P v W

Jun 24th, 2022 12:01 pm | By

Fresh Air yesterday:

The Supreme Court is wrapping up its term, and it’s expected that the court will overturn Roe v. Wade. A draft of Justice Alito’s majority opinion that was leaked early last month would end the federally guaranteed constitutional right to abortion and allow states to write their own abortion laws. This is happening as we approach the 50th anniversary of Roe. We’re going to talk about how we got here and what might happen next.

My guest, Mary Ziegler, has written several books and many articles and op-eds about the debates and battles over abortion. She says overturning Roe isn’t the final goal of the anti-abortion movement. Her new book is called “Dollars For Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement And The Fall Of The Republican Establishment.” It’s about how the anti-abortion movement became a major force within the Republican Party and, in the process, transformed the party, opening the door to insurgents and populists like Donald Trump. Ziegler is a professor of law at the University of California, Davis. 

They talk about privacy and the 14th Amendment.

GROSS: Is overturning Roe like the final destination for the anti-abortion movement? Or are there plans to go beyond that?

ZIEGLER: Oh, there are definitely plans to go beyond it. So I think in the book and in all of my research, it’s quite clear that the anti-abortion movement is a personhood movement. From its inception, the anti-abortion movement was about the idea that there are fundamental rights for unborn children, that unborn children or fetuses have rights to equality under the law, have rights to due process of the law. And that’s the end goal, right? It’s not overturning Roe and allowing states to do whatever they want; it’s instead to require that all states, so progressive as well as conservative states, cannot permit abortion. And it’s also, of course, to prevent as many abortions as possible from happening until that personhood goal is reached.

So overturning Roe, of course, is a major step, but it will neither mean the declaration of personhood nor necessarily a huge decline in the number of abortions if people are allowed to travel out of state. And if states are not punishing women and pregnant people and they can get abortion medications on the internet and if progressive states step up their support for people seeking abortion, financially and otherwise, we may not see that much of a decline in the abortion rate. So I think this battle will continue. And for abortion opponents, this is more the beginning of the story than the end.

There it is – early on in the interview, Ziegler took three opportunities to say “people” when she meant “women.” She kept on doing it, too.

ZIEGLER: Well, I think, obviously, there are going to be the kind of classic, you know, states that disallow abortion and sometimes go to extremes in enforcing those bans, right? So we may see extensive digital surveillance of people of reproductive age. We may see efforts, as we mentioned, to try to prevent interstate travel. We may see efforts to punish pregnant people directly. There’ll be states, of course, very progressive states, that not only allow people in their states to have abortions, but facilitate travel from other states, potentially by providing financial support, by protecting their own physicians against extradition requests or lawsuits.

I mean, if you’re thinking about how anyone would know people were having abortions, they would have to be surveying a group of people much broader than those who ultimately would turn out to be seeking abortions.

It’s worth noting, too, that it’s not just providers who are facing these consequences potentially in the short term. Some states are also including criminal punishment for people who aid or abet people seeking abortions. So those could be abortion funds and groups that help low-income people pay for abortions. It could be family members who help to pay for abortions.

Three “people” in that para again, but the first one can actually mean people, so I didn’t bold it.

Somewhat to my surprise, Terry Gross did not follow suit.

GROSS: Let’s talk about punishing women who have an abortion. As you’ve pointed out in your writing, you know, in the past, it’s mostly been abortion providers who have been targeted with, you know, any kind of criminal punishment. But now it looks like we’re opening up the possibility in some states of criminalizing women who have abortions. Where do we stand on that?

I wonder if she’s getting any pressure from younger staffers.

Not just taking this

Jun 24th, 2022 10:04 am | By

Still the Times – sorry it doesn’t provide links for individual pieces the way Guardian Live (for instance) does.

Representative Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, was seated in the same Planned Parenthood where she chose to have an abortion after an assault, listening to providers and advocates talk about the challenges of their work at a roundtable when her chief of staff passed her a phone. The Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Sitting in the same place where it was easy to access, and sitting in the same place where those rights were stripped away from people who right now are in the same situation that I was in,” she recalled. “It broke me down. I was just in shock.”

