The ACLU defends the right of biological men to compete in women’s sports

I don’t think anyone reading or commenting on this site would deny a transgender person the right to be considered whatever sex they want; the rub comes when that consideration conflicts with other considerations of justice—as in sports. As I reported in June of last year, two transgender women in Connecticut—women who were born biological males and apparently had neither surgery nor hormone therapy for their transition—decided to compete with other women in track meets. Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood cleaned up in the women’s 100- and 200-meter dashes in Connecticut, as expected given that they have the musculature of men. They were allowed to compete in this race because Connecticut law says that you are whatever gender you say you are. And that law, which does (and should) apply to most areas of civil rights, is also taken to apply to sports. If you’re a biological male and feel you’re a woman (and I’m not arguing that these athletes feel they have a woman’s identity), then you can compete against other women, without qualifications.

In contrast, the Olympics and other organizations mandate that you have a certain titer of testosterone below which you must remain to compete in women’s events. In other words, biological men who want to compete with women have to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I’ve written about this, too, as it’s not a perfect solution to the problem. If you start HRT after you’ve already developed the musculature and bone structure of a biological male, and then transition to female, you don’t lose all that bone and muscle. It seems clear that this gives many transgender women a leg up in women’s sports.

This seems to be the case for the weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who, competing for New Zealand, transitioned from male to female in her thirties, and then won two golds and a silver in three women’s heavyweight categories at the Pacific Games in Samoa in early July. (I believe she’s undergone HRT.) There were objections from other weightlifters and Samoans (they had their own local favorite), just as Connecticut non-transgender women who compete in track and field have begun to object to what seems a palpably unfair way to interpret “women” when it comes to high school athletics. (Three of those women have filed a federal anti-discrimination lawsuit against Connecticut, claiming that the state’s policy denies them the opportunity to get college scholarships that come from winning races.)

While the Connecticut law is risible, the problem of how to deal with transgender women who want to compete along with biological women isn’t much easier when it comes to athletes practicing HRT.  As Reuters reports (link above):

IOC guidelines issued in 2015 said any transgender athlete could compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.

That has been criticized by some scientists, who say it does little to mitigate natural biological advantages enjoyed by male-born athletes, including bone and muscle density.

Researchers at the Dunedin-based University of Otago said in a peer-reviewed study published earlier this month that the IOC guidelines were “poorly drawn” and the mandated testosterone level was still “significantly higher” than that of women.

The study advocated that the IOC ditch its “binary” approach to competition and consider introducing a transgender category or find another solution that balances the desire for inclusion with the need for a level playing field.

I was disappointed, then, to see the kneejerk reaction of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to the situation in Connecticut, as they issued the following statement below (click on screenshot), which I’ve reproduced below the picture:

Here is the text; the bolding is the ACLU’s.

Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood are two transgender girls who are following their dreams as star runners in Connecticut. But as champions on the track, they face harmful attacks rather than the accolades they deserve. While Andraya and Terry’s teammates and coaches support them, some cisgender athletes want to keep them out of girls’ sports.

Transgender people have the right to participate in sports consistent with who they are, just like anyone. Denying this right is pure discrimination.

The marginalization of trans student-athletes is rooted in the same kind of gender discrimination and stereotyping that has held back cisgender women athletes. Transgender girls are often told that they are not girls (and conversely transgender boys are told they are not really boys) based on inaccurate stereotypes about biology, athleticism, and gender. As a result, transgender athletes – particularly Black transgender women – face systemic barriers to participation in athletics and all aspects of public life. This exclusion contributes to the high rates of homelessness, suicidality and violence that Black trans women and girls face.

There’s a word for that: Discrimination.

When misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls from sports it amounts to the same form of sex discrimination that has long been prohibited under Title IX, a law that protects all students – including trans people – on the basis of sex.

Girls who are transgender are girls. Period.

This is remarkably obtuse for the ACLU.  The whole issue is couched in terms of discrimination and stereotyping, and uses the world “girls” just as Connecticut does: you’re a girl if you say or think you’re a girl. Period. They completely evade the issue of an unfair physical advantage of transgender athletes—particularly ones who are wholly male in terms of their bodies—over biological women, and the consequences to those women. Nobody is arguing that we should discriminate against transgender people in terms of their civil rights. But is it really a civil right to be allowed to compete in a women’s sport simply by declaring you’re a woman? The women athletes who lost to Miller and Yearwood don’t seem to think so.

As has happened several times in the past few years, the ACLU, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, seems to be expanding its brief from civil liberties to social justice. That’s not necessarily bad, but it is when you do what the ACLU is doing here (it’s also backed off on its hard free-speech stand, something that also disturbs me).

I have no solution to the problem of what to do about male-to-female transgender athletes who want to compete in women’s events. As I’ve said before, there are many questions to resolve, which include these that I’ve raised before:

  • 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?

And of course the biggest question of all:

  • What are the definitions of “man” and “woman”? 

If the answer to that last question, is—as the ACLU and Connecticut argue—”you’re a man if you say you’re a man and a woman if you say you’re a woman, period,” then the words have lost all meaning.

 

135 Comments

  1. chris moffatt
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Notice how the ACLU twists it to make it about race, which clearly is not the issue here.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Noticed.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      The co-option of race into transgender politics is as repellent as the pressganging of intersex conditions.

      Time and again I’ve heard the argument that ‘if we let black women compete we should allow transwomen.’

      Comparing black women to biological males is racist, no matter how those biological males identify.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      They also, as Jerry points out, use the term “girls”. Boys and girls competing together can do so until hormones kick in and things change. It’s men and women that we need to talk about. Discrimination against trans people by saying they aren’t real men or women is a different issue from an unfair biological advantage that probably requires and separate category.

      • Al
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 4:21 am | Permalink

        They are not real men or women by the traditionally accepted definitions. They are not and never will be, a plain biological fact. If someone feels more like the opposite biological sex (or thinks they do), no problem. If society can accept that and however they wish to present themselves then what’s the issue? The problem is that they want to force everyone to regard them as something they are not by monkeying with language. It won’t work. People will just mentally create a category of “fake” man or women. It seems that the real aim of the activists is to completely destroy the idea of two discrete sexes so that a tiny minority of people can feel better about themselves (they won’t).

        • Martin Levin
          Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:01 am | Permalink

          The most radical activists are self-contradictory. If there’s no difference between the sexes (c’est a rire, as they say in France), then why is transgenderism a thing?

  2. Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Then you have the woman from South Africa who was born female but has very high testosterone levels because of a genetic quirk. They have banned her unless she brings down her T levels. So you do need some T level testing anyway perhaps.

