Biology, Sport, Top Stories

Sex Differences, Gender, and Competitive Sport

Sport often presents us with striking visual examples of how certain aspects of society play out. Whether it be nationalism, leadership, teamwork, competitiveness, or the ability of humans to achieve truly great acts, sport is an embodiment of how these factors interact and display themselves on a world stage. Sport also offers some of the most obvious visual representations of inherent biological sex differences between men and women. Unfortunately, although perhaps not surprisingly, the current desire for equality and inclusion, and the general misunderstandings about biological sex as an evolutionary process has resulted in questions and confusion around the traditional use of sex categories in sport. In some ways this also highlights the difficulties that may be apparent with the erosion of sex categories in other areas of life, such as regarding prisons, changing areas and the issues of equal pay.

As a performance scientist and someone who has worked in elite sport for over a decade, I am interested in the determinants of physical performance and how to manipulate and enhance these variables. Over my years working with athletes, I have become accustomed to observing the differences between the sexes and have extensively studied why these differences exist. It has therefore been baffling to me to see some of the discussions regarding why sex categories in sport exist and how to include trans-athletes. What we must understand is that there is currently a general lack of understanding regarding the potential consequences on elite sport due to ill-informed policy making and the pressures of activist groups. I will therefore attempt to bring some clarity to the topic and also ask some important questions for future consideration.

Let us first briefly look at what sport is. Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry, with intense competition, professionalism and outstanding feats of natural ability. Athletes, coaches and owners do everything they can to get an advantage over their competition and be successful. For many, the pure competition of sport is enough, regardless of earnings and sponsorship. For others it is their career, their life, their dreams. Yet for some it is a mere past-time, a leisure activity and a way to keep fit. None of these are inherently more important than the other, but recent debate over trans inclusion in sport means that we must appreciate what these things mean to the people involved and what is at stake if we get policies wrong.

Traditionally, sport has been split into male and female categories. This is based on biological sex differences and not necessarily what could be interpreted as gender. Competition has thus played out within these categories, with relatively large differences in outcome being observed between men and women (see Table 1.). Far from being products of socialisation and environment, these differences have been recorded across sports, cultures and generations. The table below demonstrates the world records achieved in male and female events and the percent differences between them.

Table 1. Differences between Male and Female World Records

Event Male

Record

Female

Record

Difference % Difference
100 metres 9.58 10.49 0.91 9%
200 metres 19.19 21.34 2.15 10%
400 metres 43.03 47.60 4.57 10%
800 metres 1:40.91 1:53.28 12.37 11%
1,500 metres 3:26.00 3:50.07 24.07 10%
5,000 metres 12:37.35 14:11.15 1:33 11%
10,000 metres 26:17.53 29:17.45 3:00 10%
Marathon 2:00:25 2:15:25 15:00 11%
High jump 2.45 m 2.09 m 0.36 m 17%
Long jump 8.95 m 7.52 m 1.43 m 19%
Triple Jump 18.29 m 15.50 m 2.79 m 18%
Pole vault 6.16 m 5.06 m 1.1 m 21%

These results alone should give a solid rationale for why there should be separate sex categories in sport, to allow for fair competition. Confirming this is the fact that within male competition, the world’s best performances by different individuals often fall within 1 percent of each other, sometimes even within 0.1 percent. The same is true of female competition. These results are also mirrored across other sports, such as within cycling and swimming. This clearly demonstrates that there is not a continuum of performance results between the biological sexes, rather the results are bimodal, and the average female and the average male differ substantially. To be clear, this is not a moral argument, or an attempt to justify any one individual being treated differently to another, it is simply a review of the empirical evidence and a rationale for why the different categories exist.

It could be argued that even within a given sex there are large differences between individuals, and you may well see substantial differences between ages or races. While this may be true, how far down the intersectionalist mindset do you have to go until you are happy that competition can take place between equal individuals? It is simply not possible, since by definition any single person is an individual, with their own unique characteristics and differences. Even within separate age brackets and races, there are large differences between individuals in terms of physical characteristics and prerequisites to performance. Trying to determine what these categories are and who qualifies for what is a nightmare not worth considering. In this respect, sport proves to be a devastating blow to intersectionalism and its limitations.

In fairness to the discussion on differences however, the actual observed variance between races is far smaller than that observed between male and female categories and may only be realized at the very pinnacle of elite sport, such as the 100m final where 100 percent of the champions in the past 30 years have been from West African heritage. However, the top results observed from other races fall within a much narrower bracket around these top results than the results from the opposite sex.

There have been many arguments over the years that the differences observed between men and women in sports performance are due to socialization and environment.1 This blank-slate ideology of human beings appears somewhat naïve to the facts of sexual dimorphism present in all mammals. Despite our common tendencies towards egocentrism, surely, we don’t believe that we are the only species that does not differ through sex?

To give a quick summary here so that we understand what we are discussing, sexual dimorphism is where males and females differ by more than just their sex organs. For example, in the mandrill (a species of Old World monkey that shares a common ancestor with humans approximately 25 million years ago), the male is 2-3 times heavier than the female. As Dawkins stated in his book The Selfish Gene, males and females, by definition, differ by the size of their “sex cells or gametes,” and over evolutionary time, where there is an initial difference in gamete size, the effects of sexual selection appear to progress to maximize the specialities of the two sexes and it is then “possible to interpret all the other differences between the sexes as stemming from this one basic difference.”

The effects of sex dimorphism within humans is pronounced in the physiology and anatomical structure that we see.2 While there will always be the ignorant arguments that some women are taller than men, or some women are stronger than men, of course what we are talking about is on average. Or, more importantly with regards to sporting competition, the very best men compared to the very best women.

So, what are the physiological and anatomical differences between men and women that affect performance? One of the major contributors is the difference in muscular strength. Many studies across large samples form different cultures have found men to have 30–40 percent more muscle mass than females. The cross-sectional area of a muscle is highly correlated to the performance of physical tasks, since strength is a prerequisite physical quality. An analogy here would be to think of two pieces of rope. If both ropes are made of the same material, then thicker rope will be the stronger one. In addition to this, in skeletal muscle, the material (or muscle fibres) do actually differ. What we find is that males have a higher proportion of type II fibres, which are able to contract quicker and produce more force than their counterparts.3

Men and women also vary in the size and structure of the skeleton. Men have longer and thicker bones, with bone density being related to the ability to apply force and withstand injury.4 The corresponding shape of the skeleton and resulting biomechanics also mean that the female body is set up to produce less force in running, jumping and throwing.

All these characteristics contribute towards what can be termed muscular power. Power is often measured in studies of sports science, since power is highly related to success in sports performance. Simply put, the more power you can produce, the higher you can jump, the quicker you can accelerate, the harder you can kick and punch, and the further you can throw. What we find is that men can jump around 25 percent higher than women,5 can punch around 30 percent harder,6 accelerate around 20 percent faster, and throw around 25 percent further.7

And, it is also not just with regards to strength and power that we see sex differences. Men have larger lung capacity,8 greater cardiac output,9 and show greater resistance to injury.10

As a side note, to insure myself against the threat of being called a male supremacist, it is certainly not all good news for men. Men have a higher risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes, along with a whole host of other illnesses, which result in men dying on average 4 years earlier than women. However, it would appear that the negative physiological aspects associated with being a biological male are sometimes ignored.

