BOSTON, Massachusetts (LifeSiteNews) – The annual Boston Marathon begins on Monday, April 16, but this year the event comes with a dose of transgender politics.
At least five men who openly identify as women are slated to compete next week, and will be recognized under their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex, the Associated Press reports.
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” Boston Athletic Association head Tom Grilk said. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.” He added that there was little debate over the decision within the organization.
The Boston Athletic Association clarified to NPR that while this is how the marathon will operate in practice, it has no written policy that specifically addresses transgendered runners.
“We don’t require that runners outline their gender identity history with us, so we can’t say for certain how many trans runners are in our race,” it said in a statement. “We do know that we have had several transgender runners in the past.”
The marathon will require registrants to provide a government-issued ID, which it compares to their “qualification-associated gender description,” but suggested that they will err on the side of deferring to transgender runners in case of potential conflicts. “Should such a situation arise, we would make every effort to address it in a manner intended to be fair to all concerned, with a strong emphasis on inclusion,” the BAA said.
The issue came to the fore after a March 30 article in Canadian Running magazine sparked debate by highlighting Amelia Gapin, Grace Fisher, and Stevie Romer, three men identifying as women who qualified to compete in this year’s event.
Gapin, who has undergone sex-reassignment surgery, says that taking testosterone blockers during “her” transition had a negative impact on her speed for which she had to compensate through years of training, undermining the argument that trans “women” have an unfair advantage over biological women. Dr. Alex Keuroghlian of the pro-LGBT Fenway Institute calls the argument that there’s any “physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth” a “myth.”
However, Washington University School of Medicine endocrinologist Dr. Paul Hruztold Fox News’ Laura Ingraham in August that hormones were just one of several biological factors that do influence athletic differences between the sexes.
“The study of individuals that have had artificial manipulation of their hormone levels — and how that influences, long term, their performance in athletics and other areas — really is largely unknown, and that includes the imprinting that occurs at the genetic level in every cell and every tissue in the body,” Dr. Hruz said. “And many of these changes are not accounted for by the hormones alone.”
During the segment, they discussed the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow men identifying as women to compete against women in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, provided their testosterone levels remained within certain parameters. Dr. Hruz called the decision’s logic “questionable,” because “there are many other components of being a man or a woman. And so, if you take a male and you suppress their testosterone and give them estrogen, they really, from a biological standpoint … are still … feminized males rather than true females.”
Boston’s is not the only marathon to recognize transgender runners’ preferred “gender identities”; the AP notes that Chicago, London, Los Angeles, and New York City marathon organizers have made similar decisions, using similar logic.
Chicago Marathon executive race director Carey Pinkowski said their event would not require “legal or medical records or anything along those lines,” because they wanted to be “inclusive and sensitive” to all participants.