I want to start this by saying I am an ally of the LGBTQ community and am in no way putting its members down.
There has been a lot of buzz in the news lately about transgender athletes. Specifically All American swimmer Lia Thomas.
Thomas excelled on the men’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, but she still didn’t feel right. She was in a constant battle with herself. It was a war between her physical appearance and her true self.
In the summer of 2018, she realized what this internal war was about and in 2019 she began hormone replacement therapy.
She came out to her coaches who fully supported her move to the women’s team.
I think it’s wonderful that she was able to continue her swim career in a way that represented who she truly is. I can imagine this is an area that many transgender athletes have struggled with before, so it’s great to know that Thomas was not held back from competing based on her gender identity.
However, I don’t think this was fair to the other competitors. Males (on average) have a greater muscle mass, higher cardiac capacity, higher bone density, and higher tendon strength than females.
In terms of physical abilities, men are genetically developed to perform better.
Athletes born as females are having opportunities ripped away from them simply because their competitors have genetic advantages. It’s not fair.
Females can work their hardest, but when it comes down to it we just can’t compete physically. It sucks, but it’s the scientific truth.
There are separate leagues for men and women for a reason. In fact, many men’s leagues have adjusted their sports to accommodate the differences.
The NCAA lengthened the distance of the three-point line for males by one foot in 2007. In men’s volleyball, the net is just over two inches higher than the women’s.
Simply, males should not be competing in female sports leagues.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Thomas should have remained in the men’s league or quit swimming. My suggestion goes for all sports leagues.
In order to maintain an equal playing field, I suggest a league be created exclusively for transgender athletes. This will allow all athletes equal opportunity as they pursue their athletic endeavors.
They should not be forced to compete in a league where they do not feel they belong, but they also should not be allowed to compete in a league that places themselves or their competitors at an unfair advantage.
Again, I am not in any way trying to make transgender individuals feel unwelcome or excluded. I am fully supportive of them, but sports are much more fun when played on an equal playing field.
Laci Sutton is a Nickerson senior studying nursing. She is The Collegian’s Opinion Page Editor