Toledo Blade Underplayed Bigotry Toward The Trans Community

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.