    • Adam M.
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      If you’re talking about Caster Semenya, he is and was born male, has testes, married a women, fathered a child, etc. but has an intersex condition.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        (S)he is sterile. If she ‘fathered’ or ;mothered’ a child, it must have been an adopted one

        • Adam M.
          Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          After looking more deeply, I can’t confirmation one way or the other (about being the father or being sterile, which is usually but not always associated with AIS) so I’ll retract that part.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Caster Semenya (if you toggle the letters it reads: ‘yes, a secret man’ 🙂 ) is a male pseudo-hermaphrodite. (S)he is an XY man, with internal testicles and a dead end vagina, so in some ways she resembles a woman. In most others she does not (if you don’t stick your nose in her panties): (s)he has the physiognomy of a man, (s)he sounds like a man, runs like a man, and is married to a woman.
      However, contrary to Miller and Yearwood (s)he is no cheat, she grew up as a girl and did not know any better. It is a sad situation, but I think the interests of the large (XX) female population should take precedence.

      • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        As part as I can make out Caster is biologically male (XY karyotype) but has androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS).

        Not complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), however, as she has been asked to lower her testosterone.

        Wouldn’t make much sense lowering it if she is completely insensitive to it.

        Alternatively she may have 5-ARD and be unable to produce dihydrotestosterone. Again, make karyotype, Wolffian structures and undecended testes. If this is correct it might be possible to father a child which would make it difficult to maintain that she is female. I believe her wife has also described their marriage as heterosexual.

  3. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Transgender men competing against women in sports is just wrong. Might as well start eliminating high-level sports opportunities for women.

  4. Rich Sanderson
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    This issue has confused a lot of so-called “skeptics”, who have revealed themselves to be lacking in skepticism and somewhat anti-science.

    I have even had one uneducated person, host of a “skeptic” type podcast (ETVPod) counter with an argument about “wot about Michael Phelps’ ‘mutant arms'”.

    No matter how many times you explain that elite sport is not categorised by how “mutant your arms are” or how much “lactic acid you produce”, it is categorised by sex.

    Also note that PZ and his flat-earth horde have predictably gone the anti-science route on this.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      And the ACA and Atheist Experience have had a falling out, with many woke skeptics displaying admiral ignorance of the issue and walking out.

      • Richard
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Any relation to general confusion?

        • BJ
          Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          Hehe, well done! Took me a second.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I found that rather sad. Several who left the organization were great personalities who took calls for many years. *sniff* 😕

  5. W.Benson
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps there should be separate “trans” categories for sporting competitions, including a “trans” Olympics. That would be my “out”.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      That would seem to be straightforward, and was my initial position as well. The first issue is, do you lump trans men and trans women together into one category? That would seem to disadvantage trans men competitively. Second is that it seems discriminatory, which will raise a whole hullabaloo. The problem is that trans men and trans women want to be treated as if they were biological men and women, and the progressive zeitgeist is that we should let people be whatever they want, and who are we to tell them no.

      • Stranger
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        So I finally can be an attack helicopter? Yay!

  6. Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I stopped taking the ACLU seriously when it supported Citizens United. Reading the bit about ”inaccurate stereotypes about biology athleticism and gender” did a lot to reaffirm my stance.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    “Transgender people have the right to participate in sports consistent with who they are, just like anyone. Denying this right is pure discrimination.”

    If biological sex is nothing real and it’s all about how you feel, why don’t I see trans men competing with Usain Bolt or playing left tackle on the Philadelphia Eagles. How does the ACLU and the rest of them incorporate this into their magnanimous gender theory? What does Judith Butler have to say for hermself on this?

    • Paul S
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      There’s the rub. Where are the trans men athletes? Surely there are trans men who enjoy sports.
      A trans woman beating Flo-Joe’s 100M 10.49, which hasn’t happened, isn’t as impressive as a trans man beating Bolt’s 9.58

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, why is that?

  8. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Although its VIN identifies my Nissan Versa car as a Japanese sub-compact, it insists that, in its innermost soul, it is
    really a Cadillac Escalade. During the week, that is. On weekends, it says it is a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    • Hunt
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 2:39 am | Permalink

      But the market will still think it’s a Nissan if you sell it, which is a possible sports solution: uncouple sports achievement from absolute scoring and let the audience decide who is good or bad.

  9. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    It is difficult to reconcile the idea that there should be separate events for men and women in sports, with the idea that biological sex doesn’t matter and it is only your self-identified social gender that matters. The justification for separate events for women is based on biological sex differences, not social gender differences.

    • A C Harper
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Quite so. The alternative is to have ‘open’ 100 metre sprints where anyone may compete. That it will almost always be won by a biological male is just a cost of diversity. Although I rather expect that many people would find the cost too high.

    • Sastra
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Precisely, Steve. You perfectly and pithily summed up what I was struggling to say. The solution is almost, to me, to just do away with division by sex and conduct a series of nine and muscle tests. Of course, this would be stupid in variables so maybe we just need a third category of competition just like we have a separate category for the paralympics yo make competing more fair.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Not nine. It’s like I had specific tests in mind. I don’t know what I was even saying there. This is why I should let Steve speak for me. 🙂

    • TJR
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Sums it up nicely. If we all try to specify when we mean social gender and when we mean biological gender/sex then we won’t argue past each other as much.

      However, biological gender/sex is still a non-trivial matter. In terms of which prison or hospital ward you go to then it pretty much has to be based on current genitalia in almost every case, but as noted here it is much less clear when it comes to sport.

      • max blancke
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        I will share another personal item.
        My trans child, who is now 18, has changed their name and had their sex classification changed at the hospital where we receive our care. Without having had any surgical changes made.
        Which means that the doctor now has to play make believe during any examinations or treatment. Actual sex differences are a non-trivial issue in medical treatment. If the doctor treats the trans patient as their preferred sex, then treatment can be compromised. Treat the patient as their biological sex, and they might be guilty of some sort of oppression.

        Another point I would like to bring up is that the hormones that my mother was taking post-menopause had to be discontinued due to associated health risks, but those same risks are acceptable for feminizing your ten year old.

        At some point, I predict a bunch of parents filing lawsuits against a bunch of doctors and therapists who are now engaging in “sex and gender affirmation” treatments with unknown or negative long-term effects.

        I had sort of gone along with the argument that “this is about gender, not sex”, but it seems the two concepts are firmly linked.

    • max blancke
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Well put. I think we look at much of this craziness without considering the steps that got them to the conclusion they ended up with. If you start with the belief that gender and biological sex are cultural artifacts, then the rest of the arguments are perfectly reasonable.
      The same goes with the false history they teach in *** studies programs. Once you have those beliefs as a foundation, then many of their arguments are almost inevitable.

      Insidious is the word for it.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I believe you have a lot of rights as a transgender person but to compete in sports may not be one of them. I think I will go with Martina Navratilova on this issue. She thought Renee Richards was okay to compete because she had made the full transition. But for those who have not, it is not a fair competition.

