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Transgender Athletes & Fairness: Consistency

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It is likely that my adopted state of Florida will pass a law banning transgender women from competing on women’s and girl’s school sports teams. This Republican bill explicitly endorses a rather invasive confirmation process: if an athlete’s eligibility is challenged, then they would need to get confirmation from a health care provider. This might involve an examination of their genitals. Yes, this is the same party that rages against mask mandates and vaccine passports as violations of rights. On the face of it, these sorts of bills seem aimed at saying to the Republican base “we hate and fear transgender people as much as we think you do so keep voting for us.” Obviously enough, proponents of the bill do not make this claim; the argument they advance is that they must act because they are very concerned about women and girls being treated fairly. In fact, they call the bill the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Republicans profess to be the party of small government, but this bill would expand the involvement of the state and as noted above, would literally have agents of the state looking at genitals. I also profess to favor minimal government and have argued in other essays that the state should restrict its laws to cases in which the harm needs to be addressed by law and the good the law does meaningfully outweigh any harms or costs of the law. Those backing the law have been unable to point to cases in Florida where harm is occurring—so this is a law that is allegedly aimed at addressing a harm that has not occurred. While inconsistent with the small government and freedom values that Republicans profess to value, it is certainly consistent with their approach to voter rights: imposing restrictions where no meaningful harm exists. As such, the act would seem to be unwarranted by the professed principles of the Republicans.  But perhaps they are motivated by this professed principle of fairness to women. Let us test this hypothesis. If the Republicans hold to. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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