Rep. Stutzman has introduced HB 1088 which forbids the Indiana High School Athletic Association from sanctioning a competition where a person born biologically male competes against an individual or individuals who were born biologically female. It imposes the same prohibition on public school intramural and athletic teams (and the private schools who play them) in grades 6 through 12. (There is an exception for “a person who is born with ‘a disorder of sexual development'” and gets a doctor’s note.) On my first read through, I thought maybe this permitted girls to compete on boys’ teams and against boys, but the more I read it, the more I’m seeing it as just simply restricting entirely competitions involving both boys and girls. The relevant language says:
“[A] person born as a male may not participate in or compete: (1) against an athletic team composed of persons born as females; or (2) in an individual sport against a person born as a female.”
Just filtering this through my own experience, we know a family with a daughter who routinely kicks ass in what is primarily a boy’s wrestling team. This language would say that a person born as a male may not compete against her. Why should she be prevented from wrestling against (and beating) these boys?
I suppose what they’re trying to get at is this fear that some big, athletic dude is going to dishonestly announce that he feels like his true gender is as a girl in order to win athletic competitions. Underpinning this is a belief that being transgender or non-binary isn’t a real thing. That it’s essentially made up. And, because we’re abandoning the tried and true genitalia-based definitions of male and female, we’re opening up loopholes that will be exploited for athletic glory and other nefarious purposes.
To the extent this is a real issue causing consternation in Indiana schools, let those schools try to deal with it. If a guy is declaring himself to be a girl as a sham to win competitions, the school can shut him down. If a biological male is a transgender female, won’t that give her biological advantages over biological females? Maybe. But there is already a wide physical variation within the biological male population and within the biological female population. I don’t know that this is so much different. As far as I can tell, this legislation isn’t so much an effort to address a real problem as it is simply a vehicle for expressing unhappiness that society is increasingly recognizing that gender identity is not perfectly correlated with biological sex.