Two interesting bits in sports news last week, one involving the National Football League, the other the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23.
The juxtaposition of these stories is especially noteworthy because one involves a long-repressed truth while the other promotes a burgeoning mistruth. Let’s start with the easy one.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib, 28, became the first active NFL player to come out as homosexual. "I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," he said in an Instagram video. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest."
Well done, I’d say. And anyone who doesn’t like it can take it up with Nassib, who’s 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds.
The second story, involving New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, is not so easy. Hubbard, 43, will be the first transgender athlete to compete in an Olympic Games, as far as we know. A biological male, Hubbard will be competing as a woman.
To the woke world, each of these developments is supposed to represent human progress. If one doesn’t see it that way, then one is a hater. We’re supposed to accept people for who they are, and who they say they are. But those are two distinct things.
Nassib is gay. Presumably he was born that way, just as he was born with extraordinary athletic potential. Hubbard, for just as powerful biological reasons perhaps — the jury is still out on this — is compelled to identify as a woman. But no matter how much Hubbard is a woman in her mind and soul, and even to others, she will never be biologically female. No testosterone blocker, estrogen supplement or political alchemy can change that. (Women competing in Olympic events must have testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per liter, but there's no rule about bone and muscle mass accumulated at younger ages by biologically born males.)
This shouldn’t matter in most areas of life, but in sports it matters a great deal because — news flash — biological males are physically stronger on average than biological females, so it’s unfair to expect the latter to have to compete against the former. This seems so patently obvious, but not, evidently, to a hyper-politicized International Olympic Committee.
It’s uncomfortable to talk about this topic, much less write about it, because one doesn’t want to be cruel to those with gender dysphoria or face the wrath of the cancel-culture crowd. But one needs to be honest where one sees harm being done, and the IOC’s decision will do harm to women and girls going forward.
Hubbard, a gifted athlete, is being heralded as a first, naturally suggesting that other biological males will follow in her footsteps in women’s sports. It’s already begun in some high schools and colleges, and the Olympics will only spur more of it. In every case, female athletes will lose out.
One can’t help thinking that LGBTQ advocates are making a terrible mistake here. By insisting on something that objectively isn’t true — that biological males can become fully female — they are straining the credibility they’ve worked so hard to achieve in other areas.
They're also pitting their cause against a powerful feminist movement. I’d rather face off against Nassib.
Opinions expressed by William F. B. O’Reilly, a consultant to Republicans, are his own.