The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Equality Act Hurts Women

Former tennis player Martina Navratilova waves to spectators on Centre Court as she is introduced at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, England, July 4, 2015. (Henry Browne/Reuters)

As National Review has editorialized, the Equality Act is about coercion. It would force all federally funded entities to consider a man as a woman if he identifies as such. The scope of the Equality Act (H.R.5) is overreaching and would harm women and children most.

Gender identity laws and policies are already in place across the U.S. And one badly impacted area is women’s sports. In the state of Connecticut, two male students finished first and second in the girls’ high-school track championship. The Boston Athletic Association allows runners to compete according to their gender identity, regardless of whether they’ve undergone physical changes.

What’s the problem? Well, as the lesbian tennis star Martina Navratilova wrote in The Sunday Times of London, allowing male athletes to compete with women is “cheating” and has already allowed hundreds of athletes to achieve “honours as women that were beyond their capabilities as men.” Paula Radcliffe, Britain’s most celebrated female distance runner, who holds the world record for the fastest women’s marathon, has raised similar concerns. As has Sharron Davies, Olympic swimmer, who said we “have to classify it [sports] by sex.”

But Congressional Democrats take a different view. Their view is not based on evidence. It’s based on modish blather about gender and on junk science. Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) has urged USA Powerlifting to lift its ban on males who identify as women competing against females saying that this policy is unlawful discrimination. Which is obvious nonsense: there is as much as a 25 percent performance gap between males and females in weightlifting. Unfortunately, the Equality Act would give this argument – and many more like it – the force of law.

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.

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