Trans Women in Sport

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Karl_
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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:14 pm

OrangeRKN wrote:
Karl_ wrote:The study - which presents no new scientific data, it is only an essay and the authors are philosophers, not medics


It sounds like being framed as a study is disingenuous from the start? Surely a study must present data, even if that data is a statistical analysis of previous data in a meta study.


Yeah, it's a "study" only in the colloquial sense. It's presented as an "Extended Essay" in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Starjo » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:25 pm

For reference, my students write ‘Extended Essays’ as part of their graduation criteria when they don’t want to write a ‘Personal Project’ which involves gathering data.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by VlaSoul » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:16 pm

If I'm to add anything here; I think this very discussion is proof that 1. Gender binary separation in sport is problematic 2. A society that has a gender binary entrenched so deeply into it (the West) is problematic 3. All of these things need to be overhauled and brought up to date with modern science and out of the realm of religious mania and psuedoscience

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Rocsteady » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:01 pm

I don't see how gender separation in sport is problematic. It's an absolute necessity in the vast majority of cases.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:50 pm

Rocsteady wrote:I don't see how gender separation in sport is problematic. It's an absolute necessity in the vast majority of cases.

Well, since neither sex nor gender are binary, rigidly separating a sport into two binary gender categories is always going to leave someone out.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Hime » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:55 pm

Karl_ wrote:
Rocsteady wrote:I don't see how gender separation in sport is problematic. It's an absolute necessity in the vast majority of cases.

Well, since neither sex nor gender are binary, rigidly separating a sport into two binary gender categories is always going to leave someone out.

What else would you do? There are lots of sports that an elite female athlete wouldn't be able to compete against an elite level male.

*Edit* However, I guess that is the argument made against trans women competing in a women's category. Having male genetics doesn't necessarily mean a trans female would automatically be better than a female.*

*Apologies if that is worded poorly, no offense intended.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by VlaSoul » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:24 pm

Rocsteady wrote:I don't see how gender separation in sport is problematic. It's an absolute necessity in the vast majority of cases.

What I was trying to say is separation by the basis of "man" and "woman" doesnt work very well in a modern context
I'd be fine with more rigid male and female separation; aka by biological sex (not saying that doesnt also have issues, I think it's just clearer than doing it by gender)

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:00 pm

Hime wrote:
Karl_ wrote:
Rocsteady wrote:I don't see how gender separation in sport is problematic. It's an absolute necessity in the vast majority of cases.

Well, since neither sex nor gender are binary, rigidly separating a sport into two binary gender categories is always going to leave someone out.

What else would you do? There are lots of sports that an elite female athlete wouldn't be able to compete against an elite level male.

*Edit* However, I guess that is the argument made against trans women competing in a women's category. Having male genetics doesn't necessarily mean a trans female would automatically be better than a female.*

*Apologies if that is worded poorly, no offense intended.

Well, on the last page, I critiqued an essay (that I didn't like very much overall) that discussed this. I disagreed with many parts of it, but it did at least have an interesting conclusion. Ultimately - and iirc OrangeRKN also made this point a few pages ago - I think sports communities need to decide what they really want from their categorisations. There are two possibilities.

1. If the sports community decides the goal of having a "women's category" is essentially social - to promote representation in sports, and so on - then I think all women, including trans women and intersex women (with any medical attributes whatsoever), should be allowed to compete, and I think nonbinary people should freely choose which category to be in. [EDIT: I suppose it's possible you might still need to have some restrictions based on physiology in full-contact sports if there are safety issues. I've vaguely seen that point raised before, but as I don't play or watch sports I have no idea if it's a reasonable concern or just a transphobic/interphobic talking point.]

The fact that some sports in which there is no obvious disadvantage to female-type physiology (e.g. curling) still have gender-divided competitions is perhaps best justified by that "social" reasoning.

2. But if the sports community decides that it's about giving potential competitors level playing fields, then I don't think there's much reason to bring sex or gender into it at all. It's not your genitals or your self-conception of gender identity that gives you an advantage in a particular sport, it's having some set of physiological attributes, right? So you could have far more than two categories and give folks with all sorts of different body types and genetic profiles a chance to compete.

As a thought experiment, maybe in swimming you could cluster entrants into four different categories based on arm length and muscle mass (that's just an illustration, I'm not a sports expert!). That would be more nuanced than "men's swimming" and "women's swimming" and provide more scope for intersex people, or trans people at various different stages of transition, to find a category that they fit into comfortably, without misgendering and humiliating anyone.

[EDIT: I also think "What would you do?" questions can be a bit of a red herring, though I understand why you asked it like that (and I'm not having a go!). I'm not a sports policy expert at the end of the day. I'm just saying that as trans, intersex, and nonbinary people continue to fight for acceptance and rightfully demand to take a full and equal place in society, it's no longer acceptable to assume that (a) everyone fits into the social category of "man" or "woman", or (b) that every (e.g.) woman will have physiological features within a typical range for a cis, dyadic woman.

