Transgender athletes sweep races

Below is a tweet in which two of the first three winners in the “girls'” 100m dash in a Connecticut competition were transgender women, one of whom, at least, apparently hadn’t begun to transition either physically or hormonally.  The Connecticut Post reports on the result and the issue:

The results of the CIAC State Open track and field championships would show that Terry Miller won the 100-meter dash in a meet record time of 11.72 seconds.

The results would show that Miller, the sophomore from Bulkeley High School in Hartford, won the 200-meter dash in a meet record time of 24.17 seconds.

Only the story is not easy. The story remains as one of the most difficult and complex in state athletic history.

To deny a transgender athlete the chance to compete is wrong in every way. To deny a teenage transgender athlete the opportunity to compete sends the kind of message that lowers the standards of humanity. Those wrestling with gender and sexual identity at this delicate age are especially prone to drug use and suicide.

No sport is worth ruining lives. None.

Yet to have watched Cromwell’s Andraya Yearwood, before any sort of hormonal treatment, win the Class M sprint titles last year left one convinced that the competitive field in the state championships was not even.

And to watch Miller, who competed on the boys team during the winter indoor season,dominate the sprints Monday as a girl left one convinced the competitive field remained uneven.

Well, this is an issue that society will have to do something about. But what? I’ve discussed this before, and discussed the Olympics’s solution of using hormone levels, which is imperfect in several ways.  But there are even bigger problems with the welter of different state regulations in the U.S. about how transgender people can compete—indeed, even the way “transgender” is construed. In Connecticut, where first and second place went to transgender women in the race above, “self identification” is the rule, so you can be a fully biological male, not having transitioned in any way, and enter a race if you say you identify as a women. Other states are more stringent: Texas, for instance, insists that you compete as the gender given on your birth certificate.

Both seem problematic.  Surely there is something unfair about the above: in which transgender women who are physically men, by virtue of greater strength, clean up in a women’s athletic event by “self-identifying” as women. That may well be true and not just a ploy, but the problem is not psychology but physicality. A liberal response would be “the civil rights of gender self-identification outweighs the disappointment of non-transgender losers.” But that answer doesn’t satisfy me. The unfairness is deep and pervasive, and “self-identification” seems a dubious solution.

Hormones or attempts to transition, on the other hand, while they seem fairer, have problems, too. What hormonal titer in a transgender woman, regardless of surgery or chemical treatment, puts her on a level playing field with non-transgender women? How would you even determine that? I can’t imagine. Still, that’s what the Olympics does; here’s their standard for competing as a woman athlete in the Olympics:

“the athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L [nanomoles per liter] for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).”

Yet they have no data that I can see that this standard “minimizes any advantage in women’s competition.” It’s a judgment call—granted, a better judgment call than using “whatever you identify with.” In my earlier post, I laid out the questions below, but I’m starting to think that, if we have no way of determining how treatment of transgender women can “level the playing field”, then perhaps there should be three categories of competition rather than the two of “men” and “women” (the issue of transgender men competing in male competitions isn’t as pressing). As I wrote then:

I don’t know enough about this issue to have strong opinions, as it involves negotiating a complex welter of issues, including scientific ones (how strong is the evidence that testosterone gives one an advantage?), philosophical and social ones (should we allow some to self-identify as one gender or another without testing? Is external female genitalia, as in Semenya’s case, sufficient to allow her to be identified as a women?), and moral ones (Should everybody be allowed to compete, and, if so, how many classes of competition should we have?). The only question I’m pretty firm on is that everyone should be allowed to compete, even if there are hormone thresholds. It would be horrible if someone who wanted to be an athlete couldn’t compete simply because of biological accidents of birth affecting their primary and secondary sexual characteristics.

So here are the questions at hand:

  • Should there be any testing of athletes, or should they simply be allowed to compete based on self-identification of gender? (This would, of course, mostly affect women’s sports; some say it would destroy women’s sports.)
  • If not, how many categories of competition do we want? The traditional men’s and women’s sports, or an intermediate category? (The latter would, of course, cause huge problems.)
  • If we don’t accept self-identification and want to retain traditional “men’s” and “women’s” sports, how do we determine the category in which an athlete belongs?
  • If the identification is based on hormones, can we set limits, as the IOC has done, to demarcate the classes? If we don’t use hormones, how do we classify?

As transgenderism becomes more common in Western society—and it will—the issue of how it should be treated in sports will become more important. Of course, that’s a different issue from how transgender people should be treated in society, for all decent-thinking people agree that they should be treated the same as everyone else.  But there’s that annoying thing about biological difference—most prominently manifested as upper-body strength—that cannot be waved away as simply a “social construct.”


  1. Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Any athlete knows the competitive advantage of physical attributes whether they be biological or chemically induced.

    Transgenders should be treated exactly as other people, but in athletics, it is clearly not fair, just like PEDs (performance enhancing drugs).

  2. Fat Bastard
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Good grief!

    That reminds me of an episode of Southpark where Cartman pretended to be retarded to take the trophies in the paralympics but still lost.

    Life imitates Southpark.

    • XCellKen
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking the same thing while reading this article.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I would think it should be a separate class if they are going to compete. Let us ask a separate question. In the transgender society how many compete in sports in the male competition?

    • kyuss
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      In short – none. No person who has gone through puberty as a woman can compete against a real man at the top level of athletics.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        That is not true in all sports, of course.

        • barn owl
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

          Yep. In most equestrian sports, men and women compete in the same events.

          • Adam M.
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

            Isn’t the horse the athlete in those sports? 🙂

            • Jon Gallant
              Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

              Except for those cases where the horse is a human trans-horse.

            • barn owl
              Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

              Of course! It’s a partnership. But for any doubters regarding the skill and athleticism of the human partner, we can always send them over a jump on the cross country course.

              And I’m pretty sure this would last for only ONE jump. 😉

              • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

                Hell, I dare ANYONE who is not a trained athlete to try to ride a race horse. You’re not just a passenger.

                TBH, horses scare hell out me. We are SO lucky they aren’t carnivorous.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

              Isn’t the car the athlete in car racing? 🙂

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

                Glad you asked that. Of course it is. But men seem to dominate in motorsport too, for (presumably) non-physical reasons. One would think that the lighter weight of women would give them a (small) advantage. And – in most car classes and competitions – physical strength is not a consideration, though stamina may be.

                As a counter-example, I’ll link to Michele Mouton driving the fearsome Audi Quattro up Pikes Peak (a piece of machinery that would scare the daylights out of me on that road).

                A great pity such examples are so rare.


              • phil
                Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

                Not entirely. Motor racing can be a physically demanding activity for drivers. It isn’t like driving down to pick up the groceries just at a higher speed.

                I’ve heard that an F1 driver might lose about 10 litres of fluid during a race. In the mean time they have to remain very alert for the duration of the race (maybe nearly two hours), in an environment of fairly high temperature, high vibration and noise, and unnaturally high g forces. Meanwhile one small mistake in split second timing for the entire time could result in disaster or death.

                In the bad old days when vinyl covered bench seats were the standard in the front of cars, stock car racers had to do it without the luxury of having their bum stay put in the corners.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted June 9, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

                @phil –

                Your point is partly correct. Racing or rallying can demand considerable endurance or stamina, depending on the event. But – unlike some decades ago – strength is not at a premium. Power steering and brakes have taken most of the physical effort out of handling a car. What is required is total concentration, a ‘feel’ for the balance of the car and an ability to ‘read’ the surface of the road.

                (Re bench seats, I once autocrossed my father’s Vauxhall PA Cresta, which was ridiculous (my own Austin-Healey was U/S) – I hoped it was entertaining ‘cos it sure wasn’t under control.)


            • Posted June 11, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

              I asked a friend from years back who is really into equestrian (as a participant) and is a horse fanatic. She told me that it is sort of a combination effort – think doubles tennis.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I am not mentioning or asking in the competition sense, I could not care about that. I am only asking if it happens the other way round. I am also not saying at “the top level of athletics”. That, I assume would be unlikely.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      It’s not about competition though, it’s more about affirmation. If there were no physical advantages to being male-bodied I’d guess transwomen would still compete as women because even coming last in a woman’s race would still be affirmation that they were women.

