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The Lia Thomas Effect: Americans Reject Men Cheating At Sports More Than Ever, Now
A perfect poll for Pride month
It was predictable, and predicted: there has been an eight-point decline in the percentage of Americans who think Lia Thomas should be allowed to cheat at sports. It was already a small number. It will never, ever be a big number.
“Republicans, Democrats and independents are all modestly less supportive of transgender athletes playing on current gender identity teams today than two years ago,” Gallup reports.
“It appears that Americans view transgender sports participation more through a lens of competitive fairness than transgender civil rights,” Gallup pronounces with a shrug, having surveyed more than 1,000 adults. Americans like their sports fair: who knew?
Further abundant examples of males cheating at women’s sports are bound to further decrease public support for “trans inclusion” at the expense of females in sport. “Transgender advocacy” always understood this was a problem. Their solution has been to impose rule changes without public debate or input through bureaucratic and administrative means.
For example, the NCAA made the locker room unisex without changing the sign on the door or informing Riley Gaines; William Thomas was simply allowed to walk in amongst the girls and drop trou. Then, when Gaines tied Thomas, who had never excelled at the event, the NCAA changed their rules to hand Willie the trophy, anyway. Because he is the most marginalized, see.
Repulsion naturally followed. According to Gallup, “a larger majority of Americans now (69%) than in 2021 (62%) say transgender athletes should only be allowed to compete on sports teams that conform with their birth gender. Likewise, fewer endorse transgender athletes being able to play on teams that match their current gender identity, 26%, down from 34%.”
Gallup says that ‘transphobia’ is not to blame for the decline. “Thirty-nine percent of Americans, up from 31% in 2021, say someone they know personally has told them they are transgender,” Gallup reports.
This is true across the partisan spectrum. Americans understand that opposing male sports cheats is a discrete issue from their support of transgender individuals, which makes it hard to convince them that opposition to male sports cheats is ‘hate’.
But both Americans who know and do not know a transgender individual have become less supportive of allowing transgender athletes to play on the team of their choice. Currently, 30% of those who know a transgender person favor allowing athletes to play on teams that match their current gender identity, down from 40% in 2021. Among those who do not know a transgender person, support is now 23%, down from 31%.
This part will be music to the ears of Republican politicians: “The result of these changes is that Democrats are now divided on allowing transgender athletes to play on either male or female teams, while in 2021 more were in favor than opposed.” That is the definition of a wedge issue.
Gender identititarian overreach has unintended negative effects. With many Americans, transgender sports acts as a foot in the door for wrongthink. A former “netroots progressive” myself, I have lost count of former comrades quietly willing to admit to me that the TERFs are right about “the sports thing.” Most of them still rationalize it one way or another because they are in leftist, liberal, progressive, or Democratic political spaces where wrongthink is still being punished.
Thus, post-Lia Thomas, more Americans than ever are beginning to adopt wrongthink on matters of ‘gender identity.’ Imposed by the elite culture against the will of the American supermajority, this blinkered agenda is solely to blame for its own unpopularity.
Moreover, because the issue is discrete from their sympathy for someone with dysphoria, the new majority is becoming immune to personal charges of bigotry for having or expressing wrongthink — and many of these people are, or were, Democrats.
The survey also asked about Americans’ more general views on being transgender. A majority, 55%, consider “changing one’s gender” to be more “morally wrong,” while 43% say it is “morally acceptable.”
Those results are slightly less accepting than in 2021, when Gallup last asked the question -- 51% thought changing one’s gender was morally wrong, and 46% morally acceptable.
In an interview with USA Today, Gallup senior editor Jeff Jones called this inevitable outcome “a surprising finding.” It is not. It was predictable, it was predicted, and it has come to pass exactly as forewarned. Jones would lose his job for saying so, though. Nor would USA Today reporters quote any words of ‘hate’ that suggest any possible reason for the shift that is not tied to the myths of the gender cult.
After all, there is a narrative to look after, here:
Z Nicolazzo, an associate professor of trans studies in education at the University of Arizona, said the results show that fearmongering rhetoric accompanying the rapid rise in anti-trans legislation is having an effect.
“It’s resonating with people regardless of what the scientific evidence demonstrates,” she said.
But equally damaging, Nicolazzo said, is that Democrats and progressives are not creating “a pro-trans narrative.”
“They have not clearly come out and said we believe in science, and we believe that trans women are women and trans girls are girls,” she said. “Their silence is only aiding and abetting this doubling-down from the conservative movement.”
This is putting the chronological cart before the horse. Republicans did not invent Lia Thomas in order to win votes. Rather, Americans saw Lia Thomas cheat at sports and get celebrated for it, were appalled by it, and as a result overwhelmingly support legislation to protect women’s sports from predatory men.
Insisting that “science” has abolished male physiological advantages from sports is gaslighting, and worse it is counter-effective gaslighting, because it is so obviously gaslighting that it makes Americans who like sports furious.
