ForumTouchy Subjects ► Transgender athletes
Should transgender athletes be required to compete with their original gender?
  
Biological women should be allowed to compete in men's leagues if they choose. (Perhaps this standard should be reversed for sports like gymnastics, where women on average have the advantage.) I am inclined to say that people who have received testosterone treatments should not be allowed to compete at all because testosterone is a performance enhancing drug. Biological men should not be allowed to compete in women's leagues (except in gymnastics etc.), even after HRT, because of the permanent advantages male development confers in sports (e.g. greater bone density).
  
If biological women should be allowed to compete with men, then biological men should be allowed to compete with women.
  
I disagree because the whole point of women's leagues is to give women a place to compete fairly. For most sports, the men's league is basically just a higher "weight class", so to speak. If a woman is good enough to compete at the highest level, I think she should be allowed. I don't see any harm to sport in that case. But if men are allowed to compete against women, women's sports will largely disappear (at least at like high school levels and above).
  
It's a place where there divisions exist (or at least continue to exist) because of biology, not just social roles. Having separate reading clubs doesn't need to be a thing because it's not competitive and all people can enjoy reading and discussing literature.
Having separate events for men's and women's sports has persisted so long because of a genuine difference in biology. Like Hydrogen said about weight classes. It would be unfair to include biological males in an event with biological females. And transitioning doesn't take away all of the advantages someone AMAB would have.
  
Let's just ditch the ambiguous gender thing and measure everything in hormones.

If everyone in the this-to-that nano grams per deciliter testosterone range could please line up over here for competition...
  
I think Hydrogen has a point.

I think that this is a particularly interesting subject of conversation because it highlights the differences between biology an culture with respect to our current social norms. As it becomes less accepted to discriminate based on sex with respect to cultural outcomes, biology remains a black eye in the face of social progress.
  
I think that it's important to remember that we only ever hear about the transgender athletes who actually stand out. Most of the time, they're average. At the high school and college levels, I think it usually makes most sense to allow transgender athletes to compete as the gender they have transitioned to. Here is an interesting article discussing the impacts of hormones and how they relate to competitive advantage.

Naturally, as mentioned in the article, people who are intersex or who have naturally unusual hormone levels may need to be considered differently from people who are trans.
  
Coldfrost said:
It's a place where there divisions exist (or at least continue to exist) because of biology, not just social roles. Having separate reading clubs doesn't need to be a thing because it's not competitive and all people can enjoy reading and discussing literature.


I don't entirely agree with this, actually, though it's a bit of a tangent. I think there is value when one is part of a marginalized or discriminated against group in being able to have a space to discuss things without being spoken over by people who have historically been the primary perpetrators of discrimination. I have one book club I go to which is only open to women - and the discussions we have there are VERY different compared to my mixed gender clubs. If we tried to have the same discussions, they would almost certainly be shot down or drowned out because "think about the men" - and that's among men who are largely quite interesting and open to new ideas. I know this because I've actively tried to bring up those discussions before, and it's exhausting to get anywhere on it.
  
Note the study cited in that article likely has too small a sample size (n=8) to claim no effect.

High school- and college-level sports matter, and in sports, the exceptional cases are the most important. You can't have a policy that trans women can compete against biological women as long as they aren't too good. How would that be enforced? And surely trans athletes would not want to compete in an environment in which excellent performance could be rewarded by disqualification from further competition. Yet we need to protect the competitive integrity of sports.

My stance is unchanged until we have much more data, demonstrating the circumstances under which trans women have no statistical advantage over biological women. In the meantime, I think it's better for a small number of athletes to have to compete in a tougher league than for the vast majority of female athletes to be at a potentially unfair disadvantage.
  
I disagree because the whole point of women's leagues is to give women a place to compete fairly.

