8 votes

Caitlyn Jenner opposes trans girls competing in girls' sports: 'It just isn't fair'

56 comments

  1. [6]
    hamstergeddon
    (edited )
    Link
    The sports issue feels a lot like the bathroom issue to me in that the only time I see it being brought up is when some transphobe and/or conservative asshat wants to pander to their base. Of...
    • Exemplary

    The sports issue feels a lot like the bathroom issue to me in that the only time I see it being brought up is when some transphobe and/or conservative asshat wants to pander to their base. Of course there are no widespread abuses of the sporting event scene by transgendered folks at all, but omg can you imagine? Of course there were no widespread situations where men were pulling the trans card to get a peep at women in the bathroom, but omg can you imagine?

    It's just dumb. I feel like there are bigger fish to fry in the trans rights scene and allowing the sports argument to dominate trans rights discussions is just giving conservatives exactly what they want.

    edit - Also pay attention to how these arguments go. They bring up the bathroom or the sporting even as if it's the beginning and the end of the trans rights discussion. There is no nuance to be discussed, no "we can figure it out later", it's "Let's stop everything and get hung up on this bullshit". It's deliberate.

    35 votes
    1. Flashynuff
      Link Parent
      It's the classic phenomenon where someone imagines a thing or person that could technically exist but doesn't and gets really upset about it. See also the widespread belief that voter fraud is...

      It's the classic phenomenon where someone imagines a thing or person that could technically exist but doesn't and gets really upset about it. See also the widespread belief that voter fraud is such a threat to our society that we need more voter ID laws, or the idea that people receiving welfare benefits will waste it on drugs or junk food and so we need drug tests and restrictions on what you can buy.

      14 votes
    2. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Well said. Right now in the US there are bills in multiple states attempting to prohibit gender-affirming care for trans youth, including several that would classify that as child abuse. I don’t...

      Well said.

      Right now in the US there are bills in multiple states attempting to prohibit gender-affirming care for trans youth, including several that would classify that as child abuse.

      I don’t believe the sports bills are happening out of a genuine concern about fairness. I believe they’re happening as a distraction so that the bills outlawing medical care won’t be seen for the transparent cruelty they are.

      9 votes
    3. [3]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      You're right. I got into this quite a bit as an ethical exercise because I think it's fun to consider - but I haven't heard anything yet that makes me support blocking trans women from competing...

      You're right. I got into this quite a bit as an ethical exercise because I think it's fun to consider - but I haven't heard anything yet that makes me support blocking trans women from competing with women. It doesn't seem like an urgent problem.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        k2l8m11n2
        Link Parent
        I would be careful with calling someting a "fun ethical exercise" when you're talking about the rights of a marginalized group. It's not just a thought experiment, it affects real people.

        I would be careful with calling someting a "fun ethical exercise" when you're talking about the rights of a marginalized group. It's not just a thought experiment, it affects real people.

        15 votes
        1. teaearlgraycold
          Link Parent
          Yeah I guess it's a bit revealing of how disassociated I am from the repercussions.

          Yeah I guess it's a bit revealing of how disassociated I am from the repercussions.

          6 votes
  2. [33]
    teaearlgraycold
    (edited )
    Link
    What if we had ELO for sports players? There’s no need for gender segregation when you have a smooth scale on which to measure skill. Edit: Alternatively, I suppose some women's sports groups...

    What if we had ELO for sports players? There’s no need for gender segregation when you have a smooth scale on which to measure skill.

    Edit: Alternatively, I suppose some women's sports groups exist less so for purely competitive purposes (Do other sports organizations actually require you to be male? They're already gated by skill alone, right?) and more so for women to play a game in a setting where they won't feel out of place. For those groups there's no reason to exclude trans women. Trans women would be there for the same purpose - they just might also be the best person in the league. It's not the same as a man joining in because he's definitely not there to be in like company. He's just tone deaf and bound to make an unfair balance at the same time.

    11 votes
    1. hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      For anyone who thinks "Electric Light Orchestra" when they see "ELO", like myself, I googled so you don't have to! It's a "method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum...

      For anyone who thinks "Electric Light Orchestra" when they see "ELO", like myself, I googled so you don't have to!

      It's a "method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess." "ELO" doesn't appear to stand for anything, as it's named after Arpad Elo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system

      15 votes
    2. [3]
      culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      Not sure how an Elo rating would work in a team sport... maybe you could finagle something for a sport like baseball or gridiron, but something like football, which I think is the most popular...

      Not sure how an Elo rating would work in a team sport... maybe you could finagle something for a sport like baseball or gridiron, but something like football, which I think is the most popular women's team sport by participation in the US, is very resistant to such individual quantification.

      7 votes
      1. spit-evil-olive-tips
        Link Parent
        There's a system developed by Microsoft Research called TrueSkill that's used in an Elo-like way to rank individual Xbox Live players based on the performance of the teams they've played on. I...

