I am compelled to respond to recent opinion articles by Tony Bender and area medical professionals regarding HB 1298. This legislation would prevent people who self-identify as a gender different than that assigned at birth from participating in state-funded sports exclusive to males or females. Simply put, if you were born a male you can’t compete in exclusively-female sports, and vice versa.

There are a number of reasons why this legislation is necessary. Neurological, sociological, environmental and psychological differences between the sexes have been observed in thousands of scientific studies. However, I’ll stick to the most obvious and relevant contrasts, and those are the physical differences between genders. Here are just two documented examples: A strength and endurance study found that male muscles are generally faster and have higher maximum power output than female muscles. Female muscles are generally more fatigue resistant and recover faster. There are major differences between female and male muscles, including differences in energy metabolism, fiber type composition, and contractile speed. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 287: E1125–E1131, 2004

In a study involving 312 children (10.8 ± 0.4 years), a physical fitness assessment used sets of aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility, speed, agility and balance. The boys presented higher values in all selected tests, except tests of balance and flexibility, in which girls scored better. Marta CCetal. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jul;26(7):1756-66.

In short, this legislation is not about punishing transgender people. It is about maintaining fairness in state-funded athletics.

Larry Gerhardson lives in West Fargo.

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