“The thing that I haven’t reconciled in my head is the majority of Americans did not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned,” she said, adding “we have to make it clear that we are not taking this and just saying okay.”

I’m much the same. Like everyone else I knew it was coming of course, but the arrival is still a shock and a disgust and a horror.

No liberalizing here

Jun 24th, 2022 9:55 am | By

Compare and contrast:

Around the world, many governments have been moving toward easier access to abortion, with more than 50 countries liberalizing their laws in the past three decades.

But the US, proud of its unique backwardness, is dashing in the opposite direction.

By contrast, a recent Supreme Court brief filed by abortion providers said that overruling Roe puts “the United States in the company of countries like Poland and Nicaragua as one of only a few countries moving toward greater restrictions on legal access to abortion in the past 20 years.”

Priest-ridden Ireland is better than we are.

Massive impacts

Jun 24th, 2022 9:16 am | By

When Boris Johnson is better than the US Supreme Court:

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, characterized the Supreme Court decision as a “big step backward.”

Speaking at a news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, at a meeting of leaders of Commonwealth countries, Mr. Johnson acknowledged that the ruling was from another jurisdiction, but added that “clearly it has massive impacts on people’s thinking around the world. It’s a very important decision.”

“I think it’s a big step backward,” Mr. Johnson said, “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose, and I stick to that view, and that’s why the U.K. has the laws that it does.”

Well not exactly – the UK doesn’t have the laws it does because Johnson sticks to his view. But I think his meaning is that the view, which is widespread, is why the UK has the laws it does.

Of course the view is widespread here too, but thanks to the fact that we have a carefully gerrymandered voting system, the woman-hating view has prevailed in the court.

A spiritual battle

Jun 24th, 2022 9:07 am | By

Next level:

Another speaker—Matt Sande, legislative director of Pro-Life Wisconsin—calls the likely repeal of Roe v. Wade “a great first step,” adding that his group will then work to remove the exception for saving the life of the mother from the 1849 Wisconsin anti-abortion law that could go back into effect if Roe is overturned. “This is a spiritual battle,” he says, urging people to “just pray they stick to this [leaked draft] Alito decision.”

Emphasis mine.

Guest post: Just a particular kind of bondage

Jun 24th, 2022 8:48 am | By

Originally a comment by artymorty on A pivotal moment.

That openness attracts some transgender people who empathize with Ariel’s agony of being trapped in a body that feels wrong.

That’s a euphemistic way of saying there’s a big overlap between crossdressing and roleplaying as a mermaid (or a furry, or something infantile like a child’s doll or even a child in diapers). And I can imagine that mermaid-dom has much of the same problem as furrydom (and babydom and doll-dom and trans-dom): that parents let kids and young people get involved thinking it’s harmless roleplay or some kind of special identity, completely unaware that for a lot of the adults in the group, it’s a highly sexual activity. I’ve read stories of parents dropping their teens off to spend the day unattended at furry conventions, thinking it’s just a bunch enthusiastic fans of various cartoon characters, unaware that such conferences are basically orgies for fetishistic men — no place for young people to be at all. That’s not so different as the stories of 13- and 14-year-old girls joining transgender support groups and finding themselves surrounded by men in their early twenties: for the girls it’s about escaping distress around the reality of living as females; for the men it’s about the sexual thrill of getting into it.

Mermaid-dom is in fact for some people just a particular kind of bondage: it involves the lower half of a woman’s body (often actually a crossdressing man roleplaying as the “woman”) being incapacitated and tightly encased in rubber or latex. In illustrations and photographs widely distributed by mermaid fetishists, the upper half of the body is also bound and gagged with rope and duct tape. There’s often someone with a whip standing nearby — hardly Prince Eric from Disney’s Little Mermaid cartoon. I wonder why that failed to make it into the article?

