By opposing trans girls in female athletics, Caitlyn Jenner overlooks ideal of sports

Caitlyn Jenner, one of the most famous transgender people in North America, said she’s against trans girls competing in female sports.

Jenner said recently she took that position because she believes it’s not fair.

“This is a question of fairness. That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair,” Jenner told entertainment media outlet TMZ on Monday.

On the latest episode of CBC Sports video series Bring It In, host Morgan Campbell and guests Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin discuss Jenner’s comment, as well as a potential problem facing the NBA’s upstart Basketball Africa League (BAL).

WATCH | Bring It In panel breaks down Jenner’s anti-trans comment:

Morgan Campbell, Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin cover retired Olympic gold medallist Caitlyn Jenner’s comments on trans girls competing in female school sports. 9:28

Jenner, 71, is a former Olympic gold medallist now among many Republicans seeking to unseat California governor Gavin Newsom.

“It’s really disappointing that in order to try to get into office, Caitlyn Jenner is trying to weaponize something that children and teens are going through,” McPeak said. 

“They’re fighting for their own lives on a daily basis. Their families are fighting for their lives on a daily basis because they are so excluded — not just from sports, but from life, period. Their sheer existence is looked at taboo.”

The panel agreed that, especially as a former Olympian, Jenner is overlooking the power sport has to bring people together. Instead, by calling for the exclusion of trans women, Jenner’s comments only serve to divide.

“There’s something very shameful about a 1976 Olympian using their outsized platform to try to keep people from playing sports. Particularly [for] people who deal with issues of exclusion and alienation, sports is an amazing tool for camaraderie. There’s so many things sports bring to the table, so denying that to folks is terrible,” Zirin said.

Jenner’s comments came as dozens of U.S. states propose to ban transgender women and girls from competing in women’s sports, in a move at odds with President Joe Biden’s push for greater LGBT+ inclusion.

In March, the International Federation of Sports Medicine (IFSM), which represents 125,000 physicians in 117 countries, said data is scant on the advantages or otherwise of trans athletes, but that each sport needed rules to meet its own physical demands.

By banning trans girls from female sports, Jenner would theoretically prevent men from claiming they identify as women in order to achieve greater success.

“If you really think that’s what’s happening, then the people you need to address and the people you need to police are the regular mainstream males that you think are going to do this, which is a distinct group of people from someone who actually is trans and is grappling with these things and trying to find a way to fit in in high school,” Campbell said.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Basketball Africa League is scheduled to begin May 16 with a game in Kigali, Rwanda.

WATCH | Zirin predicts increased coverage of BAL due to Kagame’s authoritarian regime:

Dave Zirin, along with Morgan Campbell and Meghan McPeak, shares his predictions for the all-new BAL, which kicks off on May 16. 3:31

Zirin predicts there will be increased coverage in the coming weeks due to the choice of location, where Rwandan president Paul Kagame faces protests over human rights violations, including the imprisonment of Paul Rusesabagina. Rusesabagina was portrayed by Don Cheadle in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

“The question was just asked by Paul Rusesabagina’s wife in an open letter to [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver where she said, ‘Look, I believe in what the NBA is trying to do and I believe that Black lives matter to the NBA. Our lives in Rwanda need to matter also,'” Zirin said.

While the idea behind the BAL is to promote basketball in a continent producing an increasing number of NBA stars like Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam, it may lose some of its muster by playing in a country living under an authoritarian regime.



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