As an aside I'd like to note again that at the moment post medical transition trans women do fit the physiological criteria set out by the IOC though, and it's actually cis intersex women who might not.]

VlaSoul wrote:I'd be fine with more rigid male and female separation; aka by biological sex (not saying that doesnt also have issues, I think it's just clearer than doing it by gender)

"Biological sex" is as nonbinary and potentially fluid as gender identity is, so no, it wouldn't be any clearer.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Rocsteady » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:20 pm

I think my knowledge in this topic is coloured by my focus on combat sports but there does have to be some sort of gender based, or strict test level testing, to allow for trans athletes to take part.

I don't think it's a trans phobic point to raise, although I appreciate you say you're unsure. At my best I was a mediocre boxer but if I fought a mediocre woman of the same size and weight it would have been horrifically one sided. I did very light sparring with women of a similar skill level and it was night and day as when doing it with a man.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Starjo » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:28 am

I think we should ban sports.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Hime » Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:26 am

Karl_ wrote:2. But if the sports community decides that it's about giving potential competitors level playing fields, then I don't think there's much reason to bring sex or gender into it at all. It's not your genitals or your self-conception of gender identity that gives you an advantage in a particular sport, it's having some set of physiological attributes, right? So you could have far more than two categories and give folks with all sorts of different body types and genetic profiles a chance to compete.

As a thought experiment, maybe in swimming you could cluster entrants into four different categories based on arm length and muscle mass (that's just an illustration, I'm not a sports expert!). That would be more nuanced than "men's swimming" and "women's swimming" and provide more scope for intersex people, or trans people at various different stages of transition, to find a category that they fit into comfortably, without misgendering and humiliating anyone.

I don't think that is true. I just looked up what you'd expect an elite female power lifter to bench press at 90kg and it's 117kg. It's not unreasonable for an untrained male to reach that level in 12-24 months with no previous lifting experience. I believe that has a lot to do with testosterone so I imagine the hormone therapy that a trans person goes through could negate this but there's more going on there than attributes like height, weight and muscle mass.

At some level all sports are unfair, a persons genetics, muscle insertion, twitch fibres, hormones, ability to recover, etc give them an unfair advantage. I think you'd be better off leaving things as they are, if it becomes apparent that trans people have a clear and unsure advantage then maybe something will have to be done.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:13 am

I think you're probably misunderstanding me - I'm not saying there are no differences between typical male and typical female physiology. I'm saying that if you want a perfectly level playing field, then you need to measure those physiological differences directly, and therefore better account for all physiological profiles.

Post medical transition binary trans women have largely female-range physiology. It's pre-transition trans women, nonbinary people, and intersex women who would benefit from measuring physiological capability directly rather than via the proxy of gender. Under your system these people have no place in sports at all (they aren't men, but they are all medically ruled "not women") and I can't see how you can defend that.

For what it's worth I don't personally care about level playing fields. I think this is all a fool's errand and maybe the focus should be on celebrating individual achievement and having fun. A lot of sports fans and players seem to seem to take the "equal test of skill" aspect very seriously though, and that's fine, but you have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't result in athletes being excluded.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by mic » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:19 am

Karl_ wrote:..."Biological sex" is as nonbinary and potentially fluid as gender identity is, so no, it wouldn't be any clearer.


I appreciate that sex can be in between, changed and even changed back again, but is it justifiable to refer to that process as ‘potentially fluid’?

Also, who (as opposed to what) is a ‘cis intersex woman’?

Given the choice, your first scenario would allow a highly skilled intersex sportsperson success in both men’s AND women’s competitions! Surely they would have to choose a side and stick with it?

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Rocsteady » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:26 am

Karl_ wrote:I think you're probably misunderstanding me - I'm not saying there are no differences between typical male and typical female physiology. I'm saying that if you want a perfectly level playing field, then you need to measure those physiological differences directly, and therefore better account for all physiological profiles.

Post medical transition binary trans women have largely female-range physiology. It's pre-transition trans women, nonbinary people, and intersex women who would benefit from measuring physiological capability directly rather than via the proxy of gender. Under your system these people have no place in sports at all (they aren't men, but they are all medically ruled "not women") and I can't see how you can defend that.

For what it's worth I don't personally care about level playing fields. I think this is all a fool's errand and maybe the focus should be on celebrating individual achievement and having fun. A lot of sports fans and players seem to seem to take the "equal test of skill" aspect very seriously though, and that's fine, but you have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't result in athletes being excluded.

Just on the last para, my point is that a level playing field is required in combat sports. You could pit current fat mike tyson against the best lightweight boxer in the world and the result would be a trip to the morgue.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:41 am

mic wrote:
Karl_ wrote:..."Biological sex" is as nonbinary and potentially fluid as gender identity is, so no, it wouldn't be any clearer.