(Speaking of fetishes for incapacitation and being wrapped in latex: I actually knew someone who died from that. I was at his memorial. No one mentioned the cause of death, which immediately led me to suspect something kinky was involved, and I did a deep google dive and sure enough, he had constructed an elaborate contraption that would completely vacuum seal him in a kind of giant rubber Ziploc bag, leaving him completely unable to move, and dependent on modified mechanical diving contraptions for oxygen. The breathing device malfunctioned, and he suffocated alone in his home inside his homemade fetishistic rubber Ziploc bag while his girlfriend was away in California marketing that very contraption at a fetish convention. I wonder how many mermaids have bought one?)

SCOTUS to women: sucks to be you

Jun 24th, 2022 8:25 am | By

As expected, Trump’s Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade.

The Supreme Court on Friday overruled Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years in a decision that will transform American life, reshape the nation’s politics and lead to all but total bans on the procedure in about half of the states.

In a decision that sends a message to American women that we are not fully autonomous humans, that we don’t have basic human rights, that we don’t deserve basic human rights, that we are not allowed to veto a takeover of our own bodies, that our own bodies don’t even belong to us.

In a decision that sends a message to the world that the US, however rich and technologically skilled, is a backward underdeveloped tyrannical state that hates women.

A pivotal moment

Jun 23rd, 2022 5:33 pm | By

Uh oh. Are terfs about to be shoved off the naughty step by merfs?

Mermaids, that’s what the M stands for. We take you now to Sydney for

There was a pivotal moment in Queen Pangke Tabora’s life that eclipsed all others: It was the moment, she says, when she first slid her legs into a mermaid tail.

She what? Where did she get it? Did she murder a mermaid? Did she buy it on the black market from someone who murdered a mermaid? Those things don’t just come off like a pair of jeans you know – they’re the mermaid’s below the waist body.

For the transgender Filipina woman approaching middle age, seeing her legs encased in vibrant, scaly-looking neoprene three years ago was the realization of a childhood dream.

Oh a synthetic mermaid tail – you should have said that in the first place. Anyway, cool – trans isn’t enough any more, now we have to add pretend-fish-shape to our bottom halves to make it exciting again.

And it marked the beginning of her immersion into a watery world where she would find acceptance.

Acceptance? From whom? Fish? Squid? Dolphins? Coral?

“The feeling was mermai-zing,” Tabora said one recent morning while lounging in a fiery red tail on a rocky beach south of Manila, where she now teaches mermaiding and freediving full-time.

She teaches mermaiding. Huh. Who taught her? The mermaid whose bottom half she’s now wearing?

Across the world, there are thousands more merfolk like her — at its simplest, humans of all shapes, genders and backgrounds who enjoy dressing up as mermaids. In recent years, a growing number have gleefully flocked to mermaid conventions and competitions, formed local groups called “pods,” launched mermaid magazines and poured their savings into a multimillion-dollar mermaid tail industry.

And activism, right? Harassing people who don’t believe people can be mermaids? Going to their conferences to shout and bang on the windows?

Away from the critics and chaos of life on land, mer-world is the kinder, gentler and more joyful alternative to the real world. It is also a world, merfolk say, where you can be whoever and whatever you want.

All identities are valid. Scales are for everyone. Mermaids are being their authentic selves.

That openness attracts some transgender people who empathize with Ariel’s agony of being trapped in a body that feels wrong. It is also inspiring to merfolk like Che Monique, the Washington, D.C.-based founder of the Society of Fat Mermaids, which promotes body-positive mermaiding.

The war between the thin mermaids and the body-positive mermaids is raging.

Merfolk acknowledge their almost-utopia is occasionally rocked by stormy seas. As mermaiding’s popularity has risen, so too has the prevalence of creeps known as “merverts,” and scam artists who sell non-existent tails, says Kelly Hygema, creator of the Facebook group “Mermaids Beware: Scammers, Merverts, & More.”

Selling non-existent tails! People can be so evil.