So, we now know that there are many physical differences between males and females, which can’t be explained only by society and environment. What is it then, that causes these differences? Well, one of the major contributors is the influence of testosterone, with large differences occurring throughout puberty. 11 But even before puberty, there are observed differences in many characteristics including body size and shape, and also in levels of aggression.12 Indeed, it is been highlighted that over 3000 genes contribute just towards muscle differences between men and women. This combination of genetic components and hormones result in many factors each contributing towards the differences that are manifested in males and females. While the effects of testosterone supplementation or inhibition may go some way to modify the original characteristics, it is unlikely to reverse all of the sexually dimorphic manifestations.

Now, knowing the objective data, what does this mean for trans-athletes? The rise in LGBT rights and ideas of inclusion (which are noble aims) has somehow been confused with a misunderstanding of why categorization of athletes is necessary. There has perhaps been an assumption that because gender identity may be accepted as somewhat fluid, then biological sex must also be fluid. But someone’s own perceived gender identity is not the same as biological sex. This is an example of someone’s subjective feelings versus objective reality. And while a person is free to believe whatever they choose, their subjective feelings can never overrule empirical evidence.

It certainly may be apparent that many of the proponents of inclusion and participation are also the same people who dislike the idea of competition in general. Thus, for them the idea of not being allowed to participate in which every category a person wants is terrible. But this is not what most people think about sport and certainly not at the elite level. For example, I would love to be a 100m world champion, yet my physiology would not allow it no matter how much I trained or how much I wanted it. But I don’t feel excluded. We can’t all be capable of doing every single thing in the world, and while we want to remove artificial barriers and enable opportunity and participation, we can’t deny the facts of life.

This is not just about fairness in competition and the potential earnings at stake. While there are many females who make a living in professional sport, there is a perhaps an even larger danger. This could be apparent in boxing and combat sports, where the higher levels of strength and power could lead to devastating consequences. There may be cries here that I am being alarmist and looking at the worst outcomes possible, which are never really going to occur. But we can’t possibly predict the future, and it is naïve to make decisions without thinking through all of the possible consequences. Indeed, some of the outcomes of this have already began to play out. There may be some who say that we just accept it and move forward, but I don’t think that is a forgone conclusion and it certainly requires some serious dialogue and sensible discussion at many levels.

So, what other options may there be? Do we abandon the categories of sex altogether? If we choose to believe that trans women are biological women (which the evidence would disagree with), then the gap between the current sports categories of men and women will cease to exist. A continuum of performance results will undoubtably appear, so perhaps there is no need for separate sex categories at all? Well, I think it is clear what that would do to most of the women currently competing in professional sports. While this would also solve the problems of equal pay in sport, it would likely result in far fewer women actually being able to compete at the professional level.

So, if we decide not to abandon the sex categories, do we then add a third category of competition?  This sounds like an okay solution, but there is certainly the worry here that this in itself would be classed as exclusion.

Another option would be to make the men’s category an “open” category, where men and women (including trans) can choose to compete if they wish. While it is unlikely that many trans-athletes or women would compete at the top level in the “open” category, it is also the case that only a very small percentage of men are actually capable of competing at the top level anyway. But there would certainly be nothing to stop trans-athletes participating.

Whatever the answer is, it is not a simple one. While our ideologies and beliefs often distil complex problems into simple solutions and narratives, unfortunately the real world does not act that way. There are grey areas and ambiguities in all areas of life, and it is essential to try and understand these and do the best we can in any situation. But inevitably, there are times when clear distinctions and boundaries need to be put in place to make society work and function. In these cases it is not possible to come up with a solution for every single problem instantly, but rather do the best we can with the evidence we have. While participation sport is something of a non-zero sum game, where it doesn’t really matter who competes in what, since it is about the taking part, performance sport on the other hand, is a zero sum game. Performance sport is about competition, with large consequences in terms of finances, livelihoods and health. Legislation must be clear and precise and most of all it must be objective in nature. Personal feelings and ideas of inclusion are important, but we cannot hide from the facts.


Andrew Langford is a performance scientist and strength & conditioning coach who has worked for over a decade in professional and international sport. He has a master’s degree in sport and exercise physiology. He is also an associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University.

Feature photo by Petr Toman / Shutterstock.

References

1 Whipp, B. J., & Ward, S. A. (1992). Will women soon outrun men?. Nature, 355(6355), 25. https://doi.org/10.1038/355025a0
2 Gaulin, S., & Boster, J. (1985). Cross-cultural differences in sexual dimorphism: Is there any variance to be explained?. Ethology and Sociobiology, 6(4), 219-225. https://doi.org/10.1016/0162-3095(85)90014-7
3 Miller, A. E. J., MacDougall, J. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Sale, D. G. (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European journal of applied physiology and occupational physiology, 66(3), 254-262. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00235103
4 Nieves, J. W., Formica, C., Ruffing, J., Zion, M., Garrett, P., Lindsay, R., & Cosman, F. (2005). Males have larger skeletal size and bone mass than females, despite comparable body size. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 20(3), 529-535. https://doi.org/10.1359/JBMR.041005
5 Kellis, S. E., Tsitskaris, G. K., Nikopoulou, M. D., & Mousikou, K. C. (1999). The evaluation of jumping ability of male and female basketball players according to their chronological age and major leagues. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 13(1), 40-46.
6 Loturco, I., Nakamura, F. Y., Artioli, G. G., Kobal, R., Kitamura, K., Abad, C. C. C., … & Franchini, E. (2016). Strength and power qualities are highly associated with punching impact in elite amateur boxers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 30(1), 109-116. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001075
7 Watson, N. V. (2001). Sex differences in throwing: Monkeys having a fling. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 5(3), 98-99. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01595-3
8 Bode, F. R., Dosman, J. A. M. E. S., Martin, R. R., Ghezzo, H. E. B. E. R. T. O., & Macklem, P. T. (1976). Age and sex differences in lung elasticity, and in closing capacity in nonsmokers. Journal of applied physiology, 41(2), 129-135. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1976.41.2.129
9 Becklake, M. R., Frank, H., Dagenais, G. R., Ostiguy, G. L., & Guzman, C. A. (1965). Influence of age and sex on exercise cardiac output. Journal of applied physiology, 20(5), 938-947.
10 Brown, T. N., Palmieri-Smith, R. M., & McLean, S. G. (2009). Sex and limb differences in hip and knee kinematics and kinetics during anticipated and unanticipated jump landings: implications for anterior cruciate ligament injury. British journal of sports medicine, 43(13), 1049-1056. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2008.055954
11 Hau, M. (2007). Regulation of male traits by testosterone: implications for the evolution of vertebrate life histories. BioEssays, 29(2), 133-144. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.20524
12 Manning, J. T., Stewart, A., Bundred, P. E., & Trivers, R. L. (2004). Sex and ethnic differences in 2nd to 4th digit ratio of children. Early human development, 80(2), 161-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2004.06.004

124 Comments

  1. One thing never addressed is why women are not as strong as men (I mean ultimate “why”). The reason is that testosterone is not compatible with having children. In humans, the baby is very large and nursing and child care take years. While modern women can ignore this, historically it was necessary for women to spend much of their life pregnant and nursing. Women who train hard for athletics often stop menstruating (too little body fat) and thus cannot get pregnant. I know that some feminists find the mention of pregnancy and nursing to be icky and unfair, but there it is.
    I also think the table the author uses is conservative since it compares only athletes. If you picked some average men and women of college age, not athletes, and tested them, the men could probably throw twice as far and lift twice as much weight as the women. I have never in my life met a women with as strong a handshake as every man has. The differences are huge.

    • the gardner says

      Fire departments and the armed services have had to reduce their criteria for women to “pass” the physical tests required of men. What more evidence do you need?
      As a woman I do not in the least feel inferior to men because I am smaller and less strong. I pushed a large baby out of my body while my husband about fainted. There is nothing that makes you feel stronger than gestating and delivering a new human being.

