Lance Armstong, a cisgender man and notorious cheater with, as far as I can tell, no training in anything related to endocrinology, biology, or gender-affirming care, has some thoughts on the fairness of transgender women competing in women’s sports. On a related note, irony died today.
Armstrong took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the “debate” over trans women competing in sports against cisgender women. If you’re wondering what Lance Armstrong could possibly add to a bullshit “conversation” that is designed to distract from actual problems and is leading to the marginalization of trans kids across the country, you’re not alone.
Where to even start?
It’s not so much that Armstrong is perhaps the biggest disgraced cheater in the history of sports. It’s not so much that he allegedly threatened to destroy the careers of anyone who accused of him cheating, knowing damn well that he was, in fact, a cheater. It’s not so much that Armstrong appears to have zero remorse for his actions and even seems indignant that he has to keep answering for the con job he pulled on the entire world. And it’s not so much his stunning lack of self-awareness that he thinks people want to hear from him on any issue whatsoever, though of course all of that contributed to the collective international eye roll when his tweets went up.
I can’t remember a time when Lance Armstrong voiced support for women’s sports. Certainly nothing loud enough to make the news. A quick Google search for “Lance Armstrong + women’s sports” turns up a list of stories about his upcoming podcast on trans women in sports, multiple stories about all the women he’s dated in his lifetime, and very little else. Yet Armstrong seems to feel thinks that his voice is the one the women’s sports community is eager and willing to hear from.
Then there’s Armstrong’s assumption that he, as a cis man, has some sort of expertise in the area of women’s sports and trans women’s place therein...by virtue of his experience with cheating? Because he’s simply a famous man who still thinks his voice matters on every issue? When was the last time you thought to yourself on anything, “You know whose opinion I’d love to get on this topic? Lance Armstrong’s.”
(I’ll be honest, I had no idea Armstrong had a podcast, much less that people listened to it. And take a look at some of the people he’s had on it: Chris Bosh. Charles Barkley. Matthew McConaughey. Tony Robbins (actually, that one tracks). Neil deGrasse Tyson?? YOU BROKE MY HEART, NATHANIEL RATELIFF!)
And here’s the real problem with the “debate” about trans women in sports: Far too many people with far too little scientific knowledge and zero investment in women’s sports are dying to share their uninformed opinion. If you think that’s untrue, do yourself a favor and read some of the transcripts of floor debates in state legislatures around the country on bills banning trans girls from taking part in youth sports with their peers. It’s the political version of the Grimace shake: Something new and shiny the right can dangle in front of their base to demonize public schools and scream about how kids are identifying as cats or whatever insane and totally devoid of facts fable they’re pushing this week.
Meanwhile, the Trevor Project found in a 2022 survey that more than half of nonbinary and trans kids considered attempting suicide in the past year. And that’s not because they are inherently more prone to risk, but because of “how they are mistreated and stigmatized by society.”
And let’s be honest with ourselves, Armstrong has never evidenced any deep-seated concern for women’s sports until he saw a chance to use it to promote his podcast. And he’s doing it on the backs of some of the most marginalized girls and women in this country. I’m sure no one in Armstrong’s inner circle has said this to him, so allow me: No one cares about your opinion on this, Lance.
That trans women competing in women’s sports has become such an issue in this country is a disgrace. Lance Armstrong using it to somehow claw his way back into the public’s eye and good graces is disgusting. Doesn’t he have an Oprah interview to flub somewhere?