  11. demfromsc
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Although I agree that this is a complicated question, I would argue that one should have to compete athletically as a man if you’re born with one X and one Y chromosome, and you should have to compete as a woman if you’re born XX. If you’re born XY and you decide to transition to female, that’s your choice, but that doesn’t shouldn’t allow you to compete as a woman. Similarly, I believe that the woman who was born with a relatively high testosterone level should still be “allowed” to compete as a woman. Obviously, we are all genetically different and she just happens to have an abnormally high level of the “male hormone”; she didn’t cheat. I’d like to play in the NBA, but my genes stopped my skeleton from growing beyond 66 inches, so that opportunity is out for me!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Hey, you got 3″ on Muggsy Bogues, slacker; stop bellyaching and get busy with that NBA career. :).

      • Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        I’ve often thought of filing a discrimination lawsuit against the NBA, being a sub-six-foot white guy with some skills. But competing in the women’s leagues would be so much simpler! When my brother-in-law was a top masters division marathon runner, we often joked that if he entered as a woman, he would be a national champion/gold medal winner. I have some college b ball eligibility left, so maybe I’ll move to Connecticut and play for some women’s team.

        • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          This is the kind of issue Title IX was Originally meant to address: equal support for the sexes in school sport.

          Unfortunately Title IX now seems to be used for everything other than its initial purpose.

          And part of the problem is the previous administrations coy use of the word ‘gender’ when they should have said ‘sex’.

          Never say ‘gender’ when you mean ‘sex’. Sex isn’t a dirty word.

          • Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            Right on. And along these lines, I think that we should have stuck with using trans sexual rather than trans gender. But I am an old fuddy duddy as noted by Planned Parenthood: “Transsexual – An older term for people whose gender identities don’t match the sex that was assigned at birth and who desire and/or seek to transition to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identities. Some people find this term offensive, others do not. Only refer to someone as transsexual if they tell you that’s how they identify.” And I still say that nouns have gender 🙂

            • BJ
              Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

              “…the sex that was assigned at birth …”

              And this is why they changed the word. The sex your doctor determines at birth isn’t “assigned to you,” it’s your sex, unless you had ambiguous genitalia or you have a rare disorder. The whole point is to eliminate the idea of sex, period. This is obvious from how they use gender and sex completely interchangeably in that definition.

              • Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

                I suppose the only “assignment” that is made is when the birth certificate is filled out. More simple empirical observation than assignment. Assignment might have happened if genitalia were non-definitive, but we now have karyotypes.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Which ‘women’ with abnormally high testosterone are you referring to?
      You need testicles to pump out high levels of T, outlier women are way down on the levels we are talking about.

      It is a completely different argument than one where you weren’t genetically equipped with long with the right features.

      • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Men typically produce about 20 times as much T. If a woman produces anywhere near that you should be thinking about cancer, not sporting medals.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 3, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Yep.

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I must admit to having had an uncharitable thought the other day. When the time inevitably comes, and a trans man is committed of a crime, will they want to go the men’s prison, or the women’s?

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Throw them in the male jail. There have been several instances of ‘transgender women’ raping female prisoners.

  13. Adam M.
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I think the solution is simple. Have two categories: women’s sports and open, where women’s sports are for (biological) women only, which we can define for simplicity as people without a Y chromosome, partial Y chromosome, or chimerism that results in any part of their body having Y chromosomes. The open category welcomes everyone, including women if they want to compete there.

    If people get hung up on the term “women”, then we can call them “female” and “open”. It requires only the will and backbone to say “no” – to say we won’t ruin sports for half the population to satisfy a miniscule minority.

    It’s a good thing trans people are so rare. If males started competing with women in any significant numbers, women’s sports really would be destroyed. (It only takes three to grab 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in any competition, leaving no glory for the women, and it only takes one to set records that no woman can ever hope to break.)

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Women’s and Open. With pretty strict requirements to participate in the Women’s.

    • Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Perfect!

  14. Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Karyotype. Period.

  15. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    The ACLU stance is ridiculous. Women’s sports is about discrimination: only women are allowed to compete, which -since the reason for that discrimination is physiological, not psychological-, would automatically exclude any biological male.
    Their stance is uninformed and indefensible (it would eg. allow any male athlete to compete in women’s events by declaring himself a woman: cheating, in other words), and I agree with our host that the ‘testosterone rules’ of the IAAF and Olympics are still way too lenient.

    • loren russell
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Ditto. And btw, with regard to the ACLU release above, it has been pointed out elsewhere [Ophelia Benson blog] that the photo of runners’ legs are a file photo of two biological women, not those of the boys tearing up the track in Connecticut.

  16. phoffman56
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    “There’s a word for that: Discrimination.”

    I’ll admit, for not the first time, to below avoiding the main subject (except to say that if FIFA adopted that ACLU attitude, it would be very easy to beat that US women’s soccer team by having 15 or 20 of the best Brazilian male footballers declare themselves to be women– and those USians now seem as dominant as the Canuck men’s [ice] hockey teams were about 60 years ago.)

    So what should be used is a phrase for that; e.g. ‘inappropriate discrimination’. Just like with the more recent veering of the word ‘issue’ create confusion and ambiguity by having several (please, not ‘multiple’–‘many’ would be okay) distinct meanings, so it is with ‘discrimination’. I applied discrimination itself in the approximately 150 mathematics courses I taught when, in exam marking, I discriminated between two students who did something like (but higher level) saying 1+1=2 and 1+1=3, respectively.

    Ah well, once again I’ll admit it’s like trying to stop the ocean tides. At least tides don’t contribute to human ignorance and conman-politician destructiveness.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      “having 15 or 20 of the best Brazilian male footballers declare themselves to be women”

      Nothing like the best required. Maybe the best Brazilian high school boy’s team.

      • TJR
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        I’d really like to see the US Women’s team play San Marino or Andorra.

        The former you would expect to be more skilled, and have better teamwork, but would the latter’s extra speed and strength cancel that out?

        It would be an interesting experiment.

        • Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          TJR – related anecdote. At Pepperdine, we had a regular b ball ‘lunch bunch’ that was an agglomeration of middle aged guys with decent skills. Occasionally we would scrimmage with the D-I women’s team, and generally matched up fairly evenly. I believe we came out ahead many times, which to me was a clear demonstration of significant differences between women’s and men’s basketball capabilities.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      The Iranians already have something like 8 transwomen in their women’s team.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        They let them out of jail? Well, that’s progress.

        • loren russell
          Posted August 1, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          The Iranian theocrats are quite open to transgender surgery — they essentially offer it as the alternative to prison [and worse] for male or female homosexuals.

          • rickflick
            Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

            They don’t see that as an absurd inconsistency? I wonder how many gays accept surgery to stay out of jail!? The theocracy must go!

  17. Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I think this is ridiculous and will destroy women’s sports. Especially when someone can simply state that they feel like a woman. (Seriously, why should that be the criterion?)

    Who are the most celebrated group of women athletes in the USA (just taking the US perspective here)? The Women’s Soccer team: Who have been regularly beaten by boys high school aged teams.

