Daily Cover: Equal Pace

Bill Huber

Tuesday’s Daily Cover is about Lindsay Hecox. As a transgender woman who attends Boise State, Hecox, 19, will soon be barred by Idaho from participating in women’s sports in the state, even though NCAA rules allow it.

Julie Kliegman wrote about Hecox’s battle and the surrounding controversy.

She had an inkling at age nine or 10 that she might be trans, she wasn’t sure, and she told no one and presented as male 24/7 through high school. Classwork, cross-country and track kept her busy —her senior year, she made it to the California Interscholastic Federation finals in the 1600—so she let the question of her gender slip to the back of her mind—until she couldn’t any longer. “I was not a boy, but I had to pretend to be one, which is unexplainably hard, to not be who you really are.”

On March 30, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the first-of-its-kind Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. In part, the law in part reads (with footnotes removed):

“The legislature finds that there are inherent differences between men and women, and that these differences remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual's opportunity. These inherent differences range from chromosomal and hormonal differences to physiological differences; men generally have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments and larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass, a higher red blood cell count, and higher hemoglobin. Men also have higher natural levels of testosterone, which affects traits such as hemoglobin levels, body fat content, the storage and use of carbohydrates, and the development of type-2 muscle fibers, all of which result in men being able to generate higher speed and power during physical activity. The biological differences between females and males, especially as it relates to natural levels of testosterone, explain the male and female secondary sex characteristics which develop during puberty and have life-long effects, including those most important for success in sport: categorically different strength, speed, and endurance.”

Those fighting the Idaho law say they are battling for something more than sports.

“I firmly believe that sport is a vehicle for social change,” says Chris Mosier, a Team USA duathlete and activist who is transgender. “And so the reason this lawsuit is so important and that it’s happening through sport is so important [is that] what happens here will ultimately influence how policies come down in terms of housing discrimination, employment discrimination, adoption cases, and discrimination suits across the board.”