        There's a system developed by Microsoft Research called TrueSkill that's used in an Elo-like way to rank individual Xbox Live players based on the performance of the teams they've played on.

        I think it would be very difficult to adapt it to most team sports, though, especially at the professional level. In online gaming you end up with a very large sample of matches played, as well as the ability to randomly assign players to teams over time.

        4 votes
      2. Nepenthaceae
        Link Parent
        If you rate the team as a whole, then the teams matching up would always be equally skilled, regardless of the teams' composition. That, to me, would be extremely fair. Any team, consisting of any...

        If you rate the team as a whole, then the teams matching up would always be equally skilled, regardless of the teams' composition.
        That, to me, would be extremely fair.
        Any team, consisting of any combination of genders could be the top team, or the bottom one.

        1 vote
    3. [7]
      streblo
      Link Parent
      I imagine an ELO for sports (assuming it's even quantifiable in team sports with so many moving parts) would relegate most competitive female athletes to a low level of play. I enjoy watching...

      I imagine an ELO for sports (assuming it's even quantifiable in team sports with so many moving parts) would relegate most competitive female athletes to a low level of play. I enjoy watching Olympic women's hockey and women's soccer but hard to imagine I'd tune in to a co-ed basement league.

      5 votes
      1. [6]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I think that brings up what I’m trying to figure out - are women’s only teams in sports there to set a skill ceiling, or are women’s sports teams there for the player’s social benefits? If a trans...

        I think that brings up what I’m trying to figure out - are women’s only teams in sports there to set a skill ceiling, or are women’s sports teams there for the player’s social benefits?

        If a trans woman were too good to play on a woman’s sports team, then would a hypothetical equally capable cis woman also be banned?

        9 votes
        1. [5]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          In this hypothetical world where a trans athlete retains their masculine athleticism, which we know doesn't exist in reality, there would be no equally capable CIS women. At peak athleticism men...

          In this hypothetical world where a trans athlete retains their masculine athleticism, which we know doesn't exist in reality, there would be no equally capable CIS women. At peak athleticism men simply outclass women, in virtually every sport.

          Anecdotally I can tell you that when I was playing hockey, the Canadian Women's Olympic team (multi gold medalists mind you) would play exhibition games against our midget (16-18) AAA boys hockey teams in Calgary and southern Alberta during the run up to the Olympics as "tune up" games. They would lose to us more often than not, and these were the best female players in the world. Not a single player from any of my team's went anywhere important in the hockey world but is average teenagers we were faster, stronger and simply better at the sport than the best Canada's women had to offer.

          Less anecdotally we can look at various "battle of the sexes" that have occurred through the years. A famous one is the William's sisters claiming they could beat any male Tennis player ranked below 200. They then both lost to the 203 ranked player Karsten Braasch, playing him one after another. Braasch was a shleppy, pseudo-has been 30 year old who smoked on the court playing against a a 17 and 16 year old pair of sisters widely respected as the best female players in existence.

          In the 100m sprint? The female world record is nearly a second slower than the male world record. Marathons? Thirteen minute difference. Clean and Jerk? 582 pounds for the men, 412 pounds for women.

          So, in this hypothetical world where a male to female trans athlete didn't significantly lose their athletic advantages to hormone therapy there could be no cis female at an equal level. There would be a clear differentiation between one and the other making any ban simple and easily targetable.

          With that said we know, from research that most if not all, hormone assisted male to female transitions result in significant loss of speed and strength making the entire point moot.

          10 votes
          1. [4]
            teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            I think the difficulty here comes from this not being the case. I suppose that you now have 3 classes of performance - cis men, cis women, and trans women (and the discussion tends to leave out...

            So, in this hypothetical world where a male to female trans athlete didn't significantly lose their athletic advantages to hormone therapy there could be no cis female at an equal level.

            I think the difficulty here comes from this not being the case. I suppose that you now have 3 classes of performance - cis men, cis women, and trans women (and the discussion tends to leave out trans men). So in this 3 class system do trans women need their own teams and leagues?

            6 votes
            1. [3]
              streblo
              Link Parent
              I don't know the answer to that question but from what I have read I would hope not. I guess an underlying factor to this entire discussion is hormone therapy -- are we assuming all trans women...

              I don't know the answer to that question but from what I have read I would hope not. I guess an underlying factor to this entire discussion is hormone therapy -- are we assuming all trans women athletes have undergone the full hormone therapy process? Is that a realistic assumption? I'm not sure.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Atvelonis
                Link Parent
                I'm not aware of any high-level leagues that don't require trans women to have undergone extensive hormone therapy prior to competition. The IOC, NCAA, etc. have had policies on it for years now.

                I'm not aware of any high-level leagues that don't require trans women to have undergone extensive hormone therapy prior to competition. The IOC, NCAA, etc. have had policies on it for years now.

                5 votes
                1. streblo
                  Link Parent
                  That makes sense, thanks.

                  That makes sense, thanks.

