Many of you have submitted your thoughts regarding my Op-Ed titled "Utah can work out a place for transgender athletes" which the Salt Lake Tribune published, then deleted within 3 hours on March 17th.
I am posting many of your responses below. Names and cities have been removed for privacy.
On March 17, the Salt Lake Tribune posted my Op-Ed titled, "Utah can work out a place for transgender athletes". After a mere 3 hours, the Tribune removed it, claiming my Op-Ed was "transphobic". https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commentary/2022/03/17/phil-lyman-utah-can-work/
I would like your opinion. You be the Judge. You Decide.
Is my Op-Ed "transphobic"? Or, did the Tribune defer to divisive special interest groups, thereby terminating thoughtful conversations regarding this sensitive issue?
For those of you who missed it, here's my Op-Ed that was both published and deleted on March 17, 2022.
"Utah can work out a place for transgender athletes. There are several organizations that provide a place for LGBTQ youth to participate."
"As a member of Utah’s House of Representatives, a heterosexual, LDS, husband, father of five, and a friend to many in the LGBTQ community, I reject the label of “transphobic” and the accusation of “stomping on trans people” directed at those who do not embrace certain transgender policies that seem fraught with misinformation and political agendas."
"Instead of political theatre, let’s wisely utilize this upcoming summer legislative interim session , and commit to a more robust, honest, and transparent approach to policy issues, including those relating to the LGBTQ community."
"Over the last few years, it seems that we in the Utah Legislature were simply expected to accept many statements and assumptions as fact with little room for questioning.
"Now, it seems, we are expected to embrace, even applaud, biological males, who come out as trans women, as they compete unfairly in sports against biological girls and women."
"A couple of years ago, a legislator might have been laughed out of the room, and his or her resignation demanded, for asking a question such as, “What will happen if at some point a biological male who is a mediocre collegiate swimmer, comes out as a trans woman, joins the women’s swim team, then almost overnight becomes the fastest female swimmer in history as she sets her sights on the Olympics?”"
"But now, of course, instead of such a scenario being preposterous, we are expected to embrace it as our “new normal.”
"I challenge the LGBTQ community, indeed all of us, during this summer interim, to look inward. Are there sports and athletic opportunities and programs that can be enhanced, created or expanded for LGBTQ teens and adults, particularly transgenders?"
"Many parents will be relieved and very pleased to learn of athletic organizations such as Queer Utah Aquatic Club (see Q Salt Lake), International Gay Lesbian Aquatics, the Gay Games and more that already accommodate transgender athletes (example: Barbara Nash) and sports enthusiasts. In fact, the Gay Games website proclaims, “Sports are at the heart of the Gay Games … Every four years the Gay Games welcome over 10,000 athletes in 30+ sports.”
"Local LGBTQ providers such as Encircle, the Utah Pride Center, Equality Utah, and others, whose outreach includes trans teens, can assess the needs and demand for LGBTQ youth sports. These organizations, with their big hearts, their tremendous fundraising capabilities, and prominent supporters such as Apple’s Tim Cook, NBA Legend Dwayne Wade, local billionaire Ryan Smith, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds and many others can expand their existing programs by putting in place sports teams, schedules, coaching, funding, and more to meet the critical sports-centered demands for trans teens."
"I am not opposed to individuals pursuing their “true self,” but I echo Neil Hardin in stating, “This isn’t just about men in women’s sports. These lost opportunities can harm women in other areas of life too. One global survey found that 94% of senior female executives played competitive sports. Destroying girls’ athletic opportunities now can hurt their professional opportunities as adults.”"
"I am very optimistic that by looking inward, having thoughtful and fact-based discussions and expanding our horizons, our LGBTQ organizations can lead by example while still protecting the identity of our young girls and women."
"I am also confident that leaders and donors can meet the apparent demand and need for our LGBTQ youth, especially transgender, as we ensure participation in LGBTQ-sponsored sports programs that will support individuals throughout their life of acceptance, confidence, and health."
"I look forward to this productive summer interim. Please count me in as an active participant."
"State Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, represents District 73 (now 69) in the Utah House of Representatives."
When I asked why my Op-Ed was deleted, the Tribune's response was:
"...The piece we removed was transphobic, in violation of even our own content moderation standards."
This issue was quickly addressed on the Rod Arquette Show and can be heard HERE (starts at minute 34).
My request for information from the Tribune's Executive Editor Lauren Gustus, can be found HERE.
Let me know your thoughts. Is my Op-Ed transphobic or is the Tribune silencing thoughtful dialog on an important issue? firstname.lastname@example.org
thank you for your reply. Please see my comments below in bold italics.
