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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Bill seeks to ensure fairness in girls’ sports

The premise is that female sports are endangered because of the new reality that females may be forced to compete against biological males who claim to be female — an unfair biological advantage.

A House bill introduced by Rep. Christy Stutzman, R-49 (wife of former 3rd District Congressman Marlin Stutzman), would prohibit any biological boy who says he is a girl from competing in sports against a girl in the public schools.

HB 1088, the Fair Play for Female Sports Act, is reportedly being held up for a committee assignment. It comes on the heels of a recent study that matches seemingly obvious truths about the common advantages of biological males in sports.

A December story by the Alliance Defending Freedom reported that a study by three New Zealand scholars published in the Journal of Medical Ethics concludes biological males possess physiological, and therefore performance, advantages over biological females in sports.

The story says the study’s authors “address the fairness of International Olympic Committee guidelines, which allow men who identify as women to compete in women’s sports if they have a certain level of testosterone.”

According to the study, “the normal healthy female testosterone range is 0-1.7 nmol/L.” (nmo/L stands for nanamoles per liter.) The IOC allows men to compete as women if their testosterone is “held below 10 nmol/L.”

What that means is that those male athletes are permitted to have a testosterone level nearly six times higher than that of a normal healthy female.

Besides the obvious unfairness of this trend, according to an article by the Indiana Family Institute, such a policy “also creates additional barriers for women who want to win a championship, use athletics to earn a scholarship to college or compete on the world stage.”

The Journal of Medical Ethics essay, “Transwomen in elite sport: scientific and ethical considerations,” says testosterone is used as the measure of maleness because it affects a range of factors, including body fat, muscle mass, bone strength and speed.

“Together,” the authors wrote, “the scientific data point to testosterone providing an all-purpose benefit across a range of body systems that contribute to athletic performance for almost all sports.”

The authors went on to write, “after assessing the scientific and normative arguments, we conclude that the IOC guidelines are poorly drawn and do not adequately address the fairness principle in elite sport.”

Bottom line: the three scholars say the trendy issue of inclusion does not trump the importance of fairness for female athletes.

But the study won’t mollify the critics. Gender identity ideology denies basic biological realities and common sense.

The Alliance Defending Freedom points out that the American Civil Liberties Union insists there is no research to support the conclusion that men who identify as women competing in women’s sports “maintain a competitive advantage.”

The ACLU tweeted on International Men’s Day Nov. 19: “There’s no one way to be a man. Men who get their periods are men. Men who get pregnant and give birth are men.”

Meanwhile, an article on lgbtqnation.com states, “While the LGBTQ and international sports communities are still learning more about the science behind trans competitors, bills like Stutzman’s treat trans female athletes like unstoppable competitors when in reality trans athletes often lose, just like their cis counterparts.” (Cis, or cisgender, is a term for those whose gender identity matches the sex they were born with.)

The article goes on to quote Stutzman’s Facebook post about her bill in which she wrote, “Support the cause of protecting the integrity of female sports . . . We must protect the opportunities and scholarships of our hardworking female athletes in junior high and high school!”

In that post, Stutzman included a link to the article by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which lgbtqnation.com says has been designated by the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

But we maintain science and common sense outweigh the nonsense that disregards the biological differences between men and women. And we think Stutzman’s bill, whether it makes any progress in the Indiana Legislature or not, is merely an attempt to protect the existence of female-only sports and the opportunities for female athletes in junior high and high school in Indiana.