Raina Fisher

Through the Looking Glass

Title IX is a bullhorn for women and girls who strive for a voice in sports. It shouts for her to walk up to the mound, wind the first pitch, catch a fastball in her mitt; or step to the plate, swing the bat, and hit a home run. She, too, can savor the swoosh of the net as she dunks a basket in the hoop. She finds her niche in her feet as she feels the heat rise from the asphalt through the sole of her shoe. Flying like the wind down the stretch, she’s in the zone, takes a leap, and vaults the last hurdle. She just set a new world record. The elation sweeps through her core, drowning out the roar of the crowd; this is the moment she beats her alltime best score. The blades of her skates slice the ice as she whips down the rink and passes the puck to her mate. With seconds to go, she raises her stick and slaps it hard; the buzzer sounds — she makes the goal. Or she might be the goalie to block the score and win the game — a famed foe for her skill as keeper of the gate, she won’t ever grant passage to the vulcanized disc. Girls watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in awe of Chloe Kim, a snowboarder who at 17 makes history as the youngest woman to win the gold for the halfpipe. The dawn of a new age in Artificial Intelligence is upon us. Androids have come eerily far as engineers assemble them to resemble man more than machine. Ponder a future of hybrid humans and robot rights. Flesh and blood legs may well outpace high-tech robotic limbs. Yet, the reverse could be the case. But that’s neither here nor there; the root is we rely on a fair field for all to flourish. When a Special Olympic sprinter takes her mark and the crack of the gun fires, there isn’t an Olympic runner who will shoot off like a rocket in the lane next to her as she zips down the track. Our little girls grow up to believe what we tell them; if he can do it, then she can do it, too. All the while, there is veracity to this. We wouldn’t tape her knuckles and stick her in a ring with him or start the stopwatch to count the seconds it’ll take for her to hit the ground. She may learn to bob and weave. You might teach her how to float like a butterfly. But he’ll be the one to sting like a bee. To doubt if he can clean her clock and knock her out in the first round is to live in the land of make-believe. Writ large, biology is of prime import in the arena of sports. Case in point, when pit to run against Team USA female Olympic sprinter, Allyson Felix, who holds the world record, 275 high school boys beat her lifetime best time (Davis, 2020). On one hand is the view that a boy who can’t compete with his own gender is able to waltz on the track to quash her chance to advance or earn a scholarship. The stakes are high for all races in the competitive world of sports. For some, it’s a ticket out of poverty. And though a college scout will knock on the door to give both genders a shot, bear no illusions, when it comes to a draft pick for the NHL or NFL, it’s a numbers game from the word go which leans heavily in favor of her male counterpart. It begs the question: Are athletic boards bound to modify program parameters for males who identify as female? Transgender students do merit equal rights. Yet, in the same vein, it brings to the fore how it’s fair to infringe on the civil liberties of others. Can they shine a spotlight on their fight while not shoving girls off the track? A flick of the wrist and stroke of a pen may carve out a President Joe Biden win for them. While the flip side of the coin is that in doing so, he will set girls back decades. He’ll thereby nullify the strides and make void the gains which women made in sports. That’s 50 years of progress down the drain (Waggoner, 2020). A verdict handed down by the highest court in sports may arch to move the needle for athletes who identify as female. The ruling finds it unfair to compete with a biological girl who naturally produces an excess of testosterone. To qualify at the Olympic level, the cutoff is 5 nanomoles per liter of blood. The range for an elite athlete won’t crest at one-fourth of this, while men can rise hundreds of times higher than her. The law forces Olympians like Caster Semenya to swallow medication — all for the sake of equity (Dunbar, 2019). As a planet of pill-poppers, let’s be gallant to our species and kick the habit. Suffice to say, we should condemn those who’d pass this neurosis on to our youth. Hold the coaches who condone it culpable. Place the blame on the pernicious quacks at Planned Parenthood now trying to switch gears to cash in on boy and girl parts in lieu of baby parts. Transgender hormone therapy is lucrative. It’s like growing a forest of money trees to harvest yearround. When the whirlwind of lawsuits hit, it’ll wipe out the crop, and the full weight of the law will crush them. This is as it should when an adult is so brazen as to dole that brand of drug out to a girl who’s in need of time to develop or one that’d feed them to a boy who might still have a growth spurt. Should we institute laws that evolve to reflect science? Is biology pliable and fluid, or fixed and static? Can we refute a strand of DNA under a microscope? The XY girls born with androgen sensitivity syndrome or XX boys throw all we think we know out the window. We seal their fate in a box and stick a blue bow on top or wrap it in a pink ribbon at a gender reveal. We greet a stranger on the street as sir or ma’am with little to go on — most of the time. It’s evident when we glance in the mirror how to distinguish man from woman — for most of us. Some can put an X next to M or F and not think twice. We take for granted what others struggle in a lifelong battle to grasp. The parents with a daughter pops to mind, since I’m one of them. There is no way a mom or a dad is going to think it’s OK for a boy to share a locker room with their girl, let alone for him to rival her. It may be time to check on school choice. Educational institutions that receive federal funds must adhere to Title IX regulations. The unbridled prattle of the press just hammers on the most popular aspect that falls under this umbrella, to provide the underserved gender an equal opportunity in sports. Yet this is just a sliver of the picture. They leave the part where it protects students from sexual assault and harassment on campus off the scale. The major mass media exploit what we can’t change to polarize and isolate us. This stirs strife, which at the end of the day is their bread and butter. RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is rainafisher@hotmail.com.

Load comments