He beat the girls.
No, it’s not politically correct to put it that way. Mainstream outlets universally refer to Laurel Hubbard (shown in center), who won his weight class in an Australian women’s weightlifting competition, as a “transgender woman” — meaning a man claiming female status. But at the end of the day, that’s what it amounts to.
As the Washington Times reports, “Hubbard, 39, cruised to victory on Sunday at the Australian International in Melbourne, a key step in representing New Zealand at the 2017 Commonwealth Games.… Hubbard lifted a combined total of 590.9 pounds in the women’s 198.4-pound division, besting the runner up by almost 45 pounds.”
Hubbard used to compete in men’s weightlifting as “Gavin Hubbard,” but began claiming womanhood in his mid 30s.
As a tribute to political correctness’s power, Stuff Sport reports that “Hubbard was congratulated by … [his] competitors after the ceremony.” Nonetheless, at least a couple did note the unfairness of the situation. As Stuff further informs, bronze medalist Kaitlyn Fassina stated, using the wrong pronouns, “‘She is who she is. That's the way the politics ... and what the New Zealanders have decided. I can't say much more than that. She is seen as female and that's the way it is.’”
Another athlete was more blunt. As the Times reported, “‘We all deserve to be on an even playing field,’ competitor Deborah Acason told Australia’s 1 News Now on Sunday. ‘It’s difficult when you believe that you’re not. If it’s not even, why are we doing the sport?’”
The Times also tells us that “Tracey Lumbrechs, who previously won a bronze medal winner at Commonwealth Games, dropped to a lower weight class to avoid the situation.”
And this situation is not a first. As I reported last year, “Dr. Richard Raskind, the famous 'transsexual' who adopted the name Renée Richards, was granted the right to compete in women’s tennis and won the 1979 35-and-over U.S. Open women’s tennis title at age 45. ‘Lana Lawless,’ also a man claiming to be a woman, was allowed to participate in the Women’s World Long Drive Championship (golf) — and won the 2008 event at age 55.”
Then there’s Nattaphon Wangyot, a Thai-born — and boy-born — athlete who took honors racing against girls in the 2016 Alaska State Track Championships. As I put it at the time, “Welcome to the Brave New World of bold faux girls.”
But there are boy wannabes, too. “Mack Beggs,” a 17-year-old girl claiming male status, was allowed to compete in the Texas girls’ wrestling tournament last month despite having taken large doses of testosterone the past year. She ended up winning her 110-pound category.
Beggs had wanted to wrestle with the boys, but couldn’t because Texas, wisely, has rules prohibiting a student from entering a competition for the opposite sex. In fact, her testosterone usage normally would have disqualified her from all competition as it is a performance-enhancing substance, but she was granted a dispensation under a rule allowing exceptions for those taking such drugs for a “legitimate medical reason.”
Here’s the problem and a fact: There is no medical evidence whatsoever that so-called “transgenderism” constitutes a legitimate medical reason. For there’s no scientific evidence whatsoever that it’s an actual biological condition. A psychiatrist can claim that a man is legitimately “transgender,” but neither he nor anyone else can point to any physiological markers to prove that it isn’t a purely psychological phenomenon. The “diagnosis” is made based purely on feelings of “strong cross-gender identification,” as they put it, that last for at least six months. It’s no different than a doctor signing off on a diagnosis of heart disease, without performing any medical tests, simply because a patient says he feels chest pain.
Yet this issue is defined by rationalization and sloppy reasoning. For instance, justifying Hubbard’s competing with women, sportswriter Phil Gifford echoed a common narrative, stating that testosterone levels are all that matter and that “transgender” athletes are tested prior to competition. Said he, “And Lauren [sic] has passed all of those tests over the last 12 months.”
This reflects ignorance. Even among young prepubescent boys and girls — who both have the same hormone balance (low estrogen levels) — the boys’ running records are somewhat better, though the gap is quite small at such ages. But this is no surprise: The sexes are not only genetically different, but boys’ bodies produce high levels of testosterone in the womb.
Now, if a testosterone-free eight-year-old boy has an advantage, is it logical to assume that a testosterone-free grown man wouldn’t? Note that not only has that man undergone male intrauterine development, but he also has experienced male adolescence, during which development is significant enough so that the boys’ mile record is already better than the women’s world record by age 15.
Another oft-heard excuse is that, well, athletes have all kinds of advantages. Being taller, faster, better coordinated, or more talented are just a handful of benefits one can enjoy by winning the “genetic lottery.” In fact, any great champion is likely a genetic anomaly and not a “normal” person. Why, young Liam Hoekstra was once billed as the “world’s strongest toddler” because he has a rare condition called myostatin-related muscular hypertrophy, which causes his body to develop far more muscle than that of the average child. And it has been suggested that it’s unfair for such an individual to compete with other children.
Yet there’s a difference. We don’t have separate sport categories for the taller, stronger, faster, better coordinated, more talented, or those with myostatin-related muscular hypertrophy. And when there is such a category — such as weight classes in fighting sports — we don’t say a 220-pound man can compete with the lightweights because he “identifies” as a 135-pounder. Image (or self-image) is not reality. Reality is reality.
Likewise, we have decided that separate sporting arenas based on sex are warranted. If this distinction is irrelevant, then eliminate it; just let the sexes compete together and the cream to rise to the top. If there is a good reason for a rule, though, that also means there’s a good reason for actually enforcing it.
Reality, however, is not too popular right now. Who needs it when you’ve got an agenda to push, interest groups to pander to, and votes to win?