      • Alex
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

        Affirmation?! There are countless men and women out there for who sports are their life, their passion, their livelihood. It’s all they live and breath for.
        For some bimbo to come around, mess everything for all those that have poured blood and tears in their training to be able to compete fairly, and use this just for affirmation sounds absolutely disgusting to me.
        If someone is serious about sports, they’ll compete where it best suits their physiology. And anyone who uses these competitions for politics or other selfish endeavors, such as their entitled affirmation, deserves to be kicked out.

        • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          I agree, but it is difficult to find a legal ground to kick them out.

  4. Liz
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I competed in track for three years in high school as a sprinter, jumper, and thrower. I’d occasionally do an 800 as a fourth person in a relay. Transgendered people definitely should be treated as equals in all other ways. In sports, however, self-identification leaves out the physical part. The hormone testing like in the Olympics sounds good. I don’t really see how she is competing with the girls before she physically transitioned.

  5. kyuss
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    This is a joke. No MtF transsexual should be allowed to compete in athletics against real women – it’s simply not fair.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      For every Gordian-knot-like problem, there is an Alexander-like solution that is simple, concise — and wrong.

      • Fat Bastard
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Are you channeling Mencken?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          I recalled a similar construction about complex problems (minus my Macedonian overlay), but forgot that Mencken was its source, though I’m happy to sample the Sage of Baltimore every chance I get. 🙂

    • kyuss
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Intersex athletes like Caster Semenya also shouldn’t be allowed to compete in the same events as real women.

      • Adam M.
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Especially since Semenya is male (having a Y chromosome, testes, no uterus, womb, or ovaries, etc), and winning all the records formerly held by women… Semenya should compete with the men.

        • Simon
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          And she is of course, in South Africa, held up as a victim of those Western bullies trying to hold down the African hero.

    • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      To me, it is also not fair than physically intact MtF transsexuals are let into our locker rooms and bathrooms. But it seems that as soon as transgender “women” appear, we real women are relegated to second- or third-class status.

      • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Hared to buck established tradition. There are some MtF’s who feel the right to be part of everything female. Including groups that discuss problems with menstrual cycles, and pregnancy, breast-feeding, etc.

  6. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This is a really difficult problem to address. As a former competitive athlete I can understand the point of view of the biological women who must face competition in events where biological males have a clear advantage. On the other hand, transgender people deserve to be treated with respect and without discrimination.

    You can find versions of this issue arising in disabled athletics, as some athletes are considerably more (or less) disabled than others competing in the same sport.

    There is no easy way around this. Nevertheless, in sport class restrictions are common place; lightweight boxers don’t have to face heavyweights, cat 3/4 bicycle racers don’t compete against cat 1/2 racers.

    Perhaps a class can be established where both biological sex AND testosterone (for example) can be used to determine where you can compete – if you have a Y chromosome and your testosterone levels are above a threshold (there’s the rub), you compete with the men no matter which gender you identify. You have a Y and your testosterone level is below a certain level (there it is again) you compete with the women. It will not be perfect and there will be some who ought to be in the other class, but that is true of ALL current athletic classing systems.

    I don’t envy the sports authorities who have to grapple with this and I feel the frustration of the biological female athletes. It’s a truly modern problem with no easy solution.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      No it’s not a difficult problem to address.

      First we must ask why, in this day and age there are still separate competitions for men and women. The answer is, of course (at least in the case of athletics and other physical sports) that the men with the best physical prowess have an enormous advantage over the women with the best physical prowess.

      All we need to do to resolve the situation is be honest about the fact and divide the categories by biology and not gender identity.

    • Ryan
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      It is only a difficult problem to address while wearing the blinders of political correctness.

      Women outnumber MtF by such an overwhelming margin that ruining academic sports to placate a near invisible minority makes no sense under traditional moral systems.

      Modern politics might suggest that the average T suffers more than the average F, so the needs of women should be ignored; but I doubt that framework will survive for long as it invariably leads to nonsense and victimhood status games.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        You’re not wrong (neither are you jeremy). But you guys are not charged with setting sports policy. The people who are MUST deal with real people in order to meet their duties and that means dealing with this issue. Like it or not, it IS an issue and there is no easy solution. They could, of course, ignore the people who take the side of the transgender/SJW activists but the reality is they can’t. They must address the issue.

        I hope they come down on the side of reason, science and fair play. But that will mean making some tough decisions.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          You might be interested in this article, and some of the links in it.

          It’s about NZ weightlifter Lauren Hubbard, who is MtF trans.

          Her career is probably now over because of an horrific injury (video at link) that occurred while she was lifting at the Commonwealth Games, but there was a lot of controversy about her competing. The Commonwealth Games have the same requirements as the Olympic Games for trans athletes.

          Btw, who remembers all the female Soviet athletes who competed pre-1990 who were clearly men? Not sure if they wanted to be women, or the Soviet Union just wanted to win more medals to make their political system look good.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Well put.

      • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        + 1

    • Liz
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      “It’s a truly modern problem with no easy solution.”

      We have some hurdles to clear to work this out in the best possible way.

  7. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    As I read the story, I immediately thought of the third category option before I came to the part you discussed it. I think that would be the best option.

    I also wondered, which sports have to be segregated into sexes? Since Billie Jean King, I’ve had to wonder why we still have men’s and women’s tennis, or are only the top females capable of competing with the top males? After all, we have weight classes in boxing, etc. so could we do something similar with other sports and just let everyone that qualifies in each category compete?

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Sports that put a premium of speed and strength need to separated by sex for almost all levels of competition. I actually got into an argument with someone once who tried to claim there is no difference between men and women in sport. If that were true, why in all sports in which the winner is determined on time (running, cycling, swimming, etc) are male records ALWAYS faster than women?

      That is not to say that there are no females who CAN’T compete in some sports that put a premium on sped and strength. BJ King may be a good example, but Venus Williams is probably much better. There are women golfers, race car drivers, soccer players, cyclists, softball players, skiers, snowboarders…etc who can compete with the men even at the highest levels. But they are few and are far out on the standard deviation.

      • kyuss
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        There are women golfers….

        Annika Sorrenstam is the greatest woman golfer to ever live and she couldn’t make the 36 hole cut of any men’s golf tournament she ever played. Think about that for a second – the greatest woman golfer who ever lived wasn’t good enough to beat out average to below average professional male golfers. Michele Wie was also spectacularly horrible when it came to competing against men.

        BJ King may be a good example, but Venus Williams is probably much better…

        The Billie Jean King thing is also bullshit. No one ever points out that she barely beat a man who was 26 (!) years older than her at the time (and who might have deliberately thrown the match for gambling purposes). If you put Roger Federer against Serena Williams, she wouldn’t win a set. In fact, Venus and Serena have both lost to a man – Karsten Braasch. Google it.

        race car drivers…
        Danica Patrick never won a single race.

        And if you look at any individual olympic event contested by men and women, you will find that the men’s record is always higher, faster or heavier.

        soccer players…
        No woman has ever competed in the Bundsliga, English Premiere League, MLS or any other top division in the world. not even Marta, the hands down the most talented and skilled woman to ever kick a soccer ball.

        Likewise, no woman has ever competed in the top tiers of north american mens sports, not in hockey, baseball, football or basketball.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Just because none have doesn’t mean there are none who can. Look, you’re saying it’s impossible. I don’t believe it is. It would be extraordinary and they would be the the best at the game, but to say that Jeannine Longo, say, could not have raced on a men’s cycling team ignores both the role of different team members and the nature of the various races they compete in. Would she have ever been a GC contender? Not in any major race. Could she have been a domestique in the pro-peloton. I believe she could, especially in a minor race.

          I do not think it is productive to speak in absolutes. You are not wrong in that at the highest levels in many sports women simply can’t compete with the best men. But it is wrong to think that there is no variance in performance at the highest levels and although it is unlikely that any woman could be the best of the men’s group it is wrong to think there are none that can compete.

          • kyuss
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            It’s fine to speak in absolutes when the thing you are speaking about absolutely will never happen.

            Tell me – why is it that it’s ALWAYS women who want to compete in a men’s league but never men who want to compete in a women’s league?

            Do you think the LPGA would be big enough to let a man compete on their tour, like the PGA has done for multiple women?

            • Posted June 9, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

              Tell me- why is it ALWAYS MEN-TO-WOMEN transgenders who cause the problem with competitive sports, and not the reverse?

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          I know I said I wouldn’t comment anymore and I’ve already broken my promise, but as a former competitive athlete this really grinds my gears. This time I WILL shut up, but I want to say one more thing.

          You are correct that no woman has ever won against men at the highest level in some of these sports but that doesn’t mean they can’t compete at that level.

