Are the stakes zero? In general, people attach non-zero value to enjoying equal rights to participation in recreation.
Let's consider an alternative scenario: A league that excludes non-white people, as opposed to transgender people. My goal here is not to argue whether discrimination against transgender people is or isn't exactly equivalent to racial discrimination (that's very much a matter of controversy, one that is ancillary to my immediate point) but to argue that discrimination in sports can matter even if sports in and of themselves have dubious significance.
Anyway, if a friend asked me to donate to their kid's all-white sports league, I would decline. Just about all decent people would (assuming they knew of the policy, it wasn't just "Hey, my kid's in this league, wanna donate?" with no mention of the policy). In fact, most people would start re-evaluating whether they want to remain friends with that parent. Regardless of whether one did or didn't give a shit about sports, that league is just not something that most people would want to support. Conversely, if the league wasn't discriminatory, even people who don't care about sports might donate because they care about their friend's kid and want to support their endeavors.
Now, at this point there are two obvious side-tracks that we could take: One is that we could invoke Libertarianism 101 and say that the league ought to enjoy a free association right. But that gets us nowhere, because the Libertarianism 101 argument is that the government shouldn't coerce the league to open up, not that everyone else should think this league is great. Besides, Libertarianism 101 also says that we have a free association right to decide not to support that league if we have a value system that opposes what they're doing. The other thing we could do (which hasn't happened yet, but often does happen here) is turn this into a bunch of "is" statements about civil rights law as it currently exists. But my hypothetical assumes a world where we have to make a choice.
So, exclusionary practices in sports leagues can be subjected to moral critiques even by people who don't like sports, because they might wish to support their friend's kid's activities out of personal fondness, and then they have to weigh their desire to support the kid against their moral judgment of the policy.
Leagues that exclude transgender people do exist and are the subjects of critiques. Those of us who were going to support friends or relatives or students or whoever in their leagues need to decide whether or not we approve of these exclusions, and if we disapprove strongly enough to outweigh our desire to support our friends or relatives in their endeavors.
If the neighborhood recreational league excludes transgender people, I'm inclined to say that's a bad thing. If a more serious competitive women's league excludes transgender people, well, the advocates for such exclusions have their own fairness argument, involving sexual dimorphism and the purpose of sex segregation in elite competition (as opposed to casual fun). These things need to be weighed.
Unless you not only don't care about sports but also don't care about supporting the recreational activities of friends and family. Which is, of course, valid, but it's not an argument that's going to really help anyone else resolve the dilemmas if they don't share your preferences. Once somebody answers "Oh, come on, who cares?" with "I do, for reasons that are good enough for me" then there's not much point in continuing with "It doesn't matter."
Last edited by thoreau
on 09 Aug 2019, 01:46, edited 1 time in total.
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