The Nation is a far-left, “progressive” opinion journal with a long history, and when you see an article from The Nation, you already know: it’s going to be almost Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crazy:
Almost no other sport is as hostile to trans athletes—and that’s because its culture created the perfect conditions for transphobia to take root.
By Frankie de la Cretaz | Friday, May 12, 2023 | 5:00 AM EDT
When Lia Thomas first entered the women’s NCAA swimming scene in 2021, her presence was immediately felt. National media outlets became obsessed with her. She got the kind of attention rarely given to swimming athletes outside of the Olympics.
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Thomas was good, but she wasn’t the next Simone Biles of her field. So what explained such a frenzy? Simple: Thomas was a transgender woman having success in the women’s division.
Will Thomas, who competed all through high school and his first three years at the University of Pennsylvania, as the 6’3″ tall male he was, did not have much success in the men’s division. He won a couple of events, but was ranked 554th in the nation, 200 meter freestyle, all divisions, 65th in the 500 freestyle and 32nd in the 1650 freestyle.
Yet, when he decided that he was really a woman, which coincided with the shutdowns due to the COVID-19 panicdemic, he had a full season off before joining Penn’s women’s swim team and calling himself “Lia.” Mr Thomas did more than just “hav(e) success in the women’s division”; he dominated.
From December 7, 2021, to February 22, 2022, CNN spent nearly 15 minutes criticizing Thomas’s participation in the women’s division but less than two minutes discussing the dozens of anti-trans sports bills being introduced across the country. Meanwhile, from December 3, 2021, through January 12, 2022, Fox News aired 32 segments that attacked Thomas, according to Media Matters for America. That pace didn’t slow down for months. “That level of coverage of women’s swimming, specifically, has not come close to being matched in the year after the end of [Thomas’s] swimming career,” says Ari Drennen, the LGBTQ program director at Media Matters. “They like to say that this is coming from a place of caring about women’s sports, but it’s hard not to notice that they don’t really cover women’s sports unless trans women are competing in them.”
Well, one thing is certainly true: Mr Thomas did generate far more coverage competing on the women’s team as a woman than was common. But let’s tell the truth here: men’s swimming races don’t generate that much coverage, either.
Women’s sports? Yeah, there’s coverage on ESPN and its related networks . . . of figure skating, volleyball (especially beach volleyball), and gymnastics, sports where we get to see mostly white women in top shape in skimpy outfits. There is some coverage of women’s basketball, which features mostly black women in top shape, though the uniforms are not as skimpy or tight-fitting.
But it’s also true that Mr Thomas’ participation drove the coverage of women’s swimming, because he was a fully-developed man male beating up on girls beating women in sports.
So, who is Frankie de la Cretaz, the author of The Nation article? Her biography page on the Hatchette Book Group lists her as Frankie, but the underlying url shows that, at some point, she was calling herself Britni. I found nothing which indicates that she is a transgender woman, but her biographies, through several sources, including Twitter and The Nation, all use “they/their/them” pronouns. Her only two articles listed in her The Nation biography are on transgender issues. She is, to put it plainly, a special pleader. As my website, The First Street Journal, does not go along with the pronoun silliness, I shall refer to her using the feminine forms, though I am not certain that such are correct.
The intensity of the critical media coverage helped fuel an equally intense backlash against Thomas. Sixteen of her University of Pennsylvania teammates signed a letter midway through the season saying that she had an unfair advantage. That letter was organized by former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who, along with fellow Olympic swimmer Donna de Varona, is a founding member of the Women’s Sport Policy Working Group, which has been leading the movement to ban trans women and girls from competing in the women’s division in sports across the board. (The Human Rights Campaign has called the WSPWG “a hate group.”) And World Aquatics, the international federation that governs the sport of swimming, released a new transgender participation policy in July 2022 that essentially bans trans women from competing by creating incredibly restrictive requirements for their inclusion. (As I have written previously, there is no real evidence that trans athletes have an inherent advantage over their cisgender counterparts.)
This is utter rubbish. Mr Thomas certainly had an inherent advantage over the real women against whom he competed. He was bigger, taller, stronger, and had more endurance than the women against whom he was racing. We have previously noted his times in the Zippy Invitational.
I have noted Mr Thomas and his swimming records, competing against biological women, proving that “trans women” are very different from real women. On Sunday, December 5, 2021, Mr Thomas, won the 1,650 yard freestyle with a time of 15:59:71; the second-place finisher was his teammate Anna Sofia Kalandaze, who touched at 16:37:44 in the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron, Ohio. The difference between Mr Thomas’ and Miss Kalandaze’s times is 37.73 seconds, nearly the length of the pool.