Thanks for reaching out.
Here is link, per your request:
Here is more detail on our comments policy. We should've reviewed your piece - as we should any submission or story we publish - through the lens of this standard:
While disagreements among users are to be expected, the following are not allowed:
-Personal attacks on other users or employees of The Salt Lake Tribune
-Obscenities, vulgarities and profanity
-Hate speech, including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and/or religious bigotry.
-Blatant “trolling” or multiple accounts
The word transgenders violates this policy.
It appears that according to Planned Parenthood, using the word transgender and trans is acceptable https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/gender-identity/transgender/transgender-identity-terms-and-labels
Transgender (sometimes shortened to Trans or Trans*)
A general term used to describe someone whose gender identity is different than the sex assigned at birth. Some people put an asterisk on the end of trans* to expand the word to include all people with nonconforming gender identities and expressions.
Transgender Woman (Trans Woman)
A person whose sex assigned at birth was male but whose gender identity is female.
Additionally, the premise that "biological males" come out as transgender so they can clean up in womens/girls sports is incorrect.
I don't believe that is what I stated. "...who come out as trans women, as they compete unfairly in sports against biological girls and women."
“What will happen if at some point a biological male who is a mediocre collegiate swimmer, comes out as a trans woman, joins the women’s swim team, then almost overnight becomes the fastest female swimmer in history as she sets her sights on the Olympics?”
They are not biological males.
According to Planned Parenthood,
“biological sex” - Assigned sex is a label that you’re given at birth based on medical factors, including your hormones, chromosomes, and genitals. Most people are assigned male or female, and this is what’s put on their birth certificates
They are transgender persons (see more from the AP here). Saying otherwise spreads misinformation.
A quick Google search seems to show that the Salt Lake Tribune uses the words transgender boys, girls, teens, quite often. See:
young transgender boy
Utah transgender teens
I apologize for the frustration we have caused. And, as I understand it from the many conversations I've had with George on this matter over the last week or so, your intent is to engage in a constructive conversation.
I believe Mr. Pyle did a great job working with us on this timely OPED
My intent - our intent - is not to diminish a diversity of perspectives.
I am not sure you accomplished your "intent" by quickly pulling down my OPED and labeling it "transphobic" when it was reviewed multiple times over multiple days by your staff.
We must be able to hold two opposing ideas in our heads, and as you have likely experienced this is becoming more and more difficult for people to do. And so, the decision to remove it was very difficult.
This seems especially true when the acceptable words seem to be somewhat arbitrary .
It was not the conceptual matter you addressed in the op-ed,
This is great to hear. I will submit a Letter to the Editor or OPED that eliminates your stated concerns but retains the "conceptual matter". We will include you in the communications so we make sure there is no confusion at the time it posts.
but the violation of our own comment standards that we could not let stay.
I appreciate your "comment standards", but I am still unsure what is "transphobic" about what I stated.
If you'd like to talk further, please let me know.
I would appreciate the opportunity to connect in person, on this issue or any others.I would enjoy that.
Representative Phil Lyman
Lauren Gustas (Executive Editor SL Trib)
Last week, I sent voters an email titled, “Salt Lake Tribune Alleges Transphobia by Rep. Lyman”.
At the end of my email, I made a simple request of you to “Let me know your thoughts”.
Due to the number of replies and sincere comments, I am posting many of them for you and others to read. For your privacy, I have removed names and email addresses of all submittals.
Dear Mr. Lyman,
I want to compliment you on a very well written, well thought-out op-ed on biologically-male, transgender participation in female sports. And though my beliefs on the subject seem to align with yours, I do feel that the removal, the outright censoring, of your words was wrong…something I guess the other side would disagree with. I truly fear the world of incivility and lack of open-mindedness in which we live!
Well done and well written!
It’s transphobic & sexist.
Thanks for sharing. Sounds fair to me. I also learned several things in this. I did not know about the already existing Queer swim team and the Queer games (Olympic) of sorts.
You know why they pulled it. They did not want to have the public educated on already existing opportunity for trans people to participate. This is about the left forcing us to accept this choice of lifestyle into the norm.
Thanks for sharing and I hope your doing well.
For a segment of society that is such a very small number of people, only an estimated 1.4 million, how did we come to this point where 99.8% of us are being forced to act to appease these people by accepting absurd demands?
There is no reason the transgender women can not have completions between themselves. The acquiescence to their demands can and probably when create other absurd demands. Demands that adults be allowed to compete against children. Demands that rules of sporting events be changed to accommodate differences that they claim do not exist.
The vast majority of Americans have never had any animosity towards these people, at least until they started demanding they be accepted as normal, and started teaching our children to experiment.
