Thursday, 7 March 2019

Taking advantage

I don't usually comment on outside controversies, but I'm so aghast at this particular trend that I have to say something about it. It seems that political fashion has banished common sense, but few people are prepared to say so.

I refer to the growing tendency for sportswomen to be defeated by men who have declared themselves to be women, entered women's sporting events and triumphed easily because of their superior physical strength and stamina.

Sports authorities have allowed them into women's events on the grounds that regular use of female hormones and testosterone-suppressing hormones has made their bodies sufficiently "female" for them to compete on an equal basis with natural women.

As I understand it, this is nonsense, because however many hormones a man takes, this will never negate the superior physique he developed as a growing man, and he will always be stronger than a woman who didn't develop in that way.

Quite a number of sportswomen, such as Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, Paula Radcliffe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Sally Gunnell, Kelly Holmes and Nicola Adams, have now protested against this unfairness, which they regard simply as cheating and trickery.

If I were a sportswoman who had trained for years to reach a certain level of performance and expected to compete with like-bodied members of my own sex, I would be enraged at this blatant injustice and at the well-meaning idiots who declared that with a little pharmaceutical help trans women could qualify as real women.

Of course the trans women lucky enough to benefit from this fashionable attitude fiercely justify it. Cyclist Dr Rachel McKinnon, who recently won a world title at a California track event, claims there is no evidence trans women have a competitive advantage and calls the criticism "transphobic hate speech".

So how come trans women keep winning time and time again?

Pic: (L to R) Carolien Van Herrickhuyzen, Rachel McKinnon and Jen Wagner-Assali, who called McKinnon's victory unfair.

24 comments:

  1. This is the first time that I am hearing about this phenomenon and I am shocked. This is absurd indeed.

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  2. Ramana: I think it's especially rife in the USA, but it's going on all over the world. It's a global contagion.

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  3. Better start a separate competition for transgender people to compete among themselves....I can hear the howls of the transgender lobby from here...

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  4. I recently followed some of this on social media. Your post would definitely be called hate speech and you would be labeled transphobic. Calling everyone phobic for not agreeing with you has limited free speech, hasn't it?

    I'm not a doctor or a scientist, so I really don't feel qualified to comment on the topic. I do wonder how many female-to-male trans have competed in male sports and how have they done?

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  5. Helen: I've seen a suggestion for separate sports events for trans people, but it was pointed out that there probably wouldn't be enough of them to make it worthwhile.

    Bijoux: Indeed, I'm sure my comments would qualify as "transphobic hate speech" because I'm disagreeing with the orthodox pro-trans viewpoint. As you say, free speech is being stifled.

    I imagine there are plenty of female to male sportmen, though presumably having a female physique would hinder them rather than helping. It's hard to find any information on the female to male dimension.

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  6. Jean: If the Good Lord is looking down from the heavens, she must wonder how on earth her creation took such a ridiculous turn.

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  7. It takes more than a few hormones to transcend gender. It requires months of living as the opposite gender before qualifying for surgical procedures to complete the transformation. I know this because one of Dave's former co-workers went through this process. Now, if the athlete went through the entire process I would consider is less horrific to compete as a new gender. But, just taking a few hormones--NO!

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  8. An argument to be settled in the distant future. I think it will take a couple of generations to work out this one. That's OK.

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  9. Linda: My understanding is that even after regularly taking hormones and having genital surgery, it's essentially only your appearance that's changed. Internally your body is still very much male. For instance men have 40% more upper body strength than women and 10-12% greater lung capacity. So yes, just taking a few hormones isn't good enough.

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  10. Joanne: You could be right. Transgender is a very complex issue attracting many different opinions and strong passions one way or the other. And what some call reality, others call fashionable delusion.

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  11. Yea I have to agree that there would seem to be an unfair advantage. Trans only events would be reasonable but the pool of competitors would be, well not a competition.
    I have to say, I don't expect a male-female person would be allowed to compete in female competitions unless it had been surgically complete but at the same time, it's not the change in genitalia that changes a person's strength, it's the hormones.