                  1 vote
    4. [21]
      Octofox
      Link Parent
      Because it would wipe out woman’s sport. No one wants to watch a low rank game but they are willing to watch the woman’s version.

      Because it would wipe out woman’s sport. No one wants to watch a low rank game but they are willing to watch the woman’s version.

      3 votes
      1. [20]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        Not sure I agree. The Special Olympics could be considered low rank games. Then why do we have it in the first place? In professional sport the spectators' entertainment is arguably prioritized...

        Not sure I agree. The Special Olympics could be considered low rank games. Then why do we have it in the first place? In professional sport the spectators' entertainment is arguably prioritized above sheer athletic competition and social benefit, but that's not the case in the amateur ranks which vastly outnumber the pros in every sporting discipline.

        7 votes
        1. [19]
          vektor
          Link Parent
          Isn't that kind of the point? The special olympics are interesting to watch because they are segregated from the rest. If special atheletes would have to compete with able-bodied athletes, they...

          The Special Olympics could be considered low rank games.

          Isn't that kind of the point? The special olympics are interesting to watch because they are segregated from the rest. If special atheletes would have to compete with able-bodied athletes, they would not stand a chance (or where they would, it would only be because of "unfair" aids that would be inadmissible for able-bodied athletes. It wouldn't be interesting to watch, because they would not be able to compete. In an integrated league, special athletes compete in C league, and no one watches C league. Same for women: Integrate it, and women can not complete at A level, so at C level you start to see women. But no one watches that, and there being women won't change that a lot. Seeing a bunch of women compete in a very competitive environment where they aren't being outclassed by C-league men is fun. Seeing the best woman sprinter get outclassed by a mediocre male athlete isn't. (* Not claiming Joe Average could outrun the world's best woman sprinter, but there are likely 1000s of men who can.)

          Which is why we segregate most sports. (Still wonder why there's no women in F1, as the sexual dimorphism doesn't explain this one well. Probably sexism in the motorsport world, I suppose.)

          Anyway, in amateur ranks, the calculation is different as you stated. Not sure if the lower stakes mean we should integrate, or whether the higher focus on competition (as opposed to viewership) means we should keep them separated.

          6 votes
          1. [18]
            2c13b71452
            Link Parent
            I think F1 takes more strength and endurance than you'd first think. They can hit 8G on corners. So it's really similar to all the other sports mentioned in this thread, men's strength is still an...

            I think F1 takes more strength and endurance than you'd first think. They can hit 8G on corners. So it's really similar to all the other sports mentioned in this thread, men's strength is still an advantage even though the car's doing most of the work.

            1 vote
            1. [16]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              This is nonsense, despite contradictory evidence on neck muscle sexual dimorphism (its more complicated than you think) when you are selecting for elite levels of performance you will...

              This is nonsense, despite contradictory evidence on neck muscle sexual dimorphism (its more complicated than you think) when you are selecting for elite levels of performance you will automatically have people who do not look anything like their peers who share the same gender or sex. People who reach elite levels of sport are absolutely genetically predisposed to exist in that sport - if thick neck muscles are important, than the best drivers will all have genetics which give them thick necks, regardless of gender. Sexual dimorphism numbers are based on population norms which simply do not apply here because we are selecting for the best candidates among the entirety of humanity. Furthermore, there are plenty of female astronauts who also experience similar levels of force during their career of choice.

              To make the claim that force on the neck during a turn is the important reason why male and female disparities in sport performance is the reason why you don't see as many good female drivers and not the much more obvious and problematic sexual disparities, especially when it comes to funding and social support for sports, is just absurd.

              6 votes
              1. 2c13b71452
                Link Parent
                Your reply is all about neck muscles, which I didn't actually mention. I meant men are stronger overall and so this must give an advantage when driving under 8G. Also men have faster reflexes than...

                Your reply is all about neck muscles, which I didn't actually mention. I meant men are stronger overall and so this must give an advantage when driving under 8G. Also men have faster reflexes than women which is important in F1.

                3 votes
              2. [2]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                Wait, just to clarify: F1 drivers deliberately train their neck muscles. Their idea of a workout is getting their head yoinked side to side with a rubber band. Are you claiming that the dimorphism...

                Wait, just to clarify: F1 drivers deliberately train their neck muscles. Their idea of a workout is getting their head yoinked side to side with a rubber band. Are you claiming that the dimorphism is such that this does not matter at all? I.e. are you claiming that neck muscles (different from any other skeletal muscle I could think of) do not grow better with high testosterone? Or are you claiming that because we're looking at the tail of a distribution, we can't know? (in which case, why the difference to other skeletal muscles, where we do see the effect?)

                Now, I could believe, with some evidence, that with some workout the requisite neck strength can be achieved by women too. I mean, there's no point in being better than necessary (different from other sports where more muscle is more good), so if that point of sufficiency is far outside the norm (we know that) but within reach for an athlete, then women should be able to compete at top level. I can also believe that motorsports is sufficiently sexist to explain the difference. I don't agree with you calling the above point absurd. (!)

