This morning, I posted the following poll on Twitter:
Regarding transgender women competing as women in sport. This is not a flippant question: I'm quite serious. If LeBron James announced that she genuinely self-identified as a woman, should she be allowed to play in the WNBA?
— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) June 28, 2021
One supporter of transgender athletes messaged me and complained that the scenario presented was “extreme”. I interpreted that to mean that this person was reluctant to say yes in this case but the person did not believe that justified a general ‘no’. To quote an old maxim, hard cases make bad law.
However, the very fact that one might be inclined to interpret this scenario as a hard case at all reveals a weakness in the pro-transgender sports position. Would it be a hard case to decide whether James should be allowed to play in the NBA? The answer, of course, is no: great athletes at the top of their game are welcome! But then, if self-identification with a gender is sufficient for one to be that gender then James self-identifying as a woman and wanting to play in the WNBA just is a case of a great athlete at the top of their game wanting to play in the appropriate league. It isn’t a hard case at all: rather, it’s a no-brainer.
Consequently, if one still does view this as a hard case, an “extreme” scenario, then that is indicative that one views the matter as more complex than simple self-identification.