ALICE: "One can't believe impossible things.''
THE WHITE QUEEN: "I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.''
-- From Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.
Connecticut lately is getting plenty of practice trying to believe impossible things, not least because of high school sports contests that let boys compete as girls if they insist that they want to be girls. Two such boys, excellent athletes, recently have been finishing first and second in track meets for girls.
There has been some grousing that this is unfair, but on the whole it seems that those most directly aggrieved by the expropriation of the girls events are afraid of coming out as politically incorrect. They fear acknowledging the obvious -- that there are physiological differences between the sexes, starting with the male and female chromosomes, differences that in general give athletic advantages to males, advantages confirmed by the instant success of the boys competing in the girls track meets.
Connecticut law now presumes to deny this basic science by insisting on the right of people who reject their biological gender to use the bathrooms designated for the other gender. The ancient right of sexual privacy has been crushed under the heel of this political correctness.
Biology and science are being discarded in favor of mere individual desire, leaving society with no objective criteria for determining whether someone is male or female. People are to be only what they call themselves, though it used to be understood that, as Lincoln noted, just calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.
If, as this trend presumes, there are really no differences between the sexes, there no longer will be any rationale for gender divisions in sports, from schools right up through professional leagues. As men who impersonate women begin competing that way, athletic opportunities and recognition for women will be reduced, as the success of the transgendered high school runners in Connecticut already has reduced them. Are women really going to sit quietly through this?
Requiring those runners to compete against their biological gender would deny them no opportunity. As this would remain a free country, the boys could still style and present themselves as girls. No one would have any power to interfere with their personal lives. There would be no need to review their medical histories, as is done elsewhere with claims of transgenderism, nor to psychoanalyze them. They could be themselves and their unconventionality would be no more publicized than it already is. No longer taking advantage of others, they would be less resented.
Indeed, in that case any honors they won might be considered not just more fairly but also more courageously won than honors they won by pretending to be girls.
Political correctness can intimidate people into silence but it can't control what they think, and honors received by able-bodied boys and men competing athletically against girls and women are not likely ever to be considered completely legitimate -- and they shouldn't be, no matter how much the White Queen enjoyed believing impossible things.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.