ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
I have long maintained that the real purpose of government is not to create a healthy bidness climate, but to solve problems.
So I’m perplexed when I notice recent proposed legislation for a solution to a problem that’s hard to find.
Such is the case with a bill in Lansing, co-sponsored by State Senator Aric Nesbitt, whose district includes all of Allegan County. If it becomes law, high school athletes will be prohibited from competing in any sport that does not conform to their biological gender.
Nesbitt and comrades apparently are worried about biological males who identify as females sneaking into women’s sports in order to break records and obtain fame and fortune. I seriously question whether any student would pretend to be transgender just to join a sports team. I acknowledge it is possible, but rare.
Right now in the state of Michigan we have really serious problems that need solutions, and yet again our lawmakers are grappling with prospects of males taking over women’s sports for their own personal glory.
Nesbitt told WOOD-TV News, “This doesn’t prohibit folks if there’s only one team, so like a volleyball team or football team. It allows folks to play on those from either sex.”
Nesbitt said some transgender athletes have an unfair advantage.
“You’re starting to see nationally where some of these biological males are playing on women’s teams and they’re breaking records, they’re preventing other women from getting grants and scholarships.”
Nesbitt probably was talking about transgender female Mary Gregory, who has gained a lot of publicity for breaking records in power lifting. To be sure, she took advantage of her male muscle and physique, but she had to undergo at least a year of hormonal treatments and meet standards before competing.
Some, like me, insist that lawmakers backing the bill are creating a controversy based on something that’s not really a problem. We maintain there just aren’t very many instances of this sort of thing happening.
I agree that girls and women in sports need to be assured fairness while participating, and I do not support wholesale practices of males taking part in women’s sports just because they have biological advantages. But I also submit that such instances are very rare and should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
The attitude I’m seeing from state lawmakers here is that time-honored tradition of fear of those who are different, fear of transgender people. And passing a law banning them from competing in sports not consistent with their gender is simply feeding red meat to their base.
Then there are unintended consequences.
I submit that in these parts we’ve seen more than a few instances of females succesfully sneaking into the realm of traditionally male sports:
- Shelby Cade, Buckley High School in northern Michigan, was allowed to play on the boys’ basketball team because the girls’ team had to be disbanded because of lack of interest. She’s contributing to the team and there’s no problem here. But what she’s doing would be illegal if this bill passes.
- Hanna Moulenbelt gained a lot of fame by becoming perhaps the only female to kick an extra point point and be elected homecoming queen on the same night.
Emma Kilbane was so good at kicking in soccer she joined the Hopkins varsity football team to kick fields goals and extra points for a Vikings squad that needed help in that department.
- McKenna Bruin was the most recent field goal and placekicker I can remember for Wayland’s football squad, No. 9 with long hair.
- Let us not forget that Wayland’ own Presley Hudson defeated all comers, male and female, two years ago in a national three-point shooting contest that wowed even those prideful hoops jocks.
Kathy Worfel in 1973 became one of the very first female athletes to compete in in boys’ sports as a member of the WHS tennis team. That’s when Title IX was just about to become law.
My impression of this whole affair is that it’s much ado about nothing, just another example of government saying it takes a hands-off attitude toward bidness, but tells us how we can and can’t live our lives.
My message to the State Legislature: Pass laws that are meaningful to the people rather than feeding the fears of only a certain segment.