1. We all know this isn't true. Women have been trying to join men's leagues for ages (before the formation of women's leagues) and, for the most part, were not permitted. Not because anyone actually thought the men would have an unfair advantage, but for the same reason people with different biological traits are always kept separate, namely, to maintain power and control over those deemed inferior. (Edit: my personal favorite example is that of Jackie Mitchell)

But if men are allowed to compete against women, women's sports will largely disappear (at least at like high school levels and above).

B. I'd first like to point out that I don't think anyone here is asking for men and women to directly compete. I really hope we're all smarter than this but please tell me nobody actually thinks that a bunch of cis men are going to fake being trans women just to possibly win a medal or whatever?
Beyond that, do we even know of any cases where trans women have actually taken over a sport, consistently winning every contest against their cis counterparts?

Biological men should not be allowed to compete in women's leagues (except in gymnastics etc.), even after HRT, because of the permanent advantages male development confers in sports (e.g. greater bone density).

III. Again with the "trans women are only allowed to participate in things that women have traditionally been better at". You give trans women two choices: compete in a men's league as a disadvantage, or compete in a women's league at a disadvantage. Do you actually think that trans women are so physically superior to cis women that we need to take this precaution?

The truth is that most trans althletes, especially those in high school, aren't going to become Olympic medalists. They're there to have fun, get some excercise, whatever, and they don't want to feel shitty and dysphoric the whole time. Just as with the original formation of women's leagues, keeping trans women in men's leagues is not about fairness at all, it's about keeping people in line.

Lastly. I'm pretty sure y'all could use "trans woman" when that's what you mean in place of "biological male" and then I wouldn't feel like gouging my eyes out reading this thread.
  
> Not because anyone actually thought the men would have an unfair advantage, but for the same reason people with different biological traits are always kept separate, namely, to maintain power and control over those deemed inferior.

That may be true historically and even currently to a lesser degree, but I think we can all agree that the existence of women's leagues is generally a benefit to women, providing more opportunities for them to play competitively. The elimination of women's leagues would be unfair to women and would be a great loss to competitive sports.

> I don't think anyone here is asking for men and women to directly compete.

What do you mean by "men" and "women"? People definitely are asking for biological men to compete against biological women - that's the entire controversy. If you mean people who identify as women vs. people who identify as men, then that's irrelevant to the issue.

> Beyond that, do we even know of any cases where trans women have actually taken over a sport, consistently winning every contest against their cis counterparts?

Fallon Fox comes close, losing only one of six matches.

> You give trans women two choices: compete in a men's league as a disadvantage, or compete in a women's league at a disadvantage. Do you actually think that trans women are so physically superior to cis women that we need to take this precaution?

Why would trans women be at a disadvantage in a women's league? And yes, I do think trans women are on average physically superior with regard to most sports. Admittedly, my evidence for this is anecdotal.

> The truth is that most trans althletes, especially those in high school, aren't going to become Olympic medalists. They're there to have fun, get some excercise, whatever

This part of your argument works just as against your point as for it. If the competition doesn't matter and it's just about fun and exercise, then what's wrong with trans women competing against men?

> and they don't want to feel shitty and dysphoric the whole time.

This is a valid concern, but it's something we have to weigh against the interests of the other players.

> Just as with the original formation of women's leagues, keeping trans women in men's leagues is not about fairness at all, it's about keeping people in line.

This is an argument from bad faith. If you're convinced that the other side has a hidden agenda before you've even addressed its arguments, then how is the discussion supposed to continue?
  
I think there's only two options that are logically consistent:

1 - Divide athletes by sex.
2 - Divide athletes by weight.

Sex-division requires two divisions, weight-divisions require a good six or seven divisions. Which would mean the Olympic and Commonwealth games would go on forever, and oh God no they're long enough.

But there are already some sports that are divided by both, like there's men's and women's boxing that is then further divided into weight-class. If it's divided by weight-class already, then ditch the sex-division and let males and females of the same weight have at each other, then it doesn't matter if they're cisgender or transgender.
  
