As I write, Senate Bill 2 is on the governor’s desk. It would ban transgender athletes from participating in sports in Oklahoma at any level.
It was introduced in the Senate by local Sen. Toni Hasenback. One of its House sponsors is Marlow Rep. Brad Boles. After the “Save the Women’s Sports Act” passed that body, he pontificated on the benefits of athletic participation, but added:
“However, science tells us that the bodies of biological men have a significant competitive advantage over the bodies of biological women. When we ignore this reality, female athletes are automatically disadvantaged on the field and lose medals, public recognition and even possibly athletic scholarships.”
And from whom are we saving our women athletes? The NCAA handbook on transgender athletes points out that “in the entire 40 year history of ‘sex verification’ procedures in international sport competitions, no instances of such ‘fraud’ have been revealed.”
Looks like this fake crusade is just an excuse to let folks know whom our avowed Christian legislators hate.
The NCAA handbook also addresses this “unfair competitive advantage” claim:
” These concerns are based on three assumptions: one, that transgender women are not ‘real’ women and therefore not deserving of an equal competitive opportunity; two, that being born with a male body automatically gives a transgender woman an unfair advantage when competing against non-transgender women; and three, that men might be tempted to pretend to be transgender in order to compete in competition with women.
“These assumptions are not well founded. First, the decision to transition from one gender to the other…is a deeply significant and difficult choice that is made only after careful consideration and for the most compelling of reasons….
“Second, some people fear that transgender women will have an unfair advantage over non-transgender women….Transgender girls who medically transition at an early age do not go through a male puberty, and therefore their participation in athletics as girls does not raise the same equity concerns that arise when transgender women transition after puberty.
“Transgender women display a great deal of physical variation, just as there is a great deal of natural variation in physical size and ability among non-transgender women and men…. It is important not to over-generalize.”
But, what does the NCAA have to do with this?
Oklahoma Republicans’ bigoted approach to a nonexistent problem has caught the attention of the NCAA Board of Governors. KFOR-TV reports its response: “The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports….
“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
Yep, our happy haters could cost the state any further NCAA-sanctioned events, such as basketball, baseball, golf and wrestling regionals, not to mention jeopardize the Women’s College World Series, currently set for OKC until 2035.
Major League Baseball looked at Georgia’s Republican racist voter suppression and pulled this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
What price bigotry?
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party. Longer versions of his columns can be found at scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)