In a recent online article, “Boys Will Be Boys Except When They Are Girls,” Dr. Brian Joondeph addresses the unfairness of transgender women competing in female sports events. In making his case, he offers some fascinating statistics. Here are some of them:
Physical realities of strength and speed don’t come in 60 flavors. Instead, there are only two: male and female. Let’s look at a few examples — specifically, Olympic records.
For the 100-meter run, the men’s world record is 9.63 seconds, compared to the women’s record of 10.62 seconds — a full second difference, or about 10 percent. In fact, in the 2016 Summer Olympics, every man running in the three 100-meter semifinals would have broken the women’s world record. In the eight heats before the semifinals, all men except a small handful would have beaten the women’s record. What happens when a few of those men decide to transition and compete in the women’s 100-meter event? Guess who will win the medals.
The Olympic record for the marathon is 2:06 for men, 2:23 for women. For the long jump, it is 8.9 meters for men, 7.4 meters for women.
Now move from the track to the pool. The 100-meter Olympic record for freestyle is 47.05 seconds for men, 52.70 for women. The other events show a similar trend.
Sex differences played out recently at the 2017 Australasian Championships. New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard, a man competing against women, easily won a gold medal in his (women’s) weight class. His testosterone levels were below the specified threshold for the twelve months preceding the event, making a mockery of testosterone levels as an arbiter of who can compete as which sex.
Team sports show a similar trend. The U.S. women’s national soccer team is among the best in the world, having won the 2015 World Cup and multiple Olympic gold medals. They competed against an under–age 15 boys’ soccer team from Dallas — basically a team of freshman high school boys — and guess who won: the boys.
Even to the casual observer, these statistics highlight the physical differences between those with XX and XY chromosomes. These disparities account for the existence of male and female sports teams in high school, college, and beyond.
Men and women are different.
And they are different in a myriad of ways other than those found on the track and the playing fields.
We can all surely think of many such differences. Let me offer just a few examples.
Books. More women than men read fiction. In fact, women in general read more than men.
Empathy. Women win hands down. When my wife died in 2004 of a brain aneurysm, our family belonged to a large homeschooling community. I still had two children at home. The men in that community expressed their condolences, which was kind. Their wives did the same, but also showered my family with meals, offers to help with my boys, gifts of groceries and money, and notes of support.
Conversation. At parties I have either attended or hosted, the men talk real estate, business, the latest electronic gadgets, sports, and politics. The women talk children, friends, books and movies, and work.
Some people are laboring to erase as many of these differences between men and women as possible. The most irritating are those who want men to become more like women. In second place are those who want women to become more like men. Next up are parents seeking to raise gender-neutral children, putting them into gender-free bedrooms and giving them gender-neutral toys. Fourth on the list are those set on brutalizing English composition and speech in order to achieve some sort of gender-neutral language.
American author and essayist Edward Abbey wrote: “It is the difference between men and women, not the sameness, that creates the tension and the delight.” (Married five times, and involved in many other relationships, Abbey undoubtedly knew first-hand that tension as well as the accompanying delight.)
The tension, the delight, the mystery, the attractions between male and female, romance and courtship, the misunderstandings, the complementarity of various gifts physical, mental, and spiritual: I don’t know about you, but I’m raising a glass to diversity.
Vive la différence!