COLUMN: What happened to decency?

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California law takes insanity to new depths

By John Herndon

Just when you think things can't go any lower, you realize they are.

In case you missed it, the state of California recently passed a law that allows student-athletes who identify themselves as transgender to choose which sex-segregated athletic teams they desire.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last week.

Really. I am not making this up. I wish I were.

Athletics are not the only thing covered under the law as it allows transgender students to choose which school locker rooms and bathrooms to use.

Words cannot describe the insanity of such a law, which I first read about on the Schooled in Sports blog on the Education Week website.

The new California provision reads, “(f) A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”

Really, that law passed in California. It is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Un. Be. Lieve. Able.

I have been getting paid to write about sports since 1985 and make no apologies that I am heavy on the games at the high school level. I thought I had seen it all until I read about this lunacy.

Thank goodness I live in Kentucky, where we are so “backward” I seriously doubt something this “progressive” would even get off the ground.

Let me say that over the years, I have seen female athletes who I believe could compete with males. That is especially true in non-contact sports, but I have seen girls' basketball players who I think could hold their own with the guys. Several years ago, a girl wrestler medaled at the Kentucky state wrestling tournament.

But let's face it. That is the exception rather than the norm. Usually, when the games are the same, the male version of sports are faster paced, more physical and played by bigger people than the female version. If you don't believe me, check out the world records in track and field, then let me know the result.

That being said, I could actually come around to girls playing boys' sports, even at the high school level. If a girl can slam dunk or run for a touchdown, so be it. Nothing should deny her the opportunity. The girl wrestler who medaled at the state tournament several years ago underscored this belief.

But playing on the field is much different than allowing someone to choose the locker rooms and bathrooms he will use.

During my writing career, I have been in many locker rooms. Guys are changing clothes, coming out of showers and the like. Over the last few years, I just began to usually wait outside the locker room to talk with a player. It just seems more professional and respectful.

And I am old-fashioned enough to believe the privacy of the locker room should not be violated.

Another Education Week blog, Rules for Engagement, pointed out that Massachusetts has a similar law and that school administrators are to talk with kids who are not comfortable with a transgender person sharing a locker room or rest room.

In other words, if common decency bothers you, you are the one with the problem.

Thankfully, this law is not even close to Kentucky. I doubt it would ever be passed in our state. At least not in my lifetime, it wouldn't. My only fear would be the federal government getting involved and mandating insanity for all 50 states.

From this corner, high school sports are wonderful educational tools. So many life lessons can be learned through sports, but insane political agendas need to be left on the sideline.

Better yet, keep them out of the arena all the time.


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