On Sex in Sports

This comment, a fragment as I find it, appears alongside my name on the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) petition, “Protect Idaho Girls’ Sports,” in support of Idaho Gov. Brad Little signing HB 500 into law which would effectively keep sports divided, both fairly and justly, on the basis of sex. There is simply no other sensible course of action in this situation than to exclude, rightfully, males from unfairly and unjustly competing in female athletics divisions.

Athletics should be separated on the basis of sex, that is, fairly and justly sex-segregated. The problem with trans-identified males competing in female sports, against females—that is, members of the opposite sex—is not about the “gender identities” of any of the participants, or even their subjective senses of self about their objectively sexed bodies, typically observed as male-sexed or female-sexed at birth [1]. To focus on “gender identity,” rather than sex, is the framing that makes it seem as if female athletes are being denied their rightful participation, as females, to compete against other members of their sex on fair and just grounds in sports. Instead, the problem is about the sex of trans-identified male athletes, in fact, being male, which is indeed distinct from “gender identity,” and their unfair and unjust competition against females being a glaringly self-evident violation of fairness in female athletics. It is, therefore, discrimination against female persons on the basis of sex by male persons who “self-identify” themselves as “female” and presently weaponize “gender identity” as a legal loophole for what many people now see as lawful sex discrimination against—and continued oppression of—women as a sex class. Trans-identified males can compete in male athletic divisions, if they wish to do so, against members of their own sex, but them colonizing female sports to make themselves feel better puts down half the human population—that is, the entire female sex—to put a minority of males on a pedestal. This subjection of women to make a minority of males feel better is unfair and unjust toward women, although, once again, it is being perceived as fair and just to sacrifice women’s rights for the sake of men’s feelings. Lobbyist groups and mainstream leftist organizations slyly claim that “trans-identified students” are being “banned” from fair and just participation in athletics simply for “being transgender,” that is, for their “gender identities,” which they take to be synonymous with sex. What they mean, although they do not wish to say so explicitly, is that they are lobbying for trans-identified males to compete on unfair and unjust grounds in sports against the opposite sex. They strategically misrepresent the problem at hand and selectively choose to deny the significance of sex-based biological and physiological distinctions between male and female persons as these differences pertain, here, to lawfully upholding fairness and justice in athletics.


[1] As a gender-nonconforming male-sexed person myself, that is, as a male, I use the term trans-identified male, not to “misgender” gender-nonconforming male-sexed people, usually also known as either “transgender women” or “MtFs,” but rather to specify, explicitly, their sex being biologically and physiologically male. I see terms like “transgender female” and “transgender woman” as rhetorical sleights of hand to misconstrue the minority of males who “self-identify” as “female” as the most oppressed class of “females.”

To be clear, also, nobody owns “gender,” because “gender,” like “race,” is not an essence within the self that somehow precedes one’s existence in society. Nor is there such a thing as “subconscious sex,” any more than exists such a thing as “subconscious skin color.” Indeed, theoretically, “misracing” somebody would be an equal “hate crime” to “misgendering” somebody, if these social constructs were taken to be similarly socially constructed. Presently, “gender,” however, is seen as an essence—that is, essential to one’s existence—while “race” is not seen in a parallel sense. “Misgendering,” it seems, primarily functions as an instrument for silencing women as a sex, publicly and privately, when any individual woman criticizes the male-supremacist overreach of males who “self-identify” themselves as “females.” It is not why homophobic males commit violence against trans-identified males. Nor is “misgendering” a useful conceptual tool for acknowledging and addressing homophobia, which, instead of transphobia, is why homosexual trans-identified males die at the hands of other males who kill them because of their sex and sexuality, not their “gender identity.”

One’s sex being male, as in the case of trans-identified males, does not deny this social class of persons the right of individual self-expression to be as feminine or as gender-nonconforming as they please, permitted that they do not infringe on the personal, sexual boundaries of other persons. Sexist social conventions, however, while imprisoning females in femininity, do indeed restrict males to masculinity, often to the detriment of both sex classes. Sex stereotypes must be challenged.

Yet, transgender rights activists, as seen, for example, in their opposition to HB 500 in Idaho, have mistaken their direct participation in perpetuating the sexist oppression of women as a sex for the liberation of both males and females from the sex stereotyping of masculinity and femininity. Transgender rights activists, as such, have collaborated in male supremacy, both in this case and in them taking sex stereotypes of masculinity or femininity to be what, in essence, makes people “male” or “female.” Male-supremacist ideology, of which “transgenderism” is an appendage, deploys “gender” to make invisible the sex-class-specific nature of women’s oppression on the basis of sex as a sex class.


Categories Women’s Studies and Feminist Theory
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