          Jemima Sungong won the Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics in the marathon with a time of 2:24 which would have beaten sixty six of the world best runners in the men’s race. Are you suggesting those 66 top male marathoners can’t compete at the highest level? If she had run at the woman’s world record pace she would have beaten 121 of the 156 competitors.

          Some women CAN compete against the best men. They, like Danica Patrick, have little hope of winning at that level, but as a former competitor I assure you that winning /= competing.

          • kyuss
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            According to Wiki:

            Sumgong was to defend her title at the 2017 London Marathon on April 23, but two weeks prior to the race she was suspended after testing positive for erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition test conducted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Kenya, announced on April 6, 2017.[24] She was eventually suspended for 4 years on it was announced on 7 November 2017 and her ban would start from 3 April 2017 which is when she was provisionally suspended. This was her second doping ban in 5 years after she tested positive in 2012 also.[25]

          • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            Frankly, I’d prefer everyone competing together, with comments such as “The fastest among women crossed the finish line 21st”, instead of separate male and female competitions with a handful of biological males pushing themselves into the female track and destroying it, based on how they say they feel (??!). To me, the latter is cheating and travesty. It also shows that, as “bathroom wars” have revealed before, some MtF transgender individuals are interested not in being women but in dominating and hurting them.

      • XCellKen
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t Bobby Riggs in his FIFTIES when he played BJ King ? Hardly a top male competitor

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Top female competitive athletes are unable to compete with the bottom rung of male competitive athletes.

      Small differences in means lead to extreme differences at the distribution tails. And competitive athletes are found clustered in the right-end tail.

      Yearwood’s times would’ve finished last in the boys races.

    • Nicholas K.
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Billie Jean King was 26 years younger than Bobby Riggs when that match occurred. In 1992, a 40 year old Jimmy Connors defeated Martina Navartilova, age 35, in a similar match (although both had some restrictions).

      I’ve read that Venus or Serena Williams, the 2 top women tennis players would not defeat any male player ranked in top 25 or even top 50 (I’m not sure I believe that).

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Not unless and until she played against them could anyone possibly know. From watching her play, I would not bet against her playing any man.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        To add more detail to the Williams sister story. In 1998 they played Karsten Braasch who was ranked at that time 203rd but within a couple of months dropped down into the 700s. He also smoked and was drinking.

        This is not to take anything away from the Williams and the hard work they put in its just the reality of the advantages that Testosterone gives men.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          I didn’t know about this, so you have a point. But I remember that at one time, the #1 ranked player, Roger Federer, was defeated by a player (who’s name escapes me) ranked below 300. A single match doesn’t say much.

          • BJ
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            But that was two men playing each other. On any given day, Federer can play one of the worst matches of his life, and the low-ranked guy can play his best. This could also happen with a highly seeded woman, but that’s even more unlikely. At least the low-ranked man can keep up with the power and spin of his serve and shots, and the speed of his movement.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

              I know, BJ. It’s not a point I really want to defend. There is no doubt men have big advantages over women in sports like tennis.

              But the William’s are superb players, no matter their bits.

              • BJ
                Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

                No question! Women’s tennis is one of the few women’s sports I watch.

          • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            Federer lost to the 175th player (kokkinakis) in a secondary tournament at the age of 36. This was a huge upset and the last time something like this happened was at the same tournament in 2003.

            The only way Federer loses to either Williams sister or any other female is if he rips he suffers an injury.

            The reality is the average male on the tour serves 30km faster than the average female. The Williams serve is the speed of the very slowest couple of men on the tour. And about 40km slower than the fastest men. Almost every male can put backspin on the ball that is just not seen in the women’s game.

            I know it sounds like I am dogging women here but I really love women’s sports but more importantly I know how import women’s sports are at the youth level. Girls in sports do better in basically every social indicator you can think of. Discouraging them by allowing biological boys is harmful.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

              I said I’d comment no more on this as I’ve said enough already but this…

              “Discouraging them (to compete) by allowing biological boys is harmful.”

              …is to me the central and most important issue at stake and the point needs to be stressed over and over again. It is where the real danger lies, not the problem of hurt feelings of transgender people.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

              It’s the power and speed of male tennis players that makes it frankly dull to watch.

              If you have to repeat something in slow motion to see how brilliant it was you might as well be watching frogs snap flies out of the air with their tongues.

              • Simon
                Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

                Couldn’t agree less. Watching Federer in his prime take the ball almost on the half volley every shot and place it with precision was something special. That weight of shot and precision requires remarkable timing and the nerve required to pull off the required shots under pressure adds a big psychological element. It’s like the difference between a Formula One Grand Prix and a donkey cart race with respect to the speed.

                That said, I used to watch women’s tennis for different reasons. The battle of styles can be interesting. Radwanska hitting moonballs against a serve and volley player for instance. The psychological flakiness can also make things more interesting. Watching Petra Kvitova hit every ball into the net for six games and lose her mind only to get angry and start smacking winners every shot was always fun.

              • BJ
                Posted June 9, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

                Sorry, but Simon is 100% right. Tennis is a sport of unbelievable nuance. I can understand not seeing it if you don’t know what you’re looking at, but, if you do, you can see every little movement and idea that makes a great player great, and it doesn’t require any replay.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        In tennis, the way I’ve seen it handicapped is that the men have to play the doubles line and get only one serve (to reduce their ability to hit aces). Otherwise, the top women cannot compete with the top men, due to the differences in speed and strength (which translates into the pace with which a ball can be struck).

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          And who in their right mind would want women and men playing each other in tennis, or basketball or most of those sports? I do not see it as an area for discussion in any real sense. It quickly becomes a stupid discussion.

          • kyuss
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            Actually, tennis is one of the few sports that directly pits men against women (mixed doubles). However, there are special rules to prevent men from serving to women.

          • Taz
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            With the exception that in individual sports, the pro men’s league should be looked on as a “champion’s league” (or whatever you want to call it). If a woman is good enough to compete at the highest level she should be allowed to. We’ve already had a couple of women playing PGA events.

            • kyuss
              Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

              If a woman is good enough to compete at the highest level she should be allowed to. We’ve already had a couple of women playing PGA events.

              The point that some people are trying to make is this: women aren’t good enough to compete against men at the highest levels. Yes, there have been women who played on the PGA tour – can you name a single one who made the 36 hole cut? I’ll save you the trouble – it was Babe Zaharias in 1945 (she failed to make the 54 hole cut). The curious thing about that date? All the best male athletes were in WWII.

        • Jim Smith
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

          I can’t watch women’s tennis because of the screaming each time they hit the ball. The men are bad also, but they tend to grunt and it’s not as audible.

          I would watch both more if there was less of it.

      • kyuss
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        From wikipedia:

        1998: Karsten Braasch vs. the Williams sisters

        Another event dubbed a “Battle of the Sexes” took place during the 1998 Australian Open[52] between Karsten Braasch and the Williams sisters. Venus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world’s top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both. Braasch was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager”.[53][52] The matches took place on court number 12 in Melbourne Park,[54] after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two shandies. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.[55] Braasch said afterwards, “500 and above, no chance”. He added that he had played like someone ranked 600th in order to keep the game “fun”.[56] Braasch said the big difference was that men can chase down shots much easier, and that men put spin on the ball that the women can’t handle. The Williams sisters adjusted their claim to beating men outside the top 350.[52]

        • BJ
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          Makes one wonder what kind of success Braasch would have attained if he had trained and taken care of himself like a true professional. Of course, the lifestyle of a top tennis player isn’t for everyone.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      If a sport relies on athleticism there is very little chance that a female can match up with a male even at the same height and weight. At the same height and weight, a trained male will just have more lean muscle mass. If you want women to be able to play competitive sports there has to be a female only class.

      To give some ideas. The fastest 100m and 200m times for a female are Flo-Jo who everyone knows was using gallons of PED. Even with that, there will be 2 dozen High School Boys in just the state of Florida that beat the world record times. There are about 40 that beat the fastest none Flo Jo time. And there is in the hundreds that beat the fastest time there are little questions about PED use.

      As mentioned below in Tennis the Williams sisters played against a guy that was about the 600-800th best male player at the time. He was not taking it seriously and he destroyed them.

      Womens national teams in the US and other countries will often scrimmage with male high school teams because that is the level of play they play at.

