BOSTON — The Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the Boston Marathon, has confirmed that it allows runners to compete as the gender with which they self-identify—a controversial allowance that has raised questions about whether it gives male runners who identify as female an unfair advantage.
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, told the Boston Herald. “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”
NPR also reports that while the Association has no explicit policy about the matter, runners have been asked for several years to compete with the same gender with which they qualified.
“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. We do know that we have had several transgender runners in the past,” the Association outlined.
However, reports state that at least five men who identify as women have signed up to run in the marathon on April 16, with three of them being introduced in a recent article by the Canadian-based Running Magazine. They are: Stevie Romer of Woodstock, Illinois, Amelia Gapin of Jersey City, New Jersey and Grace Fisher of Hancock, Maryland.
“If they still have male [physiology], they will have an advantage over other women—there is no way around that,” Bob Girandola, associate professor in the Department of Human Biology at the University of Southern California, told the Boston Herald. “It gives them an unfair advantage. Maybe they have to have a separate category if they’re going to do that. It’s a dilemma.”
Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, director of education and training programs at the Fenway Institute, conversely told the outlet that if the men lower their testosterone levels through hormone therapy, they no longer have an advantage on women.
“That’s a misconception and a myth,” he asserted of Girandola’s statement. “There’s no physiologic advantage to being assigned male at birth.”
Steve McConkey of 4 Winds Christian Athletics, a former avid runner himself, told Christian News Network that men still have greater muscle mass and have a larger build than their female counterparts, giving them an undeniable edge in sports activities, from weight-lifting to long-distance running.
“Many scientists say that transgender athletes do not have an advantage. However, muscle and bone advantages can never be reversed. In running, those advantages can help a runner’s stride, especially for races on the track,” he explained.
He noted that even during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, it was shown that intersex athletes had an advantage, as all three gold, silver and bronze medals in the women’s category went to those characterized as intersex. The results brought female competitor Lynsey Sharp to tears, telling reporters, “I have tried to avoid the issue all year. You can see how emotional it all was. We know how each other feels.”
“1 in 2000 are born intersex. The vast majority of transgender cases are not under this category,” McConkey outlined.
He lamented that the Boston Marathon has been allowing those who identify as the opposite gender to compete against that sex.
“They say they will check the IDs of the athlete. If there is a question, they will lean toward ‘inclusion.’ In other words, they have caved into the immoral LGBT agenda. This goes beyond science into the realm of belief,” McConkey said.
He expressed concern that the allowance will spread worldwide, frustrating female athletes.
“The current transgender athletes registered for Boston may not win, but Boston is setting the race up for future transgender racers who may be able to compete with the top performers. Boston is a trend setter. Many races throughout the world will now allow transgenders to compete [against the opposite sex],” McConkey said.
The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle once exhorted, “Do you want to understand what the times require of all Christians in reference to the souls of others? Listen, and I will tell you. You live in times of great liberty and abounding opportunities of doing good. Never were there so many open doors of usefulness, so many fields white to the harvest. Mind that you use those open doors, and try to reap those fields. … The time is short. The sand is running out of the glass of this old world. Then redeem the time, and endeavor not to go to Heaven alone.”