    It reminds me of laws or policies requiring any man who identifies (simply says he feels like she is [sic]) a woman can use women’s restrooms and locker rooms. Including among young women and girls in high school and middle school.

    Both of these situations (sports and the laws/policies outlined above) completely ignore the rights and desires of the (vast) majority to favor the desires of the (tiny) minority.

    This does not seem to be the best way to accommodate those who don’t follow the norm.

    • Dragon
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      “Who have been regularly beaten by boys high school aged teams.”
      Citation required.
      If you are referring to the Dallas U-15 team, that was NOT a serious game. It was a scrimmage to train the boys team and also to give the USWNT a warm up to familiarize each team member with the others. It does not support your contention.
      https://www.truthorfiction.com/was-the-u-s-womens-national-team-defeated-by-teenaged-boys-in-a-2017-soccer-match/
      There are numerous other articles that confirm this.

      • max blancke
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Not the US team, but the Matildas have a history of such losses.
        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3609949/Matildas-lose-7-0-Newcastle-Jets-15s-Rio-Olympics-warm-up.html

        • max blancke
          Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Looking deeper, it seems this is not an isolated phenomenon-
          Sweden-https://www.thelocal.se/20130116/45646

          UK-https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/6881715/manchester-united-women-beaten-9-0-by-salford-youth-team-triggers-vile-sexist-abuse-on-twitter/

          The standard response to these incidents is to explain that in each case, the women were “not really trying to win”. That seems like a bit of a cop out to me.
          Even in a friendly or informal game, my experience has been that players generally try to score, although it would be wise to not risk injury.

          But it seems like the big losses to boys are what makes the news. If there is data out there that women playing at the pro level regularly play at a competitive level against adult males, it would dispel some uncertainty.

  18. Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “If the answer to that last question, is—as the ACLU and Connecticut argue—”you’re a man if you say you’re a man and a woman if you say you’re a woman, period,” then the words have lost all meaning.”

    In my opinion, this is the goal of the sex/gender denying folks.

    Not sure what they think they are going to get from this; but they clearly don’t seem to care about the carnage generated, for example to women’s sports.

    Which is deeply troubling as it seems to trample the progress women have made in sports equality.

  19. Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Unfair and obtuse. If I ever changed to a woman I would never compete against women who were born women. It’s just unfair and it should be obvious.

    ACLU is championing a cause that does not minimize suffering.

  20. Posted August 1, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I have already been called a “transphobe” today because of my title using the words “biological man” rather than “transgender female”. But I couldn’t use the latter because there could be cases in which transgender females with the proper treatment COULD compete in men’s sports. I had to say “biological male” to refer to transgender females who underwent no physical treatment.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      It’s sad on even needs to preface “male” and “female” with “biological”; they are so by definition.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, just having an idea in your head doesn’t change physical reality.

      This is the magical thinking on the left. I think it and it’s “my truth”. And “My Truth” trumps your reality.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I absolutely draw the line at ‘cis’.

  21. rickflick
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The solution, it seems to me is very simple. As the University of Otago researchers suggested, create a separate category for transgender athletes. It’s very straightforward, and it doesn’t discriminate. After all, who on Earth would feel good about winning medals by stacking the biological deck against the competitors? It’s like running against runners who have glue spread on their shoes. I’d be ashamed to win one that way. The only way winning means anything is if it’s a level playing field.

  22. Curtis
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Look at the most famous trans athlete Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce). In 1976, Jenner won the men’s Olympic decathlon and was rightly called the greatest athlete in the world. If Jenner had competed in the women’s events, Jenner would have won about 10 gold medals (100M, 200M, 400M, high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin, heptatlon plus 2 relays.)

    That would have been a travesty.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      The absurdity of the current claim is that Jenner could have won the men’s event, as he did, declared his transition the next day and competed against women then and there.
      Obviously, she would have won everything.

      • Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Not really, because Bruce Jenner wasn’t undergoing hormone therapy, and so wouldn’t qualify as a woman in the Olympics.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 2, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          But I put ‘the absurdity of the “current” claim.
          The position the ACLU is defending, and many activists.
          Which, if came to pass would mean no one needs HRT or surgery or anything.

  23. Posted August 1, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with rickflick. Create a separate category for transgender athletes.

  24. KD
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    If the ACLU wins, this will destroy women’s sports. Women with normal female endocrine systems will not be able to compete with “women” with formerly male endocrine systems.

    Muscle development is muscle development. Once you develop it, and it atrophies, if you train again, you will get most of it back. I think this is part of lifetime bans of PED’s–if bulk up with steroids, and you stop the steroids, you lose some bulk, but if you train hard afterwards, you will end up with more mass than you would have ever had naturally, even without further intervention. The same is true for male-to-female endocrine shifts.

    You will have men’s competitions, which people will care about, and bad men’s competitions, with a bunch of former guys who don’t have what it takes to be competitive in a men’s league but who have an unfair competitive advantage over natural women.

    No one will care about women’s competitions anymore, because they will exclude natural women, and they will be composed of former men who were too mediocre to compete with the men.

    Maybe that would be a good thing, except it is the exact opposite of the intent of Title IX. I don’t see why Creation Scientists get so much crap when these people are basically in denial of basic endocrinology and physics. Next they will be trying to outlaw math because its sexist.

  25. eric
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    how many categories of competition do we want? The traditional men’s and women’s sports, or an intermediate category?

    The more of these cases that come up, the more I think the IAAF came up with, well let’s call it the “least worst” solution. So here’s my answer to Jerry’s question.

    We have two categories.

    Category 1 is open to anyone, of any sex or gender, with an average of =5nm/liter testosterone in their system over the last 6 months.

    No need to make exceptions or special rules for those who don’t identify as one of the two primary genders. No need to tell athletes how to achieve (exceed or get under) those limits, they can decide that for themselves. No need to come up with new testing procedures, we can just fold the tests into current drug screening procedures.

    Most importantly, for those of you worried about ‘naturally edge’ cases, those will be very rare. Not nonexistent, but extremely rare. That’s because testosterone blood levels between physiologically normal biological males and biological females differs by about an order of magnitude, with 5 nm/liter being in the middle of that difference. As Jerry likes to point out, we have a two-hump distribution of sex with a non-zero but relatively small number of cases in the middle. The same is true for testosterone levels. 5 is right between the humps, so for >99% of the population, which Category you fall into (again, regardless of what gender you identify as) will be perfectly clear.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      What’s the other category?

      And how do you determine an average of 5nml over 6 months?
      How many tests?

      How high and low can it range?

      Anyway, anyone who went though male puberty who had a level of 5 would be a male. No question.

  26. Divalent
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Just rename the “Men/boys” competition category to “open to all”, and rename the women/girls” category to “restricted to those that have had testosterone levels below 2 nM/l for the last 5 years”.

    *Anyone* is free to enter the “Open” races, so no one can ever complain they are being excluded.

