“It just isn’t fair”
Caitlyn Jenner speaks out for the integrity of girls sports
In a sleek ad, two magazine covers sit side by side. One features Bruce Jenner, arms raised in victory after he set the 1976 Olympic world record for the men’s decathlon. Another features Jenner in 2016 as Caitlyn, sporting long hair, lipstick, and a jumpsuit.
The May 4 ad was part of the announcement that Jenner is running as a Republican candidate in California’s upcoming gubernatorial recall election. It’s also a challenge to the transgender movement, which insists on never using a person’s name or pronouns from before he or she began identifying as the opposite sex. But Jenner’s campaign acknowledged the man behind the candidate’s athletic accomplishments.
In recent days, Jenner, perhaps the most famous and prominent transgender individual, has issued another challenge—by speaking forthrightly about the role biological sex plays in athletic competition.
“I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school,” Jenner said during a recent coffee run. “It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” On Wednesday, Jenner told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “I think we have to … make sure that the integrity of girls’ sports is there. I think that is extremely important.”
Jenner, a father of six, acknowledged in 2015 a yearslong struggle with gender identity and announced a new female name and look. “Call me Caitlyn,” a cover spread of Vanity Fair read, featuring a scantily clad Jenner. That same year, Glamour magazine named Jenner its “Woman of the Year.”
Until recently, the mainstream media and transgender proponents have lavished praise on Jenner.
Beth Stelzer of Save Women’s Sports said Jenner’s support could help their cause—and that it should come as no surprise. “Jenner has seen the difference in competition between the two sexes,” Stelzer said. “Now all of the sudden, by speaking out, Jenner is not a good enough transgender person anymore. … It shows the complete absurdity of it all.”
More than 30 states have been debating legislation to protect fairness in women’s sports and prevent boys who identify as girls from taking away titles, championships, and scholarship opportunities. So far, six states have passed laws protecting girls’ and women’s sports. Governors in two others—North and South Dakota—issued executive orders on the issue.
Kara Dansky, an attorney and women’s rights activist, said the group of people rallying to support girls’ and women’s sports is hardly monolithic. She noted the issue has attracted support from radical feminists, gay rights activists such as Jenner, and people in both the Democratic and Republican parties. Many are often afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation, she said.
“It only helps the gender identity movement to paint the issue simply as right-wing bigotry. … That’s far from true,” said Dansky, who serves on the steering committee for the U.S. chapter of the Women’s Human Rights Campaign.
As for Jenner, the interview with Hannity suggests the GOP candidate will speak more about this issue: “I just said biological boys in sports—there’s more to it than that. I think in the future I will explain more of that.”
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