                Also, neck strain on astronauts is way less. That's a cozy 3g or so for a few minutes, with a cozy head rest. It's mostly strain on the cardiovascular system, I imagine. Compare F1: Shitty/No headrest, higher forces, for something like 1.5-2 hours; intervals depending on the track layout. I believe my neck could do the astronaut job (maybe not my heart though). I don't for a second believe I could drive an F1 car.

                2 votes
                1. Gaywallet
                  Link Parent
                  Yes, see the study I linked Also yes Yep, exactly this. Interesting. I did a cursory google and saw figures which said 6g. While I realize being strapped in and forces acting dorsally instead of...

                  Are you claiming that the dimorphism is such that this does not matter at all?

                  Yes, see the study I linked

                  are you claiming that because we're looking at the tail of a distribution, we can't know?

                  Also yes

                  so if that point of sufficiency is far outside the norm (we know that) but within reach for an athlete, then women should be able to compete at top level.

                  Yep, exactly this.

                  Also, neck strain on astronauts is way less. That's a cozy 3g or so for a few minutes, with a cozy head rest.

                  Interesting. I did a cursory google and saw figures which said 6g. While I realize being strapped in and forces acting dorsally instead of to the side would affect this, but I was just establishing precedent outside of racing (which does have female drivers, also disproving the point) that women can and do compete, casting doubt to the idea that it's a significant factor.

                  Also, apologies for the relatively short reply, this thread is exhausting me and I think I'm going to have to disconnect for awhile.

                  3 votes
              3. [12]
                streblo
                Link Parent
                I definitely agree that social factors explain 99.99% of the gender gap in motorsports. I would imagine the standard deviation of such traits across sexes should be roughly similar. I don't see a...

                I definitely agree that social factors explain 99.99% of the gender gap in motorsports.

                Sexual dimorphism numbers are based on population norms which simply do not apply here because we are selecting for the best candidates among the entirety of humanity.

                I would imagine the standard deviation of such traits across sexes should be roughly similar. I don't see a reason to throw that out entirely just because we're looking at a different part of the curve.

                2 votes
                1. [9]
                  Gaywallet
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Because that's not how statistics work. You can't draw conclusions about a population without that sample representing the population. This is the classic general problem we run into in a lot of...

                  Because that's not how statistics work. You can't draw conclusions about a population without that sample representing the population.

                  This is the classic general problem we run into in a lot of science fields. We do a study on a bunch of college aged white males, because they are easy to recruit. Then we find out the conclusions we drew from this sample are not representative of how the real world works, because our sample does not represent the population for which we are trying to apply it to (this is of course assuming that the study even represents reality, and behavioral economics is a great field to look into if you want to see all the ways in which a lab can never mimic reality). It's the same reason we have inconsistencies between the kind of health care men get and women get. While some studies include women, many do not, and then norms are established or care pathways which don't happen to work very well for women.

                  Imagine taking a sample from North American subjects and drawing some conclusions about humans and then trying to apply it to people from Subsaharan Africa. It might work some of the time because humans can share genetic traits, but I'm sure you can think of plenty of ways in which it will be flawed, and this all comes back to simple statistics. The sample simply has to reflect the population for us to be able to draw conclusions and sharing only gender is not enough when you're trying to understand elite drivers.

                  3 votes
                  1. [8]
                    streblo
                    Link Parent
                    I'm not sure I'm following. We have what I'm assuming is a representative sample of the general population for both sexes. Even if we're presenting this data in the forms of average sexual...

                    I'm not sure I'm following.

                    We have what I'm assuming is a representative sample of the general population for both sexes. Even if we're presenting this data in the forms of average sexual dimorphism we can still draw meaningful conclusions about what the edges of our curve look like given a large enough sample.

                    1 vote
                    1. [7]
                      Gaywallet
                      Link Parent
                      This only works when you're dealing with people within a normal distribution. Elite athletes are several standard deviations outside the norm.

                      This only works when you're dealing with people within a normal distribution. Elite athletes are several standard deviations outside the norm.

                      2 votes
                      1. [6]
                        streblo
                        Link Parent
                        Which with a decent sample is irrelevant? We're still able to infer that information from a large enough random sample.

                        Which with a decent sample is irrelevant? We're still able to infer that information from a large enough random sample.

                        1. [5]
                          Gaywallet
                          Link Parent
                          We can't draw this kind of conclusion with the data we currently have. I drew a few analogies from medicine because we've seen a lot of analogous bias in medicine on behalf of poor quality...

                          We can't draw this kind of conclusion with the data we currently have. I drew a few analogies from medicine because we've seen a lot of analogous bias in medicine on behalf of poor quality sampling. In the case of college aged white males, the idea was that it is a random sample, but the reality is that it is not. The same applies here.

                          Further reading: 1 2 3 4

                          3 votes
                          1. [4]
                            streblo
                            Link Parent
                            What data are we talking about here? Sampling bias is something well understood and if there are specific studies that can be called into question that makes sense to me. But it seems premature to...