For understanding feminism

Jun 23rd, 2022 3:45 pm | By

Verso deleted the “womb carriers” tweet, and then tried to claw back a little of its credibility.

You first.

Joining a raft

Jun 23rd, 2022 11:12 am | By

It looks as if the blockage has been dissolved.

The International Hockey Federation (IHF) and World Triathlon have joined a raft of governing bodies reviewing their policy on the involvement of transgender athletes in women’s sport following last weekend’s ruling by swimming’s top body FINA.

Yesssssssssssssss. Do that.

“We are conducting a review of our transgender policy and this is a current work in progress in consultation with the IOC (International Olympic Committee),” a spokesperson for the IHF told Reuters on Wednesday.

World Triathlon are working on their own guidelines which will be released after the approval of the Executive Board in November, following a review by the medical committee, women’s committee and equality, diversity & inclusion commission.

Once approved, it will be implemented at international level (World Triathlon) and also distributed to all National Federations for their implementation at a local level,” a World Triathlon spokesperson said.

“We have also reached out to the transgender community to receive their feedback and inputs.

“Please tell us just how determined you are to ruin women’s sports.”

World Athletics, soccer’s governing body FIFA and World Netball are reviewing their transgender inclusion policies after FINA’s verdict, the strictest by any Olympic sports body.

Rugby league banned transgender players from women’s international competition until further notice on Tuesday, while the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week tightened its eligibility rules.

LGBT rights group Athlete Ally said FINA’s new eligibility criteria [were] “discriminatory” and “harmful”, while transgender cyclist Veronica Ivy described the policy as “unscientific”. 

Well they would say that wouldn’t they.


Jun 23rd, 2022 10:09 am | By

Two different issues:

The Biden administration on Thursday proposed new rules governing how schools must respond to sex discrimination, rolling back major parts of a Trump administration policy that narrowed the scope of campus sexual misconduct investigations and cementing the rights of transgender students into law.

Sexual harassment and assault are one issue, and what “transgender” means is another. They shouldn’t be mashed together in a single sentence.

The proposal would also address discrimination under Title IX, the federal law signed 50 years ago today that prohibits the exclusion from, or denial of, educational benefits on the basis of sex in federally funded programs.

In other words, I think, the proposal would hijack Title IX’s protections for women’s rights to apply them to men who want to usurp women.

…the administration had taken the position that Title IX did not extend to gender identity.

Perhaps the one thing the administration was ever right about. “Gender identity” isn’t sex, so of course Title IX doesn’t extend to it.

“Our proposed changes would fully protect students from all forms of sex discrimination,” Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona said in remarks Thursday morning, adding that the new rule would “make it clear, those protections include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

“Discrimination” meaning what? Of course people shouldn’t be persecuted for having a “gender identity,” but that doesn’t mean their pretend “gender identity” must be treated as reality. Doctors shouldn’t be ordered to perform gynecological exams on men, and men shouldn’t elbow their way into women’s sports.

[O]ne of the major changes in the Biden rule is the inclusion of sex-based harassment to include, “stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” according to the proposed rules.

So will we be seeing women accused of “harassing” men because the women don’t agree that the men are women?

The department will issue a separate regulation on how Title IX applies to athletics, including how schools should determine a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female athletics team.

The issue has become a culture war flashpoint in the last year, as Republican-dominated legislatures in at least 18 states have introduced restrictions on transgender participation in public school sports, and at least a dozen states have passed laws with some restrictions.

For the billionth time, the issue isn’t “transgender participation,” it’s men invading women’s sports.


Jun 23rd, 2022 9:05 am | By


The US supreme court has opened the door for almost all law-abiding Americans to carry concealed and loaded handguns in public, after the conservative majority struck down a New York law that placed strict restrictions on firearms outside the home.

That’s not conservative – it’s reckless, it’s homicidal, it’s dangerous. It’s labeled “conservative” only because lefties have better sense about it than righties do.

