Toxic equality

Toxic equality

Keep men out of women sports

By Romane Elliston

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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We often speak of equality, respect and fair treatment, assuming that anything else is outright discrimination. Yet we turn a blind eye to toxic equality, where an individual's version of justice and fair hampers another. There has been much talk these days about equality.

Feminists want it, and the LGBTQ+ are parading about it. At face value, they appear to be fighting for the same cause — equality. But upon greater analysis, they indeed conflict each other. A few years ago, when I was in high school, the concept of gender was synonymous to sex, male and female.

However, with the proliferation of human right groups, particularly from the LGBTQ+ community, the 'science' of the terminologies has been redefined. Gender now constitutes behaviour which could range from gay or straight to non-binary. Frankly speaking, it is discombobulating enough to make sense of the plethora of gender expressions and fluidity.

In fact, there has been discussions that if a man identifies as a woman, then he may use the female's bathroom.

Hey guys, we know what that means, right? (*wink*) But on a serious note, all these new 'developments' seem to be ripping apart the fabric of the traditions of old for the sake of equality. But is it for the better or the worst?

On another side of the world, females have been long weary of the inequalities between them and us, men. Hence, the age-long phenomenon, feminism. They desire the same pay, rights, opportunities, and you name it.

Certainly, females benefit from these in a global context, but there is still a far way to go. In fact, concerning the field of sports, many tend to see sexism as a fictitious concept. They do not believe that female athletes are not always paid the same.

They are often chastised for overreacting while men are labelled as zealous, and the list goes on. But females still fight. Some have become extremists; dubbing every male act a diabolic plan to further oppress them in the name of equal rights. But is it for the better or the worst?

We are presented with two groups, holding the same banner, equality. So, where is the conflict? The most common example is in the state of Connecticut, where transgender females have snatched the titles from the previous female holders.

According to NBC news, three Connecticut high school female athletes have filed a federal discrimination complaint claiming that a state-wide policy on transgender athletes has cost them top finishes in races, and possibly college scholarships.

In addition to this, Christie Aschwanden wrote on wired. com that some critics claim that transgender athletes are ruining competition for cis women and girls. This is where the great divide occurs. Feminist all around are speaking out against males invading female sports.

In fact, Beth Stelzer, a biologically female amateur powerlifter and founder of Save Women's Sports states, “If biological men are allowed to compete in women's sports, there will be men's sports, there will be co-ed sports, but there will no longer be women's sports.”

This is where the lines become blurred and members of the LGBTQ+ community feel as if they are being oppressed for the freedom they have laboured for over the years.

To make matters worse, there are some males who argue that feminists have been fighting for equality, and this is what equality looks like — everyone playing on the same field. But is that really the type of equality that feminists envision?

The decisive question which therefore arises is: Is there really a middle ground, can both feminist and the LGBTQ+ community agree on the way forward? Feminists want total equality and fair play for female athletes, while the LGBTQ+ community also wants its share of equality.

However, as far as sports is concerned on the international arena, there are strict policies regarding transgender athletes. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), for example, transgender women must first undergo one year of testosterone suppression treatment before they can compete.

But the organisation doesn't place limits on what a transgender athlete's testosterone levels can be. Then, there is the International Olympic Committee, which stipulates that transgender women should have their blood testosterone levels maintained below 10 nano moles per litre for a minimum of 12 months.

However, the governing body of track and field just adopted a 5 nano moles per litre limit. Is this truly a viable solution? All in all, both groups deserve fair treatment.

Women indeed deserve to be treated fairly in comparison to men. Thus, whether an athlete or an office worker, there should be no distinction. Particularly with sports, biological females are supposed to compete against biological females.

Personally, this is not an attack on the LGBTQ+ community, because, quite frankly, they deserve to be treated well by society. One need not agree with their doctrines, but certainly we all deserve to be treated with love, respect, and compassion.

Romane Elliston is writer, motivational speaker and life coach. Send comments to the Observer or ellistonpolyglot@

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