      This is not to take anything at all away from all the hard work and amazing athletes that these women are. It is just the reality of Testosterone to performance.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        There’s a parallel with para-athletics. I know some might balk at the idea of comparing female athletes with people with disabilities but that’s more a reflection on their expectations of sports for the disabled, which can be fantastic, and not in some patronising ‘Ah, bless ’em” way. (It’s something I only started watching via Channel 4’s irreverent The Last Leg)

        Disabled athletes can compete with non-disabled athletes of course and I don’t see any reason why a woman who can match a man’s ability should be barred from competing with men but we wouldn’t let an able-bodied athlete sweep the board at the Paralympics just because he identified as paraplegic.

        • Posted June 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          I remember in high school a friend of mine volunteered to referee and help out at a place where people played wheelchair basketball. He was in good shape himself and played (standard) basketball himself. Sometimes, he said, there’d be need for an extra player and also an extra chair around and so he’d get into the chair and play. He said it was the most challenging and tiring sport he’d ever done …

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Chris Evert (top ranking: number 1 in 1975) used to be married to John Lloyd (top ranking: 21). I saw an interview where she was asked if she could beat her husband. Not a chance she said.

      Billie Jean King beat a man in his 50’s and that was considered an achievement.

      I doubt if Serena Williams at her best could give a game to anybody in the men’s top 10.

      • kyuss
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Serena couldn’t beat anyone on the ATP top 500.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          I won’t dispute that. I just couldn’t be bothered to do the research to be sure of that,, so I went for a wide margin of error.

          I had no idea about the Karsten Braasch matches and, in any case, even if they could beet number 11 in the men’s game playing at their best, they still wouldn’t win anything.

  8. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    … one of whom, at least, apparently hadn’t begun to transition either physically or hormonally.

    The most that can legally be proscribed for a minor with gender dysphoria is puberty blocker hormones. Though these have devastating potential side effects, they do not erase years of physical development under the influence of testosterone.

    The track & field coach stated: “We have a great female athlete. End of story.”
    That is patently false. Andreya Yearwood is male.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t normally call out a spelling mistake, but “proscribed” and “prescribed” are different words and in the context, they mean more or less diametrically opposites.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        right. not sure if spell-correct did that or me.

  9. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    And the fairness in sport problem is only going to get worse when more and more technology becomes available to manipulate our bodies. As I understand it, drug testers already can’t keep up in the arms race. The whole concept of competitively fair sports will gradually become a thing of the past. We can stave off the inevitable with some carefully chosen rules but I suspect it is a problem that has no solution in the long run.

  10. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    CIAC executive director Karissa Niehoff:

    “… within the same gender, you are taking one population of the gender and you’re separating them and creating another class. That’s what Title IX speaks to. That’s what Office of Civil Rights guidelines speak to. You cannot discriminate based on gender. And in our case in Connecticut, gender is gender identity.”

    Atrocious that the E.D. of the state scholastic sports commission is so ignorant of Title IX’s provisions. Title IX permits segregation of facilities and programs based on sex, provided both are equally funded, provisioned, and supported. Sex is not gender identity; sex is sex.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m frankly sick of the word ‘gender’. Once people started using it as a euphemism for sex, sex itself vanished from public discourse. We don’t segregate sports because boys played with toy trucks and girls liked dolls. Girls who liked toy trucks should still compete against girls who liked dolls and boys who played with dolls should compete with boys who played with trucks. Gender largely corresponds with sex but someone who doesn’t conform to stereotype is just gender non-conforming, not transgender. Gender should be irrelevant to sport whether you are conforming or not. It’s your sex that determines the limits to your ability.

      • Nicholas K.
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        “I’m frankly sick of the word ‘gender’. Once people started using it as a euphemism for sex, sex itself vanished from public discourse.”

        So you”re sick of people using gender as a euphemism for sex.

        Gender is a real thing. It is not the same thing as sex, although it is closely related to sexual identity. You may be sick of it (the way people use it), but being sick of something doesn’t make it go away. If nobody used the word gender, the concept would still exist.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          How is ‘gender’ relevant to sport?

          We don’t segregate the sexes because we think one is rough and uses foul language and the other is dainty and faints a lot. Those are just stereotypes.

          It shouldn’t matter a toss what expectations society has about your ‘gender’, it should be about allowing people to compete against people with the same basic anatomy.

          When women were finally admitted into sports they were not given separate events based on their ‘gender’.

          Continually banging on about ‘gender’ has masked the purpose of separating make athletes and female athletes.

          • phil
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            noun: gender; plural noun: genders

            1. the state of being male or female

            “…it should be about allowing people to compete against people with the same basic anatomy.”

            Are you suggesting that short tennis players should have category of their own? I mean, are you suggesting the primary separation of men and women in sports is not based on their gender or sex, but on differences in their anatomies? Men and women for the most part have very similar anatomies, the differences being pretty small compared to range of anatomies amongst men or women.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          Define ‘gender’.

  11. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I wonder what Terry wanted to do.

    Molly Cameron is a MtF transgender cyclist who competed with the men for years until someone started enforcing a rule that the gender on her drivers license was the one she had to race.

    (I’m not clear if she has undergone hormone therapy- she’s very competitive in the men’s field)

  12. mrclaw69
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is already a problem in professional fighting. For instance the male-to-female transsexual fighter Fallon Fox massively out-competes the women they go up against.

    This is a particularly interesting problem as you have, in the Fox case, someone who was born male, with all the male physical advantages in upper body strength and aggression, and who now identifies as female, not only to out-competing but actually physically beating the cr*p out of women. And being rewarded for it. Call me an Edwardian male guardian, but this makes me very uneasy.

    I’m genuinely not sure what the answers to these sorts of questions are, or should be, but there’s an instinctive distaste for at least some examples of this new-ish problem in sports.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s hard to watch a Fallon Fox without being uncomfortably aware that you are watching a woman being beaten while a crowd cheers on.

      As exasperating as it must be to be a woman who trained all her life only to be out-run by a male-bodied sprinter it’s unlikely to end in a fatality. That’s really the eventual consequence of transwomen competing in contact sports.

  13. nicky
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I’m very clear on this. Transgender women should compete with their biological sex buddies. There is no point in having separate man’s and woman’s events if biological males are allowed to compete in women’s events.
    One could think of a transgender ‘intermediate’ competition, would not mind that at all (it might even be a good idea), but if you have a Y chromosome you do not compete in the women’s events.
    Testosterone levels over the last 12 months do not solve the problem (as our host points out). Testosterone levels during puberty might, but then they are rarely available.
    I know it is clearly a lose-lose situation, but I firmly think the rights of biological females should trump those of self-identifying trans-women. It maybe unfair, but just looking at numbers alone, allowing biological males into female sports events is way unfairer.

    • mrclaw69
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      The prob is that, if you’re an individual, say a male-to-female transsexual like the fighter Fallon Fox, who’s had proper gender-realignment surgery and hormone injections, you end up in a kind of no man’s land: your bone density drops compared with men who haven’t transitioned, but is still higher than that of women. This puts you at a disadvantage against men, but at a clear advantage against women. The same goes for women who transition to become men: is someone born biologically female, who becomes a professional fighter going to be able to go up against men in the ring and be able to fairly compete?

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        A FtM would not be able to compete with top-tier male athletes in most sports we think about unless they were well over the legal T limit of 4:1.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the solution to that problem: life’s not fair.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          If life was fair we wouldn’t need sports to sort out the winners from the losers. We’d just take turns at winning.

          Some people are lucky in that they have healthy bodies and, with effort, they can enhance their abilities through diet and training.

          Some, like myself, are unlucky in that they’ll never be great sports stars no matter how hard they try.

          And others are unlucky in that they’re born with a penis and will never get to compete against softer opponents.

          • Jim Smith
            Posted June 9, 2018 at 2:08 am | Permalink

            Luck is for losers. Don’t think Edison let not being an Olympic champion at anything stop him from making a light bulb. If a guy defines his whole life as a failure because he could not beat his female counterparts in a race, he’s right, he’s a failure.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        There’s two solutions to that:

        1. have separate categories for From and MtoF. I think it’s perfectly feasible, after all there are many categories in the paralympics depending on exactly what your disability is.

        2. make people compete by biological category or not at all. There’s no right to compete at the top level of a sport. That’s life.

      • nicky
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        I do not see a real problem and the solution is clear: If you have a Y chromosome you compete with the males. If not you can compete with the females. It is the simplest, and in the end the least unfair of all solutions. Sorry Caster.