                            What data are we talking about here? Sampling bias is something well understood and if there are specific studies that can be called into question that makes sense to me. But it seems premature to dismiss all the data we have because it may or may not be representative without identifying what trait we are talking about and reviewing the data and their sampling process.

                            1 vote
                            1. [3]
                              Gaywallet
                              Link Parent
                              I think we are talking in circles at this point and I'm unsure how to resolve this. This isn't about sampling bias in all studies, this is about this specific study and how I do not think the...

                              I think we are talking in circles at this point and I'm unsure how to resolve this. This isn't about sampling bias in all studies, this is about this specific study and how I do not think the study design allows us to make conclusions about such a different population. If you do not think this is of particular concern, I would urge you once again to reconsider on behalf of the analogous problems we've ran into in many areas of medicine but you are welcome to hold your opinion.

                              3 votes
                              1. [2]
                                streblo
                                Link Parent
                                I was replying to your initial comment: To me, I read this as "sexual dimorphism numbers" in general. I agree that the particular study you linked seems to be a very limited data set, apologies if...

                                I was replying to your initial comment:

                                Sexual dimorphism numbers are based on population norms which simply do not apply here because we are selecting for the best candidates among the entirety of humanity.

                                To me, I read this as "sexual dimorphism numbers" in general. I agree that the particular study you linked seems to be a very limited data set, apologies if that's what you were referring to.

                                2 votes
                                1. Gaywallet
                                  Link Parent
                                  Yes, it was. But also, this is one of very few studies which shows this dimorphism and explains it at the level we need to draw inferences for racing cars really fast and whether neck muscle...

                                  Yes, it was. But also, this is one of very few studies which shows this dimorphism and explains it at the level we need to draw inferences for racing cars really fast and whether neck muscle development is appropriate. I found a few other studies on neck dimorphism through the lens of whiplash and other neck injuries, but they don't really apply here.

                                  4 votes
                2. [2]
                  MimicSquid
                  Link Parent
                  You're assuming that a given trait's curve is the same across sexes. In fact, the tallest men are slightly more tall than the shortest men as compared to the tallest women compared to the shortest...

                  You're assuming that a given trait's curve is the same across sexes. In fact, the tallest men are slightly more tall than the shortest men as compared to the tallest women compared to the shortest women. It's only a 4% difference in range in this particular trait, but you can't just move past the assumption the distribution is going to be the same.

                  2 votes
                  1. streblo
                    Link Parent
                    I am assuming this, yes. Could be a very bad assumption, I'm not entirely sure. 4% sounds pretty close to what I was expecting but I'm sure there are traits that break this.

                    I would imagine the standard deviation of such traits across sexes should be roughly similar.

                    I am assuming this, yes. Could be a very bad assumption, I'm not entirely sure. 4% sounds pretty close to what I was expecting but I'm sure there are traits that break this.

            2. vektor
              Link Parent
              Oh, certainly. You need some serious neck muscles. But I don't think that explains the disparity. Not sure though.

              Oh, certainly. You need some serious neck muscles. But I don't think that explains the disparity. Not sure though.

              1 vote
  3. [11]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm probably totally out of the loop, but I'd like to be in the loop. What Jenner says here seems to me like a totally obvious fact: trans women would get significant unfair advantage in certain...

    I'm probably totally out of the loop, but I'd like to be in the loop. What Jenner says here seems to me like a totally obvious fact: trans women would get significant unfair advantage in certain sports.

    So is the catch here that they're justifying all actions against LGBT by this argument, that trans women aren't in reality actually competing in womens' competitions, or what?

    8 votes
    1. [9]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As with most things coming out of Republicans mouths these days, what they present as "totally obvious facts" are actually anything but. See, Joanna Harper's research on the subject: New research...

      What Jenner says here seems to me like a totally obvious fact: trans women would get significant unfair advantage in certain sports.

      As with most things coming out of Republicans mouths these days, what they present as "totally obvious facts" are actually anything but. See, Joanna Harper's research on the subject:

      New research paints a more complex picture of transgender sports advantage

      Loughborough University’s findings show the hemoglobin level in transgender women falls to levels in line with cisgender women in the space of three to four months on average.

      “That is a huge change and it affects all endurance sports, and, in fact, any sport where you were being active for more than a few minutes,” Harper said. “The hemoglobin level in your blood is important for taking up and using oxygen in your muscle. It’s perhaps the single most important reason that men outperform women in endurance events, because of the higher hemoglobin level.

      “It has been long noted that hemoglobin levels are closely tied to testosterone levels. When transgender women lower their testosterone levels to female levels, which happens almost universally when trans women under undergo medical transition, trans women move from male levels of hemoglobin to female levels of hemoglobin.”