  27. Kelly Greene
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a case of a trans man playing in the national women’s hockey league. Born biologically female, he wanted to be accepted as a male but never wanted to play hockey with the men, although likely would have never had a chance in the NHL. The point being, why do trans women push to compete in the female category and not push for acceptance in the Male category? https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/harrison-browne-gives-man-womens-hockey/sn-amp/&ved=2ahUKEwjcvYizw-LjAhVEA6wKHfhJAIUQFjAVegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw1XAWB4kJ6Vm4u3I1GAN3fg&ampcf=1

    • Marou
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      “If you’re a biological male and feel you’re a woman”. But how do they know what it feels like to be a woman?

      • Sastra
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        And how do they know that “ feeling like a woman” is any different than “ feeling like a man?” People have desires, preferences, and habits. Categorizing some of those as aspects of essential womanhood and others as indicative of essential manhood seems like either sexist stereotyping, or a metaphysical claim.

      • max blancke
        Posted August 3, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        They don’t want to be the opposite sex. They want to be what they imagine life as the opposite sex would be like.

  28. FB
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    We need three categories: women, men, and biological women.

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Women, men, trans women, and trans men?

      • FB
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        No, trans women are women.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          For most purposes, yes. For sports, they need an asterisk.

          • FB
            Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            My proposal was that we need a third category: biological women.

  29. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    This issue is causing another great schism in the skeptic community.

    Plenty of allegedly smart people are on the wrong side.
    As is the ACLU.
    It has fractured the Atheist Community of Austin.

    I think it must reflect a massive ignorance about sport.
    AMoung other things.

    The situation is clear as crystal to me.

    Male puberty and high testosterone levels provide a physiological advantage.

    That is all.

    There is no other reason the male female categories exist.

    It isn’t because of wide hips or being smaller on average.
    It isn’t because one can or can’t have children.
    It isn’t because of breasts.

    It isn’t any reason except testosterone history.

    So it is quite clear to me which category any particular person fits.

    Sport competition operates on minute differences between winning and not winning.so even a person who has had surgery and HRT may still retain an advantage from male puberty.

    The self identify case, where no change has happened is absurd beyond belief, yet here we are, with so many defending it.

    Not me.
    It is outright cheating. No doubt.

  30. Bob
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I usually agree with positions taken by the ACLU, but not in this case. I think, without much further consideration, that the “open and women” competitive categories described by other posters might well be a good solution. I do know that the ACLU position is not satisfactory.

  31. Posted August 1, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Half of the equation is about what society considers fair, which is informed by a sense of a levelled playing field. But this might be an illusion. For example, Y-chromosome or male puperty (or whichever criterion we use for “male”) be damed, most men are categorically ruled out from professional basketball — to give one example. Especially professional sports seem to require very specific physiques. While we‘re saying it‘s open to “everyone” who meets certain base criteria, the activity selects only a few. This is further complicated by modern medicine and training regimen, which aren’t open to everyone equally. Long gone are the times when competition measured raw competence, skill, willpower and talent.

    We find it acceptable when the top basketball players turn out to be all very tall. However, I suspect many would not find it acceptable if top players in one discipline were dominated by transgender athletes. I have the hunch this has more to do with intuitions than data or actual fairness.

    Suppose experts make a list of exact physical metrics for athletes, adding yet another layer of selection that excludes most people. Suppose the top athletes in a discipline turn out to be mostly transgender (analogue to tall people in basketball). Will society accept this even when there’s nothing that selects transgenders? I doubt it. And if it selects transgender, why would that be wrong, when selecting for tall people isn’t?

    It exposes the fundamental problem that one side of the assumptions goes with base categories (men, women) that creates the levelled playing field illusion, while the competition brings out extraordinary members of that category, who are precisely not typical members of the category (e.g. very tall basketball players). And when most people cannot compete in professional sports, including most transgender people, we cannot simply use the category to deduce to individuals (ecological fallacy), transgender included.

    In summary, I neither find the argumentation of transgender activists comvincing, nor of the opponents. I find it ironic that also the “sides” seem to have switched ideologies in this instance: this time, transgender woke basically argue “meritocracy”, while opponents question such assumptions.

    • Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      I’ll add, that I refer to people who transitioned. In cases like those who haven’t, I think it’s simple. Sports categories arose out of intuitions and they are obvious to about everyone. We need not bother with postmodern biomedical obscurantism that seeks to utterly confuse what men and women means (cognitive science of categories is not simple), when everybody can easily categorise men and women even through a poor quality phone call. What matters in sport is obviously not how someone identifies, but the apparent physique they have. And this can’t be complicated, since the point of sports is that an audience watches it, who also go by what they see.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        “the point of sports is that an audience watches it,…”

        Not for long. The audience is interested in the suspense. No suspense…no audience.

  32. sted24
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think anyone reading or commenting on this site would deny a transgender person the right to be considered whatever sex they want.”

    I am not sure you have thought this entirely through. Consider: you have been married for 5, 10, 30 years to a man who suddenly declares he is a woman. Suddenly you are married to a woman (which you didn’t sign up for) and now are, I imagine, technically, a lesbian.

    Current UK law (it may change) foresees this eventuality by requiring than someone who wishes to change gender gets the permission of their spouse.

    You mean your spouse can block your gender change? No, but if they don’t agree, you must dissolve the marriage first. This seems only reasonable: you want to change the terms of the (marriage) agreement, YOU have to renegotiate it or void it before you can proceed.

    INTERESTING FACT: Since the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 came into force, a grand total of 4,910 trans people have been issued a Gender Recognition Certificate. The UK has a population of approx 65 million.

    Getting a Certificate is, admittedly, a cumbersome procedure. Moves are afoot to make it a simple declaration. It will be interesting to see what happens then.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721642/GEO-LGBT-factsheet.pdf

    • sted24
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      I should add this, from the UK:

      “Figures published by the Gender Identity Development Service, an NHS group that supports children experiencing “difficulties in the development of their gender identity”, show that the number of referrals each year has risen from 97 in 2009/10 to 2,519 in 2017/18.”

      97 to 2,519 cases in 8 years!

      Epidemiologically, this is an astonishing epidemic. Except, I suggest, it isn’t real.

      For reference: the actual measles epidemic in the UK, imported into the UK from Europe and spread by “teenagers and young adults who missed out on their MMR vaccine when they were younger”: about 1000 cases.

      The transgender epidemic has all the characteristics of the California sex-abuse hysteria of the early 1990s. Suddenly something is happening except it isn’t.

      Psychology, psychologists, are an unreliable guide.

      Unless I am entirely wrong, of course.

      • Ray Little
        Posted August 1, 2019 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        For reference: the Salem Witch Trials, where, as you put it, ‘Suddenly something is happening, except it isn’t.’
        I suspect, as you do, that gender dysphoria is a form of mass hysteria.