      • E. Olson says

        Yes I love how feminists always insist that women should be allowed EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to be in combat brigades, firefighting, and other jobs that require physical strength and stamina. Achieving this opportunity result always runs smack into the biological wall, however, which means few if any women can pass the physical qualifications, and this ALWAYS results in the qualifications being deemed sexist and requires they be lowered – safety of male colleagues and the general public be damned.

        • Taieri says

          Roofing industry is crying for more women. So does road-surfacing…

        • Barney Doran says

          Hey, wait a minute. I see 110 lb women beating the be-jezus out of 220 lb men every night on Netflix. Clearly the author needs to subscribe.

        • I believe one fire department instructed women to drag people down the stairs by their feet–charming. Thump thump thump. Women cannot hold and deploy an active fire hose.

          Seriously, people die because women are not strong enough for some jobs. In Atlanta maybe 8 yrs ago a defendant overpowered a female guard in the court holding cell, took her gun, went into court and shot the judge. Then went on the lam and took a woman hostage. To get around this many police depts are forced to team women cops with a man on patrol so manpower gets stretched further.

      • El Uro says

        You don’t need to be stronger, you need to be more survivable and you actually are. Males are expendable, females are not.

        • ga gamba says

          Males are expendable, females are not.

          Seeing some of the children these women have birthed and reared, especially on their own, I have my doubts.

          • El Uro says

            @ga gamba

            A side remark:

            «Sea devils are the family of deep-sea. They are large and elongated: females of the largest species reach 3.9 ft in length. Males, by contrast, are much smaller, reaching 5.5 in, and, like other anglerfishes, spend much of their lives attached to a female after a free-living adolescent stage in which they are very small – at most 0.51 in – and have sharp, beak-like, toothless jaws. One or more males attach themselves permanently to a female, eventually merging circulatory systems. As this genetic chimera matures, the male grows large testicles, while the rest of its body atrophies. Ceratiidea are the only creatures known to become chimeras as a normal part of their lifecycle.»

            For me as for a male this would be the happiest destiny. You have free food and guaranteed sex. You don’t even need a brain.

            Unfortunately, the nature is evil. It requires us, human males, to work, to serve and to protect women and children.

    • Bab says

      Maybe we could take a leaf out of horse racing – let the girls and boys run together but handicap them by having them wear utility belts with weights inside – the girls could get a 2 kg weight allowance just like the fillies do, and the trans activists are closest to geldings so I guess they should get a 1 kg weight allowance.

  2. the gardner says

    I am not persuaded that trans genderism is anything other than a psychopathology. Much like anorexia nervosa, where a 70 lb woman can look at herself in the mirror and insist she sees a fat person, trans genders deny what biology insists is real. Until there is real empirical evidence otherwise, I think trans people should be held to their biology. Sorry if I am not woke or PC.

    • Daath says

      The mainstream PC argument seems to be that transgenderism involves a mismatch between brain and body (though male and female brains are also no different, so don’t think too hard about it). It’s a pathology, but not quite like anorexia nervosa, I think. Giving an anorexic liposuction would kill her, while gender transition treatments appear to do some good, without fatal consequences.

      Those consequences are, however, severe enough (and with surgery, permanent) that other explanations should be eliminated before proceeding. That is, I’m a firm believer in the gatekeeping model which the trans activists have largely dismantled, and whose rubble is now being bombed. It’s actually personal for me. Some twenty years ago I was severely depressed, and one of the symptoms for few months was gender dysphoria. Now, I’m an introspective person and knew it was just a fantasy of being someone else. Transgenderism was also not yet in fashion, and it’s not like the psychiatrists would have approved transition for me in that sorry state. Lucky me. The thought of being an young, desperately unhappy and never the manliest man right now is frankly scary.

      • the gardner says

        As was described in a recent Quillette article, sudden onset transgender dysphoria has become a fad among groups of teenage girls. I guess going Goth is just not enough anymore. So it is fair to conclude that at least some forms of this condition are psychologically driven. Could there be wiring mismatches between the brain and the body? That is the hypothesis. Show me the empirical biological evidence.

        People who have done the full transition have reported still being depressed, so their “correct” sexual identity did not solve their problem.

        Inventing whole new classes of human beings (how many variants are there now? 20? 30?) with special rights and privileges is in line with today’s woke emphasis on dividing people into grievance groups and pitting them against other. Also in line with the post modernist view that truth is whatever we want it to be. Ignore your lyin’ eyes.

        I am told to learn new pronouns and I better use them or be accused of being a hater. In other countries I could be charged with a crime.

        And we are to accept this as normal?

        • The Ulcer says

          @the gardner re: transgender dysphoria as a fad, imagine you are a typical teenager with all of the typical feelings and emotions that would normally be relegated to moody poetry and heavy music. Now imagine that a group of “concerned” adults have set themselves up as your support group so that when you experiment with the idea of being trans-gendered, you now have adults who are listening to you and giving you encouragement and making you feel special where before you had nothing but the company of your friends, or your cat, or the television, etc. How can any teen in that state NOT decide that they are indeed trans-gendered when their new happy support group is telling them that they should pull out all the stops and get on hormone therapy immediately?

          Adult trans support groups are catnip for confused and hurt teens who will launch themselves head-first into a world they hardly understand, and the consequences will be forever.

      • “while gender transition treatments appear to do some good, without fatal consequences.”

        Sterility is a clear negative consequence and whether the results are positive or not is open to question and will probably vary significantly between individuals. There is no doubt the idea of being born into the ‘wrong’ body is a delusion. I am dubious that pandering to that delusion using irreversible medical procedures rather than support for reconciliation with reality is a good idea.

    • Victoria says

      I am not persuaded you have made any, let alone a good faith effort, to examine the scientific literature on the etiology of gender dysphoria. Before you you get to the Herculean task of merely Googling “cause of gender dysphoria,” you might consider that biology is doing a rather poor job of “insisting” when post-pubescent adults still readily respond to cross-sex hormones and develop cross-sex secondary sexual characteristics.

      It’s not a matter of you being “woke or PC,” it’s a matter of you being more interested in judging others than seeking knowledge.

      • the gardner says

        Wow, Victoria, you speak of me judging. Let’s see… you judge I haven’t explored the literature. And you characterize me as being judgmental about transgenders. Think about that.

        • Victoria says

          @the gardner

          I don’t see anything in what you wrote to suggest engagement with the medical literature. If there is a physiological basis to gender dysphoria, then it’s not just psychopathology. Research over the past decade points in that direction.

          Not even the researchers who claim gende dysphoria is a sexuality-targeting disorder (Blanchard), rather than a matter of cross-sex identity, make such assumptions about the cause. Nor do those researchers, otherwise wildly unpopular with trans activists, make malicious comparisons to anorexia, in fact they support medical transition.

          So even the “haters” from psychology and medicine don’t agree with your bigoted analogy. Lol.

          • the gardner says

            See my post below, an article I found on pubmed while doing a lit search.

            Gotta say Vicky, ya got all the buzz words in your short post—malicious, hater, bigoted. You’ve never even met me but you’ve already decided a lot about me. Does that seem even remotely wrong to you?

    • Lightning Rose says

      Ditto here, gardner. Besides, we are talking about an absolutely minimal number of people–estimated in the US at .004% of the population generally identify as “trans,” now what percentage of that .004% would be elite athletes, or even athletes at all? This is a “problem” SO SMALL it frankly doesn’t need a solution. Furthermore, people are choosing this “trans” identity. No one would prevent them from competing as a member of their biological sex, therefore they are hardly barred from sport. They are merely barred from competing as something they biologically are not; just as a heavyweight boxer or wrestler is not allowed to compete in the flyweight division just because he “feels skinny” that day.

