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Will New Transgender Rules in the Olympics Create Unfair Competition for Female Athletes?

In late January, the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, announced a change in policies that will enable transgendered athletes to compete “without first having to undergo gender reassignment surgery.”


Previously, a man who’d “transitioned” to being a woman could compete as a woman “only after surgery, having undergone a minimum of two years of hormone therapy and being legally recognized as their changed gender.”


The IOC’s rationale was that the old rules may have been “inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.”


What they mean by “developing legislation and notions of human rights” is the idea that people who identify as members of the opposite sex should be treated as such even if they’ve not undergone surgery or hormone therapy.


Of course, the best-known and most controversial example are laws and regulations that allow anatomical males who identify as female to use women’s facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms, a trend the Department of Education has endorsed in public schools.


Under the new Olympic rules, which have to be implemented by the various bodies that govern Olympic sports such as track and field, basketball, gymnastics, etc., athletes who “transition from male to female” must meet several requirements: They must “declare” as female; and their testosterone levels must fall below a certain threshold for at least 12 months while competing.


All of this is being done to ensure, in the IOC’s words, “opportunity to participate in sporting competition” while safeguarding “the guarantee of fair competition.”


I have my own words: folly and nonsense.


It’s strange that it even needs to be said, but there are undeniable differences between men and women.


Even after sexual reassignment surgery and hormone therapy, “some gender-specific attributes remain,” including muscle mass. While transitioning males will not be as muscular as they would be without hormone therapy, there’s a good chance they will be more muscular than their born-female competitors.


And if they do not undergo the surgery and simply take hormones, muscle mass is possibly maintained at close to male levels.


In a 2014 Mixed Martial Arts fight, a transgendered fighter, Fallon Fox, destroyed Tamikka Brents, giving Brents a concussion and breaking her eye socket. As Brents put it, “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night.” She continued, “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life” and “I’m an abnormally strong female in my own right.”


And mind you, Fox underwent reassignment surgery in 2006 and had been on hormone therapy ever since. In other words, Fox is as “transitioned” as a transgendered athlete can be, and still the competition was blatantly unfair.


In contrast, the men the IOC proposes will compete against women in contact sports such as hockey and basketball are nowhere near Fallon in their “transition.”


Now what’s going on here is the triumph of ideology over reality, in this case, human physiology, and therefore over common sense. For the sake of this ideology, the IOC is willing to sacrifice not only fairness, but the health and safety of female athletes, too.


As Chuck Colson often said, the ultimate test of a worldview is to follow it to its logical extreme. And thanks to the International Olympic committee, we’ve reached the logical extreme of a secular worldview that says humans can re-make ourselves in any fashion we choose—the rights and safety of others be darned.


And the results won’t be pretty.


BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.

John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.


Publication date: February 1, 2016

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