      • Al
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

        I suspect what is happening is that youngsters on the autism spectrum, or any youngsters experiencing some sort of identity crisis, are being influenced at schools by trans activists into thinking that they have gender issues. It isn’t going to be pretty when these children reach adulthood and realise that they have messed with their physical development to correct a psychological issue.

  33. Grumpy
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I’m nearly 52 but from now on I’m going to identify as a 10-year-old so I (or should that be “i”?) can compete in junior sports and beat the crap out of a bunch of kids…

  34. Posted August 1, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The long-term solution to this problem is to change the way female children are raised. According to the experience of the Spartans, among others, if girls are raised with the same diet, exercise, medical treatment *and social expectations” as boys, they grow up with equal bone-structure, musculature, lung and heart capacity, and… attitudes. If more children were raised this way, I daresay there would be a lot fewer children claiming to be transgender.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      I think your history is a bit tilt. No amount of tutelage is going to make a girl a boy. The hormones won’t permit it.

  35. Ray Little
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    This seems like an eerie example of male chauvinist entitlement to me, a way of defiling women’s sports.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 1, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      No. You are wrnog. The eerie females on this forum too, are chagrined by the action of the ACLU.

  36. nokidding
    Posted August 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    in canada, we have our own epstein but with a twist: he says hes female (non-affirming) and so he can ask tweenies in the cvhangeroom at the gym about wearing napkins/tampons.

    to entrap immigrants, he asked the ones who did brazilian waxes to do his balls. they said no. he filed 16 complaints with the human rights commission for denial of service based on gender.

    https://www.thepostmillennial.com/jessica-yanivs-racism-and-anti-immigrant-sentiment-comes-to-light-with-shocking-new-evidence/

  37. Jonathan Dore
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    The Paralympics (and similar competitions running in tandem with other events)have multiple categories of the same race to accommodate all the different disabilities involved. No reason the same principle shouldn’t be applied to gender categories, and create a completely separate, parallel structure of trans events. The women’s category could then be defined as stringently as needed to ensure only those with a complete life history as women were included.

  38. Hunt
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    I have to say, I’m kind of enjoying the spectacle on this one. Woke acolytes maintain that a woman is anyone identifying as a woman. The magical irrationality of that is like a statement of religious faith. The personal feeling of identification has been hoisted to the level of sacred shibboleth. In other words, it’s both a test of inclusion and “correctness” and a virtue signal fellow travelers.

    The funny thing about this (and there is quite a bit of Python humor here), is that this whole things is guaranteed to blow up in their faces. If you grab any normal person off the street and explain the situation they’ll almost certainly laugh in your face.

    But of course, the absurdity is a feature, not a bug. This is one of the reasons I think the woke left is almost insane at this point. They’ve sat cloistered in their ivory towers for so long they lost touch with reality. The absurd has become normal for them.

    The Woke need a wake up call.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 3, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Exactly right, the absurdity is a feature.

      A demand that reality be a way that it is not, is insane.

  39. Mickey Mortimer
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    The amount of transphobic comments in this thread is depressing, especially the people who don’t understand sex is not the same as gender. Full disclosure, I’m trans.

    In any case, why is testosterone level such a huge controversy but so many other variables that affect performance are just accepted? The height advantage for basketball was already brought up. Short players statistically don’t stand a chance. Another obvious example is wealth, of both of the player and their place of origin. Richer players had better nutrition growing up, more time to practice, better training regimens, etc.. Just look at the FIBA U16 2019 championship game where the US teenagers beat the El Salvadoran teenagers 114 to 19.

    But these aren’t major issues in the community, it’s just those trans people. Which reminds me an awful lot of the Christian emphasis on making life harder for gay or trans people, but not really passing many laws about adultery, coveting, making graven images and all the other things that are supposedly worthy of death. Instead they just find anything not straight and cis to be icky and use religion as an excuse. Ditto sports fans and trans players, but replace religion with equality.

    Finally and also insulting is the assumption by some that if we allow trans people to compete with others of their gender, we’ll see some significant portion of cis men pretending to be trans women just to be sports stars. That’s a bad 2002 movie plot. You think a guy’s going to sacrifice their preferred social life to live as a woman and face more social stigma than almost any other demographic out there? Especially in this age of information, where any motive or plot would be easily known? Either they’re known in history as the guy who faked being trans to be a sports statistic, or if they keep it secret they lived a life they disliked. To be a sports statistic.

    I mean, how many of you male commenters would choose to live as a woman- social expectations of appearance, name change, breast implants, being able to be fired and/or evicted in half the US just for being trans, facing all the bigotry from both the religious and sadly a significant portion of atheists (and the federal government currently), etc.? Just to be the top of your field, be it football, genetics, whatever? I’m betting very few.

    • Hunt
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Would breast implants, etc. even be a required hurdle (sorry)? Given that quite a few competitors might be like me, not the greatest physical specimen, with bad knees; I’m pretty sure I can wrestle the majority of women to the canvass. There might be significant remuneration for those like me. What provisions are there for sincere, honest declaration of womanhood? From what I can see, not many. But I’m sure everyone will act without deceit (er?).

      But really, Mickey, you can’t see anything, anything at all, “problematic” about a biologically male person competing against naturally born women and the issues of fairness that presents? Really?

      • Mickey Mortimer
        Posted August 3, 2019 at 3:07 am | Permalink

        The “sincere”, “honest”, “deceit” question is insulting because it implies that all that being transgender is is a claim by the individual as opposed to an aspect of your identity. So to TJR’s objection below, you can be a lesbian transwoman with short hair who wears pants, but there has to be a total amount of female-ness that you connect with more than male-ness to count as being a transwoman in the first place. A transwoman with completely masculine characters/desires cannot exist by definition. Douglas E is also an example here as he states it is a choice “to identify with the sex that is not concordant with one’s biological sex.” I’ll tell Douglas right now that I never chose to be transgender. It would be much easier if I weren’t, but you play the cards you’re dealt.

        Given that, to get any surgical or physiological changes in the US at least, you have to live as a woman for a certain period of time. And you don’t just get to be poofed into a woman’s body, you have your man’s body, face, voice, etc. that make you instantly stand out in society unless you’re lucky enough to be born appearing androgynous. And what are your friends and family going to think with you lying to them about being a woman? I know being trans has ruined some relationships for me, and I’m in ultra-liberal western WA. Just try existing in half the US, most Muslim countries, etc.. And what would you think of yourself living a lie, even for hundreds of thousands of dollars? You’d misrepresent yourself as female to those closest to you for your whole life? It’s not just a claim, it’s an identity. With consequences.

        The other objection brought up by most of you is summed up by Hunt’s statement “can’t see anything, anything at all, “problematic” about a biologically male person competing against naturally born women and the issues of fairness that presents?”