      I really wonder at the amount of ink and pixels being constantly spilled over this micro “inclusion” issue that didn’t even exist until about 3 years ago when “questioning gender” suddenly became a trendy social contagion in colleges; it should be dismissed out of hand as affecting nearly no one and be done with it. Life can’t be all things to all people and we all make choices with trade-offs.

      • Jim Gorman says

        Applied to groups I don’t doubt your assertion. However, when applied to individuals it is quite another kettle of fish. How about the girls track runners, in Connecticut I believe, who didn’t get to compete at their state tournament and may have to endure lost athletic scholarships because of it. That may have profound effects upon the female athletes being able to receive a college education. If you are going to have males (biological) compete as women (gender) then some rules have to be established.

        It only takes one trans to ruin a future for someone else. As the article states, muscle fiber composition and skeletal advantages are not erased by hormones.

        Why is it we never read about trans men not being allowed to compete in men’s sports? If hormones are the great equalizer, then we should see trans men competing in a number of sports including boxing, martial arts, weightlifting, etc. I’ll bet that doesn’t go well.

      • David Wall says

        You miss the point…a man competing as a woman doesn’t need to be in the top 0.004% of men, just in the top 0.004% of women…and a great number of male athletes at the lower levels could do that. We’ve already had a trans weightlifter make a mockery of the women competitors in the Commonwealth games weightlifting competition.

  3. Tome708 says

    “Whatever the answer is, it is not a simple one. While our ideologies and beliefs often distil complex problems into simple solutions”
    Sorry, another unwoker. If this answer is not simple, then nothing is. I am not playing along.
    This needs to stop immediately or all of you participating in this F ing delusion will be dragging us all down in this sinking ship of chaos.

    • Jay Salhi says

      Indeed, the answer is very simple. “Not simple” is code words for the sensible solution will offend some people.

  4. John Ashton says

    “Past time” (snigger)…er, wouldn’t that be “pass time”?

  5. Julia says

    What about acknowledging that no problem with “trans-athletes” exists in the first place? The author initially says perfectly rational things but in the end throws all this logic away.

    He says that not everybody is entitled to compete in elite sports. Indeed, males who have their testosterone shut down for a variety of reasons can’t compete with other males. And they don’t. Neither do they get placed into female sports. The special category which might possibly apply to them is sports for disabled and it already exists. Another thing he says is that perception in somebody’s head isn’t objective reality. Why would a particular case of testosterone deficiency deserve a special consideration just because those people perceive themselves as females? All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?

  6. Farris says

    “We can’t all be capable of doing every single thing in the world, and while we want to remove artificial barriers and enable opportunity and participation, we can’t deny the facts of life.”

    Allowing trans females to compete against biological females is an artificial barrier to biological females competing in sports.

    • Barney Doran says

      To paraphrase Martina Navratilova on the subject: These ‘women’ can take a bunch of hormones, come into our sport, take all the money, and then go back home, stop taking hormones and start creating families as the men they were.

      Let the games begin.

  7. Chad Chen says

    As a mid op trans woman other kin (MOTWOK) I am disgusted by the transphobicalyy racist work by the dumb dumbs of quillette!!!!
    The penis that I have had partially removed was a social construct imposed on me. I now can 2/3 live my truth and anyone who disagrees with me should be put in jail.

    • Grant says

      I suppose that and open trans class of competition is possible, or that females can compete in male sports if they choose, but males should not compete against women in many sports. It’s demoralizing to the participants. There are occasions of course where an individual so dominates a sport because of some genetic anomaly, that it’s same sex competitors will be demoralized as well, but it’s rare.

    • Michael says

      ‘Transphobicalyy racist with socially constructed penis’. Not much to add really 🙂

  8. jimhaz says

    I don’t care much for the push to make popular team sports, that were male only, equal to males (without having the participant or viewer market)

    So what the hell. Let the females do whatever they want or feel they must weakly submit to. Let their female comrades postmodernism ruin their sports, so that the focus returns to male sports.

    • Winslet Chang says

      In a way I agree. Women athletes are going to have to step up and fight this battle, not expect men or dads to fight it for them. If they wait until The Olympic games have mostly transwomen medalists it will be to late.

      • Jim Gorman says

        The left is eating their own. The only way to stop it is for some of the “identity” groups to step up and say no more, you’re hurting us more than helping us.

  9. R Henry says

    How ridiculous that Western Culture must be reminded of such facts.

  10. S. Cheung says

    This article is a scholarly representation of what Joe Rogan has been saying for a long time. Elite female athletes in most sports will beat average male athletes in those sports, but will never beat elite male athletes in those same sports.

    If it’s the 100m, the fastest woman will easily lose to Usain Bolt, but no harm done. In combat sports like MMA, the best woman will get absolutely pummeled by the best man even in same weight class, so the consequences are non-trivial. So for a trans-woman who had the muscle mass benefit of however many years of testosterone to beat up on a cis-woman is just grotesque. It is mind-boggling that some would argue for this.

    I suppose someday, they will complain that men in general are taller than women, and that too is a socialization issue.

    • Harold Porter says

      I’m not a trained athlete, but in my day had a fair degree of natural speed, such that I’ve recorded a couple of 11s 100m times…that would qualify me for the olympics in the women’s 100m!!

    • “they will complain that men in general are taller than women”. Actually, they already do. Some femininists argue that, since Stone Age, women have been prevented from eating as much as their male counterparts, resulting in an artificial size difference.

  11. A C Harper says

    I hold all the world records for all the activities I have undertaken (in the classification of 1, myself). In a society where some people argue that everyone should win prizes, where am I going to put all those world record prizes?

  12. Stewie Griffith says

    The most amazing thing about this article…. is that it even needed to be written.

    • E. Olson says

      …and seemingly had to be so apologetic about basic biological facts.

      • Jay Salhi says

        The apologetic approach will not spare the author of the inevitable “phobia” accusations.

  13. The reckoning for this is likely coming with the next Olympics. Trans athletes will beat real women in a few sports. Then the fans will utterly reject female sports dominated by fake females. The decline in viewership of the fans will be monumental, to the point of making the trans dominated sports utterly uneconomical.

    That above paragraph is completely true and Everyone knows it. But progressives reading it “just can’t even” cope with how unwoke and “evil” it is.

    That man is a woman is the real worlds 2+2 = 5. But my guess would the that Orwell went with the latter because the first sounded too ridiculous.

  14. Victoria says

    I like the “open” category option. Anyone who has benefited from androgens outside a certain norm, whether trans, intersex, or via PEDs goes to the open class, likely to get beaten soundly by normal men, but there are hobbies other than sports.

    Yet under that scenario an XY trans girl/woman or XY person with androgen-insensitivity, who never went through puberty as a male, would likely have none of the enumerated advantages, because they are tissue-level expressions linked to puberty. Such individuals could justly compete with XX women.

    That of course won’t please the people whose idea of ‘compassion’ is forcing adolescents with gender dysphoria to invariably go through puberty as their biological sex, no matter the physiological harm. And spare me the misuse of the 85% desistance statistic which conflated pre and post pubescent desistence. Among those who go on hormone blockers at puberty, virtually all choose to go on cross-sex hormones at 16, an inadvertent admission by one of Quillette’s more anti-trans writers, Julian Vigo.

    • the gardner says

      In medicine, the Hippocratic Oath says, “First, do no harm.”
      I find it shocking that you would endorse hormone therapy for adolescents who claim to want to be the opposite sex.

