainly does in golf, or basketball, or lacrosse. Conversely, I’m not at all sure why we have separate Oscars (and all kinds of other awards) for male and female performances. Isn’t an actor an actor, or a singer a singer? I know of no one suggesting that males and females compete in every sport together. It makes no sense. But why not compete where biology makes no difference at all?
We need to acknowledge and appreciate the legitimate diversity of gender and identity issues, but not at the sake of ignoring the empirical and immutable reality of biology.
Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms. — Sterling K. Brown