I have no access to a major polling firm, but if I could design a poll on this issue I strongly suspect the Venn diagram of left-liberal-progressive America that loves Lia Thomas cheating at sports, and the left-liberal-progressive America that disdains sports, is a circle. People who hate or devalue sports culture will be far more likely to approve of erasing women to make room for Lia Thomas.
Americans who like sports hate seeing Lia Thomas allowed to cheat at sports and get celebrated for cheating. They hate being gaslit with glossy magazine covers and glib blog posts from once-respected publications that have become Gender Pravda in a Soviet media collective. They had no hate, still have no hate for “trans people.” Navel-gazers like Nicolazzo have no incentive to adopt a more realistic picture of the world. Consideration of consequences is not in their job descriptions.
Polling on this question has never shown a hint of promise anywhere. A 2020 Rasmussen poll found that three times as many Americans opposed men in women’s sports under the “trans” rubric than supported it, with Democrats being even more split on the issue and within the margin of error from independents.
In 2021, Spry Strategies asked respondents about the Equality Act, legislation that would have legalized men cheating at sports, among other things. It has since been tabled in the US Senate, where it is unlikely to be revived, for its specific demands are deeply unpopular. Among other things, “the majority of respondents of all parties (74 percent) want to keep sports single-sex.”
Making matters worse for Democrats, the issue divides them from a key voter demographic. Nonwhite Americans and immigrants are not as keen on gender gibberish as the white suburban college graduates are.
A United Families survey that same July found that voters of color in Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina, states targeted by Democrats as “swing states” in the Electoral College, were deeply opposed to specific implications of the Equality Act. Respondents showed “strong disapproval” of policies which “would create a situation where males compete against women in sports (67% vs. 19%).” The rare Democrats supporting legislation to protect women’s sports in state legislatures have not been white.
Also, forget the normal formula of “blue states” and “red states.” Poll results are consistent in California and Idaho, separated by only a few points. The national Gallup results on this question have historically tracked with polls in West Virginia. Attempts to cast this as a partisan issue are themselves partisanizing. They chase away potential support and empower forces of political reaction.
Excluding contrary voices does not achieve acceptance. It certainly doesn’t improve public trust in media. “Is there any other issue on which the media is so consistently afraid to air a viewpoint that’s probably shared by about two-thirds of their potential audience?” Natasha Chart asked in 2021. The question remains open. Riley Gaines was uninvited from appearing on mainstream news channels because her objections to violations of the plain text of Title IX were deemed “hateful.” She still is not welcome on CNN or NBC or CBS or ABC.
Because this was always a long game — because the plan all along was to shove this down your throat until we give up resistance and accept it as normal — the advocates of men cheating at women’s sports think they have an ace in the hole. The youth vote! Gallup:
However, with younger Americans more supportive of transgender sports participation, more likely to believe changing one’s gender is morally acceptable and more likely than older people to know a transgender person, opinions may eventually shift toward more accepting views.
That next generation is the perennial hope of Democrats. Indeed, progressive designs to shape a generational shift go a long way to explain the intensity of efforts to import woke gender gibberish into the public school curriculum. Turning math class into a pronoun indoctrination session was a key goal of the Long March through the institutions because the children are the future, natch.
After all, young minds who believe in magic and Santa Claus are the easiest to convince that human bodies are a spectrum and puberty is a disease which can be cured. They never, ever grow up, realize that magic isn’t real, and reject magical thinking as a result. This is the actual reasoning. It is motivated by politics and inherently flawed as a result.
A history of this delusion goes back to the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, and the idea among radicals of the 1960s that giving young people the right to vote would radicalize American politics. This approach having failed to produce the expected elctoral outcomes, the youth themselves have become the focus of radicalization in this century.
To be sure, young people are less likely than ever to take part in sports, part of the larger trend towards their smart phones over real life. But what if this plan doesn’t work? Or even works against Democrats? In a recent essay, centrist Democrat and political scientist Ruy Teixeira explains why the youth vote ‘demographics are destiny’ plan has always failed, and continues to fail.
Consider that Democrats carried the two party vote among 18-29 year olds by 36 points in 2018 only to have that margin decline by 12 points in 2020. And that was with Trump on the ballot. Right now, polls tend to show Democratic weakness among young voters moving into the 2024 cycle. In the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, Biden leads Trump by only 11 points among the 18-39 year old age group (which incidentally covers almost all of Millennials and Gen Z). And in the latest Quinnipiac poll, where Biden leads Trump overall, his lead among 18-34 year olds is a mere 5 points.
Teixeira says that “even among pro-Democratic generations (e.g., Millennials and Gen Z), the electoral benefit to the Democrats from their growth can be completely neutralized by shifts against the Democrats within these generations” over time.
Put simply, the plan to have Lia Thomas cheat at sports, and then have young people ratify his achievement later — putting themselves on “the right side of history” etc — was always a long bet against enormous odds, a political suicide pact. Most Democratic lawmakers are married to it, or else fear to criticize it.
Captured by a narrow ideology, unable to comprehend or even acknowledge the truth of the situation, major media outlets blithely court backlash and consequence. The result is a bubble that must eventually burst.
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