Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

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pwa
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Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2019, 9:09am

I guess that most of us here are pretty accepting of other folk living their lives the way they want to, so long as it harms nobody else, and don't have problems with people who wish to change their gender identity. But what about the implications for sport?

Martina Navratilova recently got in hot water by questioning the appropriateness of male to female transgender people entering women's competitions, suggesting that they would have an unfair advantage. Any thoughts on this?

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Pastychomper » 22 Feb 2019, 10:37am

I missed the news about Navratilova, but from a quick read around (mostly on Wikipedia, admittedly :oops: ) I'd say she has it about right. If there is any good reason to have separate male and female sports then surely it has to do with the players' physical size and strength, and the way their bodies respond to training - not with how the players identify themselves. My understanding is that a male body that spends part of its life exposed to "female" hormones will still have some "male" traits that could make a difference to sports.

That says nothing about the mind living in that body, but as far as I know a female mind can be as determined and disciplined as a male mind, so it's only the physical differences that are relevant to sport.

It looks to me (again, from a quick read of few sources) like the bigger problem is the assumption by some people that having the above opinion equates to looking down on transgender people. That would tend towards a situation where people are afraid to even discuss the question, which is not helpful - but hopefully that's mostly just headline-grabbing.
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pwa
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2019, 11:15am

Yes. It is not the situation yet, and may never be, but in theory we could arrive at a situation in which females who were born as females would have no hope of competing at the highest level in certain sports because the top tier would be occupied by females who were born male. How do we address this in a fair way that maximises opportunities for all?

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby kwackers » 22 Feb 2019, 11:39am

pwa wrote:Yes. It is not the situation yet, and may never be, but in theory we could arrive at a situation in which females who were born as females would have no hope of competing at the highest level in certain sports because the top tier would be occupied by females who were born male. How do we address this in a fair way that maximises opportunities for all?

I don't think you can.
My view. Give it up as a bad job.
IMO transgender is a form of cheating, yet not allowing them to compete is discriminatory.
I don't see how you can reconcile the two.

Also gene edited athletes are around the corner, so perhaps women can be allowed to edit their genome to compete fairly.
You could then remove male/female segregation in sports completely and it'd all be fair...
Not sure women that looked like the incredible hulk would be my cup of tea but...

Time to remove the money from sports and make it amateur again. Not sure if it'll help but it can't hinder.

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2019, 11:45am

Introduce extra genders? But then you could have minority genders getting far more medals per head of population than the two "traditional" genders. And conducting an Olympics could take forever, which would be bad news for those of us who dislike them.

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Vorpal » 22 Feb 2019, 11:46am

Playing with the Boys, Why separate is not Equal in Sports demonstrates that most of the difference is cultural rather than physical. Women have exceeded men in a number of endurance sports, despite all of the cultural baggage that prevents a majority from competing in the first place.
https://db.marathonswimmers.org/longest-swims/
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=127468

IMO, we can solve the whole problem by not separating men from women or at least begin offering 'elite' competition open to all genders, and offering the same pay for men and women, whatever the sport. In a generation we would say things like, 'the longer an event is, the more likely a woman will win it', and see women playing professional sports alongside men.
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pwa
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby pwa » 22 Feb 2019, 11:55am

Assess each athlete as an individual and "handicap" them with weights, a bit like they sometimes do with racing horses?

I assume Navratilova was concerned that a large female tennis player who was born male would hit the ball harder than even the strongest female born woman could. I think it is still true that top males hit the ball harder than top females.

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby kwackers » 22 Feb 2019, 12:13pm

Vorpal wrote:Playing with the Boys, Why separate is not Equal in Sports demonstrates that most of the difference is cultural rather than physical. Women have exceeded men in a number of endurance sports, despite all of the cultural baggage that prevents a majority from competing in the first place.
https://db.marathonswimmers.org/longest-swims/
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=127468

IMO, we can solve the whole problem by not separating men from women or at least begin offering 'elite' competition open to all genders, and offering the same pay for men and women, whatever the sport. In a generation we would say things like, 'the longer an event is, the more likely a woman will win it', and see women playing professional sports alongside men.

Whilst I agree there are a lot of sports where I don't see any good reason to segregate by sex there are also a lot where you will never get gender equivalence.

Some sports require freakish blokes (e.g. rugby) there'd have to be something seriously wrong with you as a woman to be able to compete with 16 & 17 stone muscular fit men. (Although I'm sure there's the odd specimen dotted around).

I suppose my problem is what happens if it simply drives women from some sports?
In the only sport I pay any attention to (running) the best women runners probably wouldn't be on the start line with the best males.
I've no problem with them being there, in fact I'd love it. But I do have a problem if they're not and that to me is the danger.
We end up with sports whose starting lineup is male dominated and barely a woman to be seen.

Fundamentally the problem is that the start line of a lot of sports isn't just a handful of regular people, they're a tiny percentage of the absolute best, genetically well suited to their chosen sport.
The bell curves of male/female might overlap but do they overlap enough to allow any significant number of women to make it to the startup?