      Harper also points out certain caveats within Loughborough University’s research, including the lack of definitive studies on transgender women athletes. Among trans women who are deemed “non-athletic,” Harper notes the data shows they will have greater strength, more lean body mass and muscle cross section area than non-athletic cisgender women, even after starting hormone replacement. Within the research, however, there are links between HRT-related realignments of those parameters and the decrease of hemoglobin and testosterone, and each were definitive over a period extending 12 months or more.

      She cautions that all studies on the issue, even her groundbreaking work in 2015 that first compared a small section of trans women distance runners with each other, has to be placed in a larger context surrounding the discussion of sports.

      “For those who suggest trans women have advantages: we allow advantages in sport, but what we don’t allow is overwhelming advantages,” she said. “Trans women also have disadvantages in sport. Our larger bodies are being powered by reduced muscle mass and reduced aerobic capacity, and can lead to disadvantages in quickness, recovery and a number of other factors.

      “The bottom line is, we can have meaningful competition between trans women and cis women. From my point of the view, the data looks favorable toward trans women being allowed to compete in women’s sports.”

      18 votes
      1. [3]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        The question is, reduced compared to their own pre-transition bodies or compared to their cisgender counterparts? I'm looking but I'm not finding clarification on that for aerobic capacity. She...

        “Trans women also have disadvantages in sport. Our larger bodies are being powered by reduced muscle mass and reduced aerobic capacity, and can lead to disadvantages in quickness, recovery and a number of other factors.

        The question is, reduced compared to their own pre-transition bodies or compared to their cisgender counterparts? I'm looking but I'm not finding clarification on that for aerobic capacity. She says muscle mass usually isn't reduced to typical female averages.

        6 votes
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Athletic performance cannot be reduced to a single metric, and if you're going to target a metric it's kinda absurd to ban one gender, but not ban people who break human norms. What if a cis woman...
          • Exemplary

          Athletic performance cannot be reduced to a single metric, and if you're going to target a metric it's kinda absurd to ban one gender, but not ban people who break human norms. What if a cis woman was born with genetic mutations which caused her body to metabolize and operate exactly the same as if she were born a male? Should she be banned? We already have cis women being discriminated against on account of this whole debate, because they have higher than normal testosterone levels.

          Guess what? Literally all world class athletes are genetically superior to other humans for the sport they compete in. Lance Armstrong has a gigantic heart. Should he have been banned on account of this? There are a number of pro cyclers who have mutations of myostatin allowing them to accumulate insane muscle mass as compared to people without this mutation. Should they be banned? Why are we setting these arbitrary limits on some ways we can measure genetics, but not others?

          I'm sometimes reminded of the strange concepts other people seem to have on account of doping. The best athletes in the world basically all dope. There's maybe a few sports out there where this wont provide you with enough of an edge to be worth it, like ping pong, but by far and large most sports are dominated on the world scene by people smart enough to not get caught doping. A really good example of just how pervasive this is, is taking a look at the summer olympic medals. In the early 00s the olympics changed their policy when it came to testing for steroids - they were now able to hold onto samples of blood indefinitely and retest them as many times as they'd like in the future as new dope detection methods were created. On account of this, 34 olympic medals in weightlifting alone have been stripped between the 2008 and 2012 olympics including 8 gold medals. In the Men's 94kg category in 2012, six of the seven top finishers including all 3 original medal winners were retested in 2016 and disqualified. The current gold medal holder placed 5th and it wouldn't surprise me if retesting again in the future might disqualify even him.

          I'm constantly left thinking we need to drastically rethink how we approach sport and toss out all of the simply wrong and outdated thoughts we have on world class athletes. We enjoy them because they are world class, which means they are inevitably competing with everyone else, and even if there's only a 10% chance that you can get past dope detection, if you're not going to place in the top 10 without it, you may as well dope on the off chance that you're the 1 in 10 that makes it. Everyone else at your level will be doing so. So why even have the facade of testing? And what of people who are born 'supernatural' so to speak? What of the people with a myostatin mutation who also happen to find themselves into sport early on and are recruited into a cycling team? Why is it okay for them to compete but not okay for someone to compete with the wrong mutation - the one we happen to test for?

          When we move to the concept of gender affecting performance, I also think this is severely outdated. In many mediums we have women approaching and outperforming men at an increasing rate, especially when compared by weight class (including weightlifting, such as Jennifer Thompson who has perhaps one of the most impressive bench presses of all time). I believe this is a reflection of how society has started to allow women to pursue sports from a very young age and actually has very little to do with genetics or sex differences. Yes, women have less testosterone and therefore their bodies work differently but the idea that a single change or metric will reflect people who are often 5 or 6 standard deviations better at a sport than the average human is simply mislead. When we look at this, I often wonder if we'd be able to have the same discussions with a straight face in 50 or 100 years. How split will the genders be then? Keep in mind that in many sports women only were just entering it in the latter half of the 1900s which means that people who've been doing sport for 20 years with world class trainers are practically nonexistent even today.