    • Blue Lobster says

      Victoria,

      “That of course won’t please the people whose idea of ‘compassion’ is forcing adolescents with gender dysphoria to invariably go through puberty as their biological sex, no matter the physiological harm.”

      I think you need to check the definitions of “gender dysphoria” and “physiology” because “forcing adolescents with gender dysphoria to invariably go through puberty as their biological sex” will in no way, shape or form produce deleterious consequences of a physiological nature due to the fact that gender dysphoria is not a condition which affects physiology.

      • Victoria says

        @the gardner and @The Blue Lobster

        Thank you both for inadvertently proving my point. Psychological harm is real and medical practioners must consider that in patient well-being. The risk of suicide surrounding gender dysphoria is real, and thus of particular concern.

        The fact neither of you have the ethics or compassion to even mention either of these harm issues demonstrates the bad faith with which you approach treatment.

        There’s no “harm” per se in taking cross-sex hormones, if that is not contrary to the patient’s wishes. There are risks in any medical treatment. One of the pseudo-medical taking points of anti-trans activists, like Debra Soh, is demanding that treatment be risk-free and entirely reversible.

        • Blue Lobster says

          Victoria,

          My point above was absolutely not made in bad faith.

          I agree that psychological harm is real and is a real risk for gender dysphoric youth. But it is, of course, not a matter of physiology. And thank you for correcting your inaccurate vocabulary usage.

          I do consider myself to be, while imperfectly so – as are we all, a morally and ethically conscious individual. I did not mention potential psychologically traumatic outcomes for the patient group in question because since you made the inaccurate assertion I felt that the onus was on you to rectify it and, as I said, I’m glad you did.

          I simply wanted to point out a rather glaringly erroneous terminology.

          Regarding the risk of suicide in gender dysphoric patients, I also agree that the risk is real and almost certainly higher than for the general population. However, I believe that said risk is exaggerated by activists for political purposes which I consider the epitome of arguing in bad faith.

        • the gardner says

          First, do no harm, Victoria. Launching a child into hormone therapy based on his or her assertion that he/she is of the opposite sex is simply malpractice. Responsible physicians practice science-based medicine, not advocacy driven medicine. How can a child possibly know something as complicated as having a sex different from his/her biological one? As was pointed out in the medical journal article I posted below, the trans phenomenon is new, since around 2000, which strongly suggested it is environmentally driven and not biological. We have known about homosexuality since ancient times; even so, no one has ever discovered the “gay” gene.

          Hormones are potent molecules with profound physiological and irreversible effects. They should not be pushed on children by trans advocates. The fact that there are trans advocates who would go so far as to risk children to validate their views is truly disgusting.

          The child need psychoanalysis and therapy. Very low risk.

        • The problem with your argument, Victoria, is in assuming that a 15 year old (or 8 year old) is capable of reliably and permanently deciding such a major issue as changing their body. These are kids: they are otherwise not allowed to vote, buy a gun, join the army, sign contracts, or get married, and change their fashions and music favorites on a monthly basis. They do not know what sex is like or attraction to someone or love. But surgery and hormones are fine?

    • Jim Gorman says

      Victoria –> “Yet under that scenario an XY trans girl/woman or XY person with androgen-insensitivity, who never went through puberty as a male, would likely have none of the enumerated advantages, because they are tissue-level expressions linked to puberty. Such individuals could justly compete with XX women.”

      Did you read the article? The following just kind of shoots your assertion full of holes, 3000 to be exact.

      “Well, one of the major contributors is the influence of testosterone, with large differences occurring throughout puberty. 11 But even before puberty, there are observed differences in many characteristics including body size and shape, and also in levels of aggression.12 Indeed, it is been highlighted that over 3000 genes contribute just towards muscle differences between men and women. This combination of genetic components and hormones result in many factors each contributing towards the differences that are manifested in males and females. While the effects of testosterone supplementation or inhibition may go some way to modify the original characteristics, it is unlikely to reverse all of the sexually dimorphic manifestations.”

      Trans men will have muscular and skeletal advantages regardless of hormone treatments. Have you ever heard of growth hormone. It isn’t testosterone.

      • Victoria says

        @Jim Gorman

        The Y chromosome contains only approximately 60 genes that actually code for proteins and maybe 100 more RNA genes. So in other words, the 98% or so of the 3,000 genes in question may be present in either sex. Hormones play a quintessential role in gene expression, so your triumphant claim is based on not understanding what happens at puberty.

        The last line you cite is clearly addressing hormone therapy that occurs after puberty, not the scenario I discussed. It’s a very muddled paragraph.

        Quillette’s editors are both very bad at their jobs, hence the often inexcusable errors (like last week’s mistake saying the Christchurch shooter was a Kiwi). They’re also a rather transphobic lot, so they’re not going to suggest better clarification.

        “Trans men”

        That term means XX individuals who identify as male. Even the Quillete editors get that one right.

      • Boys who haven’t hit puberty, boys in the first or second grade who are still shorter and slower than girls of the same age, can often lift their own bodyweight or more, even without weight training. Sex differences are real. Anyone who does not recognize them did not pay attention in childhood.

  15. Jay Salhi says

    A very good article except for the following sentence: “Whatever the answer is, it is not a simple one.”

    The answer is incredibly simple. Leave things the way the are or make the men category an open category. The fact that this may upset some people is irrelevant. These are the only sensible options.

    • David of Kirkland says

      I think it’s bad to discriminate based on age. We also should make all sports “open category” so we just see the best. Maybe that will lessen the sense of glory all these athletes who spend considerable time, money, travel and effort to attain some.
      I’ve never cared to buy software just because it was written by 14 year old girls, for example, or watch a movie just because it was written by a woman, or go to a doctor just because he was Jewish.
      All sports is entertainment. Let them organize as they see fit. Allow for closed competitions and open ones. Who really cares? The “winner” is just the winner of one event on one day in one place. Across the world, there are untold numbers of winners you never care about. Why be so concerned about this?

    • Making the men’s category an open one is not that simple. People taking steroids are gaining a competitive advantage. That’s why they are banned. Declaring that one group is an exception to the rule then begs the curation why everyone cab’t Use them.

      No the unfortunate truth is that trans cannot fairly compete. So the moral choice is between that of being inclusive and being fair. I have to go with fairness.

  16. E. Olson says

    The “open category” is an interesting concept – anyone who wants to compete can do so without any favoritism or restriction except for doping, although the last might be a problem for trannie athletes on their hormonal cocktails.

    By why stop at athletics? Why not make “open category” the rule for all educations, occupations, and hobbies? Just decide on the appropriate standard(s) that best predict the needed/desired performance required for success and then choose the top ranked applicants for the available spots without consideration of gender, race, religion, sexual preference, or age. Thus the top 2,000 SAT scores get into Harvard, the top 10 fastest 100m times get to the Olympic finals, the top 12,000 pilots get in the Air Force, etc., and we won’t care if blacks are only 1% of the Harvard class or 100% of the 100 meter finals, or that women make up only 5% of Air Force pilots. If your race, gender, age, etc. put you at a disadvantage, you will just have to study/work/train harder or accept that you won’t ever get into Harvard, run in the Olympics, or fly an F-35, and instead will need to find a school/occupation/sport/hobby where your talents and ability are more competitive and meet the necessary (but lower) standards.

    Just imagine, no more worries about social justice (which means we can shut down all the victim study programs at University), no need to do disparate impact studies (which means we can fire all the diversity and inclusion administrators), no need to bribe officials (rich bastards won’t get any special advantages), just take the test(s) and see if you rank high enough to gain entry. Imagine all the people, living life in peace…

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      You – oo – oo – oo – oo are a dreamer, but you’re not the only one.