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby thelawnet » 22 Feb 2019, 1:44pm

kwackers wrote:Fundamentally the problem is that the start line of a lot of sports isn't just a handful of regular people, they're a tiny percentage of the absolute best, genetically well suited to their chosen sport.
The bell curves of male/female might overlap but do they overlap enough to allow any significant number of women to make it to the startup?


The problem with the normal curve is that the women's curve is far to the left of the men.

The 99th percentile woman is 5'10" whereas the 99th percentile man is 6'4".

An elite male rower is around 6'7". There is a lightweight category which is less prestigious where you might be 6'0.

A 6'0 woman is in the range to be a heavyweight female champion against women, but is physically too short to compete against men. Against men of the same height she would have less power as testosterone levels in men are around 20x higher making post-pubescent males much stronger than women even of the as height.

Any claims that there is any possible competitive parity between men and women in other than very specific niches like super endurance races are based on ignorance or misinformation.

It doesn't necessarily mean that women's sport is inferior - watching the women's marathon is no less interesting than the men's, as essentially it's the same thing just that one class is elite females and the other class is elite males. The training, dedication etc are the same.

Other sports are imo a harder sell, e.g. women's cricket, as physical inferiority translates into weaker shots, less spin on balls etc.

I believe netball is growing in popularity because it's specifically female.

As far as transgender athletes go, it should be a non starter - no female-to-male athletes could ever win, and, say, a non-elite male could (and has) transition into an elite female, as the extra 10% or so from permanently formed male skeleton muscle mass etc is not going away ever. It is a bit like a 5'10" man beating up his 5'4" wife, and then becoming a transwoman - it won't change the physical dynamics of that at all.

I don't think biological males (metaphorically) beating up women is in anyone's interests. Women's sport won't encourage 50% of the population to participate if none of the winners are biologically female.

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Vorpal » 22 Feb 2019, 1:49pm

I don't see any problem with still having some teams, leagues, or sports offering the opportunity for women to compete solely against women, but then, there will always be a problem of how to define who may participate.

But at least if elite sports donb't exclude people based upon gender, we don't have a problem.

We have excluded some people simply because their bodies don't conform to expectations. They have indeterminate gender or meet all criteria for a gender, but naturally produce 'excessive' levels of testosterone, or another natural substance for which athletes are tested.

https://www.theverge.com/2015/5/22/8644 ... c-intersex

That said, i can't imagine that there are huge numbers of men who will begin identifying as women solely to have a competitive advantage. I personally don't have a problem with it.
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby kwackers » 22 Feb 2019, 2:02pm

Vorpal wrote:But at least if elite sports donb't exclude people based upon gender, we don't have a problem.

If you're female and could compete with males well enough to get a place then I've no problem with that.
Vorpal wrote:That said, i can't imagine that there are huge numbers of men who will begin identifying as women solely to have a competitive advantage. I personally don't have a problem with it.

Reminds me of Thirdcranks dad quote: "What would happen if everyone did it?".

Transgender is a lot more prevalent and a lot easier to do these days (I personally know three ex-blokes).
Not hard to imagine we could see significant numbers at some point.

As thelawnet pointed out above you could get a mediocre athlete who makes the transition and becomes an elite woman.
At the moment the numbers are so small so we can safely ignore them but would you be happy if it they increased?
What about if they increased significantly?
Suppose half the line up of a woman's sporting event were all transgender males?

Once it happens it'll be difficult to stop it.
If I were a natural woman who'd killed myself to reach elite status I'm not sure I'd be happy and if I were someone considering putting in the effort I think I might be more inclined to give it a miss.

Of course this is all hypothetical and the truth of the matter is I think most sport is tainted these days anyway. I'd far sooner watch amateur events (although even these have large numbers of chemical cheaters).

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Mick F
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Mick F » 22 Feb 2019, 2:48pm

Why do women athletes wear skimpy next to nothing almost bikinis, and men wear baggy shorts and a vest?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Feb 2019, 3:32pm

Can't answer that Mick, but the distinction is pretty clear between a biological female and a trans female.

Given the current discussions about Caster Semenya's place in competition it seems reasonable that the trans debate should also be had.


An arbitrary testosterone limit seems very odd for a biologically female athlete.
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Mick F
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Mick F » 22 Feb 2019, 4:00pm

Mick F wrote:Why do women athletes wear skimpy next to nothing almost bikinis, and men wear baggy shorts and a vest?
[XAP]Bob wrote:Can't answer that Mick, but the distinction is pretty clear between a biological female and a trans female.
Male and female are very different. Goodness knows why women athletes seem to wear very little but men athletes aren't so fussed. If the human body needs a specific outfit to get the best out of their athletic prowess, why the difference in the attire?

Maybe the female female likes to show their bodies off, and the male male doesn't? Goodness knows why when it comes to the athletic track.

Trans?
How do they see themselves?
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby brynpoeth » 22 Feb 2019, 4:28pm

Mixed tandem racing is the solution, but what would happen if everybody did it? :wink:
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