I appreciate that sex can be in between, changed and even changed back again, but is it justifiable to refer to that process as ‘potentially fluid’?

Also, who (as opposed to what) is a ‘cis intersex woman’?

Given the choice, your first scenario would allow a highly skilled intersex sportsperson success in both men’s AND women’s competitions! Surely they would have to choose a side and stick with it?


(A) Well, sounds fluid to me?

(B) A woman who was assigned the female sex at birth is cis, which means "not trans". An intersex woman is a woman with an intersex condition, which is a genetic or physiological disorder of sex characteristics. You can have a vagina and be raised as a woman then find out that your body produces more testosterone than a typical woman: you are then cis and intersex.

(C) I said that if sport is a celebration of individual achievement and if the point of gender separation in sport is to highlight the achievement of people who aren't men, and the two available categories are men and women, then nonbinary people should be able to freely choose (a compromise because there are unlikely to be enough nonbinary athletes for their own category).

To me that's what sport should be, but then I don't like sport very much, and a lot of people who do like it seem to disagree.

"Intersex" is different to "nonbinary" and I'm concerned you might be mixing them up. The former is a developmental disorder and the latter is a self-conceptualisation of gender, though you can be both.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Karl_ » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:49 am

Rocsteady wrote:Just on the last para, my point is that a level playing field is required in combat sports. You could pit current fat mike tyson against the best lightweight boxer in the world and the result would be a trip to the morgue.

Yeah sorry I meant to reply to your post - combat sports seems like an exception to my kind of conception of what sport should be! Not letting someone get literally killed by a bigger competitor is obviously a real concern there!

I don't know what the answer is in combat sports but I hope you might figure out a way to measure strength of the combatants directly to see if it's a safe fight, so that way you can safely put trans and intersex people into a category on a case by case basis. At the end of the day I'm sure they just want to compete safely like everyone else, it's just walking that tightrope of having safe categorisations but making sure all sorts of people can find some place in the sport if they want to compete.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Rocsteady » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:53 am

Karl_ wrote:
Rocsteady wrote:Just on the last para, my point is that a level playing field is required in combat sports. You could pit current fat mike tyson against the best lightweight boxer in the world and the result would be a trip to the morgue.

Yeah sorry I meant to reply to your post - combat sports seems like an exception to my kind of conception of what sport should be! Not letting someone get literally killed by a bigger competitor is obviously a real concern there!

I don't know what the answer is in combat sports but I hope you might figure out a way to measure strength of the combatants directly to see if it's a safe fight, so that way you can safely put trans and intersex people into a category on a case by case basis. At the end of the day I'm sure they just want to compete safely like everyone else, it's just walking that tightrope of having safe categorisations but making sure all sorts of people can find some place in the sport if they want to compete.

Yeah for sure.


Slightly OT but I see the telegraph has run an op piece stating trans people should be made to carry ID cards :dread: :(

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Partridge Iciclebubbles » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:56 am

Rocsteady wrote:Slightly OT but I see the telegraph has run an op piece stating trans people should be made to carry ID cards :dread: :(


ID cards? But how can a member of the public tell who they are without having to ask?

Can’t we just make them wear stars so we can easily tell?

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by Hime » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:25 am

Karl_ wrote:I think you're probably misunderstanding me - I'm not saying there are no differences between typical male and typical female physiology. I'm saying that if you want a perfectly level playing field, then you need to measure those physiological differences directly, and therefore better account for all physiological profiles.

Post medical transition binary trans women have largely female-range physiology. It's pre-transition trans women, nonbinary people, and intersex women who would benefit from measuring physiological capability directly rather than via the proxy of gender. Under your system these people have no place in sports at all (they aren't men, but they are all medically ruled "not women") and I can't see how you can defend that.

For what it's worth I don't personally care about level playing fields. I think this is all a fool's errand and maybe the focus should be on celebrating individual achievement and having fun. A lot of sports fans and players seem to seem to take the "equal test of skill" aspect very seriously though, and that's fine, but you have to figure out a way to do it that doesn't result in athletes being excluded.

Yeah I see what you're saying. I don't know what to say, I think Abby issues with fairness will be with individual sports as you can guarantee that it a gender fluid person who is amazing at football would have teams bending over backwards to show how inclusive they are.

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PostRe: Transwomen in Sport
by *<]:^D » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:34 am

Moggy wrote:
Rocsteady wrote:Slightly OT but I see the telegraph has run an op piece stating trans people should be made to carry ID cards :dread: :(


ID cards? But how can a member of the public tell who they are without having to ask?

Can’t we just make them wear stars so we can easily tell?

best option is a tattoo on a easily visible area - that way they cant 'forget' to wear their star


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