      • Jim Smith
        Posted June 9, 2018 at 2:03 am | Permalink

        A man would go fight men, not beat up women.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Of course, no one’s discussing FTM transsexuals competing in either group. Then there’s the problem of intersexuality, and people with hyperandrogenous conditions, which give them an advantage over other contestants, which has confounded the sports world for a long time, and which cannot be overlooked in the discussion. I think of (Stanisława Walasiewicz) Stella Walsh Olson, the Olympic champion who competed against women, and Caster Semenya. It’s interesting to look at their records. They didn’t win every race — a couple of examples:

      Re Olson: “In the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Walasiewicz attempted to defend her Olympic title for the 100 m dash, but Helen Stephens of the U.S. beat her by .02 second; Walasiewicz won the silver medal.[13] Ironically, in hindsight, Stephens was accused of being male and was forced to submit to a genital inspection to confirm her gender.[14]”

      Re Semenya: “In April 2018, the IAAF announced new rules that required hyperandrogenous athletes to take medication to lower their testosterone levels, effective beginning in November 2018. Due to the narrow scope of the changes, which only apply to athletes competing in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m, many people thought the rule change was designed specifically to target Semenya.”

      In anoher post I recalled that decades ago, I saw Olson, who was in her mid-late forties then, compete against young women athletes at an AAU event in LA. She left them them in the dust.

      I favor a third category, but that further complicates things, and I sincerely doubt that that would ever happen, due to PC politics and the individual’s drive to “be” what they insist they are re their gender, and partake of all the opportunities afforded that sex, and sometimes also of the sex and they abandoned. (I’m trying to be specific about the differences between sex and gender)

  14. Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    A difficult problem, for sure, and probably there is no perfectly fair solution. I have no expertise but I do have questions. Would many men self-identify as women just to win a woman’s trophy? Is that a real problem? Are trans-women who have completed hormone therapy appreciably stronger than natural women? As I understand it, when the testosterone goes, so does the strength advantage.

    I think a three classification system would stigmatize transgender athletes, but I have no better solutions.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      ” As I understand it, when the testosterone goes, so does the strength advantage.”

      An anti-science lie propagated by the trans radical activists. It is disproved by the fact that MtF athletes consistently outperformed their female rivals, whereas FtM athletes … oh wait, never mind.

      Physical development under the influence of hormones cannot be reversed. I’ve trained stallions, mares, and geldings cut both young and late in life. Geldings are still generally stronger than mares, and late cuts more than early cuts.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Yep, that’s why whatever solution sports authorities come up with, they must take into account the biological sex of the athlete.

        • Jon Gallant
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          Haven’t the scholars of Critical Gender Theory taught us that the supposed difference between stallions and mares is just a “social construct”. Oh, I forgot, they neglected to teach this to the horses too.

          • Nicholas K.
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            You’re assuming the horses have a concept of gender. Sex and gender are not the same.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

              When Blue Planet II showed us fish that changed sex the press reported it as ‘changing gender’.

              • Nicholas K.
                Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

                That is a mistake by the press. To suggest the fish changed gender suggests they knew the state of mind of the fish (if they even have one!). “Changed sex” would be correct (and Blue Planet writers used correct terms). The fact that the press got it wrong really doesn’t have any relevance here.

              • Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

                The fact the press for it wrong is relevant because the press is dominated by humanities graduates who believe precisely what Jon says they do: that sex differences are a social construct.

          • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            Gender studies ‘scholars’ (sic) and assorted SJWs dodge the fact that humans evolved from animals. At some undefined moment in our past, they aver, our minds became totally heuristically ‘plastic’, with all our behaviors and traits socially constructed thereafter.

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              This would be the same point in evolution proponents of intelligent design think we acquired souls. And with just as much evidence.

            • Nicholas K.
              Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

              You say “humans evolved from animals.”

              Humans are animals. We never stopped being animals. We are cultural animals, and that is a big difference.

              Saying “Bears evolved from animals” is rather silly sounding, isn’t it?

              • Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                I’ve read enough by Matt to know what he meant. You should put more effort into determining that before jumping on what you assume people mean.

              • Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

                Yes that’s of course true. I chose to emphasize their conception of humans as not truly animals.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Yes, transwomen don’t magically lose their greater lung capacity or change their skeletal structure.

        Men might not be able to run so fast if our hips had also evolved to accommodate childbirth.

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      I just had an interesting thought from reading your first paragraph and then thinking about how it related to Jerry’s post: what about male athletes who might claim to be transgender in high school so they can be hugely successful at a given sport, leading to a college scholarship? These days, most colleges would definitely jump at the opportunity to nab a transgender athlete who also dominates their sport.

    • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      “Would many men self-identify as women just to win a woman’s trophy?”

      While gay and bisexual people have been attested since the beginning of recorded history, I don’t know of any transgender people before modern times. To me, this implies that true transgender people are extremely rare. Nevertheless, in today’s USA, it seems that every second school has a transgender student, usually MtF. I see a trend driven by some advantage of being MtF transgender. Winning a sport trophy is just one more possible advantage.

  15. DW
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    “To deny a teenage transgender athlete the opportunity to compete sends the kind of message that lowers the standards of humanity.”

    WTF, it’s a high school sport. Get over it. Guess what, most people aren’t athletes. What is with people today declaring that the smallest imposition is an affront to humanity?

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      They’re not even denying them the chance to compete! They can compete with the group that has the same body type as them, and therefore is the group that makes the competition fair.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      How can they make that statement and not see how it is lowering the standards of humanity for biological girls?

      How many girls are going to be like “F— this I am quitting track and basketball because i cant compete”?

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Your second point is most important and one that should be made more forcefully in the discussion.

        At that, I see I’ve commented much to much on this today and am in danger of a roolz violation.


      • Adam M.
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        It’s a good question. Did you see the looks on the girls faces? They sure looked discouraged to me.

      • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        The moment MtF transgender females appear, biological females are thrown out.

        • Posted June 10, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Or under the bus. It is truly bizarre that claiming to be female can get you more support than just being a biological one.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I was denied the chance to compete at school by the fact that I was a weedy geeky type. I’m now upset that they didn’t have a category for “people who ware pretty good at maths”. I would have walked that, except for Liz Hutchinson who was almost as good as me at maths but better at almost any sport.

  16. BJ
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I simply don’t see why the most obvious solution isn’t the best: if you have the body (bone structure, musculature, etc.) of a man, then you compete with men. Does every part of life need to confirm a transgender person’s self-identification? Making trans women compete in the men’s category says nothing about whether or not they are a “real woman.” The only thing implied by being forced to compete with the men is that they have physical bodies of the same type. Competing in the men’s division has no bearing on whether or not people are still willing to accept that a trans woman is just another kind of woman, so long as we call their division the “men’s and trans women” division.

    This is one small place where trans people can’t automatically get what they want because it will have severe negative impacts on others, and the solution doesn’t have severe negative impacts on them. It’s not like the bathroom issue.

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Hell, you can even call the women’s division “women’s division,” and the other division “everybody else.” It doesn’t even need to mention the word “man.”

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        oooo. I like THIS^ Good idear, BJ. Deserves some thinking on…

        The women’s division is open ONLY to biological females, the other division is open to everyone, including biological women.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Women’s and “Open” — anyone can compete.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Yes! Excellent idea.


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          It would also be a relief for those MtoF athletes (I’m sure there must be some) who are obliged by their local state laws to compete as women even though they know they’re getting an unfair advantage and feel uncomfortable about it.


      • Aram Smithee
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        How about completely do away with “Men’s” and “Women’s” and call it “XX” and “XY”. Your 23rd chromosome pair is the entrance ticket.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          That won’t work because transgender women are XY.

          • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

            I think that’s the point, isn’t it? Somebody born with XY chromosomes most likely has a biologically male body and must therefore compete in the XY category along with other biological males, np matter whether they identify as a woman or non binary and irrespective of what surgery they have had

            • Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

              I think it gets harder when we consider someone with Swyer syndrome or androgen insensitivity syndrome: chromosomal male (XY) but female in appearance.

              I think this is a world away from trangenerism though, which is about identification, not biology.

              • Posted June 9, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

                Yes it does, but such cases are extremely rare and when you consider the intersection of such people with people who have the physical ability to compete in professional sport, we must be talking about a really small number, perhaps approximately zero. I think we should really ignore that problem because the one under discussion is already real (see the video at the top).