The New York law struck down on Thursday required anyone wanting to carry a handgun in public to prove that they had a “proper cause” to do so.

The decision in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen renders the law an unconstitutional violation of the second amendment right to bear arms.

It has profound implications for the safety and conduct of up to 83 million people in New York and seven other states plus Washington DC which have similar “proper cause” laws. They include heavily populated states, such as California and New Jersey, which account for roughly three out of every four Americans.

Don’t need no proper cause. It’s an ABSOLUTE HUMAN RIGHT to be able to kill someone at any moment.

The New York case was brought to the court after two men sued the state. Under the “proper cause” law, the men could secure unlimited permission to carry concealed guns in public only if they could demonstrate a special need for self-protection.

Lawyers argued that carrying a firearm outside the home was a “fundamental constitutional right. It is not some extraordinary action that requires an extraordinary demonstration of need.”

Yes it is some extraordinary action. It makes it easy to kill people in a matter of seconds. It’s very extraordinary.

Brian Frosh, the attorney general of Maryland, said the ruling would cause “more deaths and more pain in a country already awash in gun violence”.

“If the norm is that people can carry firearms, our neighbourhoods, our streets and other public places will become more dangerous. It will make the lives of law enforcement more difficult and more perilous. The epidemic of gun violence sweeping our nation demonstrates daily the folly of introducing more guns into this boiling cauldron.”

A genuinely conservative Supreme Court would worry about that. It would worry about what this country looks like to other countries. It’s a conservative value to heed what others think of us, and take it seriously, and perhaps act accordingly. It can be an annoying conformist conservative value but it can also be a good corrective. Genuine conservatives wouldn’t want to look like bloodthirsty violent lunatics on the world stage, but that’s exactly what the US looks like to the rest of the world.

Strong contender

Jun 23rd, 2022 6:01 am | By

Verso Books joins the competition to see who can insult women the best.

About nine genders

Jun 22nd, 2022 11:36 am | By

Hmm. Nine genders? Are we drawing close to precision and clarity at last?

“About” nine. Interesting mix of precision and vagueness.

Starts here:

It was all going well at first, she says, but now there’s “the kind of debate, divisive debate that we have seen in the UK, America and Canada.” Sorry for being so divisive and all, but when people are divisiving women into subsets that include men, women can get a bit annoyed and stubborn-like.

“The state did not recognise the true people that they were living the lives of.”

Whose lives are you living the lives of? I’ve lost count of mine.

Ah no, other way around. “Gender identity” that differs from physical sex is indeed a “theory” (aka a fairy tale) as opposed to a reality. It’s a fiction, a fantasy, a fad, a mood, an emotion, a story. The emotion may be real but it doesn’t change the physical reality.

That’s so childish. Maybe you know in your heart and soul you’re a rabbit or Artemis or a planet or the cosmos or the Buddha or a field of tobacco, but even if you do, you can’t require anyone else to agree.

Step back

Jun 22nd, 2022 9:32 am | By

Where Megan Rapinoe talked all this nonsense is in an interview with Sean Gregory in TIME that starts with a discussion of Title IX.

What does Title IX mean to you?

Oh, goodness. I mean, Title IX gave me the opportunity to play soccer in college and get a scholarship. I don’t think I even knew about it until probably I got to college, or a little bit after. It wasn’t in my consciousness. That’s kind of the amazing thing about my generation is, we didn’t have to think about it. It was just there for us.

Ok stop right there. Title IX gave her those opportunities as a woman, which she wouldn’t have had without it. Athletic scholarships used to be for men, with women sweeping up a few leftover crumbs if they were lucky. That’s the wrong that Title IX rectified. Now do you see why it’s regressive (to put it mildly) to celebrate men taking over women’s sports by calling themselves trans?

Take the elite aspect out of it, how many women that have just been able to go to college and play a sport? To go to college and to get a scholarship and to not be saddled with student debt? What’s the impact of that in the workplace and thought leadership in business and, every aspect of life? Multiple generations of women, for the first time, we’re able to have these opportunities and break out of the extremely restrictive roles that we had been assigned to for so long. So the impact is immeasurable. I think not only in this country, but around the world. It was a transformational piece of legislation.