          But perhaps more importantly, isn't the whole purpose of having a women's league to allow a place for people of a gender other than male to compete? What of nonbinary athletes? Where are they left to compete? What of trans masculine individuals? There aren't enough gender expansive individuals to create their own leagues, so how do we deal with them? This is an ongoing conversation that's needed, but I think people need to step back from their own strong stances on what they think the purpose of sport segregation truly is and also take a step back from their own preconceived notions of how people actually perform well. It's an incredibly complicated problem and the reality is many sports have been allowing transgender athletes for more than a few years and zero of these places have been overrun with athletes outperforming their cisgender counterparts. Perhaps we should stop asking so many scientific questions and ask questions of the people actually competing in these leagues - do they wish to be inclusive? Is it in the spirit of the organization to allow them to compete? Perhaps we should stop dealing in theoreticals and wait until this mythical godlike transgender athlete emerges to consider whether we need to make any adjustments.

          18 votes
        2. mftrhu
          Link Parent
          Considering that (1) a lot of trans women have undetectable levels of testosterone while (2) a lot of cis women in sports - typical averages != typical averages in the relevant subpopulation -...

          Male-to-female transgender athletes are required to reduce the testosterone in their blood to below 10 nanomoles per liter. Typical values for women are 0.5 to 3.0 nanomoles per liter.

          Ms. Abreu lowered her levels to 0.2 nanomoles. In 2017, the International Volleyball Federation and the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation authorized her to play on women’s teams, and in December she started playing for her team in Bauru, a conservative agricultural hub.

          Considering that (1) a lot of trans women have undetectable levels of testosterone while (2) a lot of cis women in sports - typical averages != typical averages in the relevant subpopulation - have elevated levels of testosterone and that (3) those disadvantages stem from much higher mass ÷ greatly reduced strength, it's probably the latter, and I'm starting to wonder if it's fair for cis athletes to compete.

          7 votes
      2. [5]
        vegai
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Ok, well, good that it's being studied. I would claim this is an extraordinary claim that would benefit greatly from extraordinary evidence. There seems to be some evidence to the contrary:...

        Ok, well, good that it's being studied. I would claim this is an extraordinary claim that would benefit greatly from extraordinary evidence. There seems to be some evidence to the contrary:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/dec/07/study-suggests-ioc-adjustment-period-for-trans-women-may-be-too-short

        https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2020/11/06/bjsports-2020-102329.full?ijkey=yjlCzZVZFRDZzHz&keytype=ref

        But also some additional studied supporting your point, at least partially:

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-020-01389-3

        1 vote
        1. Atvelonis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          If your contention is that the hormone adjustment period should be longer than it is at present, that's a very different stance than banning trans women from sport. One of those is rooted...

          If your contention is that the hormone adjustment period should be longer than it is at present, that's a very different stance than banning trans women from sport. One of those is rooted fundamentally in transphobia, and both take a very narrow view of athleticism. I don't have the patience to dig through scientific journals for Tildes-acceptable sources right now, but testosterone and muscle mass are only two factors among many, each of which may individually help or hurt an athlete (or both, in different ways). Gendered leagues exist because of the way these stack up collectively between men and women, so honing in on any particular trait and then generalizing it to all sports is at best misleading and at worst discriminatory.

          I'm a fencer. I'm more than a foot taller than some of my opponents, and that gives me an incredible advantage on the strip. As long as I make use of my distance properly and am careful not to get hit on the arm, I can reach my opponent and they simply cannot do the same to me. That's not "fair," that's just how it goes. This is considered socially acceptable because I also have a larger target area, and because extra height means extra weight means slower acceleration (which in many ways is the more important factor). I can obviously make use of the testosterone afforded to me by my natural condition to increase my muscle mass accordingly, but it really isn't a recipe for instant success. I can't even begin to get into the mental aspect of competition, which in fencing (and, I would argue, most sports) is more important than the physical. Against high-level opponents, my height provides less of an abject advantage than you might expect; rather, in conjunction with more specific information gathered during the bout itself, it primarily hints toward the techniques I'm likely to use.

          I know you aren't necessarily trying to be divisive here, but no amount of "tidy concern" will change the fact that trans women are not overwhelmingly qualifying for the Olympics, even if a few are on their way. You can measure push-ups all you like—lacking context, all that tells you is how many push-ups someone can do.

          12 votes
        2. [3]
          DanBC
          Link Parent
          I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but almost all news media in the UK are transphobic and are not reliable sources for information about transpeople. This includes the Guardian, which...

          I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but almost all news media in the UK are transphobic and are not reliable sources for information about transpeople. This includes the Guardian, which was sent a letter from its own reporters to complain about the transphobic coverage.

          The Independent, the i, the Metro, maybe ITV, and some of the US firms (Forbes, Buzzfeed, etc) are exceptions.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            vegai
            Link Parent
            I was not aware of that, and I'm more than a little bit surprised that Guardian would be like that.

            I was not aware of that, and I'm more than a little bit surprised that Guardian would be like that.

            2 votes
    2. DanBC
      Link Parent
      Trans people have to conform to very strict hormone testing requirements. Transphobes will argue that these do not matter because the trans person has got and retained the advantage by going...