        What if a portion of XX women were born with the testosterone levels of transwomen? Would any of you have the same objection to them competing against the low testosterone majority of XX women? I doubt it. Or else someone would be arguing against allowing the few really tall men to be favored in pro basketball. Both are unfair, but both are also luck of the draw. The only reason I can see that someone would be against actual transwomen competing if they were okay with high-T ciswomen competing is if they don’t think transwomen are really women. Just a claim to be humored, or a mental disorder, etc. And that’s transphobia.

        • Posted August 3, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          Sorry MM, I did not state my understanding clearly. I am quite certain that one’s sexual orientation as well as one’s gender identity have a highly significant biological component, and thus is not s imply a choice. I have a former student who is trans and it took many years for J to accept that there was a discordance between what I would call primary and secondary sexual characteristics versus tertiary characteristics. Happily J is now D.

          • Mickey Mortimer
            Posted August 3, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

            Thanks for the correction, Douglas.

    • Sastra
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Even if it’s granted that no boy or man would ever identify as a woman in order to win a competition or identify as a sports star, the issue doesn’t change. The argument that trans women should compete regardless of any biological advantages because there are many other disproportionate advantages in sports already would also be argument against having separate categories for men and women at all.

      It has nothing to do with thinking trans people are especially “icky.” The analogy to religion falls apart because there’s a big difference between believing a man who isn’t “ masculine” is an abomination, and believing that the idea that men are required to be “ masculine” is an abomination.

    • Doubting Thomas
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      “Finally and also insulting is the assumption by some that if we allow trans people to compete with others of their gender, we’ll see some significant portion of cis men pretending to be trans women just to be sports stars.”

      I was an above average high school runner who went on to be a shitty collegiate athlete. If I identified as a woman (which is all that’s required in CT), then I would have been world class and easily received a full athletic scholarship from any college that offered them. Given the high costs of many colleges, my change of identification could be worth $300,000+ and an excellent education. That’s an opportunity many men wouldn’t pass up.

      And to say that they would have to “live like a woman” seems to stereotype how women live. What changes would be required in order for a man to “live like a woman?”

      • TJR
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        How to “live like a woman”?

        One option must be to cut your hair short, wear trousers and have sex with women. After all, that’s what some women do.

    • Posted August 2, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Thanks for taking the time to comment here. Although you see many comments as transphobic, I doubt that that is the case with the vast majority of folks who gather here. I agree with your point that living as a man in this country is on whole more privileged than living as a woman. However, the question here is what is logical, just, and fair. There is nothing innately wrong with choosing to identify with the sex that is not concordant with one’s biological sex, but that choice should not be unencumbered when is comes to gaining a competitive edge, which is what this discussion is about.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 3, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      How about not going straight to ‘transphobe’ to describe people disagreeing with a position.

      And, believe me, your position is flawed in the extreme.

      “What if a portion of XX women were born with the testosterone levels of transwomen? Would any of you have the same objection to them competing against the low testosterone majority of XX women? I doubt it.”

      This is the essence of your confusion and why your argument fails.

      Presumably “testosterone levels of transwomen” mean testosterone levels of men.
      As the argument under discussion is one of self-identification being the only requirement.

      There are no XX women born with the testosterone levels of transwomen.
      Presuming the people we are talking about have undergone puberty.

      The reason there is a catagory for amle and female is because of the ‘massive’ difference in testosterone and the massive effect it has through puberty.
      Of course, there are natural variations in most aspects of physiology but this one thing is, again, massively different.
      Up to about 9 – 10 years the testosterone levels between male and female are similar.
      Ranges.
      <7 – 20 and <7 – 20.
      Then as puberty starts
      <7 – 130, mean 68 and <7 – 44, mean 25
      then
      <7 – 800, mean 403 and <7 75 mean 41
      now at 14
      <7 – 1200, mean 603 , 7 – 75, mean 41
      So some boys are way ahead now.
      THEN. at 15-16 Years,
      100 – 1,200, mean 650 and <7 – 75, mean 41
      Low end boys have started up.
      then
      17 t0 18 years
      300 – 1200, mean 750 and 20 – 75, mean 48
      AND at 19 and older
      240 – 950, mean 595 and 8 -60, mean 34

      So, through puberty, there is this massive extra amount of T generating extra strong bones and muscles and ligament and building the frame in a certain way.

      XX women can 'not' ever come close to this.
      It is not possible as they do not have testicles, which is where it comes from.
      Even the highest women outliers don't come near the lower male level.
      And the average tells the story.
      So your question is nor relevant.
      It is not a valid question.
      No other physiological attribute has an order of magnitudes difference.
      Except maybe Para Olympics but that's another story.

      This massive difference is greater than any difference in any other physiological characteristic.

      No one has arms 10 times longer than anyone else.
      It is why a team of male Basketball players competing against a women's team of exactly the same heights, with the same skill level, will beat the women every time.

      It is why a boys 15 year old soccer team can beat the Australian women's Olympic team 6 nill.
      This is a fact of life and physiology.

      "Or else someone would be arguing against allowing the few really tall men to be favored in pro basketball. Both are unfair, but both are also luck of the draw. The only reason I can see that someone would be against actual transwomen competing if they were okay with high-T ciswomen competing is if they don’t think transwomen are really women."

      Quite simply, there are no, repeat, no high-T cis women with the same levels as trans women.

      And even if a trans woman has had HRT she would still retain advantages built up in puberty.
      But that is not what you are arguing is it?

      There is zero similarity in the luck of the draw re arm length and male to female Testosterone levels.

      I hope you will think about this sincerely and see just how unfair it would be to allow physiological men to compete against women.

      • Mickey Mortimer
        Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:53 am | Permalink

        I think one of your mistakes is comparing dissimilar measurements as if they shared a common scale.

        “This massive difference is greater than any difference in any other physiological characteristic. No one has arms 10 times longer than anyone else.”

        I agree testosterone level is a huge advantage in sports. But just because the physical difference in molecular volume is an order of magnitude doesn’t mean another variable has to differ by an order of magnitude to be comparable. It’s the difference in score we’re concerned with.

        For my height example, if we use Wikipedia “The average American male is 5 ft 9.3 in (1.76 m). Yet, the average player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is listed at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m).” So that’s only a difference of 14%. But do we all agree a team of 6’7″ players would generally destroy a team of 5’9″ players, all else being equal? Just like you’re claiming transwomen would generally destroy a team of ciswomen.

        Given that, if tall people are the best basketball players, then equivalently transwomen might be the best female athletes. And yet people seem fine with saying ‘get those tall basketball players on your team’, ignoring that isn’t that unfair to short people who enjoy basketball. But for some reason people have a different feeling about saying ‘get those transwomen on your team’, and justify it as being unfair to the ciswomen who like athletics.

        So what’s causing that difference? It’s not a difference in commonality, since ~1-5% of women are trans and only 5% of men are over 6’1″. If you legitimately think of transwomen as women and tall people as people, so are not transphobic, then what is it?