      Seriously tho, we’d need UBI in place to prevent the suddenly dis-employed thousands or millions of Victimologists from the shuttered Studies departments from starving. The economy can only absorb so many waitresses at one time. Really. If loosing one’s job were no longer catastrophic, folks wouldn’t take such desperate measures to keep themselves employed in unproductive jobs. Let’s only go to work to do things that need to be done, which would eliminate what? half of all ‘working’ hours?

      • Stephanie says

        Ray, reeducating them to do something productive would be more feasible. The moment people get a “free” cheque in the mail every month, their rent and other expenses will start going up. Pretty soon they won’t be any better off; we’ll know we’ve gotten there when leftists are calling for raising the monthly payments. It’s the same as the minimum wage, except it leads to more people getting a greater share of their money from the government.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @Stephanie

          I’m much to the left of you, but that’s ok. Yes, one would hope they’d eventually find something useful to do, but in the mean time victimologists need to eat too. Some of them probably need reeducation starting again from kindergarten, so the period of uselessness could be rather long.

          “we’ll know we’ve gotten there when leftists are calling for raising the monthly payments”

          Well they won’t get any. Where I disagree with you and Olson is that I don’t think most people want to be useless lumps. Victimology convinces them that they are useless, and there are various mechanisms that positively disincentivize self-improvement. So remove those. You get your UBI like everyone else in the country. But if you want money for an iphone, or a car or something, you’re going to have to earn it — tears won’t help. I suspect that Victimhood might go out of fashion rather quickly.

  17. the gardner says

    Am J Psychiatry. 2017 Dec 1;174(12):1155-1162. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.17060626. Epub 2017 Oct 20.
    Transgender Research in the 21st Century: A Selective Critical Review From a Neurocognitive Perspective.

    Mueller SC1, De Cuypere G1, T’Sjoen G1.
    Author information
    Abstract
    Gender dysphoria describes the psychological distress caused by identifying with the sex opposite to the one assigned at birth. In recent years, much progress has been made in characterizing the needs of transgender persons wishing to transition to their preferred gender, thus helping to optimize care. This critical review of the literature examines their common mental health issues, several individual risk factors for psychiatric comorbidity, and current research on the underlying neurobiology. Prevalence rates of persons identifying as transgender and seeking help with transition have been rising steeply since 2000 across Western countries; the current U.S. estimate is 0.6%. Anxiety and depression are frequently observed both before and after transition, although there is some decrease afterward. Recent research has identified autistic traits in some transgender persons. Forty percent of transgender persons endorse suicidality, and the rate of self-injurious behavior and suicide are markedly higher than in the general population. Individual factors contributing to mental health in transgender persons include community attitudes, societal acceptance, and posttransition physical attractiveness. Neurobiologically, whereas structural MRI data are thus far inconsistent, functional MRI evidence in trans persons suggests changes in some brain areas concerned with olfaction and voice perception consistent with sexual identification, but here too, a definitive picture has yet to emerge. Mental health clinicians, together with other health specialists, have an increasing role in the assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria in transgender individuals.

    • Victoria says

      @the gardner

      Above you wrote: “As was pointed out in the medical journal article I posted below, the trans phenomenon is new, since around 2000”

      That’s a blatant mischaracterization. What the paper actually says is there has been a strong increase in diagnosis since then. That time also corresponds with the very medium we are communicating across, the Internet, which enhanced awareness of a range of issues, but you’re ready with confirmation bias:

      “…strongly suggested it is environmentally driven and not biological”

      The paper in no way endorses that claim. As it notes the physiological research is “inconsistent,” that is we know gender dysphoria is not as simple as trans people having brains exactly like the identity sex, but they do show differences from non-trans people.

      You’ve thus conceded inadvertently my original point above that your attempt to denigrate trans identity as purely “psychopathology” is not supported by the current research.

      “How can a child possibly know something as complicated as having a sex different from his/her biological one?”

      Because it’s not complicated. Trans people report it as a fundamental sense of being. Your attitude reminds me of the old canard homophobes used of gay people ‘choosing to be gay,’ as is the homophobes themselves has chosen to be straight.

      “The child need psychoanalysis and therapy. Very low risk.”

      Actually that carries all the very of self-harm highlighted in the paper, because there’s no evidence that “psychoanalysis and therapy” work to an appreciable degree, although I’m sure they help some people. A lot of faux compassion pretends that there is some ready psychiatric or psychological solution, when there is not. That’s the very reason medical practice has settled on cosmetically changing the body, because gender dysphoria has proven intractable. Again even the people who suggest it is driven by maladaptive sexuality do not claim it is treatable by psychiatric or psychological intervention.

  18. Somewoman says

    An open category might not work either because it could just become filled with men who don’t quite make the cut off for male Olympians. Trans women who take testosterone suppressants would be at a disadvantage against them and not likely to be able to win.

    Maybe we need an intersex/trans category where you can compete as long as you do not qualify as male or female. The runner, semenya, would be one such example.

    • Stephanie says

      Somewoman, that’s my preferred solution. Even better if we put MTFs and FTMs in the same competitions. It might be hilarious to watch, so might even be economical.

  19. JS Fall says

    Very well written. We now need more scientist to be vocal about this to ensure that only biological women can compete against biological women.

    • David of Kirkland says

      @JS Fall – Isn’t that up to the competitors. In the end, being the best woman who can afford to train and be present at a given sport on a given day in a given location based on the current rules and current ability to train and prepare, isn’t saying that much beyond the entertainment value.
      It was even fun to watch a younger BJ King play tennis against an old man.

    • Aerth says

      More like we need less scientists that support trans dogmas. As long as such people are out there, the battle is lost cause while article like this one can be branded as transphobic, hateful, and so on, there is very little to do to smear “pro-trans” articles. You can call them “non-scientific”, but come one, it does not work against anti vaxxers and flat earthers, and they do not paint their opponents as facists..

  20. scribblerg says

    But the institutions of our society are already moving past any “debate” and are now implementing this madness. I just took my anti-discrimination training as an executive where I work, and I’m required now to respect alternate pronoun usage. Or my company can be sued and I can be fired.

    Just as always, the Left focuses on “facts on the ground” and lies to us until they are winning. Then they call us crazy and bigoted and move on.

    Pattern is the same, over and over and over. And of course, men and women should not compete in sport given what we know about the bio differences. But don’t you understand – the fact that such an article needs to be written is evidence of their victory.

    I watched a breathless LGBTQPIA activist the other day explain how it’s bigotry to claim men and women are so different that they can’t compete fairly in sport. She patiently talked down to us, citing completely bogus science from the WPATH journal (activists only need apply to be published) on how after T and other treatment that trans women have no advantages. How testosterone fixes it all. Even went as far as noting how higher bone density actually harms the competitiveness as their lower T reduces muscle mass.

    She never mentioned how 6000+ genes express differently between men and women. But that doesn’t matter, they already have our govt bullied and our schools aligned and craven, pathetic political hacks willing to say anything they are told in order to hold power. Mere reason and evidence are no match for such power.

  21. Morgan Foster says

    I’m inclined to tell trans athletes to go away and stop bothering normal people, but in truth I’m more indifferent to organized sports, which I consider to be sinkholes of greed and dishonesty.

    So on the one hand, I think Bruce Jenner is a raving nut job, but on the other hand, I would have laughed harder than anyone if he’d had his sex change in time for him to compete in the Olympics as a woman. (Too old, now, alas.)

    • Somewoman says

      I also cannot understand the appeal of organized sports in 2019. We aren’t cavemen so not sure what the point of celebrating brute strength and speed is.

