It’s 2019, and we’re getting closer to achieving true equality each and every day. But, equality sometimes falls into a “fairness” gray area.

The Equality Act was signed into law earlier this year to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” under the umbrella of federally protected classes. This act opened up federal civil rights law to include transgender and transitioning individuals.

While this is a step toward achieving uniform equality, it could affect female athletes dramatically. Would allowing transgender females to play women’s sports unfairly skew their odds of earning college athletic scholarships?

Why it Matters

For many people, the Equality Act is a huge step into the right direction. It ensures that individuals of all genders and sexual orientations are treated fairly with respect to their preferred identities.

However, males and females have biological differences that could greatly affect their performance in sports and other physical activities.

By allowing natural-born male participants to compete against biological females, they could be gaining an unfair advantage.

Rather than competiting against other male students, this act gives transgender women the ability to compete on female teams, with female benchmarks.

Lost Races Leads to Lost Scholarships

Many states already allow student athletes to complete based on their gender identity. Even if they haven’t undergone transitional hormone therapy or reassignment surgery, transgender students can still compete with members of either sex in 17 states.

This has driven some female athletes to challenge the Equality Act.

Three student athletes filed a civil rights complaint earlier this summer, stating that the regulations could cause them to lose more than just sporting events.

Competitive student athletes often rely on athletic scholarships to continue performing in college. Allowing transgender students to vie for the same scholarships could give them an unfair advantage.

Since only two percent of students receive athletic scholarships for college, the stakes are already quite high.

On top of this, the legislation could also damage student morale.

Going into a race already knowing who the winner will be dilutes the sport for everyone involved. When money gets added to the mix, the damage is even higher.

Equality Isn’t Always Fair

Gender equality is still a battle for many men and women around the world. Even in the United States, there is still room for improvement.

But, allowing biological men and women to compete against each other with the same standards of performance isn’t fair for anyone.

Regardless of a person’s gender identity, sexual orientation, or pronoun preferences, they are still subject to their own biological makeup.

Males and females possess different physiology, and that could dramatically affect their athletic ability.

Essentially, this is no different than allowing one participant in a race to use performance-enhancing drugs or hormones. It cheapens the race for the person with the advantage, and it takes the chance of winning from the other participants.

As a society, we should strive for acceptance and tolerance across all forms of diversity. But, with respect to differences that could give any one group privilege over another.

For many students, college scholarships are their only ticket to higher education. Even though these scholarships are few and far between, many athletes spend their lives training and preparing for that goal.

Giving an advantage to transgender women can impair the integrity of the sport, while also taking opportunity from top-perfoming, but natural-born women. In this regard, Equality Act will make the world of high school and college sports more unequal than ever before.

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