Looking at the recent award podium photograph of the
national championship in women’s 500-yard freestyle swimming, I was struck by the tragedy of what should have been. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) followed the lead of our own UPenn (University of Pennsylvania) policy in encouraging a boy who feels like a girl to act out his mistake. They failed disastrously in their supervision by awarding him first place as a woman. The picture is a sad meme for the opposite of how gender should work.
In an alternate universe, where the authorities addressed Lia’s disorder and gifting lovingly and truthfully, I imagined a very different result. You have a guy who likes swimming and also likes the feminine. That is, if he really does have gender dysphoria, the disorder is a corruption of a sensitivity in him. The ability to actually relate to women, even “identify” with women, is a rare gift in young guys. If UPenn and the NCAA, and the guardians who were raising Lia back when he was Will R. Thomas, properly addressed Will’s disorder and encouraged Will’s gifting, he could find his manhood in his assistance to the women in his life. The swimming community becomes something like a family, as these sports teams usually are. Thomas’ trajectory could well have led him into being a swim coach for women’s teams. They would enjoy him and look up to him, trusting in his decisions for their advancement.
I sat there imagining the big guy as a women’s swim coach and how great that would be, a man making a way for the women he knows to thrive.
Instead, in our world of loss, we see in this picture a man grasping for his own glory, at the very expense of the close women in his life. He is boasting in his achievement against them while they must nervously acknowledge it. It is exactly opposite of manhood.
We are on that platform when we, as men, use our gifts and position to further our own ends at the expense of the women in our lives. Trans is what we
men do when we do not take seriously the work of taking charge for our family’s benefit; when we do not counsel where the need is screaming; when we do not pursue a worthy mission for God; when we will not speak boldly to correct; when we do not secure. We become just like that picture of Thomas on the platform, confidently receiving a medal as if he had done something worth anything. The true women stand embarrassed and vulnerable.
My moment of re-imagining was brief but lasting. The twisted picture of what a man should be called me to repentance and grief. In light of UPenn’s and the NACC’s massive failure in leadership, the transgender movement silenced the call to us to be laying down our lives on the platforms we stand on.
Where can you take up the call?