Why Equal Rights in Sports is Sexist

By Jonathon Blevins

Everyone champions women who make headway in sports dominated by men. Danica Patrik, Michelle Wie, and this history of girls playing football are examples of female trend setters in the world of co-ed sports.

Enter Keeling Pilaro. He is a 13 yr old MALE who plays FEMALE field hockey. Pilaro has become the “star player” of high school team. Unfortunately, in Suffolk County, NY, the star player is awarded by being removed from the team.

The legal question is whether the removal of the male student by Southampton High School is a violation of Title IX.

More poignantly, the social question is whether anyone will champion a male’s wish to play a female sport.

In a society that attempts to be politically correct in every aspect of life and attempts to negate our differences, the latter question is a tough pill. Generally, genetics make male bigger, stronger and faster than females. Our species evolved with a physically strong male gender (whether you like it or not). Thus, it is inevitable that boys would dominate at female sports. This, of course, is the reason why male and female athletes traditionally compete against those of the same gender.

In this case, it does not appear that Pilaro has a distinct advantage over his female teammates or competitors. But, a female coach of a competing high school has a problem with Pilaro’s participation: :

“It’s not that I’m trying to discourage his passion of the game,” she said. “But  just because he’s not much taller or heavier than his competition, doesn’t mean  he doesn’t have a significant strength advantage over the girls.”

Title IX was designed to attempt to make female sports as available as male sports. However, the reality of Title IX is that is created gaps in available sports for both genders. Females should be allowed to compete in male sports, if they wish. The mandatory corollary to that rule is that males should be allowed to compete against females, if they wish. To allow one rule and not the other is discriminatory.

Dana Edell, the executive director of SPARK movement, a girls activist  organization opined:

“If [Pilaro’s] not allowed to try out for the team, that opens up the door for all  kinds of discrimination.”

It remains to be seen whether any civil rights groups or Title IX champions will advocate for Pilaro. If they choose to ignore this issue, it is a disservice to their cause. Further as Edell stated this would open up possible discrimination for all sports and genders.

What would be the reaction if a transgender pre-operative male wanted to play female sports?

8 Responses to Why Equal Rights in Sports is Sexist

  1. CPlatt says:

    The obvious answer is to divide all sports into divisions by body weight. Like boxing. Then gender would become (mostly) irrelevant.

    • Z. says:

      Sounds like a perfect solution – most 225 pound women are approximately as fast and strong as I am now, as were 175 pound girls when I was in high school, or 160 pounders when I was in middle school…

      Your idea makes sense for prepubescent kids, but the differences between male and female physiology make men generally faster, stronger, and better at sports than women. This advantage is so obvious to every adult human that y’all pretty much just sound like a bunch of sore loser bench warmers who resent the fact that there are so many women out there who can outperform you physically. I don’t see why else you, or the author of this post, would set up such a stupid strawman argument instead of making a substantive critique of Title IX.

      • CPlatt says:

        Well I have no doubt there is some physiological way to select women who are more-or-less as strong as men. Body-mass index or whatever. Personally I dislike all team sports but since they aren’t going to go away, and since the desire for “fairness” has been added to the chimera of “equality,” why not roll with it and do the job right, by developing a science-based metric? It could even include a fudge factor for games such as basketball where height provides a huge advantage.

      • blevinsj says:

        This is a substantive critique of Title IX. The legal arguments are easy. The social arguments are tough. The fallout of Title IX is explained above.

        I, generally, agree that athletes should compete against the same gender. However, I also agree that if you want to play with the opposite gender then that is your right.

        The point is to demonstrate that the issue is not, solely, an issue that involved female athletes. Discrimination and Title IX affect both genders.

        The point is whether anyone will champion a male that wants to play women sports. If organizations are actually devoted to eliminating discrimination then they must champion a boys right to play with girls.

  2. notthatGreg says:

    In response to your question regarding transgender males, I remember and article a few years ago in Runner’s World about a pre-operative transgender male competing as a woman in races (to the disapproval of the other women). After crunching some of the numbers from the races pre-drug therapy and post-therapy, it was pretty obvious that the pre-op drug regime was reducing the runner’s testosterone levels as well as her maximum oxygen consumption and speed. Even though the article’s subject was still technically male, he was far enough into the transgender process that most of the gender-based advantages had been wiped out.

  3. alpha4centauri says:

    The other issue is whether separate sports opportunities for males and females are at least approximately equal. In some popular spectator sports, like football and basketball, money has made college athletics the tail wagging the dog. Without some rule providing equal access, women athletes would normally be shut out of scholarship opportunities.

    In the case of field hockey, there may not be a boys’ team or there may be no league to play in. It would then be appropriate to let the few interested boys play on girls’ teams until there is enough interest to start a boys’ league.

    • blevinsj says:

      Interest alone will not provide the opportunity this athlete seeks. Title IX, generally, deals with funding. I suspect his high school has the tradition big 3 sports for male students (basketball, baseball and football). Thus, most the male sport funding is already tied to those sports. Also, the quota for male participation is probably close to the maximum with those sports compared to the female sports.

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