"Gender crossing" in high school sports must be stopped!

Crackdown follows girl's big win in boys tennis championship.

By Katharine Mieszkowski
April 21, 2006 9:38PM (UTC)
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Yesterday, Broadsheet noted that a teenage girl won a boys tennis championship in Pennsylvania. Just one day after Annie Houghton's win, league officials congratulated her on her achievement, while taking steps to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. (Thanks to Broadsheet reader Bethany L. Ruhe for the tip.)

Officials from Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League asked school administrators to come up with new rules to prevent such "gender crossing" in the future, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think that the concern isn't so much with girls playing boys' sports. It's the other way, with boys playing girls' sports," the league president, Rich Constantine, told the newspaper. Recently, some boys in the region have taken up girls volleyball and girls field hockey.


Still, it's puzzling why the high-profile victory of a girl in a boys tennis championship so urgently reminds officials that the fairer sex really needs to be protected from competing with boys. Is Houghton giggling into her trophy about the irony right now?

UPDATE: Broadsheet readers, who are debating in letters whether girls should be allowed to play on boys teams and vice versa, won't want to miss this moving profile in today's Los Angeles Times. Natasha Smith, now a 19-year-old high school baseball player, languished unloved in an orphanage in Russia until age 10 when she was adopted, moved to Southern California and grew up to be a shortstop. Warning: tear-jerker alert.

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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