The day my dad enrolled me in an after school teenage boys’ basketball training program, I cried.
At age 13, I was already 5’11’’ and weighed 125 pounds — an awkward conglomeration of gangly knees, elbows, and a singular dark eyebrow that crept across my forehead like a gluttonous caterpillar. If I was going to be this tall, you might as well put a ball in my hands and see what happens, right?
Everything about the scenario was painful.
In retrospect, my dad had the right idea. He knew that practicing with boys would improve my game, and it did. I made the varsity squad as a sophomore, set a couple school records for shot blocking, and eventually earned a significant scholarship at a small college. I was a pretty good basketball player.
For a girl.
There, I said it. The feminist in me recoils at reading those words, but the truth teller in me can’t help but admit the biological reality that presents, in exaggerated fullness, during high school: there’s an undeniable physical difference between the sexes that cannot be overcome by sheer willpower or wishing.
On my own team, I never lost a set of lines, I finished first in most of the conditioning drills, and worked my tail off to be on the starting squad. But at after school training? Even the C-Team boys were lapping me on the track, beating me down the court, and lifting more than double my maximum efforts in the weight room.
I was overpowered. I felt “less than.”
Why am I telling you all this? I share it because it highlights one of the most prominent challenges so many females experience as they navigate life and especially as they navigate the oh-so-painful world of high school: we walk around with the keen understanding that, in many ways, we are perceived as “less than” our male counterparts. There are certain realms where we know we will have to work twice as hard to exist. There are other realms where we know it’s unlikely we will ever really have a role. Think, for example, of the NBA or the NFL.
Now don’t get me wrong; there are some phenomenal female athletes who can dance circles around men in certain areas. Serena Williams and Diana Nyad come immediately to mind. But as a whole, women innately know that they won’t be respected or validated in certain spheres. Thus, it becomes incredibly important for us to have our own unique qualities and experiences specific to us.
Men and women were created different in function but equal in value. But there’s a power differential in play, and women often end up on the losing side of it. That’s why Title IX came to exist in the first place — to carve out space for women like me to participate and thrive without being bulldozed or eclipsed by men.
But recent history has seen so many of these spaces being erased by pervasive and incredibly foolish gender identity politics that, 99% of the time, only really serve to benefit anatomical males who believe themselves to be female. I was irritated when I read that a 6’6’’ male was given a spot on the women’s basketball team at Mission College in California and that he went on to be named an All-American who led the league in rebounds and helped his team win the championship game. All I could think about was how some poor girl somewhere would not get a chance to play college basketball because someone decided to give her spot to a man.
I rolled my eyes when I read that a transgender man (a biological woman) had given birth to a child, as though this was somehow newsworthy. (Women have been bearing children since the dawn of time. It’s one of the many amazing things we were designed to do.)
But when I read that a high school in North Carolina had elected a teenage boy as its homecoming queen, I was admittedly surprised by the intensity of the emotional response the news solicited within me.
Gender identity politics are offensive on so many levels. For one thing, the widespread indulging of obvious delusion makes idiots of us all. In fact, I shudder to think what the history books will say about this modern day retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes and the seemingly epidemic courage deficit in rightly naming it. But beyond the obvious insult to our intelligence, the trans-agenda is essentially ushering in the erasure of women and obliterating the idea that females have anything unique to contribute to the world.
As previously illustrated, high school can be rough for girls who are struggling to find their place in the greater scheme of things, especially as it relates to the boys around them. In theory, a homecoming queen is supposed to be representative of the best of these girls — a female who navigates life with confidence, kindness, poise, and dignity. Homecoming queen is supposed to be a position to which girls can aspire.
What does it say then, when, of all the girls in the entire high school, none of them are deemed good enough to win the title of homecoming queen? What does it say when the best possible candidate to represent high school girls is actually a high school boy? Most heartbreaking of all, what does it say about these girls when they choose female erasure for themselves?
The mainstream media covers this story from an angle that celebrates the open-mindedness and compassion of these high school students in their “bold decision” to “affirm and embrace” this boy’s illness. But it’s a shallow celebration, devoid of any wisdom or foresight.
True compassion should never require women to compromise the things that belong to their dignity. True compassion should never require people to compromise reality for fantasy. True compassion should never strip high school girls of one of the very few things that rightly belongs to them in order to give it to a boy.
Tammy Wynette hit the nail on the head when she sang, “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.”
It’s especially hard to be a woman when we are no longer legally allowed to clearly define what that means. And it’s going to be even harder when an entire generation of girls has successfully been trained to believe that their erasure is somehow progress.
The day we allow that to happen, we won’t just FEEL like we are “less than.” It will actually be true.
Not on my watch.