In the Aug. 21 Opinion Exchange, Beth Stelzer paints a grim picture of men invading women’s sports and how it “tears a woman down” (“We must save women’s sports for women”). Who wouldn’t be outraged? But it’s only halfway through her piece that it’s clear she’s really talking about transgender women — and while “men” and “males” appear numerous times, the word “transgender” never does. But doesn’t that change the character of the whole issue?

Trans women aren’t just popping a few hormone pills so they can steal a win they couldn’t have pulled off against men. Taking hormones is a yearslong process intended to relieve a psychologically painful discord between our bodies and our minds — in part by typically reducing our ability to gain and retain muscle and bone mass. Biology isn’t as simple as having a permanent advantage because you spent the first couple decades of your life with a different hormone mix. And most of the trans women Stelzer obliquely refers to are teenagers, so many of them are not going through the testosterone-dominated puberty that Stelzer calls “a natural advantage.”

In short, this isn’t the simple “men oppressing women” narrative that Stelzer portrays. While she should be proud of her exceptional discipline and achievements, trans girls and women need a fair and inclusive way to find empowerment through sports just like she has.

Erika von Kampen, Minneapolis

• • •

Thank you so much for printing Stelzer’s powerful commentary about keeping women’s sports for females. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age we are still fighting for girls and women to have their own sports. Brave women like Stelzer should inspire all of us to speak up for fairness and common sense in the face of bullying. (If you don’t call 90 minutes of shouting at female athletes at a women’s sporting event “bullying,” then I don’t know what your definition is.)

Catherine Walker, Minneapolis

• • •

I was startled while reading “We must save women’s sports for women” and hearing about a movement to have men compete in women’s sports, only to discover buried in the sludge that the writer meant trans women. Someone should have edited each use of the word men to trans women, and then she could just say she didn’t think we were really women. It’s an opinion I don’t share, but at least it would be clear.

I continue to read J.K. Rowling, and I will root for Stelzer in her sport, but call me a trans woman, fake woman, or a very pretty AMAB (“assigned male at birth”) presenting as female, but not a man. Thanks.

Casstinna Hanson, Columbia Heights

• • •

To Stelzer and others who agree with her, I would like to point out the sex equality in athletics solution in Minnesota.

Minnesota Statue 121A.04 requires integration of all programs for children below sixth grade. The important section (Subdivision 3d) says, “If two teams are provided in the same sport, one of these teams may be restricted to members of a sex whose overall athletic opportunities have previously been limited, and members of either sex shall be permitted to try out for the other team.”

This is a non-gender-discriminatory, specific way to allow women on the men’s hockey team but keep men off the women’s hockey or volleyball team. I am not sure what interpretation needs to be done for the cases of transgender athletes.

Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis

The writer is a former state representative and was author of the law.


On to next week’s show

The inclusive and diverse Democratic National Convention is over, ending with an outstanding speech from Joe Biden embracing hope (“Despite obstacles, DNC is a success,” editorial, Aug. 21). It is now on to the noninclusive, nondiverse, pasty-white Republican convention, where I am sure President Donald Trump’s speech at the end will most likely contain lies and hate.

Martin flasher, Minneapolis

• • •

Contrary to the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s opinion, the Democratic Party’s convention was quite lame. The futile attempt to make their candidates more exciting failed because those speaking were straining to accomplish that while promoting themselves. Biden at his best is bad enough, but Kamala Harris was a big zero, as evidenced by her lack of Democratic support through the lead-up to the primary vote. Very few Democrats wanted her to become a candidate for president, and now she would become president if Biden, if he were to win the election, doesn’t complete his term — a very likely event. Makes no sense.

Keith Behnke, Eagan

• • •

I applaud S.E. Cupp’s commentary in Friday’s Star Tribune (“I’m voting for Biden to make America good again,” Opinion Exchange). Having watched her present a conservative point of view on many TV shows, she has done what our Republican enablers in Congress have not done. She has stayed true to her moral compass, regardless of her party affiliation, and called out Trump for his moral and ethical failures.

Warren Blechert, Brooklyn Park

• • •

After reading Scott Martelle’s commentary titled “Is ‘Never Trump’ a strong enough platform?” (Opinion Exchange, Aug. 20) I would like to point out that “Never Trump” is a phrase and a platform that extends far beyond simple hatred for our current president.

While hatred for Trump himself is not enough to drive voters to vote for Biden, as Martelle pointed out in his article, hatred for Trump’s decisions and a general hope that Biden (or, before the official nomination announcement, any Democratic nominee) will make different ones, specifically regarding the current pandemic, is.

Also, “Never Trump” is not a phrase that Democrats are trying to use to sway independent voters; it is a phrase and a platform that is mostly being used to remind those who are already staunch Democrats (think the so-called Bernie bros from 2016) that Biden is ultimately the next best option to their former presidential candidate of choice.

Nora Hart, Edina

• • •

I went and browsed the presidential candidates’ websites. On the Biden/Harris site, if you opted to make a donation, you were taken to a page where you had to select a donation amount and the option to make a one-time or weekly donation was preselected to one-time. As you scroll down, the applicable rules for making a donation are displayed.

On the Trump/Pence site, the donation amount was preselected to $100, and the option to automatically make it a monthly donation was also preselected. In addition, an option to make a special one-time donation for the GOP convention was also preselected. The rules governing campaign donations were hidden in the fine print.

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a candidate by visiting their website.

Jim Wacek, Rogers

• • •

In 2016, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic processes.” In 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin is continuing Russia’s effort to erode American faith in our democracy, and Trump is assisting Putin by telling us that the presidential election will be a hoax, rigged and fraudulent.

There are many things wrong with Trump, but possibly the worst is that he would rather we lose faith in our electoral process than accept defeat.

Mark H. O’Neill, St. Michael, Minn.



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