Valley News Forum for March 18, 2023: Torn on trans athletes

Published: 03-20-2023 4:17 PM

Torn on trans athletes

I’ll likely get in trouble for this, and I may inadvertently use incorrect pronouns and terms, for which I apologize; no offense is intended. Regarding Mid Vermont Christian School’s decision to not play sports against a team having a transgender player, I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, if Mid Vermont’s issue is solely based on religious philosophy and against the player being transgender, then I feel that they deserve to be censured. The player should be respected for who she is, not chastised and forced to go through life pretending to be someone she’s not. What does Mid Vermont’s philosophy say about tolerance and understanding?

On the other hand, if the transgender youth has the skeletal and muscular development of a young man, how is it fair to ask the school’s young women to compete against her? I feel they could be right to fear being overpowered and possibly injured. I can remember international women athletes not wanting to compete against Russian women, who were believed to have used hormones to develop the builds of adult men, and routinely outperformed their competitors.

So what answer is fair to all? My feeling is that it has to be based on the physical development of the youth. If she has the development of a young male, maybe she should play on the boys team. I’ve seen and heard many reports about girls who played on boys teams because they felt more suited there. It didn’t make them less female, just that it was a better fit for them.

Stephen Raymond


Mid Vermont Christian stood up for the girls

Recently Mid Vermont Christian School, made a decision to forfeit a playoff game, against another school’s “girls” basketball team, because the other team had a “biological male,” playing on the team. I applaud the decision, and realize how much it had to break the hearts of the girls on the team, after all the hard work they put in, to get their team into the playoffs. I’m sure many parents, coaches and educators were saddened, and some upset, with this decision.

But in this courageous decision, someone actually stood up for the girls, pointing out how in general, “biological males,” are stronger, have larger lung capacity, body mass, etc., compared with “biological females.” What ever happened to the women’s rights groups, who fought valiantly for women’s rights in athletics, gained eventually, by Title IX? Born as “biological males,” this minority is being supported in their efforts to play all girls/women’s sports, but I see no organization supporting the “rights” of girls/women, to have a “level playing field,” to compete against other girls/women.

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The “Vermont Principals’ Association” (VPA) has now suspended MVCS from further competition, stating they violated two of the VPA’s Policies: 1) A commitment to racial, “gender-fair” and disability awareness. 2) Gender identity. The VPA should be ashamed of itself, backing the minority, “biological males” (who do have boys teams in every sport they could compete on), instead of girls and women, especially this month, being “Women’s History Month.”

In recent weeks, the Valley News is flush with stories of the ever-increasing feats of Mikaela Shiffrin, and her wonderful career, as the “best women skier,” of all time. I imagine many young girls look up to such women, and dream of one day, achieving such accolades. But Mikaela Shiffrin wasn’t racing against “biological males,” in her races. She wouldn’t have won all those races, if she had been. Today, I can see young girls backing away from athletics, knowing they have to compete against a male. This isn’t fair to the women in sports.

John Nelson


Change happens

Things change — as do expectations. Nature itself mutates for reasons we do not fully understand. The infinitely expanding universe — with its light and dark energy, matter and antimatter, its gravitational and anti-gravitational forces — eludes comprehension. What we take to be the case often is not.

Many years ago in the apartment below us lived two young girls, one delicately feminine, the other a tomboy who could throw a baseball with genuine heat — thereby provoking jealousy in the neighborhood boys. Time passed. When they entered their teens, I was struck by the emerging attractiveness of the femme delicate: “She is going to get a lot of attention in high school,” I thought. It was clear she was flirting with boys. Her sister, in the meantime, continued her rough and tumble ways.

But three years later, this dainty young girl (whom I shall call “Jenny”) was a maiden no more. She now presented as “John” — a boy attracted to females. Something had happened. But what? She hadn’t suffered trauma; she hadn’t been seduced by a cadre of bi or trans youths; she hadn’t been led astray by a library book. It appears that, quite unpredictably, she was impacted by testosterone, not estrogen, when the adolescent release of hormones occurred. Her body remained that of a female; but her mind was now that of a male. It should come as no surprise that to avoid a somewhat schizophrenic future, John chose to undergo surgical alteration upon reaching adulthood.

The takeaway is that coming to identify with a gender that is inconsistent with the physical markers one acquires in the womb is not a matter of choice. It is a mutation, a biological process with psychological consequences. Indeed, in many cases this brain alteration occurs during gestation, so the person impacted exhibits alt symptoms (little boys playing with dolls, etc.) much earlier in life. The trans person no more chooses his/her identity than an autistic or mentally disabled person opts for theirs. It is not, the assertions of some politicians notwithstanding, a moral dilemma.

Christopher L. Chase


NH voting bill is legislation in search of a problem

I’d like to raise awareness about the derangement proposed to our voting process by HB 460, sponsored by New Hampshire Reps. Bob Lynn and Daniel Popovici-Muller. This bill would eliminate a voter’s ability to vote in a number of scenarios if that person did not provide, on the spot, documentation of identity, age, citizenship and domicile.

Currently, in this scenario, a person can sign an affidavit attesting to their right to vote. This is a legally binding document with serious consequences. But HB 460 would eliminate the affidavit option, resulting in loss of a most precious right in our democracy to someone who, for instance, didn’t have all the above documentation and had not updated an address, or who had been purged from the voter list for not voting in recent years. Did you know that in New Hampshire, your name can be removed from the voter list if you have not voted in the last four years?

The claim by proponents of HB 460 is that this will reduce fraudulent voting. But we don’t have a problem with this in New Hampshire. Our governor, our Secretary of State (both current and former), local election officials and our state’s Voter Confidence Committee agree on this point. The bill is legislation in search of a problem, indeed. The hardest-hit by HB 460 would be lower- and middle-income working class voters, younger voters, new Americans, houseless individuals and seniors.

Please contact your representative(s) and encourage them to vote this down so that all New Hampshire citizens can continue to exercise their right to vote.

Leslie S. MacGregor


Stop the Arctic oil drilling project

According to hundreds of environmental organizations’ research regarding the Arctic’s Willow oil drilling project, recently approved by the Biden administration, 278 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be released over the project’s 30-year lifetime. Such an action is reversing the vital progress we have been making toward ending fossil-fuel reliance. The Biden administration’s approval of this project is contrary to their own stated climate goals — and will absolutely continue to increase the climate catastrophe we are beginning to experience.

We need the president to be a global leader regarding action on climate and promoting alternative energy. Take action, my friends, and speak up for the people and the planet to stop the Willow oil project. We must work on the preservation of our Arctic wildlands — the largest intact wildlands in America — and work toward reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Carol Perera Weingeist


Don’t miss ‘Sweat’!

Northern Stage’s current offering is an intense, painful portrayal of the disasters caused by the decline in manufacturing in a factory town. Corporate decisions ruin the lives of workers and turn them against each other.

This well-acted show features a lot of yelling and violence. But the last two lines — quiet, simple, ordinary — hold profound truth.

Judy Pond


Judy Pond is an usher at Northern Stage.