      Trans people have to conform to very strict hormone testing requirements. Transphobes will argue that these do not matter because the trans person has got and retained the advantage by going through puberty. We know it's a transphobic argument because when we say "so you agree that we should allow children to access puberty blockers, which would eliminate this supposed advantage" they very quickly pivot to children should not have access to any care (surgical, medical, psychological) that confirms their gender identity, and that the only thing children should have access to is conversion therapy.

      And they're so dishonest: you'll frequently see two images when this subject is discussed. ( don't know if these sites allow me to directly link).

      1: Mack Beggs. https://media.washtimes.com/media/image/2018/02/28/AP_18051792685092.jpg

      Transphobes claim this is an AMAB transwoman fighting an AFAB cis woman, and gaining an unfair advantage from all that male strength. It's in fact a trans man (assigned female at birth) who wanted to compete in the men's wrestling leagues, but who was prevented from doing so for exactly the reason transphobes argue for - people are only allowed to compete based on the sex listed on their birth certificate.

      1. Fallon Fox (caution, blood) https://twitter.com/damo_pelham3/status/1362299625743347715?s=20

      Fallon Fox is a trans woman who fights in MMA. She has caused occipital bone fracture in one opponent. But this is a really common injury in MMA, and it's frequently caused between cis fighters. Also, the image looks really grim, doesn't it? If Fallon caused those injuries shown we probably should discuss it. It's a lie: those two people have never fought, and certainly didn't fight in the match that's being claimed.

      There are a couple of other images that are often used. One is of four cis women runners, with a label that misgenders 3 of them as trans women. (This highlights the racism often found within gender critical people). The other is of a cis woman rugby player, again being misgendered, towering over her cis team mate.

      There are huge amounts of disinfo deliberately being spread by transphobic groups.

      Most of these laws are scientifically illiterate.

      https://www.npr.org/2021/03/18/978716732/wave-of-new-bills-say-trans-athletes-have-an-unfair-edge-what-does-the-science-s

      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trans-girls-belong-on-girls-sports-teams/

      7 votes
  4. [2]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    Really don't know where I stand on the issue, as somebody who is generally pro-trans rights. It needs far more research before anyone can truly determine what is fair and not fair in...

    Really don't know where I stand on the issue, as somebody who is generally pro-trans rights.

    It needs far more research before anyone can truly determine what is fair and not fair in gender-segregated sports. And I think by then gender reassignment treatment may be far more advanced.

    But very surprising to see Caitlyn Jenner of all people side against trans athletes. And I think that's going to sink any chance of her becoming Governor of California, because Cali is probably one of the most pro-Democrat states going. They haven't voted Republican in a presidential election since George H. W. Bush in 1988.

    4 votes
    1. Rez
      Link Parent
      A Republican has a good chance to become governor via the recall process in California as it's an idiosyncratic thing (and it's how Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, got in with 100+ candidates...

      A Republican has a good chance to become governor via the recall process in California as it's an idiosyncratic thing (and it's how Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, got in with 100+ candidates running, and then he was centrist enough to get reelected in the normal way).

      The idiosyncrasy is that in a recall election, there are two separate votes that occur. The vote to recall the governor, and then who to replace them. If there is a majority vote to recall, then whoever has the most votes to replace them, becomes governor for the rest of the term (a year in this case). This presents an exploitable weakness in that you only need 51% of people to vote to recall Newsom (the current governor), and then whoever gets the most votes to replace him takes over. Even if they only notch 20% of the vote in a split field.

      This puts Democrats in an awkward spot as it means if no Democrat runs against Newsom, then there will be only Republicans on the list to replace him. So the Democrats have to focus on making sure that 51% threshold isn't crossed to recall Newsom, or you'd have to run a Democrat against Newsom in the recall, which would significantly increase the odds that he is recalled but also make sure that if recalled, a Democrat stays in the governor's office. The party is currently choosing the former option, in that no significant Democrats are running against Newsom. This means if you're a Democrat unhappy with Newsom, you have to vote to keep him, otherwise a Republican will slide in.

      I wouldn't bet on Jenner being the most viable Republican candidate though. Probably Kevin Faulconer (for now). He was the Republican mayor of San Diego.

      9 votes
  5. [4]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Not at all a headline I'd have expected to see. Am I missing something?

    Not at all a headline I'd have expected to see. Am I missing something?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      What's there to miss? People of any gender, sexuality, race or religion can hold misinformed opinions, even about themselves.

      What's there to miss? People of any gender, sexuality, race or religion can hold misinformed opinions, even about themselves.

      16 votes
      1. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        Of course, but I figure it's better for me to ask a question than assume.

        Of course, but I figure it's better for me to ask a question than assume.

        1 vote
    2. spctrvl
      Link Parent
      Just that Caitlyn Jenner is a republican, and all that entails.

      Just that Caitlyn Jenner is a republican, and all that entails.

      10 votes