      On one hand, I don’t think transwomen should compete with real women, but on the other hand I’m a bit baffled that there are real women that want to dedicate their lives to competing at sports like pole vaulting and shot put. I kind of think there shouldn’t be many women’s sports at all. I mean, we’re all free to do what we want with ourselves in our free time, but not sure why society has the desire to fund and sponsor the professional training of female shot putters, who are simply people who do these already pointless sports less well than men.

      • David of Kirkland says

        There’s still (sometimes) glory and (sometimes) money. Glory is harder to come by these days, a sense of privilege that makes one person demonstrably better than others, destroying any notion of equity in outcome or opportunity.
        But it is funny how people are impressed at running speeds, weights lifted, when so many of these things are no longer valuable in society. Machines do these all better than humans, just as they remember facts better, and the facts they have are more easily searched.
        We still value chess playing, despite the fact that an unconscious machine can beat you every time. It’s a bit of fun, I suppose, like watching people cut a log with an ax to see who can do it faster.
        But it does show that the best human cannot compete with machines in most such activities.

      • Canadian Moxie says

        I guess you’ve never competed in sports or you would understand what it means to the individual striving to be their best. By your reasoning, why compete in anything? Why try to be the best you can be at anything?

        • Morgan Foster says

          @Canadian Moxie

          I doubt there’s a good reason for being the best shot putter in the world.

          I can see a good reason for being the best physician in town. Now, there’s a worthy competition.

          As for “individual[s] striving to be their best”, in what way does striving to be the fastest runner or the fastest bicycle rider in the world make one a better person?

          There examples aplenty of bad people striving to do their best in a competitive sport, who remain bad in every other aspect of their lives.

          • Canadian Moxie says

            I see where you’re going with that, but I can tell you from personal experience that the psychology of overcoming limitations, to focus your mental energy, and to push yourself to your mental and physical limits in the pursuit of being your best at a sport has incredible benefits to your personal and professional life. It would have been incredibly demoralizing to this pursuit to be forced to compete against a 200 lb male (my sport was martial arts).

      • Stephanie says

        Women’s sports is slower and less fun to watch than men’s sports, so maybe another solution would be to just cancel all women’s competitions. Solve the problem of beta-males desperate to compete against people they can beat by getting rid of their means to do so.

        Women’s sports depends on being shielded from their physical inferiority. Maybe we’d have less trouble with SJWs if we got rid of that everywhere in society.

        • Jay Salhi says

          “Women’s sports is slower and less fun to watch than men’s sports”

          Most of the time. I prefer women’s tennis and women’s volleyball to their male counterparts because the rallies last longer. And, of course, there’s women’s gymnastics.

      • Saw file says

        @Somewoman

        ” I also cannot understand the appeal of organized sports in 2019.”

        Perhaps you should have taken the punctuation mark literally then, instead of following it with, “We aren’t cavemen so not sure what the point of celebrating brute strength and speed is.”?

        Many facets of elite human physical achievement are worthy of recognition and celebration, and their feats stand the test of time, unlike so many intellectual ” achievements “.

      • Chad Chen says

        I agree with Somewoman. Women should focus on events such as “fetch me a beer” “make me a sandwich” “dishes need cleaning” etc. of course they must be barefoot to compete.

  22. Brad Gillespie says

    The entire transgender argument regarding transgender women (who were, and still are, men) is an example of how far our society has moved off the tracks and into the muck of progressivism — where reality is invented, not studied or accepted. When you fail to accept reality, and think instead on the level of progressive inventions, that are focused more on social justice than any objective reality, you muck up people’s thinking habits — which is the reason this article was written, and will continue to be written by others on each side of the issue. Sports are generally regarded as an area free of social inventions (social justice, progressive thought…) — but of course, when you allow sexual intersectionality to invade, with all it’s rotten stink, sports will start to rot as well — just like most progressive thinking has rotted those who regard themselves as higher thinkers.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Sports is ENTIRELY social inventions. It’s full of rules, all socially created. Why can’t you push that baskbetball player? Why can’t you pass a football forward anywhere on the field?
      You do not accept reality if you do not accept that some people act/feel/believe/are transgender? What’s it to you? As long as they don’t harm another, believing this is no more bizarre and unfounded in science than believing you will have eternal life (but only after death).

      • E. Olson says

        David – sports are about finding out who is the fastest, highest jumper, strongest thrower, etc. which is a natural instinct among boys and men and some women. Rules are to prevent injury, create greater challenge, or fairer competition. In contrast, Transgenderism is mental illness, but allowing transwomen to compete against real women in any sport with physical contact will hurt the real women physically even if all the “rules” of the sport are followed. As others have noted, it would be like putting a heavyweight boxer up against a featherweight, which is why we have different weight classes and different competitions for men and women.

  23. OWG says

    All true, but why do we have curling competition divided by sex?

  24. Ray Andrews says

    ” that trans women have no advantages”

    Except that sports is about advantages. Even if we ignore the probable truth that sports started off as training for war — where winning and ‘advantage’ are everything — even if we consider sports to be a celebration of excellence for excellence’s sake and not a proxy for war — one thing that sports will never ever be about is Equity. It was meant as satire at the time, but are we really heading for Dianna Moon Glampers?

    If we don’t want males who like to think of themselves as females having an advantage, then why not strap weights onto them, as Dianna, the Handicapper General, did? This will avoid all those troublesome drug tests and bickering about hormone levels. And are black sprinters to be handicapped vis a vis white sprinters? If we are to have Equity, then why stage events at all? Sheesh, having a contest at all only opens the floodgates to unknown outcomes. The person with ‘advantage’ is likely to win, and if advantage is bad, how much better to simply let Equitron decide who gets the prize without all that sweating?

    • David of Kirkland says

      In the end, who really cares? If top performance is the interest, then sex doesn’t really matter. I am sure most men would be open to allowing women into all of their sports; its’ women who will lose with this equity idea.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @ David of Kirkland

        Who cares are participants, and spectators. King vs. Riggs was a spectacle in which the exception proves the rule. Most of the time such a thing will attract almost zero interest. Real women don’t want to compete against men because it is grossly unfair, and real people don’t want to watch it. Mind, that sorta answers the problem, because when people start not watching in droves, maybe professional sports, at least, will wake up to the bottom line.

    • Kristina says

      Thank you SO much for your reference to Diana Moon Glampers. Sometimes I want to print up copies of Harrison Bergeron (it is a very short story, so it might work) and drop the copies from the sky in the hope that more people would read that most excellent story.

  25. Kevin Herman says

    Trans athletes dont want to compete with men. They already can because they are in fact men. So some kind of unlimited men’s division wouldn’t solve anything. This whole debate is a farce and anti science from people (progressives) that claim to love science. What they mean is they love Science when they believe it supports there agenda item of choice. I feel like this issue wont be resolved until women start pushing back meaningfully. As long as they keep allowing so called transwomen to claim to be the same as theyare this is going to continue inching along toward disaster.

    • David of Kirkland says

      But why do you even care? I mean, transmen are less likely to be top performers if those 10%+ average better performance stats hold. Women might care because they’d see some transwomen, but how many, or regardless, it is women who will suffer this equity decision.

  26. David of Kirkland says

    Don’t let the bastards fool you. They know all of these differences, and they fully understand there are two sexes. That’s why they make comments like “old white man” or “believe the women” or “how many women CEOs/presidents/politicians/judges/programmers/etc. are there”?