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      BJ – there are plenty of biological women who have “the body (bone structure, musculature, etc.) of a man”. This really is unworkable.

      • BJ
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        They have bodies more similar to men, but not the bodies of a man exactly. Sure, you look at many top female athletes and they have narrower hips, broader shoulders, and more defined musculature, but they still don’t have all of those things in the same ways top men do, and they likely have significantly less in departments that aren’t visually apparent, like fast-twitch muscle, as well.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          I just mean this would be a hard thing to define in meaningful ways. Your solution up thread is much better, ISTM.

        • Nicholas K.
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          As an anthropologist who has examine thousands of skeletons, I can say this is unworkable. At least 2 percent of the human population cannot be distinguished as male or female based on skeletal features alone.

          • BJ
            Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            No kidding! I had no idea. Thanks for the info.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t it more likely that a chromosomal man would have the body of a woman die to conditions like androgen insensitivity or Swyer’s syndrome?

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Does every part of life need to confirm a transgender person’s self-identification?

      For many activists, yes. That’s why there are transwomen on ‘all-women’ short lists even though they could run for Parliament without being part of those lists. AWS are no longer about evening up gender imbalances, they are about validating your gender.

      If you are on an AWS then you MUST be a woman by definition.

      • Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        The comorbidity of gender dysphoria and narcissistic personality disorder is through the roof.

  17. Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    In equestrian competitions, if you want to participate but not compete for the ribbons — for example, to expose a horse in training to the show environment — you ride with your entrant number upside down.

    For someone like Andreya Yearwood who — the trans radicals insist — would have zir fragile psyche crushed, driven to suicide, by not being allowed to do every single thing as a girl, let zir compete in the girls’ event, but with an upturned number. No medals, no points accrued to the team.

  18. Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The idea of two divisions, women and “everyone”, is appealing. I can’t see anything wrong with that.

    I don’t think anyone would let a heavyweight boxer or weightlifter take part in a lightweight competition if he or she “felt” light.

    • Taz
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      You can take it a step further and have “flights”. Which flight you compete in would be solely determined by past performance. Golf tournaments (non-professional) often do this, usually designated as “Champion’s Flight”, “Flight 1″, Flight 2”, etc. Which flight you’re in is based on your handicap.

  19. Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    This is a pretty well-informed article (I dont say its the last word) on the subject
    Common sense tells us that sex differneces are a single variable–but the lesson of biology is that there are a bunch of processes underlying sex differneces and legislating for one of them will not seem fair to others.
    Case in point: Limiting the T level in athletes effectivley tells some with naturally high T that they have a medical condition that they do not have. They are just unusual–but then ALL elite athletes are, by definition unusual. T matters of course–but to those who are androgen insentive (say) they might have high levels of T but little to no physical advantage to it (indeed soem people with AIS think they are hormonally typical women until they get tested and are found to have undescended testicles)
    I dont think there is a simple answer to this because there isn’t a simple answer to “whats the difference between men and women”, much as we would like there to be.
    Maybe the focus needs to shift? After all we have handicapping in loads of sports based on the fact that we want people competing within leagues where competition is real, and no-one gets crushed. Weight categories are obvious examples. Perhaps we are moving towarda a “league based” rather than a “sex-based” model of competing across sports?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Or a handicapping system for some amateur sports – golf, polo, speedway & tennis come to mind.

      • Posted June 11, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Yes–thats a good point. I dont think it would work for some sports though
        Its striking that we almost never have men and women competing directly against each other. Indirectly, yes (each on a horse, or mixed doubles in tennis)…but I cant think of any sports where we regularly allow direct competition. M

  20. peter
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Such transgenders are very dishonest in competing with re real girls.

  21. WDB
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    As a 61 year old man who has been on testosterone replacement therapy for over a decade I have to say that in my opinion not even hormone level test can be considered valid. Once even a male has undergone supraphysiological levels of test (I have) it creates a permanent change in the body that even dropping levels done to prepubescent girls can’t remove.

    I know because I’ve in fact done this at times due to different factors. I’ve also gone estrogen dominant which made me violently unstable.

    Why all the “true confession”? It’s because from my personal experience based on tinkering with dosages thinking I’d do better to find some minimal level that I’ve learned that there’s no way a biological woman can overcome things that are now inherent in my physiology.

    Fallon Fox who was mentioned in an earlier post was only knocked out by a woman with a high level of boxing skill who managed to roll a “strikers chance” to score on Ms Fox. This in no wise indicates that what Fox did was in any way ethical and placing trans gender or even inter gender persons in competition with biological women is unfair and potentially dangerous

  22. Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Competition is meant to test abilities that differ by degree rather than in kind. That’s why we segregate sports by sex, not gender.

    There are respiratory and skeletal advantages to being a man, not just differences in testosterone levels. If this were just exceptional men transitioning into exceptional women there might be less of an issue. But it’s often mediocre men or men well past their prime. They might not be cheating but the quantum leap in their achievement levels isn’t down to a lifetime of hard work.

  23. Steve Gerrard
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Google Natalia Kuznetsova, a Russian powerlifter. The distinction between men and women as athletes really does blur at the highest levels. The use of drugs to enhance body development is a major and ongoing issue in sports. Gender identification adds more to that muddle, but it is a muddle anyway.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Actually, I think it gets better defined, more clear at the highest levels of sport (there may be a tiny handful of contrary cases; but that doesn’t obviate the basic facts).

      Top level athletes are divided (Equestrians aside) by sex. For good reason.

      At below the top level is where it’s messy. Top level women athletes will CRUSH piker male athletes or beat even second tier pros, in many cases. That’s where it’s totally up for grabs. In amateur sports, who knows what level various people are at.

      One female friend of mine used to enter mixed cycling races and beat all but the top handful of the guys in those events. But she could never beat all the guys.

      Rock climber Lynn Hill could (maybe still can?) crush all but the very top fringe of male climbers.

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink–oly.html

      As mikeyc has said, none of this should discourage young girls and women competing in sports. In fact, the only reason we’re discussing this is to make clear that allowing trans women to compete against biological women will hurt women’s sports, and I don’t think anyone wants to see that because of how important sports is to things like fitness, self esteem, and many other critical areas of life.

  24. Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I have a perfect solution. In a sporting contest where self identification for transsexual entrants is allowed TWO sets of winners will occur- first, second, third for trans competitors and first, second, third for non trans. This solution would incur TOTAL equity in that EVERYONE would be equally pissed off.

  25. rom
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Let the ctrl left sort this one out.

  26. Posted June 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I would advocate for two divisions: Women’s and Open. In Open, all comers can compete.

    In the posted external commentary (I admit I only read the first one), I see the same one-sided analysis performed as we see so often in SJW situations: Only one “side’s” rights or desires are held to be valid.

    As in the school locker room case. As in the recent “Colorado Baker” case in the SCOTUS.*

    Purportedly, the (less than) 1% person’s desire to use the locker room they “identify with”, regardless of their physical attributes, trumps the desires of all the young women who use the locker room and only want to be in there with other women. (I’m guessing teen-aged guys wouldn’t care about having a bio-female in their locker room. I was once a teen-aged male. Still act like one I suppose.)

    And in the CO Baker case: Only the couple’s desire to have this particular guy design their cake is seen as valid. His desire to not be forced to create something against his will and against his principles (as deluded as we think his reasons are, his rights are protected by the US Constitution).

    So, in that case, what exactly did the couple want from this guy? I can’t know, of course; but this is how it looks to me. They didn’t want tasty, well-made cake. They could have had that from him: Off the shelf or un-decorated (or at least without the certain message they wanted portrayed). So what did they want? The only answer it seems to me is that they wanted his design skills; and they wanted to dictate the content. And this, he was unwilling to do. There are TWO sets of rights to balance here, not just one.

    One example I was going to use in discussing this with my wife (do NOT try this at home!) — before I gave up the discussion as incapable of being beneficial — is this: Let’s say the couple forces a poet to write a special poem for their nuptials. The poet writes the poem and it says marriage is between one man and one woman. They hate it. (This can happen at any time, for a variety of reasons.) What’s the recourse? They can demand a refund.

    I did note that I did not think it would be OK for anyone to force me to build them a musical instrument. If they are a total jerk (and I’ve met a few of these); but at the same time are a “protected class” Can they sue me on that basis? and then, if I made an instrument for them (under duress — not exactly the way to get the best out of an artisan! And that’s why they are coming to me — for a high-quality, custom, artisan-built instrument!) and the schedule drags and in the end they don’t like it, can they expect anything but to have their money refunded? Can they sue me for damages? Can they ask a court to force me to disband my business?