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  12. I’ve been aware of this for some time and recently listenened to an interview with Billi Jean King on the issue. I agree with the concerns she and the other gals have taken. May not be simple solution due to legal considerations. Also, suppose there are small petite trans women who don’t have the physique of larger men.

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  13. Kylie: As far as I know, hormones don't have that much effect on a well-developed male physique, they just soften your appearance somewhat. But I may be wrong.

    Joared: Yes, there are laws forbidding discrimination on the grounds of "gender identity", which must complicate matters. And yes, there are petite trans women like Paris Lees who are maybe not so different from the average woman (or a well-built woman!).

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  14. The gold medal winner in the photo doesn't even have the same-shaped body as her rivals. It is so tricky. I have a trans friend who refuses to say she's a trans woman because that now she's had the op she is just a woman. And in her case I would say it's not just the physique that remains the same but things like her sense of humour.

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  15. Liz: I can't get my head round the deception involved in claiming to be "just a woman". The op can't make you a woman, it can only change your appearance. And other people are being totally misled about his/her identity.

    One thing that isn't written about is to what extent someone's personality changes (if at all) after taking hormones and having surgery. If their personality hardly changes, in what sense can they say they are "really a woman"?

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  16. I have respect for trans women (or trans men, but we are talking here about women) who want to be treated exactly the same as those born female. But if that was true, they would be like female=borns in every single way. As far as I know trans women closely matched with born females on race, age, etc. on average are much taller and large built, so do NOT fit into identical clothing and shoe sizes to born-females. If that's true, then they are obviously a different group and not standard women, however complete their transition might otherwise be. So it seems very unfair that they should compete on identical terms in sports. And if they keep winning, then that just confirms that they are different, however much of a pity that might be.

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  17. Jenny: Indeed, trans women can never be standard women, whatever the drugs and surgery they've subjected themselves to. As you say, they usually require different clothing for their different physique. So how can they be competing on equal terms with women? Which makes me wonder - if trans women have bigger feet, is that an advantage in running events?

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  18. I find the erasure of women in sports truly devastating. Just when they were getting some recognition in the last few decades. More will stop training and giving up in the light of this voraciousness from formerly male bodies. The patriarchy in action once again.

    Even the word "transphobia" bothers me. What's phobic about calling out science and biology? These are facts.

    And seriously, none of them are "passing". It's like the emperor wearing no clothes. I was talking to a Nicole the other day in the grocery line. 6'4" in high heels. I craned my neck but it hurt. Then I stared at her shoes which were gargantuan. Fishnets. Mini-skirt. 10 tons of makeup. Deep bass voice. My only reaction was fear. She could take me out in a heartbeat.

    XO
    WWW

    And I have written about this in the past.

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  19. www: In my opinion it's all about men having found a new way of dominating women and pursuing it big-time. They know perfectly well they're not real women but they're loudly declaring they're just that and getting away with it because it's the latest political fad.

    There's no such thing as transphobia. Nobody's afraid of trans women, what is there to be afraid of? (apart from all the abuse directed at their critics of course).

    A few of them pass as women but only on the back of multiple plastic surgeries, lengthy voice training, careful make-up etc. Usually the pretence is blindingly obvious, as you say.

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  20. It’s such an interesting dilemma. Which, if I’m remembering correctly, was an issue back in the ‘70s when RenĂ©e Richards won the right to compete as a woman in tennis. I’m all for trans rights in general, but this seems like a clear unfairness. Because you’re right - men’s bodies develop differently due to testosterone and taking estrogen as an adult doesn’t undo that. Had Bruce Jenner transitioned to Kaitlyn prior to th Olympics, can you imagine how that would have changed the women’s track and field events? Incidentally, the reason male and female greyhounds are raced together is that the females are injected with testosterone as puppies to make them physiologically on a par with the males.

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  21. Agent: For sure, if Caitlyn Jenner had been competing in the women's Olympics, the results would have been very different. Thanks for the confirmation about the male physique not being much affected by estrogen. Sports authorities really need to rethink their policy on trans women.

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  22. I once met a petite woman who, it turned out, had gone the whole surgical route. But her voice was still male.

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  23. Linda: It's very difficult to change your voice convincingly. A lot of trans women give themselves away just from the jarring voice.

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