  27. tim says

    A quick note on the statistics used. The women’s fastest times in 100m and 200m, and the 400m were all made by athletes who were doping. Or in the case of Flo Jo, were never caught but were certainly guilty of doping (she was quite quick, blew everyone away for a year, immediately retired and died age 39). The only other female athletes to challenge her times were Marion Jones and Katrina Krabbe who were caught doping.
    Obviously the same could be said for the men’s times, but common sense suggests that a 10% difference in these sports that require fast twitch muscle for explosive power is too narrow when taking into account the physiological difference between the sexes.
    I would guess the real difference is shown closer to 20%.

    And this is just top athletes. For the average person in the street I would put it between 30-40%.

  28. codadmin says

    Female athlete have to fight back with law suits.

    These trans athletes, if we suspend belief and call the actual females, have the same advantages as females who have taken all sorts of illegal steroids and other illegal performance enhancing drugs.

  29. Francisco d'Anconio says

    A friend of mine played basketball at a small local college. They used to scrimmage the local WNBA team regularly, and would beat them handily. Men are stronger, faster, and can run higher. We are comparing boys not good enough to play at ANY Division 1 school against women who are the best women players on the planet. I don’t know what else to say.

  30. The Ulcer says

    It’s a sign of the times that we now need to have experts explain to the public that there are empirical and testable biological differences between males and females – something everybody over the age of five knew twenty years ago. How far have we fallen that even the most basic facts require explanation? And of course, these explanations run up against challengers who claim these facts represent hate speech.

    What an abysmal state of affairs.

    • codadmin says

      ‘We’ haven’t fallen, ‘we’ have been conquered by a fascist ideology that is alien to our civilisation.

      The secret to fighting back is to identify the fascist left as ‘the other’ ( to use their phrase ). ‘They’ are extremists and don’t represent the majority of moderates, or whatever background, that make up the ‘we’.

  31. Morgan Foster says

    Just as an aside, I’ve been looking at the photograph of the lead competitors in a women’s racewalking event, at the top of the article.

    Do broad shoulders and narrow, boy-like hips give women a competitive advantage?

    Just wondering.

  32. Canadian Moxie says

    What I find interesting is that it’s the transwomen pushing into women’s spaces, e.g. sport, prisons, bathrooms, rape centres, etc., but not the transmen pushing into men’s spaces. I wonder why that is? Could it be that male privilege is too hard to give up?

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Canadian Moxie

      It may well be that transmen don’t commit felony level crimes of violence at the same per capita rates as men, and that’s why you’re not seeing many of them in men’s prisons. As to why that is, it’s likely to be that they’re simply not as violent as real men. Or we’re not seeing transmen committing repeat drug trafficking offenses for God knows what reason.

      I’m pretty sure I’ve seen transmen entering bathrooms marked “men”, though it is sometimes hard to tell and men generally don’t stare at each other in public bathrooms anyway, so it would be easy to miss a trans, especially if she were obese, as they often are.

      As for “male privilege” are you referring to a transman’s male privilege?

    • Blue Lobster says

      Ms. Moxie,

      So, you agree that “transwomen” are, in fact, men?

    • ga gamba says

      How do you know transmen aren’t entering male spaces? Do you think a female who transitions to male and who passes as one continues using the women’s locker room? Is Chaz Bono not using the gents? How would you explain Pat Manuel?

      There may be a few explanations for what you perceive. Firstly, women who transition to men may have an easier time passing. Very few men who transition to female after puberty look genuinely female. Often there’s something off about them. Secondly, there is the issue of what journalism chooses to publish and amplify as well as notable events that happen. Perhaps there have been fewer events because a transwoman taking testosterone doesn’t maximise her competitive advantage over other men, especially top athletes. There may also be rules in place that forbid their participation in male sport, such as the case of Mack Beggs, a transman wrestler who still must compete against women. Lastly, it may be that men simply put up with some things more readily than women.

      • ga gamba says

        Perhaps there have been fewer events because a transwoman taking testosterone doesn’t maximise her competitive advantage over other men, especially top athletes.

        Correction. That should have been transman.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Canadian Moxie

      Wouldn’t the transwomen pushing into women’s spaces be giving up the “male privilege” and the transmen trying to obtain it by pushing into male spaces? Your conclusion seems to be in opposition to your observations.

  33. Chris says

    Sport is an entertainment in which members of society choose to compete against each other for financial reward, reputation or simply as a motivation for fitness. All of this depends on its value to spectators who enjoy people competing on a level playing field developing and demonstrating their skill and competence. Does any healthy society not include sport?

    Recognising the existence of two distinct types of people, separate events for males and females are the norm, and occasionally when incontrovertible measurements can establish multiple, almost level, playing fields on weight or height differences, room for more competitiors may be made. Finer gradations can be achieved on the basis of handicapping, as might be used in golf and in disabled sports events. Transgender competitors might join such events. All you have to do is decide and agree on your handicap and stick with it. Good luck with that but don’t expect large crowds and big prizes.

    What is not OK is to enter other competitions under false pretences, That would be cheating. It also denies fair sport to the whole of society for the benefit of a tiny fraction of the population seeking undeserved attention or reward.

    In sport anyone can win but not everyone does. If you don’t get that, try knitting.

  34. Another cause for concern is that women undergoing hormonal treatment to become male might still become pregnant, with unknown but probably adverse consequences for the baby.

  35. Andrew Roddy says

    ‘And while a person is free to believe whatever they choose, their subjective feelings can never overrule empirical evidence.’

    ‘There are grey areas and ambiguities in all areas of life, and it is essential to try and understand these and do the best we can in any situation. ‘

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  37. Asenath Waite says

    I like the idea of changing the Men’s category to an Open category. So it would officially just be looking for the absolute best athlete in the sport, regardless of sex. Of course the winners would still almost always be men. I imagine that currently if a woman were good enough to compete in the Men’s category and wished to do so she would probably be allowed to anyway? I could be wrong about that.

    Also I am in favor of letting biological males identifying as women compete in women’s competitions, because as male athletes come to dominate all women’s sports, it will hopefully cause society to reach a breaking point at which we are forced to confront the real-world consequences of postmodern philosophy and the denial of objective reality, and maybe this will snap us back into thinking rationally.

  38. Gilles St-Gilles says

    One thing the author does not mention is that even within sex categories, some sports have subcategories. Weightlifting and martial arts have weight classes. They acknowledge some fundamental biological realities that weight confers some advantage that no amount of training can hope to compensate, and they allow everyone to compete with the body that God gave them among peers, even though it is not the one with which one could win a world title. Some sports do not follow this model, even though I think that, say, a ‘basketball for guys under 5’10″‘ would make as much sense (it would give ‘little league’ a whole new meaning!)

    And yeah, I’m enough of a reactionary that I find the idea of a Mike Tyson competing in the featherweight class because in his mind he considers himself a slim 125 lbs completely absurd.

  39. Mikefromcanmore says

    The solution is handicapping all events so the competitors realise an equal outcome. Weigh down usain bolt so my time equals his along with all the other competitors. In this manner we eliminate any advantage a competitor may enjoy through biology or harder work in training.

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  41. John Tollison says

    “While the effects of testosterone supplementation or inhibition may go some way…”

    How far? You make it sound like it’s, maybe, 20% of the difference. My guess is that it’s more like 90%.

    You try to minimize the impact of hormones by pointing to “3000 genes”. I opened the link, and 3000 genes are “differentially expressed” and the “regulation of these physiological differences by thyroid hormone, estrogen, and testosterone” is discussed. There are only 804 total genes(muscle related or otherwise) on the X chromosome, and 63 on the Y. It’s about the differential expression, and what causes that difference? “Testosterone” is found 29 times in the paper, and estrogen is found 48 times. “Thyroid” is found 12 times.

    It’s mostly about the sex steroids. The distance people go to ignore this amazes me. First on the left, and now, in the supposedly thoughtful center.

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