I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to write about this, but for three days, this story has weighed heavily on my mind. So please, don’t call me a bigot or threaten to burn my house down or tell me you hope I have a transgender child one day. None of what I am writing about come from a place of hate. I can’t say that if Andraya Yearwood were my child, I’d do anything differently than her parents have done. I can say what I THINK I would do, but I am not in their shoes. Not in the shoes of parents whose child feels they are the opposite gender of what they are biologically. A child who, statistics say, has an alarmingly high risk of committing suicide.
I believe God doesn’t make mistakes when He creates people. I also believe I would definitely try to keep any child of mine happy and healthy while still parenting them in a way that falls in line with my Christian beliefs. I am thankful I have not had to figure that one out.
All that to say, what I really want to talk about is how transgendered athletes will figure in to traditional fairness. Andraya Yearwood, a freshman, beat out junior Kate Hall for the Connecticut State Girls’ 100 Meter Dash Class M track championship. (Yearwood also won the 200 Meter Dash, in which Hall came in third.)
Hall had won the title last year as a sophomore. This year, she lost it to the freshman Yearwood, who identifies as a female, but was born and still is 100% biologically a male, not having undergone surgeries or hormone therapies of any kind.
How does Hall feel about her girls title going to a biological boy (whose winning girls time, incidentally, was almost a full second slower than the last-place boys time in the same race)?
“It’s frustrating,” she told the Hartford Courant newspaper. “But that’s just the way it is now…I can’t really say what I want to say, but there’s not much I can do about it.”
I think that’s a pretty gracious response. If I were her parent, and she was being told effectively, as Courant writer Jeff Jacobs said, “A transgender girl’s journey is more important than your journey,” I think I’d probably fight for my daughter’s right to have the title that was rightly hers—fight for fairness. But no one’s doing that, because everyone’s afraid of being politically incorrect.
Jacobs’ comments on the situation make it clear that though he DOES think Connecticut state is right in letting Yearwood compete with the gender she identifies with, he has some qualms about the validity of the competition. He says:
“Yearwood, who has yet to undergo any hormonal treatment on the long process toward sex reassignment surgery, sprinted faster than anyone else for two state class titles.
Was it fair?
On a biologically competitive basis, it was not.”
Yearwood’s father, whose teen is now girls’ state champ, says he doesn’t think about whether or not it’s fair. Which is convenient, since his kid won.
“This is not about winning and losing races. This is about the health of my teenage daughter. In terms of the fairness aspect, I don’t think about that as a father. I only think about, is my daughter happy, healthy and able to participate in what she wants to do? I don’t care if she wins or loses. I don’t care if she wins and gives the medals back. She got to compete as a girl where she feels she should compete. That’s all that matters to me.”
I should note that she’s not given the medals back. And also that track meets are generally about winning and losing races.
I guess my problem with Yearwood competing as a girl is this: biologically-born women will almost always lose in this situation. If a person is biologically female but identifies male and runs track against boys, the chance of the transgender person winning in that scenario is much less likely. But when a transgender person who was born a male goes head to head against females who were born females, they are more likely to win. This rankles the feminist in me, and makes me wonder if we will just go toward unisex sports, where again, biological females will be given less of a chance to shine.
I don’t have the answers for this, but I am comfortable saying I don’t think it’s right, especially when Yearwood hasn’t had any therapies or procedures to bring her closer to being a biological woman.
But, unlike other bloggers, I’m not here to spew venom at transgender teens or their parents. I’m just saying, if I were Kate Hall’s parents, I’d be pretty devastated for my kid right now…and I wish things COULD be fair for her.
One last time, though, I’m not demonizing Yearwood…in this news clip she certainly seems like a nice kid—and let’s all remember, just 15 years old.
What do YOU think? Is it fair for Yearwood to compete against biological females when she is still biologically a male?