This is my perspective as a young female athlete who plays a multitude of sports including rugby, hockey, soccer, and martial arts, against both men and women: The argument that banning transgender athletes from sports protects women is quite frankly not well thought out (Feb. 16, “Biden order will undermine women’s sports”).
Many people claim the biology of sex difference points to an advantage of transgender athletes over cisgender women, often citing testosterone as a performance-enhancing drug. Let’s be clear: testosterone is a hormone that everyone has; it is not a drug. There is no literature that has conclusively proven men have advantages over women in sports. This myth is based on a hierarchy that places men at the top. It’s not biological; it’s societal.
“Transwomen’s participation in sports hurts cis women” is a myth. Early feminism paved the way for the female athletes of today, but it was not perfect. We must learn from the past mistakes of ignoring the intersection of identities and its impact on the welfare of those who do not share the same luxury of being born into today’s status quo.
Policing any woman’s body opens up the gates to gender discrimination. In short, excluding transwomen hurts all women. I encourage you to ask your daughters and your granddaughters about this issue. I feel you’ll find they don’t mind sharing space. Oppression is taught, not inherent. I am excited for the opportunities opening up for all women with Executive Order 13988.
Jessie RiberaIgnacioEditor’s note: Executive Order 13988, Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, was signed by President Joe Biden on Jan. 20.