One of the great ironies with respect to Pres. Joe Biden’s executive order allowing biological males to compete in girl’s sports is the fact that it is supported by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF).
The founder of the WSF is Billie Jean King, a former professional tennis player who came to national attention in 1973 when at the age of 29 she won the televised “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs, 55, a professional tennis player, hustler and loud mouth male chauvinist.
Some 50 million looked on while King beat Riggs at the Houston Astrodome, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
The Battle of the Sexes put King, now 76, and women’s tennis on the map. It was an important milestone in women’s athletics. But King and the WSF seem to have forgotten that Riggs was 55 years old on that fateful day. There’s no way King would have won had they been the same age.
So how can King and the WSF justify telling female athletes today that biological male transgender athletes who identify as female should be permitted to compete in women’s sports?
“The global athletic community grows stronger when we welcome and champion all athletes – including LGBTQI+ athletes,” says King, who is a lesbian.
The WSF abandons any pretense of following actual science on its web site when it states, without support, that a post-pubescent male-to-female transgender athlete has no advantage over a biological female.
Current research shows the biological advantage conferred by male puberty and thus enjoyed by most transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed. The performance gap between males and females becomes significant at puberty and often amounts to 10–50% depending on sport.
Making women compete against biological males is like requiring a professional tennis player to wear high heels. It is a form of sex discrimination.
It is wishful thinking to posit that King would have beaten Riggs, a former world No. 1 tennis player, if he had been her age in 1973 rather than 25 years older. Riggs was what he described himself to be in 1973 – “a tired old man”
(In fact, it was later reported by ESPN that Riggs ‘fixed’ the match to pay off gambling debts owed to mobsters.)
A few months earlier, Riggs crushed Australian tennis player Margaret Court, then the world No. 1 women’s tennis player. In a match known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre” Riggs won 6-2, 6-1. Court was a better tennis player than King, who was ranked No. 2 at the time. Court consistently beat King in some three dozen matches over their careers.
As someone who watched the Battle of the Sexes and earnestly rooted for King, all I can say is, “Ah, how far the mighty have fallen.”
It is not discrimination against transgender athletes to acknowledge they have superior physical strength. It is reality. It is discrimination against female athletes to deny this FACT. It is like saying that biological males can have all of the real estate on the winner’s platform for both male and female athletics, as well as all of the college scholarships, fame and glory.
The WSF is a nonprofit organization that says it is focused on enabling girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life.