Indeed. So that’s why we don’t want men exploiting it for their own purposes.

You mentioned the issue of transgender inclusion in sports, which is such a hot subject right now, as many states have passed bills that ban or limit transgender sports participation. Where do you stand on this issue?

I’m 100% supportive of trans inclusion. People do not know very much about it. We’re missing almost everything. Frankly, I think what a lot of people know is versions of the right’s talking points because they’re very loud. They’re very consistent, and they’re relentless.

But the issue isn’t “trans inclusion.” The issue is men being “included” in women’s sports.

I would also encourage everyone out there who is afraid someone’s going to have an unfair advantage over their kid to really take a step back and think what are we actually talking about here. We’re talking about people’s lives. I’m sorry, your kid’s high school volleyball team just isn’t that important. It’s not more important than any one kid’s life.

Was Megan Rapinoe’s high school soccer team that important? Did it help her get that scholarship she mentioned? Does she wish she had been displaced by a boy who said he was a girl?

Show me the evidence that trans women are taking everyone’s scholarships, are dominating in every sport, are winning every title. I’m sorry, it’s just not happening. So we need to start from inclusion, period. And as things arise, I have confidence that we can figure it out. But we can’t start at the opposite. That is cruel. And frankly, it’s just disgusting.

That isn’t the issue. The issue is any. Why should any girl lose a scholarship to a boy because he calls himself a girl? Why should she have, for instance?

So, we need to really kind of take a step back and get a grip on what we’re really talking about here because people’s lives are at risk. Kids’ lives are at risk with the rates of suicide, the rates of depression and negative mental health and drug abuse. We’re putting everything through God forbid a trans person be successful in sports. Get a grip on reality and take a step back.

And just let some boys take girls’ opportunities and scholarships and medals and records, as long as it’s not all of them? Is that the plan?

How many steps back should women take?

Someone’s right & freedom to participate

Jun 22nd, 2022 8:58 am | By

People allow themselves to say the most bizarre nonsense on this subject.

The thing is Samantha Lewis isn’t just a random bystander (like me for example). She’s a women’s football writer. This makes her questions extremely odd – like a doctor asking “What is the point of medicine? Why do we interfere with people’s right to be sick?”

Why should success in sport trump someone’s right & freedom to participate? Because that’s how competitive sport works. You can definitely have games and matches that are just for fun, and open to everyone who wants to play, but a huge number of people who love sports love to watch and/or participate in the kind where there are winners, which entails that there are also losers. That kind of sport necessarily trumps most people’s “right” to participate, because of the win/lose dichotomy. Sports writers, surely, are aware of this, because if they weren’t, how would they have become sports writers?

Second question: Why should a medal or a record take priority over someone’s life? Er – it doesn’t. The losers aren’t executed. Players who don’t make the team aren’t executed.

But that’s silly, it can’t be what she meant. So what did she mean? I guess she meant why should a medal or a record take priority over someone’s happiness or plans or career as a star athlete. But then the answer is, again, embarrassingly obvious. Because that’s how it works. Again: you can have sports that aren’t organized that way, that are everyone playing for the fun and exercise, that don’t choose the best players and exclude the worst – but you also have the other kind, which by the way is the kind that sports writers write about.

So what is the point of all these idiotic questions? What is the point of pretending it’s unfair to exclude men from women’s sports while not pretending it’s unfair to exclude professional athletes from children’s sports? What is the point of all this elaborate dummery?


Jun 21st, 2022 4:45 pm | By

I remember when Republicans talked about law and order. Must have been a long time ago.

State election officials testified before the January 6 committee on Tuesday, recounting how Donald Trump and his allies pressured them to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election in the weeks leading up to the deadly Capitol attack.

