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The Controversy over Sen. Rand Paul Remarks Claiming that Trans Inclusion Will 'Destroy Girls' Athletics'

University of Washington
5-Feb-2021 12:00 PM EST, by University of Washington

On February 3rd, President Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona faced questions from the U.S. senate during his confirmation hearings. In referencing Biden's executive order calling on schools to allow transgender athletes to participate in sports corresponding to their gender identity, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul grilled Cardona on his stance on transgender athletes in high school competitions. Paul discussed the disparity between boys’ and girls’ sports and how male students outperform their female counterparts. He claimed that allowing biological males to participate in girls’ sports "would completely destroy girls’ athletics," depriving girls of opportunities and college scholarships. Paul specifically drew on findings published by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights last spring that stated Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conferences decision to allow transgender female athletes to compete in women’s sports violated Title IX. "“Frankly some boy who is 6’2” competing against my niece who is 5’4” doesn’t sound very fair,” said Paul. “I think most people think it’s bizarre.” "

Dr. Bradley Anawalt, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine has this to say...

I disagree with the statement allowing transgender athletes to participate in high school sports teams corresponding to their gender “would completely destroy [high school] girls’ sports”.

It would change some high school girls’ sports, but not destroy them. A 17-year old transgirl who is 6’2” and 190 pounds and begins hormone therapy congruent with being female at age 16. She is a junior in high school. The athlete is a skilled basketball player who has played very high level club basketball as a boy. This hypothetical transgirl athlete would have a competitive advantage as a basketball player compared to cis-girl basketball players for her next two years; high school girl basketball players that are 6’3” are uncommon. In addition, it is likely that this transathlete would maintain much of her muscle mass that she had prior to gender-congruent hormone therapy for at least a year. The hypothetical transgirl basketball player might get a college scholarship to play basketball. Would this destroy high school girls’ basketball? That answer depends upon whether the goal of high school sports is to allow high school students to play sports and be physically active or whether it is to determine eligibility for college scholarships for a select few athletes.

 

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