It takes a lot of hard work to become one of the finest athletes in the world. Sydney McLaughlin is undoubtedly one of them. She just set a new world record for the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Her time of 50.68 seconds broke her own previous record of 51.41 seconds and she is the first female athlete to post a time under 51 seconds in the event.
Her accomplishment has rightfully garnered a lot of attention in the media, as being the first to do something difficult often does. Does the fact that her time is not competitive with the times of male athletes in the same event take anything away from her accomplishment? Most people would say no, of course not. That is because most people recognize the clear biological physical difference between male and female athletes. They understand the logical distinction in sporting events is set to compensate for the biologically determined physical difference between the sexes and is necessary for fairness, to extend competitiveness, and to promote striving for excellence among peers.
But alas, not everyone agrees in modern Bizarro world. Male athletes are “transitioning” to female and demanding they be allowed to compete with biological females in these sporting events. They are winning women’s competitions and beating women’s records and their actions are actually being accepted as valid by a very vocal minority that is promoting transgender integration of sports to further larger ideological goals. If the last place male finisher in the above finals decided to transition to a female and he competed again finishing with a similar time, his time of 48.92 seconds would crush McLaughlin’s time and become the new women’s world record. At least in the record books it would. Most people would naturally place an asterisk against the “win” in their minds. But this can only be done so many times and for so long before everything gets twisted together and lost in the confusion. Biological women athletes lose out in such a situation. Say what you will about the merits of gender identity theories and the courtesy of calling people by their preferred pronouns; when it comes to real world situations where results matter and the point of a competition would be negated by disregarding certain logical restrictions, we ought to stand firm in upholding those restrictions. When it comes to males and females and certain physical ability, there is difference that merits distinction that ought to be reflected in the rules at the most important levels of competition.
The opposition to such long-standing separation will claim an unwarranted discrimination and even a level of bigotry inherent in the hearts and minds of those that do not agree with them. Lost on them I suppose is the fact that a biological male that wants to transition to a female could still compete in male sports if they are worthy of the demanded level of competition. That is no more an unjust discrimination than demanding an adult play in an adult league instead of a league for kids. What we all should do is step back and recognize the point of sporting events separated by sex. We want to promote active lifestyles, we want to have fun, and we want fair competition where people can realistically win if they try their best with what nature has provided them. There are plenty of mixed sporting events already too and if the rules allow for it, and everyone knows that going into it, then that is fine. What is specifically at issue is the very idea of the legitimacy and value of upholding sports competition separated by sex – especially in school and in professional competition. It is true we could technically integrate all sports by sex and allow everyone to compete equally. But that would relegate most females in most competitive sports to B-leagues or C-leagues and deprive them of recognition and other opportunities. There is an inherent value in recognizing and rewarding excellence for sex-based physical achievement. I’m sure most women and most parents that have a daughter know this to be true, and the media adoration of Sydney McLaughlin’s recent achievements proves it.