SHoWLE President Douglas Berger had a letter to the editor published in the Toledo Blade on April 20, 2023, responding to a previous editorial that seemed sympathetic to a woman who gave a speech against Trans women at the University of Toledo. The editorial downplayed the bigoted framing and rehash of anti-Trans tropes relating to Trans women participating in women’s sports. The editorial complained about Trans rights supporters protesting Riley Gaines’ speech but didn’t point out the false narrative that Gaines used in her speech and the fact that it was sponsored by the right-wing Christian Nationalist group Turning Point USA.
Douglas was also disappointed that even though his letter was published, the heart of it was cut out by the Blade and made it seem, again, that the issue was one of difference of opinion and not one of a battle to protect the rights of a marginalized group. SHoWLE doesn’t believe that human rights should be put up for a popular vote or be debated like what ice cream flavor you like.
Below is the full text of the letter Douglas submitted followed by images of the Blade editorial in question and the printed letter.
I sat down to read the Blade and saw yet another editorial (“Editorial: Let Riley tell her story” published 4/22) claiming that someone with bigoted ideas is being hurt because other people have called them out on their bigotry. Make no mistake, Riley Gaines told her story framed in bigotry against Trans women all because a Trans woman won ONE event at the NCAA tournament.
Gaines should know that more goes into performing sports than just body parts and what sex one is but we live in a society that seems to accept the status quo for longer than we need. Take basketball. When women were first allowed to play basketball, they were only allowed to play half court because men assumed that women didn’t have the stamina to run up and down a full court. They also had to play in skirts because it was un-ladylike to wear shorts in public.
Does Gaines feel the four other women that beat her in the 200 freestyle were actually “intact males” and why didn’t Lia Thomas win that race if she won the 500 freestyle? I thought Trans women had an unfair advantage?
The science on the issue isn’t clear yet but unlike Gaines’ anecdotal “evidence”, the NCAA has had specific rules to include Trans athletes for at least 10 years now. One would think the flood gates would be open and there would be only Trans women winning everything – obviously that didn’t happen. A person’s genetic make-up and internal and external reproductive anatomy are not useful indicators of athletic performance.
It is also telling that Gaines’ talk was sponsored by the Christian Nationalist group Turning Point USA, whose founder and President Charlie Kirk, on a podcast in 2022, said that the Transgender community was a “social contagion” and that this “public mania” would, in 20 years, be likened to “the modern-day equivalent of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s”.
Riley Gaines (like Charlie Kirk) used bigotry to tell her story, the content of which was underplayed in the editorial. As we move forward and the people who support all humans as having basic dignity and worth become the majority only then will we be actually united as people.