Several developments in recent months suggest that we should soon be getting some clarity on how far society will permit individuals to go in choosing their gender whatever the biology they were born with. Perhaps most dramatic was some recent news about transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who though born male, self-identified as a woman and last year was allowed to compete in women’s swim competitions.
Not surprisingly Thomas proceeded to break all records and last March won an NCAA Division I title after finishing first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event, recording the fastest time of the NCAA season.
But the piece de resistance was the CNN news report that the University of Pennsylvania had nominated Thomas for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
Relatedly, a federal judge in Tennessee last week stayed, pending trial, enforcement of a Biden Administration guidance that required schools to permit transgender students to compete in sports and use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their self-chosen gender. Schools violating this guidance were subject to losing federal funding, civil penalties and enforcement action.
The lawsuit was brought by 20 states last August arguing that the guidance constituted an overreaching of executive authority and would force them to change their laws that as sovereign states they had a right to enact. And the judge agreed, at least preliminarily.
CNN also reports that as of July 1 state lawmakers across the U.S. have already introduced at least 162 bills limiting transgenders while 151 were considered in all of 2021 and only were considered in 2020.
So, the issue has a number of moving parts and is slowly coming to more and more public attention. Some of it is bound to stick, meaning that U.S. Supreme Court review is likely.