THREAD NECROING!

Y'all are approaching this the wrong way. Hydrogen has say some things that don't hold water, (like citing bone density as being permanent or making any difference in most sports) and nobody said a word, Coldfrost claiming that anything about the human body is less than ephemeral is kinda funny, and measuring based on hormones as scareddear suggests is actively being considered to the detriment of cis women.

You cite Fallon Fox, who admittedly is an anomaly... but she's not alone, nor is the fact that she is transgender specifically relevant. See Caster Semenya, a cisgender female sprinter who has extraordinarily high testosterone and holds multiple world records, a rule change in the sport requires that she either take antiandrogenic medications to lower her T or be barred from competing... so it's not just trans women.

The bone density claim fails apart two years into HRT, and depending on your source that's also post-op. the body proportions are more or less fixed after the mid twenties, but musculoskeletal features change in response to hormone levels.

I don't have a good answer for this thread, every case is different and blanket statements are hard. Maybe Fox had an unfair advantage, maybe she was just abnormally strong as a result of non-gender related factors... and maybe Semenya shouldn't be allowed to continue sprinting in her league, I just don't know.

But these aren't black and white issues, they involve people and biology and are massively complicated.
  
> Coldfrost claiming that anything about the human body is less than ephemeral

What?

> Caster Semenya, a cisgender female sprinter who has extraordinarily high testosterone and holds multiple world records

You don't see the difference between an athlete taking testosterone vs. having naturally high levels of testosterone?

> The bone density claim fails apart two years into HRT

Source? According to the NIH, "skeletal status is well preserved" at least two years after treatment.

> Maybe Fox had an unfair advantage, maybe she was just abnormally strong as a result of non-gender related factors...

Possible but unlikely.
  
Even if we ignore the physical advantages of transgender male to female athletes, there's still another problem. They have spent a decade training as a man. Those gains don't just disappear.
  
Transgender people have been eligible to compete in the Olympics with their gender since 2004. In 16 years, zero trans women have even qualified to compete in the Olympics, let alone medalled.

There's a trans woman weightlifter in Australia whom the right-wing media loved to attack. Before her transition, she'd set multiple national records in the men's category. At the Olympic qualifiers this year, not only did she not win, I believe she came in like 200th.
  
Just end all sports, since sports means there is a winner and a loser. And my child will never , ever , ever be a loser. Only video game sports should be allow...but wait that isn't fair to the thumbless. Can you get hormone treatments for thumbs or is it just penises?
  
<mod-voice> Hey Jon, we try to keep posts in Touchy Subjects relatively well-thought out and sincere. The rest of the forum is more fun, and more amenable to shitposting. :) </mod-voice>
  
It seems like a Harrison Bergeron situation if you ask me. Not letting people play because they're too good is limiting their activity in the name of fairness, and if we take that to its extreme, it's a pretty grotesque thing to do.
  
Fwip said:
Transgender people have been eligible to compete in the Olympics with their gender since 2004. In 16 years, zero trans women have even qualified to compete in the Olympics, let alone medalled.

There's a trans woman weightlifter in Australia whom the right-wing media loved to attack. Before her transition, she'd set multiple national records in the men's category. At the Olympic qualifiers this year, not only did she not win, I believe she came in like 200th.
To be fair it's not just about the Olympics. There's a trans woman weightlifter in New Zealand, Laurel Hubbard, who has qualified and/or medalled in the Commonwealth Games, Pacific Games, World Championships, Oceania Championships, World Masters. I think she's the one who sparked the whole issue.
  
Ah, I was mixing up Australia and New Zealand. Same woman. :P
  
Without reference to anything in particular, the principle of the matter is what should be concerning.

Transgender athletes are a grey area in sports. I am a stalwart advocate for their social liberties while also recognizing a grey area can compromise fairness in athletic competition. Transgender athletes competing with their newly assigned gender is generally unprecedented in the world of sports.
  
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