    This sort of thing just seems insane.

    The contract for a piece of artwork is a dance between the two parties. And anyone who has participated on either side (I’ve been on both sides) can attest, it’s tricky. And when I don;t want to work with someone (in either direction) I move on. Forcing the issue has ~zero chance of working well for either party.

    Which, to me, is the reason that the law says you can’t force an artist to perform artwork for you.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      So in other words, you would give women more opportunities to excel than men.

      • Adam M.
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        That’s true, but allowing women to compete with men doesn’t help them or hurt men much or at all. Ideally everything would be equal, but the whole point of segregating sports by sex is because the ideal of equality breaks down there.

    • Posted June 10, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      + 1

  27. Paul S
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Make the third category a version of altered athlete. Any gendered or performance enhanced athlete would be allowed to compete.
    Hormones, steroids, whatever you want to use is fair game.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I still don’t think that would solve the problem as most trans athletes seem even more motivated by affirmation of their gender than winning. It’s possible some are cheats but I don’t think that’s what it’s about for most.

      It’s about being recognised as a woman in all circumstances. Any third option would mean accepting that transwomen aren’t women in at least one respect.

      • Paul S
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        But athletic competition isn’t about making you feel good about yourself, it’s about competing with the best in your class. If your class is enhanced or altered, than that’s your class. Just because I feel like a kid doesn’t mean I am one and that’s why I compete in competitions for people over 50.

        • Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think transwomen SHOULD be competing against natal women to feel good about themselves, I just think that they DO. And I don’t think that ‘feeling good’ has as much to do with winning as being accepted as a woman.

          It’s the same as all-women shortlists. As long as there is any aspect of society in which transwomen are treated differently from women they won’t feel fully validated.

          • Posted June 10, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            In other words, they strive to be accepting as women by cheating and hurting biological women.

  28. Toni Jordon
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    This really is a situation that requires serious study and RATIONAL assessment. There is no getting around the athletic advantage that comes with increased testosterone levels combined higher muscle-to-fat ratios. As a trans woman who underwent confirmation surgery nearly 30 years ago and who has a testosterone level lower that the average female, I still find I can’t compete with males my age but am very competitive against cis-women 10 to 20 years my junior. Some of this is probably residual from having been a high-school and college athlete, but there is no getting around the advantage of having developed as a male.

    I think that male athletes who claim female identify, sans any type of hormone-replacement therapy, and want to compete as women/girls, while socially commendable, is athletically unfair. Testosterone is a game changer (East German women athletes of the 70’s and 80’s comes to mind). Until something else comes along it seems to me the equitable thing to do is something along the lines of what the IOC is attempting but leaving ample room to deal with individual case as necessary.

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s important and helpful to hear from trans people when it comes to these issues, regardless of their opinion on them.

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      By the way, I was unsure of some language in my posts on this subject. I couldn’t think of any other way to express the difference between trans and other women beyond using “trans women” versus “biological women.” Is that terminology acceptable, or should I be using something else? Thanks for your help.

  29. Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Excellent post on a difficult topic Jerry. But to add to this, the gender difference in athleticism is not just mainly in upper-body strength. There are also manifest differences in the ability of men and women to express strength quickly; that is, to demonstrate power. The differences in leaping ability rival those in upper-body strength. Witness the fact that in Olympic weightlifting, which incidentally in its modern version is heavily dependent on the lower body, the men in the lightest weight categories can outlift all but the largest women. If women had to compete on equal terms with men in similar weight classes, they would never come close to medaling.

    Also, and contrary to what many believe, men have advantages in endurance. Due probably to factors such as greater absolute blood volume and a larger concentration of red blood cells for a given amount of blood, men still hold the records in marathons and triathlons. Individuals undergoing physical transition from female to male, and all the hormonal modifications that this entails, report rapid increases in running endurance as well.

    I comment on this emphasis on upper-body strength as the popular differentiator between the physical capabilities of the sexes for the following reason. I think it is behind a strange notion that seems popular among many folks – namely, that women are as good as men in sports that emphasize the lower body and are more endurance-based. Enter sports like soccer, in which I have been told in all seriousness that the US women (world champions) could beat the US men (did not qualify for current World Cup). Never mind that the US women regularly play against, and are beaten by, boys under 15 years of age. In fact, elite women’s teams around the world play against young teenage boys, with similar results. It is also telling that these women’s teams will rarely match up against boys older than 16 or 17.

    Why? Because despite any tactical, skill and, in some cases, size advantages these elite adult women have, the boys literally run circles around them, such are the gaps in speed and explosiveness. In this light, the notion that there is a female soccer player that can take the place of an adult male that is good enough to be selected for his senior national team is positively ludicrous. Particularly with regard to soccer as it is played by top males today, what with the amount of athleticism and running involved. Forget about what the score would be if the US men played the US women. A better question would be, could the women get the ball past midfield? Or, just how severe would the handicaps need to be on the men to make it remotely fair?

    Is it possible that, per regressive left doctrine, differential socialization b/t boys and girls is 100% the reason for these results? Socialization is indeed a factor, as is the greater number of boys than girls participating in sports, but I would bet everything that most of this outcome is down to physiological differences between the sexes. Explosiveness and speed are hard to improve significantly, even with dedicated training. The fact that some high-school freshman boy can just knock the ball beyond the top female players on the planet and skip by them speaks to something deeper than socialization.

    As I am a liberal, the people that I congregate with are often surprised, and hostile to, this information when I present it to them. This is informative on so many levels. All at once, it reveals 1) an ignorance of just how great the physical differences can be between the sexes 2) a high degree of probability that the surprised/hostile individual has not exposed themselves to sports all that much, particularly soccer and 3) an implicit belief that unfair discrimination and denial of opportunity is rife in professional sports. Otherwise, why else would women have separate, and much less lucrative, competitions from men, if they are in fact so close in physical capabilities?

    This last point (3) is especially baffling to me. That one could think that every other occupation in Western society has not only been opened up to women, but in many cases dominated by them, but that professional sports can somehow get away with denying qualified individuals based on gender, is strange. Further, it is curious that one might fail to notice that a subset of sports (such as race car driving) does have women competing with men, and then not deduce that it is perhaps the nature of the activity, rather than the sexism of the sport’s governing body, that is the cause of the barrier in other sporting endeavors. If fact, people seem to come to opposite conclusion: there are female race-car drivers competing against men, therefore there can and must be female linebackers and props and power-forwards competing against men. But is NASCAR more enlightened than the NBA regarding gender discrimination? I’m not sure about that.

    No, what is strangest is to be informed that the reason that the NFL or NHL or Serie A has no female players in its ranks is NOT because of rampant and illegal discrimination, but rather that elite men outperform elite women (just like in the Olympics!) in athletic endeavors, and then to treat the deliverer of this information as a sexist troglodyte. Certain facts of the world are about as well received in liberal circles as a fly swatter at a Jain meeting.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      “Is it possible that, per regressive left doctrine, differential socialization b/t boys and girls is 100% the reason for these results?”

      I would think that, since soccer is not a ‘girls sport’, any girl would have to be strongly motivated to take part and this would offset the effects of ‘socialisation’.


      • Diane G
        Posted June 9, 2018 at 1:03 am | Permalink

        Girls’ soccer is huge in the US.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 9, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

          Well, in that case the degree of ‘differential socialization’ is less, as would be the degree of personal motivation (aka orneriness) required to take it up.

          My thesis is that those two factors probably cancel out in determining success or competitiveness.


  30. Nicholas K.
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I think the effect of the decision is readily apparent on the faces of the other racers. The other girls realize they simply cannot win.

    Who wants to train hard to compete in a race that you cannot possibly win? What incentive is there for other girls to compete?

    Sure, the spirit of competition and self improvement in sport is motivation. But, would you really seriously continue in Track & Field when you are aware you will never have even a chance of victory? This will kill women’s sports.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I can imagine some Handmaids Tale future in which natal women hold underground sports tournaments in which they can compete against each other, risking imprisonment for participating in a practice considered as archaic and barbaric as cockfighting.

  31. Curt Nelson
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised transgender women would even compete in athletic events that men dominate. It strikes me as rude. I would think the other women beaten would have a very bad taste about it, too.