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          As I said, if you put a team of 6’5″ women players against a team of 6’5″ men, the men will win every time.
          They will win due to an accrual of advantages that transcends any individual feature.

          The overall benefits accrued through a lifetime of testosterone transcend any other measure in nearly every sport.

          Your focus on a sport where extreme hight is an attempt to color the issue.

          Few sports standout to such a degree with a focus on one attribute.
          But even so, that attribute will run far behind a high testosterone level.
          That is why a team of tall women cannot beat the same male team.
          So your ‘get those tall people in there’ are the tall ones with plenty of testosterone.
          And as I said, why women’s soccer teams are beaten by boys.
          As will be the case in virtually every sport.

          The effect of testosterone on a body is comprehensive.
          It advantages tall and short and thin and wide.
          There are no female outliers that achieve such levels.
          There are no female athletes, whether they be tall or short or wide can ever hope to compete with similar sized people with the testosterone advantage.

          Given all that, that is why there is a male-female category breakdown for most if not all sports.

          Because testosterone provides that broad unquestioned advantage

          I think you could construct a competition that would demonstrate just how dominating male physiology is.
          Males would pretty much every category at the Olympics.
          On any kind of level playing field.
          No female is going to come along with a slight genetic advantage to beat a man at whatever sport. Individual or team.

          What I am trying to get at here is the real reason there is a categorization between male and female because it is the only way that women can compete at the same relative level.
          Because there are no outlier biological females with a testosterone anomaly bringing them into male range.
          Doesn’t happen.
          Trying to claim these trans women are in fact such women is asinine.
          That trans women are real women with a biological quirk like long arms, that quirk being that of having male physiology.
          But that situation is already catered for.
          Testosterone soaked puberty in conjunction with continuing high levels of T provide significant across the board advantages.
          Faster, stronger, tougher, stronger sinews and ligament, better bone strength and density.
          A different shaped frame is constructed too.
          The advantages are endless.
          Yet you wish to cliam a right to that advantage just because you say so.
          I have more to say, but no time now.
          It’s cheating

  40. Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    If I as a man can simple declare myself a woman, and declare any biological facts about sex and gender irrelevant to this determination, than why not the same for:

    – Race
    – Age

    Suppose I want to identify as an elderly black woman, because that is how I feel, despite the fact that I don’t have the same physical characteristics as a black elderly woman. Apparently, the “woman” designation would be ok according to certain folks, but why not the other adjectives “elderly” and “black”?

    • Sastra
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      And you haven’t even gotten to the “furries.”

  41. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I have no solution to the problem of what to do about male-to-female transgender athletes who want to compete in women’s events.

    I don’t have any attachment to the existing mound of records, history books, etc in sport.
    Why are they grouping people by gender? In most sports, using body mass to group athletes would achieve the desired effect of making events reasonably competitive. Training may be able to make up for 10kg of body mass difference, but it’s not going to make up for 50kg of difference.
    There may be some sports where a different metric is appropriate. Despite never watching the organised brutality, even I know that boxers “reach” (arm length) is a commonly cited metric, and that sport is already classified by body mass, with competitors sometimes deliberately moving mass categories. The javelin might be another sport where “reach” is a more significant metric than body mass, though obviously correlated.
    But frankly, I think the world would be a better place without the whole fœtid pile. All it does is promote the vicious tribalism that is one of the human species’ biggest failings. If stupid rows like this bring the whole thing into disrepute, so much the better.

    • aljones909
      Posted August 2, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      “Why are they grouping people by gender? In most sports, using body mass to group athletes would achieve the desired effect of making events reasonably competitive.”

      It wouldn’t be competitive. Females would not be able to compete with males in almost all sports which were categorised by body weight.

      Take weightlifting – clean and jerk, 55kg body weight category (lowest category for men).

      Male World Record: 293 kg

      Female World Record 232 kg

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        55kg men could compete fairly with 55kg women. 100kg women could compete against 100kg men. 293 kg men could compete fairly with 293 kg women. Though quite why they’d want to escapes me – as does sport in general.
        An alternative might be to hit all people dedicated to a life in sport with puberty-blocking drugs so that none of them get a teenaged growth spurt and compete on a relatively level playing field.

        • aljones909
          Posted August 2, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          You said “Why are they grouping people by gender? In most sports, using body mass to group athletes would achieve the desired effect of making events reasonably competitive.”
          55kg women couldn’t compete with 55kg men because they wouldn’t qualify for the finals of any sport at national or world level.
          It would completely remove women from being able to compete at the elite level in any sport.

          It definitely wouldn’t be competitive for females. They wouldn’t be able to compete. Saying you don

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 5, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Oh well. Get rid of sports. Not a problem.

        • Posted August 2, 2019 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

          You could have spent a minute on Wikipedia and educated yourself here. Look up Olympic weightlifting and compare men’s and women’s records at similar body weights; are they even close?

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 3, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          You seem to have completely missed the point Mr Gravel.

          Women can not compete fairly with men in any sport or any equivalent weight category.

          And, many people ‘like’ sport.
          Whether it be track and field, running, high jump, walking even.
          Or organized team sports are fun and popular too.
          I can assure you, it is fun.
          It is fun to watch and it is fun to participate in.

          Some sports are amenable to mixed participation but it would have to a fixed ratio as an all-male team will beat a not all male team (of the same level) always.

          It is a simple categorization that accounts for the one significant difference responsible for it.
          Male, testosterone soaked puberty and subsequent high T. But reducing the subsequent high T doesn’t mitigate the puberty advantages.

          Unless I missed what you were getting at.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted August 3, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      “Why are they grouping people by gender? ”

      Because the tails of the normal distribution is flatter for men.
      There are more men with extreme physical and mental ability.

  42. Stephen Wilson
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    What I think we have here is a perfect example of a slippery slope…

  43. Posted August 2, 2019 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    This will probably be buried but here’s a really good video by Noel Plum taking a look at what few papers there are on transwomen in sports: youtu.be/EwFZBG_ts4k

    The papers covered are all in the description.

    -Ryan

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 3, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Yep, recommended.

  44. Eric Grobler
    Posted August 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    “I don’t think anyone reading or commenting on this site would deny a transgender person the right to be considered whatever sex they want”

    Perhaps I do:

    People who suffer from gender dysphoria should be treated with respect/empathy and receive psychological, psychiatric or medical treatment as appropriate.
    Medical intervention/transitioning should only be done as last resort.

    If a 6 year old child wants to transition would you just automatically grant the child that “right”? Of course not, you would try to indentify the cause, perhaps sexual abuse at home.

    Making gender dysphoria a “human rights” issue instead of a mental health issue is disgracefull.

    —-
    This report sounds a bit hyperbolic but there is definately a disturbing trend to allow children to transition because it is trendy and “progressive”.

    “An astonishing 17 pupils at a single British school are in the process of changing gender”

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/autistic-children-pushed-to-become-transgender/


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