Pierre Poilievre states that biological men should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports. I agree. But then I’m not aware of any biological men attempting to compete in women’s sports. Some transwomen are, but transwomen are … well, women, not biological men.

According to my layman’s understanding, these people are born with male genitals but with female brains. The particular hormonal baths they experienced in utero made them that way. It’s no more meaningful to call them biological men because they were born with male genitals than it is to call them biological women because they were born with female brains. All one can sensibly say is that they were born with the characteristics of both.

Some choose to go with their brains rather than their genitals and, via drugs and surgery, become fully women. Their body, their choice.

This does present a problem in sports. Having been under the influence of male testosterone levels they develop bigger, stronger bodies thus gaining an advantage over other women. Given that the male-female division in sports is all about testosterone effects, it would seem that some mitigation of the advantage is necessary to create—to borrow a sports metaphor—a level playing field, indeed just to be consistent with the reason for a male-female division in the first place.

Sports groups struggle with the challenge. World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field, banned transgender women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through puberty. World Aquatics, the international governing body of water sports, and the coming Paris Olympics have followed suit. The issue has been called “sports thorniest problem.”

It has also proven to be a thorny problem for politicians. A host of conservatives, including Alberta’s very own Danielle Smith, have entered the fray. She has announced that Alberta will forbid transgender women from competing in women’s sports leagues as part of an extensive package dealing with transgender. The province will prohibit hormonal treatment, puberty blockers and gender affirming surgery for children under 16; parents will have to give permission for students under 16 to use a name or pronoun at school other than what they were given at birth: and parents will have to opt students in to every lesson about sex education, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 2SLGBTQI+ community fights back, supported by NDP and Liberal politicians. Federal Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, who represents an Edmonton riding, said he’s prepared to fight what he called “the most draconian and harmful policies for young people in the country,” adding that the timing of someone’s coming out “doesn’t belong to a teacher or a school, and it definitely does not belong to a premier.”

At least one prominent paediatrician concurs. Dr. Sam Wong, head of the pediatrics section of the Alberta Medical Association, said “There’s a degree of sadness. And it’s disheartening. I’m angry. Transgender patients who are youth and adolescents have suffered enough mental health issues as it is without being picked on by the government and being denied treatment.”

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley accused Smith of “pandering to the most extremist element” of her party’s base. Pierre Poilievre has gallantly defended the premier.

Transitioning seems like an area where politicians should tread carefully. Just as the state should stay out of the nation’s bedrooms, perhaps it should stay out of decisions best made for children by their parents and doctors.

And kids deserve some privacy. They aren’t their parents property after all. Parents need to be informed about a lot of things—their kids academic performance and their respect for their peers and teachers, for instance—but who kids discuss intimate matters with should be their own business.

3 thoughts on “Trans enters the culture wars”
  1. Biological is the simple fact that every cell can be identified as male and the “brain bath” doesn’t over-ride the “body bath”.
    Very simple equivalencies. A is A. A is not B. B is B. No matter your thinking or wishing or feeling
    You can change your mind at any time about anything.
    You can’t grow wings or wish into existence any other body part.
    Again , a lot of column space for 0.0037% of the population and the other 99.9963 % better change the entire society to accommodate these feelings previously categorized as clinical delusions or… or….. orr……

  2. lungtamtn,
    If the “brain bath” didn’t override the “body bath” nobody would be transgendering.
    I’m not sure what you’re thinking or wishing or feeling with your As and Bs.
    Actually, with drugs and surgery you can wish into existence a body part.
    We have made progress when what were considered clinical delusions, e.g. homosexuality or transgender, are finally recognized as real and the folks involved no longer need to hide in closets.

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