    And how could a transgender woman feel good about winning? It seems to say the opposite of what you’d think they want — I won because I’m not really a woman.

    • nicky
      Posted June 9, 2018 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      Good point.

    • Posted June 11, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      This is somewhat interestingly parallel to Susan Haack’s partial critique of affirmative action programs.

  32. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Life is not fair, it just is.

    The simplest solution would be to let everyone compete in one field, and then contenders can compare own results over time.

    If you still need “a winner”, draw a random individual.

    [Yes, I know, sports is not for fun, it is a market/marketing occupation. But that is an imposed constraint, c.f. the Greek Olympic Games.]

    • BJ
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      For many athletes, the fun comes from the competition, the attempt to beat others and become the winner. I’ve never played a sport where that wasn’t the number one motivation, except perhaps when I was younger than ten years old. Even when I was little, most kids were still driven to win. People also want recognition for winning.

      The marketing is a completely different issue. People want to compete and are driven to win, and you can’t remove that from sport.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Well summed up, I think.

        I’m no athlete but a sporadic competitor in (very) amateur motorsport. For me it’s mostly the fun of competing. I know that usually, on the day, there are a number of people who can usually beat me, and that’s just a fact of life. On a very good day I might manage to beat one of them, and that small but finite possibility is all the motivation needed.

        If there are classes, they need to be fairly allocated. It’s quite frustrating if an obviously far more competitive car that should be in the ‘open’ class gets put in my class through some quirk of the rules. It takes all the fun out of it to know that an absolutely first-rate run, (and hence right on the edge of going off), can and will be comfortably beaten by a merely average run by the other driver. Equally, it’s embarrassing to end up in a class with a huge advantage where winning it means little to me but is just depriving someone else of what should by rights be their class win.

        It’s not about winning per se, but about having a fair chance, however remote.


        • BJ
          Posted June 8, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          “It’s not about winning per se, but about having a fair chance, however remote.”

          And about knowing you won because you were just better than every other loser you beat 🙂

          There really is nothing like the rush of busting your ass, draining your body and mind of energy, and coming out on top.

  33. kyuss
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The simplest solution would be to let everyone compete in one field…

    This is a fine solution if you’re comfortable with women/transgenders never winning anything ever again.

  34. nicky
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The thing with Caster Semenya (toggle the letters and you’ll get ‘Yes, a secret man’😊) is that the S.A. sports ministry distorts it into a racial thing. Deplorable.
    I’m very sorry for Caster (I really am), she grew up knowing nothing about her being male, but when you see her: male built, when you hear her: male voice, and (s)he is married to a woman. He is an XY ‘female’, to do with some of her testosterone receptors not working properly , a pseudo-hermaphrodite, I think it is called.
    I think , heartbreaking as it is, (s)he should be banned from competing in women’s events.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      To me, the “female” category is really a restricted category in order to induce statistical fairness to competition (yes, there is variation in athletic ability within this category) .

      We should let scientists determine the criteria for being allowed to compete in this category and stick with it.

      Those who do not meet said criteria should be required to compete in the open category.

    • Posted June 8, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Athletic competition categories are about statistical fairness; and XY ought to have to compete in the open category.

    • Simon
      Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Julius Malema simplified the issue for us all. He doesn’t know of any such word as hermaphrodite in the Pedi language, so there’s no such thing. The world has no right to impose this concept on poor Caster Semenya.

      Here’s a choice quote from Julius the Genius.””The imperialists must not impose this on us if they have hermaphrodites where they come from. They must enjoy living with their hermaphrodites, because in South Africa there are no hermaphrodites.””

      • BJ
        Posted June 9, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Reminiscent of when Ayatollah Khamenei claimed that there are no gay people in Iran. Or was that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

  35. Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    With regard to the Olympics: Don’t they know what the standard ranges are for the hormone levels?

    I know that the National Women’s Hockey League had a player begin to transition (i.e. to male), and they decided that the player could continue in the league — as long as he didn’t begin hormone treatment.

    I agree with the take on the matter presented by this article:

  36. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Letting men run as ‘women’ just because they say they are is utter BS and makes a complete nonsense of the idea of having women’s divisions in sport. It just means that genuine women (however you define them) are never going to win anything.

    It’s a problem only generated by the climate of PC that has arisen. Every classification consists of drawing a line somewhere and there are always going to be borderline cases where someone is trying, either deliberately or by force of circumstances, to sneak across the line for competitive advantage. That’s no reason to let them do it and it’s unfair to everyone else.


  37. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    In the Winter Paralympics, athletes are divided into several categories according to criteria like how far down the trunk are they paralyzed. So an athlete who has use of their abdomen and pelvis is not competing against one who does not have use of that region.
    So long story short M->F athletes simply should not be competing with female athletes. But they do get to compete. That simply has to be one area where the Identity Politicians cannot dictate terms.

  38. Max Blancke
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    What is happening, is we are circling back to reality.
    There are plenty of people out there that think the sexes can perform equally well in any sort of competition. If you start with that belief, it is not much of a reach to conclude that segregated sports are designed simply to oppress women and girls. Or that gender is nothing more than a lifestyle choice.
    So they relearn lesson long ago learned, and will end up re instituting old norms, probably thinking all the while that they are terribly clever for coming up with the “new” solutions to timeless problems.

  39. Jim Smith
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    A sport where success is strictly based on the physical capabilities of your body should have competitors grouped by their body, not their self-perceived ‘social constructs’.

    That is, grouped by genetic women and genetic men.

  40. Alex
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Let’s have a simple thought experiment. Let’s say we have a normal man competing in a male sport. And let’s say that this man has taken growth hormones to increase their muscle mass for their entire life, but quits a year before whatever competition he will take part at. Does that sound fair?

    No matter how much you monitor a trans-woman’s hormones, it will never be fair for her to compete against normal women. Unless of course we develop some kind of treatment that actively destroys some of her muscle mass and maybe bone density too.

    As for trans-men, from what I know there aren’t many sports in which a female physiology would bring an advantage, so in most cases it would be fine to let them compete in male sports, as long as their hormone treatment is kept within limits of average male testosterone levels.

    • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:10 am | Permalink

      We need reasonable categories. Of course they are not absolutely fair, but there are weight divisions in many sports and look at the labyrinth of classes in Paralympics.

      In cross-country skiing there are now haemoglobin limits. They’re a lot more dubious than the suggested testosterone limits in running.

  41. phil
    Posted June 8, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    If the paralympics can accommodate people with widely differing levels of ability I think it must be possible to accommodate transsexual athletes. Perhaps in time they will have their own competitions in some sports. After all we have comps for kids, teenagers, amateurs, professionals, seniors, disabled (differently abled*) athletes, and “open” comps (like the Olympics).

    *e.g. wheelchair rugby. You’re unlikely to get me to play it.

    All athletes are not equal to start with, which is why we get champions like Federer and Nadal. What makes a contest interesting is often the fact that the competitors have different strengths and weaknesses (weight, strength, speed, eyesight, reflex speed, stamina).

    All sports bodies place restrictions on competitors, over PEDs, weight, age, gender/sex AFAIK, and all sports bodies use rules and regulations. In short, there are very few completely open competitions.

    To sum up I can’t believe that this is an insoluble problem. Maybe a satisfactory solution will take time, as more and more transsexual people take up competitive sports.

  42. nicky
    Posted June 9, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I think if we let chimpanzees compete, humans would fall off the podium in many a sport.

  43. Posted June 9, 2018 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    In any event, I’d rather be listening to Bach than taking notice of people running around in ellipses.

  44. Gamall
    Posted June 9, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I still don’t get why sports are segregated. Let the chips fall where they may; so what if one sex is physically stronger.

    That said, I just don’t get sports, generally speaking.

  45. Posted June 10, 2018 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    It’s 2018. Can someone explain to me the concept of Women’s Chess World Championship?

    • Posted June 10, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      As in other sports, to have women winners.

    • Posted June 11, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      That’s a *very* interesting case, since it doesn’t have anything to do with muscle mass, presumably.

      (I for one am completely agnostic as to why it seems elite chess is *also* male dominant. It seems plausible that residual sexism plays *some* role, but can we be sure it is all of it?)

  46. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 10, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Maybe there could be some sort of “handicapping” system in which points are added and deducted based on mechanical and hormonal disadvantages and advantages. Something like that would be really complex and hard to administer, though.

    • Posted June 11, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Harder and harder to norm the more variables one introduces.

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