I played on the European tennis circuit during the late 1950s, ranking number three in Greece. But don’t be too impressed. Unlike today—when Greek players rank fourth internationally in men’s tennis and sixth in women’s—Greece was hardly a tennis power, and I was ranked among the lowest in Europe.
In 1957, the American player Althea Gibson won Wimbledon, becoming the first black player to do so. The two of us were friends and used to hit together. During the Rome tournament another friend, the great Italian Nicola Pietrangeli, a four-time winner at the French Open, got into a discussion with Althea about how vast the superiority of men versus women was in tennis. “I’ll bet on Taki against you,” said Nicola, and Althea took the friendly bet.
Word got around and I refused. I was 20 years old and had nothing to gain and everything to lose. There was no way I would throw myself around a court against a woman, or even be seen trying hard. Althea and I knew each other’s game and had played endless sets together, and although she’s no longer around to validate my version, I think I had the edge by far.
I thought about Althea recently when the transgender American swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas, broke all the swimming records. She won one event by 38 seconds, blowing away all competition. Ironically, Lia had spent the first three years of college competing as a rather average male swimmer. If any of you wonder why we separate sports by gender, it is because the differences are obvious. For example, University of Florida male swimmer Kieran Smith set an American record in the 500-yard freestyle of 4 minutes, 6 seconds. Lia Thomas later set an Ivy League record for the women’s 500 of 4 minutes, 34 seconds—28 seconds slower than Kieran, which easily translates to half a pool length.
The point is that for 20 years Lia built muscle and benefited from the testosterone naturally produced by a male body. That strength does not disappear overnight, nor with a year of suppressants. In other words, the effects of being born a biological male offer Thomas a clear-cut edge over the biological females she competes against.
Needless to say, the transgender mob does not permit anyone to yell foul. Militant transgender advocates are imposing their agenda with uncompromising zeal. Parents who have raged against teachers for allowing very young children to be coached on becoming a different gender, have been called Nazis by the transgender lobby. It is actually very rare for people to feel mismatched with their sexual anatomy. Such feelings occur in only a tiny percentage of the adult population, yet children who experience them are encouraged by teachers who put words on the blackboard such as “nonbinary” and “transgender.”
This kind of indoctrination ended in Germany after 1945 and in Soviet Russia in 1989. I never thought it possible in these United States, but here we are, with the American Civil Liberties Union actually having demoted religious rights below transgender rights. And it gets worse, with the ACLU recently declaring that religious rights are being used as an excuse to discriminate against others. I’d like to know what happened to common sense and fair play, two things I was taught early on in my American school.
I’ll tell you in a jiffy: Minorities in America have learned that implacability works. No matter how absurd their demands, they tend to be indulged. No opposing argument is tolerated, and their response to anyone opposing them is to scream abuse at them and call them Nazis. It seems to be working, for these so-called minority rights advocates are indulged at every level, especially at school and in universities.
The irony is that someone like myself, who doesn’t think that a man who transitions into a woman actually is a woman, has never felt the slightest hatred or disgust over that person’s new status. I simply feel it is unfair towards other women on the sporting field.
A few years ago the retired tennis player John McEnroe, then about to turn 60, was quoted saying that he could play and beat either Venus or Serena Williams. I agreed and even wrote something about it. Despite enormous public condemnation that would have had most people retreating with less dignity than Biden’s exit from Afghanistan, MacEnroe stuck to his guns.
Everyone in America talks nonstop about freedom, yet it seems to be freedom to persecute anyone who dares to take freedom of speech at face value. Where are all those loud MeToo voices in favor of saving women’s sports?
The “woke” are ruining women’s sports by giving universal participation trophies. The Olympic Committee will always fold to the loudest protest, which at this moment is that of the transgender bullies.
Women athletes of the world unite! You have nothing to lose, but unfairly competing against biological men.
Flickr-James Holloway, CC BY-NC 2.0