Georgetown prof: Judgments of gender identities are 'not biology'
Rather, he says, they are "matters of culture and politics."
A Georgetown University professor says that judgments about one's gender identity are "not biology."
Georgetown University law professor Gregg Bloche says the acceptance of transgender female athletes competing against biological female athletes and vice versa are "matters of culture and politics, not biology."
In an op-ed published Monday by The Hill, Bloche offers a rebuttal to a Tennessee state lawmaker's bill that would require athletes to compete against athletes of whichever gender they were assigned at birth. If passed, the bill would require schools that violate the law to pay fines of up to $10,000, according to WCTV-TV.
But Bloche argues the differences inherent in transgender females playing against biological females, for examples, are no different than other differences among athletes that have long been prevalent in sports.
"Myriad influences — environmental, genetic, and mixtures of both — produce differences in athletic capability and performance. Without these differences, sports would be insufferably dull. Every competition would yield a tie — or, worse, a winner decided by dumb luck," Bloche writes.
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"So we allow some differences in capability to affect sports outcomes without calling out those with an edge as cheaters. Indeed, we admire many of these advantages, whether we believe they’re bestowed by God or good fortune: we praise competitors for their strength, speed, endurance, agility, toughness, discipline, resolve, and more," he adds, further suggesting that "social norms" help society determine what's fair and what isn't.
"So cultural change off-the-field has no small impact on understandings of athletic fairness. Movement toward gender equity is driving the dissolution of rules differences between men’s and women’s competitions. And growing acceptance of gender identity as subjectively-experienced, not anatomic, is driving change in understandings of which advantages are and aren’t fair when women and men compete separately," Bloche asserts.
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The Georgetown professor then advocates for society to "push back" against society "misusing 'science'" to label biologically male athletes competing against biologically female athletes as "'cheating or otherwise unfair."
"More broadly, we should recognize that in sports, as in the rest of life, we all have competitive edges and weaknesses — and that judgments about which are and aren’t fair are matters of culture and politics, not biology," Bloche concludes.
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