Trump continued his efforts even after members of his own party repeatedly told him that reversing the election results would violate state laws and the US constitution, the officials testified.

As a result of Trump’s persistence, election officials and poll workers were subjected to violent, hateful and at times racist threats from the former president’s supporters.

And yet he’s still not in prison, and if he doesn’t drop dead first he probably will succeed in stealing the 2024 election and the US will plunge all the way down the slope and crash at the bottom.

Rusty Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona house, was among those testifying at the Tuesday hearing. Less than an hour before the start of the hearing, Trump released a statement mocking Bowers as a “RINO”, meaning Republican in name only, and claiming that Bowers had said the election in Arizona was rigged.

That man could get into power again.

The Tuesday hearing could bolster calls for Trump to be charged over his role in inciting the deadly January 6 insurrection. According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, 58% of Americans now believe that Trump should face criminal charges in connection to the Capitol attack.

Nail him now: it’s our only chance.

Guest post: How many future Rapinoes?

Jun 21st, 2022 11:22 am | By

Speaking of the necessity of choice between competition and inclusion –

Originally a comment by Your Name’s not Bruce? on When you operate with the value of compassion first.

If participation in sports is now to be based on “compassion,” and “inclusion,” then trans-identified prospective athletes are going to have to line up behind the millions of boys, girls, men, and women who fail to make the team of their choice. Or is their “exclusion” somehow okay? The vast majority of these “excludees” are not going to be allowed to try to game the rules by trying out teams they’re not qualified for. High-schoolers aren’t going to be permitted to sign up for primary school teams. Adults aren’t going to be allowed into children’s leagues. All for excellent reasons that everyone knows and abides by. Nobody calls that “cruel,” or “disgusting.” But somehow, girls and women are forced to give way to male players who are permitted on their teams? How many future Rapinoes are being denied spots on teams right now because of delusionally misguided notions of “inclusion?”

Many trans-supportive comments on twitter threads like this one decry the sudden “hypocritical” interest in women’s sports by those opposed to TiM “inclusion.” This is supposed to be some sort of “gotcha,” and that those supposedly being “caught” are only involved in the debate to stick it to trans identified people. Just like women who organize for the protection of their own rights and safety have no legitimate reason to do so, they are only doing so out of spiteful, malicious, genocidal, anti-trans bigotry. By this same logic, Black people organizing for their own interests don’t really have any reason to do so, they’re doing it for kicks because they just really hate White people.

Yes, that totally sounds like the right side of history to me.

I’m not into sports, but I still get to say “cheating is bad,” whether I follow sports or not. I get to say that permitting cheating, and encouraging cheating, is not good for society, even if I’m not cheated personally. Nobody gets to tell my to whom I am permitted to extend my concern. I get to feel anger and sympathy towards those who are cheated because I am human. That’s what we do. If the attention which that concern and interest shines on you does not put you in a good light, that’s on you, not me. I get to say that your hand is in the cookie jar, even if the cookies are not mine, and even if I don’t happen to like the kind of cookies you’re stealing. The important thing is the theft, not whether or not I happen to like particular sweet treats after meals. Letting you get away with it is not in my interest, or anyone else’s, because you might not limit your thieving to cookies.* Similarly, the sports cheating in question is not happening in a separate reality. The people doing the cheating and allowing it to happen live with the rest of us. How are they to be trusted outside the arena, gymnasium, or board room? Toxic dishonesty, entitlement, and impunity doesn’t wash down the drain in the locker room showers; it doesn’t get left behind under lock and key in the sporting authority’s office desk drawer. It gets carried out into the wider world. But there’s more at stake than broad, theoretical notions of ethics and morality. While the cheaters win their phony victories, women and girls suffer real harm. It is in everyone’s interest to stop that from happening, rather than celebrating and enabling it.

*Given the temperaments of many pro-TiM-inclusion commenters, it seems entirely appropriate that I pitch this argument to the level of a naughty child having to be told why stealing is bad. Mind you, they still wouldn’t get it. We’d get the usual “trans women ARE women,” which is about as cogent an argument as the schoolyard classic “I know you are, but what am I?”