Keep fighting against this insanity.
Thanks be to God, from Whom we receive ALL that is good!
Blessings and Grace
Your article does not seem transphobic to me, though my background is similar to yours. It may also be that transgender folks are soar right now because of the new utah law that was passed. For me the issue is a matter of fairness which should consider all parties involved.
Your suggestion that outside organizations can sponsor transgender sports might mean more if it came directly from them rather than from you. Perhaps you can get one of them to write this article.
I feel this is an example of shutting down free speech in the press. I understand they have a price for each word published and at the present time - costs are dear to them.
However, they have not allowed you to have your opinion shared. By not allowing a public figure to share opinions, they deny the public information to base their votes.
The Tribune again shows its colors -- and they are trans-parent.
Thanks for standing up for women's sports and doing the right thing. I contacted my representative several times urging him to support your bill as did hundreds of others. Our young women need to be protected. Thank you for your efforts.
Shame on the Tribune! What’s the point of an opinion page if one can’t express opinions? Particularly opinions held by parents of girls involved in sports across the state? I thought your were comments were respectful, calling for third options and out-of-the-box thinking. if this opinion is so distasteful, then perhaps the Tribune should have just printed a disclaimer next to your piece, indicating they didn’t agree but in the interest of free speech, discourse and good-faith problem solving, were standing by the printing of your Op Ed. No doubt the editors considered this, but opted for the fascist clamping down a free expression instead. What a shame.
Parent of two female athletes
Thanks for the thoughtful op-Ed and expression of your thought and suggestions.
As we seek to find a “reasonable and balanced” way forward, it is important to gather useful opinions from both sides if the trans athlete issue.
The censorship of your thoughts on the matter is disgusting and meant solely to slant the conversation to the editorial view of the Tribune. Unfortunately, it is typical and constant and does not fulfill the purpose of informing the public across the spectrum of important issues that face them.
It is why I trust nothing printed in the Salt Lake Tribune as being in line with my feelings and social choices.
Your op-ed is reasonable and is a major step to engage this troubling issue.
Thanks for your effort and love
Good Grief this world is out of control ! Thank you for fighting the madness- I know this takes a lot of spine and is generally a thankless job. Please keep up the good work there are so many fights that need fighting right now
You are spot on. Thank you for having the convictions and courage to stand up for your and mine ideals.
There is nothing transphobic about any of what you said! It is the Truth!
You simply outlined the fairness between girls and biological boys claiming to be girls.
Hard to believe that our society has come to this level of emotionally poor logic and confusion.
The trans movement is destroying Title IX rights for biological girls.
You've given many options for them to participate in sports activities.
I appreciate what you tried to communicate and I agree with your logic and values. So many of our younger generation (I am 87 years old) do not understand our purpose on earth or have a conviction of God & Christ. Self-discipline is required to conform to Christ teachings and there are more non-believers than believers.
The definition of the term “transphobic” that is being used to remove your article is of recent origin or use and is being used to mean whatever the user wants it to mean for those who choose to not identify as male or female. I agree with your intent that athletic competitions should be confined to those who are male or female or transgender and not to mix the sex identified groups in competitions.
I applaud your efforts and thanks for your conviction and values,
No, I do not think it was transphobic. We need to stand up to our girls and fight for them. This country was built on majority rule with minority rights. Not minority rule and that is what we are turning into. Giving them a separate place to play is the perfect solution. Either that or you will need to start over with a separate space for our girls. This is the reason we have separate sports for boys and girls; even boys who say they are girls still have the body of boys and that is the problem; not who they think they are.
Thank you for standing strong!
This article is thoughtful. This sort of dialog is absolutely necessary to maintain a free, safe, and thriving society
I 100% applaud your thoughtful perspective. I agreed ,lets find and support sports for trans athletes without crushing the rights of woman. Woman have fought and will continue to fight for their opportunity to participate in sports. Trans athletes can also have their rights and opportunities to participate in sports without it devastating another. These woman and girls aren’t being prejudice or restrictive , they haven’t done anything wrong. Trans athletes can also compete in a field that allows them to succeed without crushing another.
Thank you for expressing thoughtful insight. I agree the Tribune is squellching important dialog.
I appreciate the information you have shared about other support for transgenders, as well as for the young women who are dedicated and passionate about their goals in sports, only to have that hard work trampled by transgender males.
Your stance was not 'phobic' of anything. In fact, in my view, it didn't go far enough.
If anyone is phobic it's the Trib's editors, who seem to be intimidated by a radical, truth-denying agenda, and willing to stomp on the basic right of free speech and free thought in their obeisance to it.
