The battle over transgender women in women’s sports took an interesting turn last month during a hearing in a Montana Statehouse committee room. A lawyer arguing for the right of trans women to play on the girls’ team was presented with a scenario for how that might play out in 20 years’ time. She did not want to know.
In contention was House Bill 112, introduced by Republican Rep. John Fuller, which would exclude trans girls and young women from female sports teams at the K-12 and collegiate levels. Despite more people speaking against this step than for it, the bill has since been passed in the House by a 61-38 vote.
Similar bills have been introduced in many states – 23 at last count; a couple have been passed; and there is a draft law in Congress. The American Civil Liberties Union is leading the fight against these efforts, confident that the Biden administration and a 2020 Supreme Court decision is on their side.
At stake is the issue of fairness to girls and women. On average, men are stronger, bigger and faster than women. They may have their bodies doctored to look female and take hormones to counter testosterone, but it is likely they retain a competitive advantage. Girls deserve at least a fair start in sports.
And don’t forget how competitive school sport can be.
Barbara Ehardt, a legislator from Idaho (which passed its own law last year, since blocked by a federal judge), told the Montana Judiciary Committee hearing that allowing a transgender woman to compete on a collegiate women’s sports team would force teams at other schools to change their recruiting practices and seek transgender players of their own in order to remain competitive.
“Sports is one of the best examples at the college level of Pete and Repeat,” Ehardt, a sporty type herself, said. “We copy each other all the time in order to attain success, and recruiting for it is a perfect example of that.”
Her most arresting claim, however, was this: “If you are willing to allow one biological male on the team you have to be willing, if 12 biological males try out for the team, to allow all 12 biological males to make it.
“You may say, well, that’s not going to happen, but that’s not the point; it could, and you have to be willing to let it.”
But the really interesting moment came when committee member Rep. Derek Skees, with some relish, put Ms Ehardt’s challenge to the ACLU lawyer. One speaker had suggested that transgender sportswomen are “super rare”, but 20 years down the track, would that remain true?
“Would you support a women’s sports team that would have all transgender, all biological males as transgender women?” he asks in the clip below.
For several seconds Ms S is lost for words. She then asks Skees to repeat his question so she understands “exactly what he is asking.” He obliges. Clearly she has never thought about what she might have to approve of if transgenderism booms under the official encouragement flowing freely again from the White House.
After another pregnant pause Ms S speaks carefully. She is sorry if she doesn’t answer his question, but she doesn’t want to speculate. “I will just say that transgender women are women, transgender girls are girls, and we are going to support bills that promote and protect their civil liberties and their civil rights.”
“I’ll take that as a Yes,” says her interrogator. Yes, she would support the absurdity of a women’s team made up entirely of natal males. She would have to. How could she draw a line?
Skees-2, Ms S-0.
Whether Rep. Skees believes his all-star team of trans-Amazons will eventuate is beside the point. It could. Nor does it matter that the issue of transgender athletes has not yet arisen in Montana schools. It will. Too many strange things have happened in the name of sexual rights to rule out anything – insist, as some of us may, that men are men and women are women.
It is worth noting that Rep. Fuller had a companion bill in the committee hearing: House Bill 113 would have banned the medical transitioning of children. This was voted down by 51-49 and a motion to have it reconsidered was defeated.
If nothing else, the majority attitude – widely held by sentimental and ideological folks alike – will ensure a continuing supply of transgender kids, all ready for recruitment by the the hockey and football teams.
And if, one day, there are enough for whole teams of transgender girls, well, problem solved. They can play each other.