Competitive swimming at the collegiate level involves races which are often won by fractions of a second. A victory of 37.73 seconds is extraordinary.
In the 500-yard freestyle final, Mr Thomas again defeated his teammate, Miss Kalandaze, who finished second, 4:34.06 to 4:48.99, a 14.93 second margin; Miss Kalandaze defeated the seventh-place finisher by 7.42 seconds, just half of the time she was behind Mr Thomas.
Mr Thomas time would have finished 15th in the men’s final, ahead of ten other male swimmers. The last place male swimmer in the 500 yard freestyle, Luke Scoboria of Bloomsburg University, finished at 4:42.78, 7.21 seconds ahead of Miss Kalandaze’s second-place time. His year of taking testosterone suppressants — Mr Thomas had not undergone ‘sex reassignment surgery’ by the time of the NCAA championships — have obviously not done what the NCAA believe it would. Mr Thomas ranking in the 500 freestyle, 65th, went to number one in the women’s category.
When it came to the NCAA championships, Mr Thomas went ahead and won one title, and then, apparently, backed off in his other races, so as not to increase the political backlash. No, I can’t prove that’s what he did, but it seems pretty blatantly obvious. Riley Gaines Barker, who tied for fifth with Mr Thomas in the 200-yard NCAA women’s championships, and was one of the few who had the ovaries to speak out, reported that Mr Thomas was an intact male in the women’s locker room at those championships.
Human beings have known about sex, and the differences between males and females for as long as we have any evidence of human social structure and thinking. Every bird, every reptile, and every mammal can tell the difference between males and females of their own species, and, from my anecdotal observations, it appears that dogs and cats can tell human males and females apart.
The ‘transgender’ advocates have been mounting a full-court press on this stuff. In just Friday’s Philadelphia Inquirer’s website home page are the stories Trans and queer-led groups are protesting the Marriott for hosting Moms for Liberty conference this summer, The Pennridge board has passed a bathroom policy that advocates say discriminates against transgender students, and Central Bucks orders removal of ‘Gender Queer,’ ‘This Book is Gay’ from school library shelves. As a cycling fan, my feed has Cycling race director agonizes over UCI’s transgender participation policy: ‘This could kill the sport’, and Cycling team parts ways with Olympian Inga Thompson after call to protest UCI’s transgender athlete policy.
Miss de la Cretaz’s article went a lot longer than I have quoted, but most of the remainder of it isn’t some sort of pseudo-scientific claim that there are no real advantages in sports to males claiming to be female over real women, but political arguments, that swimming has been an almost exclusively white sport, and that opposition to Mr Thomas’ claim that he’s a real woman is actually white supremacy.
Mr Thomas is white. And several of the women on Penn’s women’s swim team are Asian rather than white. But no, I don’t expect much in the way of rationality from someone like Miss de la Cretaz.
In the end, it boils down to one simple question: can people actually change their sex? The notion that sex is somehow “assigned” at birth is silly; sex is recognized at birth, but the actual determination of sex occurs at conception, by whether the sperm cell fertilizing the egg carries the X or the Y chromosome. This has been known scientifically for a hundred years now.
We know of no process by which a person whose body was developed with XY chromosomes can be transitioned into someone having XX chromosomes, or vice versa. Some with ‘gender dysphoria’ want to allow children to take puberty blockers, to prevent them from developing into adult males when they believe they are girls, or adult females if they think that they are really boys. But that doesn’t transform them into the opposite sex; it simply leaves them as underdeveloped as children.
Someone as focused on ‘transgender’ issues as Miss de la Cretaz cannot possibly have missed the horror stories of Jaron Bloshinsky, more commonly known by the fake name Jazz Jennings, and his attempts to surgically transition in adulthood after being on puberty blockers since he was young. The dedicated author cannot possibly be unaware that medical and surgical treatments do not really turn male bodies into female ones, or female bodies into male ones, but, at best, a simulacrum of what the victims want to be.
I can understand that the ‘transgendered,’ the delusional people who really, really, really believe that they were born into the wrong body — and hey, I think that I should have been born into Bo Jackson’s body! — believe that there is some way, perhaps just over the horizon, but close and eventually attainable in which they can really become the members of the sex that they want to be, but the percentage of people really suffering from gender dysphoria is very, very low. What I don’t understand is the number of normal people who support this silliness.
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