North Carolina's legislative body passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, as opposed to their opinion of their sex. That means people must use bathrooms and other public facilities where occupants can be in various stages of undress according to whether their sex chromosomes are XX, in the case of females, or XY, in the case of males. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community claims that the use of biology to determine sex is oppressive and limits alternatives. I agree. I all but argued this in a column earlier this year titled "You Are What You Say You Are.” Let's look at some possible benefits of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism.
Say that I am sentenced to a five-year prison term for bank fraud. Though confinement can never be pleasant, I'd find it far more tolerable if I could convince the judge that though biologically I have XY chromosomes, in my opinion I'm really a woman and thus my confinement should be in a female prison with a female cellmate. For the court to fail to take my sexual opinion into consideration would violate our Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, I could say.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, the entire NCAA and the NBA have threatened to remove important games and championships from North Carolina because of its law denying bathroom rights to males who feel as if they are females and females who feel as if they're males. I am wondering just how consistent they are. Only a few college basketball players have the skills to make it onto a professional team, but most of these players have skills that exceed most players' skills in the Women's National Basketball Association. What if a college basketball star were to claim to be transgender and go out for the WNBA? Would the self-righteous NBA leaders come out and support him if he were to be refused? Aside from this gender question is the gross pay discrimination between the NBA and the WNBA. NBA players such as LeBron James (nearly $23 million) and Carmelo Anthony (also close to $23 million) individually earn twice as much money annually than every single player in the WNBA combined. The WNBA minimum rookie salary is $37,950, and the top salary is $107,000. I bet that if the NBA and WNBA were to permit transgenderism, salaries in women's basketball would rise dramatically.
It's not just basketball that would yield benefits for those with XY chromosomes. What about allowing transgender XY people to box women in the WIBA? Then there are the Olympics. The men's fastest 100-meter speed is 9.58 seconds. The women's record is 10.49. What about giving XY people a greater chance at winning the gold by permitting them to compete in the women's event? They could qualify by just swearing that they feel womanish or have gender dysphoria.
President Barack Obama's defense secretary, Ashton Carter, wants to promote sex equality in the nation's military. I don't think he's serious. The minimum fitness test requirement for 17- to 21-year-old males is to be able to do 35 pushups, 47 situps and a 2-mile run in 16 minutes, 36 seconds or less. A weak male soldier might simply claim that he feels feminine. That would mean he could pass the minimum fitness requirement by meeting the female minimums of 13 pushups, 47 situps and a 19:42 2-mile run. To boot, he would get to reside in the women's barracks and enjoy all the privileges attendant thereto.
For most of history, homosexuals were unfairly persecuted. They pleaded, "Get out of my bedroom. What consenting adults do is no one else's business." I share that sentiment, and for the most part, homosexuals have won that objective. Had their early campaign against persecution included a demand that males be permitted to use women's bathrooms, the persecution they suffered would have continued.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.