Two months ago, a biological male claiming to be a female won a women’s cycling championship in England. The event marked the second victory for Rachel McKinnon in the Masters Track Cycling World Championships. The winner in the 35-39 year-old sprint category, McKinnon set a new world record.
Female athletes no longer consider this departure from previous practice an oddity. If not stopped, what McKinnon has done will surely be copied by others, even at the forthcoming Olympics. The entire world of women athletics knows that this practice is growing and will, if not declared illegitimate, destroy female competitiveness
In years past, event officials could easily confirm that female entrants were indeed females. They still try to make such a judgment. But the 37-year-old McKinnon, a Canadian who transitioned from male to female eight years ago, easily passes the test of a sufficiently-low testosterone level aided by appropriate drugs that aren’t banned. The International Association of Athletics Federation has established a recommended maximum threshold that a contestant’s testosterone level needs to fall under prior to any women’s athletic event. Its officials should realize that discovering testosterone levels below a certain ceiling in an athlete isn’t enough to keep men from participating as women.
Opponents of men participating as women in sporting events have begun to point out that the testosterone level in an athlete is irrelevant, that it isn’t testosterone that gives a biological male an edge over a biological female. What else contributes to possible male dominance? Males have larger hearts, lungs, and skeletal mass, they say. Males also have more muscle mass and there are no tests for these differences between male and female. Dr. Emily Kraus, a sports medicine physician, points to men having more leg muscle power than women, a key factor in cycling performance.
Currently, England now faces a court challenge demanding that passports add a gender-neutral space for people to check off where only male or female have long been the only choices. Christie Elan-Cane, a 62-year-old who describes herself as a “non-gendered activist,” has filed a case that will be heard in Britain’s Court of Appeals. Last year, a High Court rejected her plea but allowed her to file an appeal, which she has now done.
A total of 80 members of Britain’s Parliament, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have backed a motion to alter all passports so that people who don’t want to classify themselves as either male or female can check off a box containing the letter “X” alongside the customary “M” or “F.” The matter has certainly energized England’s LGBTQ minority.
What happens in England should surely concern Americans because much that occurs there is eventually copied here where demands of transgender individuals have already caused problems. Sad to report, some American high schools are tolerating boys who claim to be females playing alongside girls in such sports as field hockey.
All of this is downright madness that ought to be scoffed at and never given legitimacy. Will it continue? Or will it be rightly labeled as a ridiculous fad and fade away to nothingness? We can only hope that common sense will prevail — not only in England but here in America.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.