Compete or include; you can’t do both

Jun 21st, 2022 11:10 am | By

About that World Athletics item – Sean Ingle yesterday:

The World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, has hailed swimming’s decision to ban transgender women from elite female competition as in “the best interests of its sport” – and hinted that track and field could soon follow suit.

If it’s in the best interests of one sport it’s surely in the best interests of all of them.

Lord Coe was in Budapest on Sunday as swimming’s governing body, Fina, voted to bar from women’s events trans athletes who have experienced any part of male puberty. Within 24 hours he announced that the World Athletics council would also be reviewing its transgender and DSD (differences in sex development) athletes policies at the end of the year.

Good. Bring on the wave.

“My responsibility is to protect the integrity of women’s sport. We take that very seriously and, if it means that we have to make adjustments to protocols going forward, we will,” Coe said. “And I’ve always made it clear: if we ever get pushed into a corner to that point where we’re making a judgment about fairness or inclusion, I will always fall down on the side of fairness.”

Which seems so obvious. Sport is inherently not about some kind of blanket inclusion, because it involves competition. Physical activities can be inclusive, but competitions can’t be.

Elite cheaters

Jun 21st, 2022 10:49 am | By

Sean Ingle notes that finally the powers that be are having to pay attention.

The biggest battles in this summer of sport are being fought over in the boardrooms and backrooms, as federations wrestle with the thorniest question of all: should transgender women be allowed to participate in female sport?

It’s only “thorny” because fools made it thorny. It wasn’t thorny before. It was settled practice: men didn’t play on women’s teams or race against women or get in the ring with women.

For years most have regarded the issue as too dangerous to touch: the sporting equivalent of playing pass the parcel with a live grenade. Now, though, they have no choice. The emergence of elite trans women, such as the weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, the swimmer Lia Thomas and the cyclist Emily Bridges, has seen to that. Decisions are having to be made. Hard choices, too.

Elite? Elite? On the contrary. The whole point is that they’re middling at their sport, and pretend to be women in order to steal wins from women. They’re not elite athletes, and they are willing to harm women who are elite athletes for their own gratification.

But the decision of both swimming and rugby league in the past 48 hours to bar trans women from international competition does not necessarily mean that the majority of sports will follow suit. World Athletics is the most likely, given Sebastian Coe’s comments on Monday that “fairness is non-negotiable” and “biology trumps identity”. But after that the situation is murky – with most sports still using some form of testosterone limits, for all their flaws, to permit trans women to compete in the female category.

That breezy “for all their flaws” is nice. Their “flaws”=lying about the advantage to men and the unfairness to women. That’s not a flaw, it’s a calculated, persisted-in, determined insult to women.

Last Friday, for instance, cycling’s governing body, the UCI, opted to ride down a different path. It, too, accepts that the science shows that trans women have an advantage. But it says some unfairness to females in sport is acceptable in exchange for being inclusive.

Not unfairness to males of course. That would never do. It’s fine to accept unfairness (and it’s more than “some”) to women, because women just don’t matter.

Cycling’s new policy says cyclists such as Bridges can compete in the female category only if they keep their testosterone below 2.5ml for 24 months. But, in a crucial and under-reported passage, it also states that fair competition is not essential. “It may not be necessary, or even possible, to eliminate all individual advantages held by a transgender,” the UCI writes in a policy document. “It is paramount, however, that all athletes competing have a chance to succeed, albeit not necessarily an equal chance and in line with the true essence of sport.”

That’s opaque and downright incoherent, but I guess it doesn’t matter as long as the men get what they want.

Understandably women’s groups are angry, regarding such an approach as unscientific and unfair.

Of course it’s unfair! Why doesn’t everyone regard it as unfair?

Watching this happen is a very embittering experience, I have to say. It really does make it all too plain that most people are happy to shrug off women and their goals and ambitions and hopes.