My VIPs for this week are a trio of female high school track and field athletes who are tired of losing competitions to biological males who want to be female. Selina Soule, Alanna Smith, and Chelsea Mitchell decided that they had lost enough competitions to transgender females and filed a federal lawsuit in February with the hope that the courts would stop the policy Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference that allows biological males to compete in girls’ sports. I applaud them for doing so.
When I graduated from high school in the mid-1960s, girls could not compete in sports outside their physical education classes. I do not know why this happened as it did, especially since my mother was the captain of the girls’ high school basketball team. What happened between the time that my mother was in high school and when I was in high school is a mystery to me. However, I know what happened between my time and the time that my daughters were in high school.
On June 23, 1972, just a few weeks after my first daughter was born, Title IX of the educational amendments of 1972 was enacted into law. Title IX ended discrimination against girls based on sex. It says: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
This means that any school from elementary to college that receive federal dollars must treat both sexes fairly and equally. This means that girls’ programs receive “equal access and quality” as boys’ programs even if the dollar amount is difference. This sometimes means that boys do not get all the sports that they want. Some schools allow girls to try out for boys’ teams, and they make the team if they are good enough. I have heard of at least one girl who was the kicker for her high school football team.
Anchorage is a hockey town, and the local school district was forced to start hockey teams for girls to satisfy Title IX requirements. There were not enough girls to form teams for all the girls, so girls from several high schools played together on a team. With a total of only six teams, the program did not qualify for a state tournament. The program was discontinued in 2013 after ten years of trying to make it work due to lack of interest. The state hoped that the recently added girls’ flag football program would satisfy Title IX requirements. Any girls who wanted to play high school hockey could try out for the boys’ team.
Title IX was put in place to protect girls and to give them a place to play and excel in sports. Any school organization that allows transgender girls – what I call want-a-be girls – to compete against biological girls is moving girls’ programs back for decades. Boys’ bodies are stronger, and their legs are longer. It is unfair to expect girls to compete against biological males who decide that they are females.