I'm a state delegate and though I don't reside in your district, I have to agree there's nothing in your op-ed that should offend anyone, but welcome to today's "cancel culture." Deletion of your piece is just another example of the LGBTQ community's intolerance of anyone's opinion that differs from their own -- all the while demanding total acceptance themselves.
The legislature's override of Governor Cox's veto of recent legislation designed to protect the integrity of women's sports was clearly the right thing to do. Why the Governor vetoed such commonsense legislation is a mystery, but it reveals his own liberal agenda -- for which I hope he pays at the polls.
Your Op-Ed was great, well thought out, and inclusive of many groups. It’s ridiculous the Salt Lake Tribune deleted it. We support you!
I don’t think it was transphobic at all.
Thank you for standing up for women and me. I DO NOT WANT TRANSGENDERS IN WOMEN’S SPORTS! Hang in there, the Trib wants unvaccinated people, me, locked in our homes or in concentration camps. The Trib is basically a left wing.
First, I am not in your district.
However, this is the battle for the moment. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the spirit of your op-ed, I do take issue with you and most of your Republican colleagues (and most republicans in general) mis-use of our language. There is no such thing as a ‘trans’ man or woman, period. In this state and country, you have the freedom to call yourself whatever you choose, rightly so.
However, when you cross the line into forcing me to use your language to describe how you feel, we’re at a hard stop. That’s what is happening around the country and our state. Frankly, I’m tired of it. There are TWO genders and facts don’t care about your feelings.
We, as republicans, are losing the battle over language because we are continually capitulating to the woke mob. It’s time to stand up, call balls and strikes and stop using their re-defined language.
While no one should be mistreated, we do not have to play into their delusions about sex, gender, etc….
“Stand up straight with your shoulders back and speak the truth. There is nothing more noble.” – Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
You are "Spot On". Keep up the good fight.
I enjoyed your thoughts expressed in your op-Ed article. I believe every young person should have the right to participate in sporting events, but not biological males participating in women’s sports. I was heartsick at what happened in NCAA swimming this past year. How disappointing and frustrating for the young women who were robbed of awards because this young man believed he was a female and allowed to participate against biological women. I agree that if the transgender crowd wants to participate in sporting events they need to participate with other transgender athletes
I don’t know you and you don’t know me. In fact, we’ll probably never meet, but I believe, after reading your Op-Ed article, that the Tribune should not have deleted it but should have allowed and promoted the free flow of discussion that would follow as more people read the article.
The first thing I have to say about this is, that people are too sensitive these days and it seems to get in the way at every turn. I don't trans athletes should play sports with the opposite sex. That being said I do believe that there should be a place for them without being unfair to our female athletes in junior high or high school.
However, I believe that by the time they reach college they have enough life experience to understand having transgender athletes on their teams. I truly think the issue is too much for young kids to deal with and that they shouldn't be forced to. I would be glad to work with you to come up with ways to do this that aren't detrimental to our youth.
I can sympathize with you, but I also understand parents who don't want their kids to deal with it. It has nothing to do with hate but more to do with parents believing that if their kids are to learn about this it's their job to teach them, not some admin at that board of education or a teacher who thinks they know better than the parents.
For these issues, I am on the parent's side and I truly believe that things related to sex and gender are the parent's domain.
I hope I have helped you with this.
I think your article was very fair and what needed to be said. You pointed out that there are several options.
Things have gotten out of hand. If we don't agree with another's point of view then we are called all kinds of names. Like you said, a few years ago you would have been deemed crazy to suggest these kinds of demands would be happening in our society.
I'm thankful to the legislators who overturned Cox's veto. I hope that all of you will continue to do things that are morally right and constitutional.
The rhetoric and divided nature or certain topics, in this case Transgender Rights, have become so toxic that it is very hard to have a frank and open discussion about many aspects of the impact of the demands being made on society in relation to expected outcomes for this group (and there are so many permutations of what individuals think of as Transgender, that I’m not sure it is a very descriptive term or an appropriate short cut to paste on many who are identify as Transgender).
Given the current climate and take-it-or-be-shamed for having a differing view, belief or desired outcome mentality. I’m of the opinion that to have many of the costs and issues for non-transgender women (notice we are not talking about non-transgender males being disadvantaged here), are going to need to be the subject of a number of laws suits that make it to the supreme court to get a real dialog and have them be worked out. The outcomes may not even then take into account reality and biology. You just can't make an XY into an XX. With current technology it is just a physical impossibility and ignoring that fact to try and accommodate any individual or group is going to lead to issues that are baffling and have far reaching effects on our society.
