Craig Campbell: With transgender legal preference, the glass ceiling may be getting harder for women to break through


Women have long struggled to be equal members of society with men.  For over 100 years, American women advocated for, and successfully secured legal protections for an equal opportunity to compete in what was a male dominated world. 

Women now face a direct threat to their hard-fought achievements by the current politically vogue movement to establish transgenders as equals to men and women.  

Let me be clear, this elevation of transgender protections constructs a new barrier for women and creates an environment where biological women will be denied opportunities. 

Some reading this piece will vehemently disagree with my analysis and resort to an intellectually lazy name-calling behavior. Let’s get that out of the way up front: I’ll be called a homophobe, misogynist, sexist, transphobic, racist, terrorist, white supremacists, and God-knows what other politically nasty terms they can find.

Of course, they are wrong. I will present a fact-based, science-supported position that is contrary to their political objective.  Oh well, be that as it may, here is the ugly truth about transgender “equity.”

There is an absolute difference between biological men and women.  When a person is born, their chromosome make-up establishes their sex.  XY is male.  XX is female. That’s a fact.

Society has generally agreed that gender, defined as “an internal or external expression of the way a person feels,” is also part of our make-up. Most of the time a person’s biological sex is the same as the person’s gender.  Sometimes it is not. Some people can be born anatomically as one sex and identify more with the opposite sex. It’s called gender dysphoria.

Today, the great debate is whether the law should protect a person based on their biological sex or their gender identity. The trend in the U.S.  is toward trying to equally protect both. That can’t be done and conflicts arise which has proven harmful to protecting a biological women’s right to equal opportunity. In the end, making gender identity a protected class emasculates women’s attainments towards true equality.

This is not about who uses a bathroom, or what a person may do with their willing partner in private. It’s about recognizing the difference between feelings and physical characteristics, protecting the achievements in women’s rights, and creating a society where women have every opportunity to succeed.

There are plenty of recent examples where transgender women have blown away biological women in sports competition. Transgender Rachael McKinnon recently won the Master Track Cycling World Championship in the female 35-39 category; transgender Lia Thomas from the University of Pennsylvania is smashing female swimming records in almost every category; and New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard became the first transgender woman to compete in the Olympics.  

Explaining why this is happening isn’t rocket science.

There are physical differences that give males a distinct strength advantage over females. Men have larger lungs and hearts, which provide greater physical strength and endurance. A jogging man uses about 50% lung capacity, while a woman uses about 70% lung capacity. Men have greater upper body muscular strength and are typically around 30% physically stronger than women. Men generally have a leaner body fat percentage than women. 

Need I go on? 

Despite transgender women taking female hormone estrogen and testosterone-blockers, it does not change lung capacity, heart size, upper body strength, endurance, or other physical features that give men the advantage. How does this provide a fair competitive environment for females when men have a physical advantage over women in competitive sports?  

But the issue is deeper than simply body strength in sports. Is a transgender woman actually a woman? Taking away the political agendas and emotional arguments, a transgender woman is still a man. Despite estrogen induced breast enhancements, long hair, make-up, shaving all body hair, and other actions to change a person’s appearance, the physical person is still either a XX or XY. Estrogen and testosterone-blocker treatments only block and/or alter the composition of the person.  In many cases transgender women retain the male genitalia and do not undergo sex reassignment surgery.  

A 2015 study found that nearly two-thirds of transgender women remained sexually attracted to women after their transition. These would not be lesbian feelings because a majority of transgender women sexually perform as men.  Research has discovered that many transgenders retain their biological sex drive. Are you confused yet? That said, it does not dimmish the fact that some people have very distinct emotional feelings which are opposite from their biological sex.       

The inequality against women also extends into the historically male dominated business world. Over the past few decades advancements have been made to open executive business leadership and director positions to qualified women. If women are competing for senior level business positions against transgender women and a transgender woman is selected, was a woman really elevated in the male dominated business world? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

Both women and transgender women may join the military but the U.S. has never required women to register for the draft. If women do not have to register for the draft, does that exempt transgender women from registering? I grew up during the Vietnam War era, where draft dodging was a national sport. Yeah, I had friends that went to Canada to avoid being drafted. I guess now a male who wants to dodge the draft, simply can identify as a transgender woman to avoid registering for the Selective Service. This is the Pandora’s box that is opened when common sense is thrown out the window and society tries to accommodate every persons desire, even for groups that account for less than one percent of our nation’s population.

There is currently strong public resistance to recognizing gender identity as a protected class equal to a person’s biological sex. Yet our elected officials are hell-bent on forcing a societal change that is not science based but is based on “feelings.” The Biden Administration intends to expand Title IX protections to cover transgender students in schools that accept federal funding.  If successful, the intent is to expand this requirement to other programs that accept federal funding.    

Congress is considering the “Fairness for All Act” to codify gender identity as a protected class. This is bad, really bad.  The glass ceiling restricted women from achieving equality with men. Actions like the “Fairness for All Act” will make it harder for women to break through the glass ceiling. We should remind our congressional delegation that portion of the bill is not something Alaskans expect them to support.  

It’s time to bring back some sanity.  Women have every right to expect their elected officials to provide opportunities for advancement equal to that provided to men.  Instead, they are now getting politicians who are hardening the glass ceiling, presenting another obstacle to equal opportunities.  

Transgenders should be treated with respect, but the determining factor in equal rights must be made on a biological basis. You are either a man or women, as determined at birth, and that is what our laws should use to provide women greater opportunities to excel in the future. Period!

Craig Campbell is the former lieutenant governor and former Anchorage Assemblyman who has recently returned to assisting the Alaska Aerospace Program, where he was CEO from 2012 through 2019.

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