Discover more from PABLO TORRE FINDS OUT
A Reasonable Solution to the Transgender Athlete Debate
EPISODE 20: How a thing called "Alliance Defending Freedom" won the political messaging war over gender. And what a nuanced, modest proposal for hormone testing would be
I should start by saying that I find our country’s political messaging war over gender, at this point, to be endlessly stupid.
Nobody should want to control what another person’s gender is, this much. Male, female, trans man, trans woman, intersex, nonbinary, whatever: how a person expresses themselves — how they self-identify — is as good a textbook definition of personal freedom as you’ll find.
Now, you may recall that last month, in Episode 7 of PTFO, we put into perspective the vanishingly small number of trans female athletes “invading” women’s sports. You met Ember Zelch: an incredibly charismatic but deeply mediocre backup softball catcher who happened to be the one and only trans girl playing varsity sports in the entire state of Ohio, back when Ohio tried its first wave of anti-trans bills.
UPDATE: Ember has still never hit a home run. (Please watch that episode. It’s good.)
Today, though, I want to return to an outwardly tricky question, which our treatment of Ember’s story admittedly did not address:
How are we supposed to deal with the fact that some trans women, like Lia Thomas, the Penn swimmer, actually are elite athletes? And actually are winning trophies? Is there a reasonable policy that could control who gets to play which sport?
Today, I promise that we’ll build to one solution, with Katie Barnes, author of the excellent new book FAIR PLAY: HOW SPORTS SHAPE THE GENDER DEBATES.
But first I really needed to understand how The Left wound up losing so bad. Why it’s failing to persuade people in this stupid political messaging war. And why it doesn’t have control of the national conversation around gender — one of our most basic freedoms — in the first place.