Transgender hurdler CeCe Telfer easily wins national championship by more than 0.5 seconds
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- CeCe Telfer, Franklin Pierce transgender hurdler, wins NCAA women's national championship
- The Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com
- Jun 3 2019
- Word count
- 440 words
Yes, there definitely is a clickbait factor to this article but it also raises a huge question. Especially in a 60 meters race, 0.5 seconds is a huge gap more than what I think is reasonable for someone to achieve through pure training the biological aspect of this definitely should not be ignored. However, there is no way around this without some form of discrimination coming into play.
There is sexual discrimination baked in to sexually divided athletics, and nobody appears to complain. Just set it by chromosomes and be done with it, mental gender has no bearing on physical ability.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are cases like Maria José Martínez-Patiño, a woman whose body from birth has been externally female, with male sex chromosomes, and an inability to respond to androgens like testosterone. She competed as a woman, then she was banned for failing a sex verification test, then she was later unbanned when it was determined she received absolutely no advantage from having XY chromosomes. By then, she had been out of competition too long and her career was effectively over.
Then there's the more recent case of the IAAF's ruling that women middle-distance runners with naturally elevated testosterone have to take medication to lower androgens in order to compete. Most famously, Caster Semenya, but the ruling applies to several other top athletes.
So here we have one example of a person who has XY chromosomes but doesn't achieve any advantage in female competition; and another example of a person who has XX chromosomes but is nevertheless considered to have an unfair advantage in female competition, and therefore is compelled to either compete as the opposite gender or medically handicap themselves in the name of fairness.
Both cases involve androgens, and their effects in the physical body; neither has anything to do with "mental gender".
Basically, the issue of how to quantify genetic advantages, and which advantages to regulate, and why, is very complex because the human body is very complex and comes in many different sizes and shapes, both externally and internally. This is not some sort of statement of LGBTQ+ solidarity, it's just a plain biological fact. Chromosomes alone are not an adequate definition of gender in sports, as they do not tell you whether someone possesses a potentially unfair advantage or not.
Except it is that simple. Better 1 person barred unfairly than the entire competition invalidated.
A complex issue does not become simple just because you forcefully assert it to be so. Sports authorities tried your simplistic approach, and they abandoned it. They did so because of a long and shameful history of mistreating, demeaning and humiliating female athletes who had done nothing wrong. But also because scientists told them the approach was fundamentally flawed on a practical and theoretical level:
Back in the day, the big fear was male impostors, even though this has pretty much never occurred at any level, and most frequently cited examples turned out to be misunderstood individuals who were born with ambiguous sex. Today, issues circle more around how to deal with transgender athletes or women with hyperandrogenism. But the approach you recommend remains as problematic as ever.
Even if sports comes full circle and decides that your simplistic chromosome test is the way to go (which I highly doubt given the good reasons it was abandoned in the first place), it will not be because this is the obviously correct and scientific solution to an obviously simple problem.
It seems in wishing to circumvent the uncertain world of socially constructed gender roles, to use science to cut through the bullshit, so to speak, you've arrived at a solution that is not scientifically valid, is not endorsed by scientists, and fails to adequately represent reality. And it's been tried before and found wanting.
What is that simple? You've flopped from "do it by chromosomes!" to "just be prejudicial".
The hard part here is coming up with a consistent policy. Using a sledgehammer to drive in a nail once is fine, but telling everyone that's the only way to do it will cause big problems.
I would argue that if the unfairly barred person was the best the whole competition would be “invalidated” anyway.
I'll have to disagree and state that it is that simple. No ruleset can account for every edge case, which is exactly what those are. Sex, not gender, is the deciding factor in sports, as men are undoubtedly and unquestionably faster and stronger than women.
Caster Semenya was ruled against unfairly, she's XX with naturally occurring high testosterone levels that undoubtedly give her an advantage, but as it's purely her genetics and not some body abnormality (such as the 'internal gonads' some wanted to claim) then there's zero reason to rule against her.
Maria Patino could have been tested earlier and given an exception to the rule status, but until the exception is proven XY means you have to err on the side of caution to keep the separation of the sports by sex as is fair.
When it comes to sports, women’s divisions are almost always less competitive than men’s divisions. IMO if someone does not obviously meet the criteria to participate in the weaker division, then they should compete against “open company “. Maybe people can start funding transgender competitions as well as male and female but I sort of doubt that would ever get as popular even as women’s sports.
Im not actually super familiar with the history of women’s sports and how they ended up carving out their own competitions. But we’ve seemingly respected that until now. It seems like it sort of has to come down to that group of people, female athletes, judges of female athletes, etc... to decide who’s allowed to compete because they’re already an exclusive, discriminatory group.
considering how esoteric things like the gay games are, i very much (not just sort of) doubt you'd be able to do this, especially at a professional competitive level. even professional women's sports are almost always losing money (the WNBA for example is and has always been subsidized by the NBA, and professional women's hockey is generally operated at a loss and the premier league for it in the US and canada just collapsed over things like pay issues). i can't begin to imagine how you'd make transgender sports profitable or get it beyond amateur levels.
IMO you can and probably should just say gender, or gender identity (if you want to be specific about it). Saying "mental gender" could easily be misinterpreted as you potentially being transphobic, or at the very least ignorant/insensitive to the issues... much like how you could be viewed as homophobic should you say "mental sexual preference" when referring to homosexuality. The "mental" part is superfluous and has all sorts of negative connotations and ambiguity.
If people actually understood and stuck to the difference between sex and gender I could, but too many people conflate them. So I use 'mental gender' and 'physical sex', to emphasise the distinction. It's the opposite of ambiguous.
Why not just use gender identity (the proper term) and biological sex then? Again, "mental" has all sorts of negative connotations and ambiguity to it that leaves you open to being misinterpreted. And it absolutely is ambiguous, since "mental" has multiple meanings, both formal and colloquial.
My impression of sports at this level is that it's a mess anyway, basically a contest of who is better at doping and beating the tests. It's not like it's a pure test of human ability between evenly matched peers. If someone presents as a woman, lives as a woman, and has always competed as a woman then they should be allowed to continue even at high levels. Did we demand Michael Phelps turn in his gold medals and retire because he has a genetic mutation that helps him be an amazing swimmer?
Do transgendered women ever lose any of these races? I'll bet they do often but you'd never know it from the way the issue is covered.
your use of scare quotes around the word woman is mildly unnecessary and comes off as bigoted for the record, but let's ignore that and let me pose you a question: what do we do with someone in competitive sports like this who has one of many possible chromosomal deficiencies or who is intersex, since both of those conditions lead to potentially ambiguous sex at birth (which is what i assume you mean by "birth gender") and later on in life? and what do we do with people who reputedly have differences in sex development like castor semenya, since theoretically those could give them advantages? i don't think it's as clear cut as that singular dividing line you propose--in fact i'd go so far as to say it explicitly is not and never can be.
The word you're looking for is "sex", their biological sex at birth should be the only deciding factor in what league they participate. Like many subjects, these are edge cases and I'm relatively sure that the eventuality of the rules will end up favoring biological sex/chromosomes.