More than winning a race

A male reporter on Eastwood a couple of weeks ago:

BOZEMAN — When you’re a transgender athlete, and it seems the world is taking aim at what you are instead of trying to understand who you are, a walk — or run — on the wild side is the straightest path to clarity and balance and resilience.

As always, the issue isn’t being “a transgender athlete,” the issue is a male person competing against female people. It’s beyond annoying that journalists keep obscuring this point. Nobody is “taking aim” at what or who Eastwood is, but many of us are saying male people shouldn’t race against women, for the simple reason that it’s unfair. It’s unfair to all the women in the race, and they matter too.

Though it has been more than a year since Eastwood last competed at UM, and much of her focus now is on earning a post-graduate degree in environmental philosophy from the school, she has resurfaced publicly now that the Montana Legislature is back in session. House Bill 112, authored within days of the opening gavel by Whitefish representative John Fuller, seeks to ensure that sports designated for women or girls are open only to those who were female at birth.

Supporters hail it as the “Save Women’s Sports Act”. Eastwood sees it as an attempt to disenfranchise an already-challenged class of women.

Except that it’s not a class of women. It’s a class of men who say they identify as women. We used to know that it’s not possible to change physical reality with the power of thought, but now that magical idea is not just accepted, it’s embraced and mandated with menaces.

“That’s unfathomable to me,” she said of male athletes making such a dramatic physical and emotional transition simply to win medals. “If you’re comfortable in your body already, there would be no reason to transition. I don’t think anybody would ever do that to win some race or have a competitive edge in sports.”

Why? Why wouldn’t anybody ever do that? Why is Eastwood so sure no one would? Or is he just pretending to be sure? That’s the thing, you see – people can pretend. It’s not unheard-of. They can also genuinely feel as if they ought to be the other sex, or as if they “are” the other sex, but that feeling is just a feeling, it’s not by itself a reversal of reality.

Eastwood immersed herself in her running, especially with her UM teammates, many of whom will be “lifelong friends.” Sports, she said, enabled her to be with people who were less concerned by what she is than who she is.

“For me, that’s what running is all about — more about community and friendship and self-development than winning a race. That’s just a cherry on top in the process,” she said.

Fine! Brilliant! There’s the solution – do the running and the community and friendship and self-development but stay out of the actual races. Get all the community and friendship you want, and refrain from doing harm to those female people you say are your friends and your community.

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