A topic is not officially oversaturated until the greatest surfer in the world intervenes with his thoughts, his advice. Just over a week ago, longboarder Sasha Jane Lowerson shone in competition, winning the Western Australian Longboarding Women’s Division with ease. She became the first female surfer to win both the women’s and men’s division, like Ryan Egan, division three years before.
Well, a few days ago, respectable surf media Stab The magazine covered Lowerson’s victory for the first time, following FCC recommended guidelines before pressing any hot buttons, and drew 11x champion Kelly Slater into the mix.
Slater wisely commented, “Do a trans split and we won’t have this confusion.” including a good shrug emoji at the end.
Good advice, no doubt, but a small problem, perhaps. Harper’s Indexa collection of data highlighting public perception, states that Americans believe that 21% of the population is transgender.
The reality is 0.6%.
And the percentage of that 0.6% who surf professionally, I think, slightly smaller.
So here we are stuck. What to do then? Should fairness in sport be invalidated as an archaic notion? Should sport itself be totally obliterated as a vestige of a bygone era? I really wanted to ask Sasha Jane Lowerson, herself, but after agreeing to be interviewed, I blocked BeachGrit on social networks and sink. When I emailed, asking for an account, she replied, “People made threats on my life. I take time! The rules are the rules!”
But I think “the rules” is where everyone besides Kelly Slater gets confused, right? Where society and norms have changed under our feet? Not that anyone needs another cis man’s opinion on the matter, especially one who doesn’t hold eleven world surfing titles, but I believe gender is, like, a thing. A biological truth. To erase, or call it a racist construction, not only defies logic, but becomes dangerous because the meaning would simply disappear.
So if gender is real, albeit changeable, should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in women’s divisions?
There is cake. He eats cake. The first does not guarantee the second.
Now drag me out into the public square to be beaten black on blue with rolled up copies of Oberlin College’s summer school catalog.