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Opinion | Transgender Women in the Sports World

Written by corres2

To the Editor:

Re “Much Debate but Little Dialogue on Transgender Female Athletes” (front page, May 29):

Efforts to exclude transgender people from sport are harmful to all women and girls. Athletes are more than bodies, hormones and sex assigned at birth. Proximity to coaches, facilities, and parents with money and time are most predictive of success.

The International Olympic Committee, after consulting with leaders in medicine, athletics and human rights, stated in new guidelines last year that there should be no assumed advantage due to sex variations, physical appearance or transgender status.

Lia Thomas followed all protocols to be eligible to compete, as trans athletes have done for decades. Her success has not imperiled women’s sports or Title IX. Threats to women’s sports include lack of resources, unequal pay, abusive coaches and doctors, and limited media coverage.

We must include and embrace trans people wherever they want to be, and stop demonizing them in the name of protecting women. When all are welcome, everyone wins.

Anna Baeth
New York
The writer is director of research for Athlete Ally, which aims to end homophobia and transphobia in sport.

To the Editor:

I am a 1968 and 1972 Olympian. The appalling and callous disregard for the rights of biological females perpetrated by such entities as the A.C.L.U., the N.C.A.A., Ivy League universities and others will destroy the gains we have fought for in women’s sports.

Even our politicians are attempting to pass a so-called Equality Act that would require that trans male to female athletes be allowed to compete against biological females.

Many aspiring Olympians would be denied a place on a team by a trans woman like Lia Thomas. I am not, as they call it, a “TERF” (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), nor are most who are demanding fairness for biological women in sports and other spaces women need to have for themselves.

It is hardly radical to insist on science, common sense and fairness to biological girls and women in sport.

Francie Kraker Goodridge
Pinckney, Mich.

To the Editor:

The reality is that gender advantage varies from sport to sport. Thus, the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to allow individual sport associations to determine policy is clearly more appropriate than a universal policy.

Myron Genel
Woodbridge, Conn.
The writer, professor emeritus of pediatric endocrinology at Yale University School of Medicine, has served as an adviser to the International Olympic Committee.

To the Editor:

While I recognize the bravery of trans athletes stepping out to compete in arenas in which they are not always welcome, there is precedence for handicapping players outside of golf, which is mentioned in your article. Mountain bike races separate riders by age and weight to even out the competition and give all a chance to win.

There is nothing new about categorizing competitions to take into account the advantages of age, gender, etc. Perhaps as people who are transgender feel more accepted and are treated with more respect, the thought of this handicap won’t feel so much like an insult.

Margaret Flaherty
Berkeley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Re “Not in Her Backyard” (Sunday Business, June 5):

Your story about “NIMBYism” notes that active homeowners reject the epithet. Amen to that. We are stakeholders. When facing zoning changes, we ask questions.

Is the zoning change or variance justified? Who will be displaced? What’s the effect on traffic and the environment? What upgrades need to be made to roads, sidewalks, schools, water and power to support the change? How will the city/county/state monitor and enforce compliance with conditions of the waiver or regulation?

For our trouble, we usually get bogus assurances from under-resourced agencies that already fail to enforce existing regulations. Homeowners pay taxes and invest money and sweat equity into maintaining what is for many our most valuable material asset. And yes, we organize block parties, help start library programs and contribute to our communities.

It is ironic and infuriating that the same pious folks who delicately refer to homeless people as “the unhoused” are so ready to vilify stakeholders with legitimate concerns as NIMBYs and so quick to dismiss their civic engagement as NIMBYism.

Shelley Wagers
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

Re “I Married the Wrong Person, and I’m So Glad I Did,” by Tish Harrison Warren (Opinion,, June 5):

While I enjoyed this thoughtful piece, as a couples therapist I take issue with several points. Research indicates that the common reasons for divorce are conflict, a lack of commitment and adultery, not a desire for personal fulfillment or a more interesting life.

Further, research more recent than the study cited in the article shows that unhappy women who divorce are indeed happier after leaving. The couples I see in my practice typically agonize over the decision to separate even when it is clearly in their best interest to do so.

Marriage is changing because of shifting gender norms and expectations and the fact that more women have the financial capacity to leave unhappy relationships.

As a long-married person myself, I agree with Ms. Warren that enduring an imperfect but loving marriage is filled with personal growth and rewards. At the same time, personal happiness is a perfectly valid reason to leave a painful relationship. We’re lucky to live in an era when it’s acceptable to do so.

Tonya Lester

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