The biggest issue here for me is not even really LGBTQ related. It is a fundamental life view. There are individuals who believe that the thing we should be focused on is making more opportunity for everyone and putting our time, energy and focus into that endeavor, and there are others who believe that we should be focusing on making the outcomes equal for everyone. They are fundamentally and diametrically opposed and the groups are going to agree on very little over time (hence my thoughts on the court cases).
My personal opinion is that the outcomes based group has created significant inroads, by creating and fostering entitlement programs in our government and intend to continue to do this to achieve their agenda. This agenda in part is to control the lives of others and their pocket books in a more significant manner, because they feel they know better than anyone else what is good for all of us.
For me it is a fundamental theft of our freedoms of press and religion primarily, but also many other constitutional rights are being impinged and curtailed as a result.
In the case you have approached, the entire structure or women’s sports will be dismantled as a result of the current acceptance of Male Transgender athletes participating in women’s sports. The incentive for women to compete in these sports will be so significantly reduced that the numbers will fall to a point that these sports will be unsustainable.
Title IV will insist that there be as much funding go into women’s college sports as male college sports and then male college sports will be dismantled as well, to bring the level of men’s college sports down to the level of the decimated women’s college sports and everyone will lose in the long run.
Denying that biology has any bearing on the issues we are facing is naive and disingenuous at best. Labeling this fact as somehow Transphobic is an insult to people's intelligence and ability to reason. Those who are unwilling to have a dialog about something in a robust and significant manner are typically not sure in their position and logic, seeking to gain ground by bullying, vs. logic, reason and fact.
I thought your article was very will written and proposed options that should be acceptable to all. As the a girls High School Tennis Coach and a mother of two daughters who are also athletes, I appreciate this statement:
I am very optimistic that by looking inward, having thoughtful and fact-based discussions and expanding our horizons, our LGBTQ organizations can lead by example while still protecting the identity of our young girls and women
I agree with this statement. I believe that thoughtful conversations should be allowed to help all involved. We should be trying to unit and find a solution. You put out some very good solutions.
Keep up the fight!
I rarely see the Tribune represent two sides Of a debate. I appreciate your position. Hold strong to it. Claiming to protect the LGBTQ small community while ignoring how this can drastically impact the much larger number of girl’s sports, is unfair to all those biological girls. Their rights have to be honored also.
Dear Rep. Lyman,
Thank you for reaching out re The SLTrib's allegations of "Transphobia". They are wrong. Your comments seemed, if anything, too transphyllic.
It is an error to try to please the MSM.
They represent maybe 10% of Utah beliefs. If they hate you, I love you.
Good luck in your political aspirations.
I do not think the Tribune dropped your editorial because it was transphobic. On the contrary, it was clearly kind for those who choose to be the opposite gender. The Tribune did not initially hesitate to publish your piece, right? So why the sudden rejection? In my opinion it was dropped when a staffer pointed out that Phil Lyman held the highest conservative score in the Utah Legislature. The far left S.L. Tribune had no desire to exalt anyone of high stature on the political right. So they dropped YOU Phil, not your very thoughtful dialog.
I completely agree with you. Your piece was thoughtful and supportive.
Your article, in my view was not transphobic …
Your article is a reasonable approach to a difficult subject. Trans & LGBTQ activists have poisoned reasonable discussion..
I hope & pray your opinion will have a positive effect on legislative discussions & decisions…
Thank you for your efforts
I don't believe your letter to the SLC Tribune was transphobic. Nevertheless, not being a politician, I'm not as tolerant on the LGBTQ issue as your Tribune editorial suggests you are.
I do not see transphobic in your op-ed in the least. What I seen was you reaching out respectfully offering to be part of a discussion to find solutions to the dilemma of transgender youth.
The reason it was called transphobic by the Tribune editorial board is, in my opinion, because you did not go all in on the left’s assertion that gender is user defined. You were respectful and kind. But you did not deny the absolute truth of gender; that it is biological and anatomical.
I offer this as proof. A few years back, a coworker discovered a human skull near Woodside ( between Green River and Price). Emery county sheriffs department responded. The skull was the only thing found. Testing showed it to be a WOMAN in her late twenties or early thirties who died about 600 years ago. Gender is not fluid. Men and women are different. Biologically and anatomically. I do believe we must be kind and loving with everyone. But we cannot deny absolute truth in so doing. I believe you struck that balance in your op-ed. Unfortunately, those who do not fall in lock step with the woke left will be “cancelled”.
If I can be of assistance, let me know.
Thanks for sharing this. This appears to be the typical leftist media response to things that they don't want the public to know. What happened to the freedom of speech that they tout when they want something?
Copyright © 2022 Lyman for Utah - All Rights Reserved.