Trump’s peeps are trying to make it harder for intersex women to compete against cisgender women, but they may have accidentally got the sport part if it right. It’s the easiest complicated issue to dumb down, but it’s rife with the sludge of discrimination and privacy concerns.
The main thing is that the Y chromosome is the single most genetic athletic advantage that a person can have. If any person is born with XY chromosomes – even if that person identifies as a woman – she will hit puberty with internal testes, without a womb or ovaries, and a jumpstart in testosterone production. Therefore, and this is the hardest part for a lot of people to grasp, she’ll be much faster, stronger, and more athletic than any other cisgender woman born with XX chromosomes, who when she hits puberty produces estrogen and carries ovaries. This is especially true when you factor in practice and not just the outlier argument of some XX women beating some XY women some of the time because there’s no meaningful comparison sets yet. The truth is that at the 2016 Olympics, the top three female medalists for the 800 were XY women.
There’s a lot of arguments that miss the issue or just perch a red herring.
The first is that separating the competition discriminates against intersex. it’s true that not allowing XY intersex women to compete in high school sports against XX cisgender women would essentially rid their chances of playing sports because there’s no intersex leagues or events. But why the fuck not? At any track meet, in between the 400-meter run for the men and women, let the intersex have at it. It’d be glorious to watch the limits and records of personal bests develop over time in individual sports with more sex categories. How much do you want to bet that the record books would go the way of XX women < XY women for genetic reasons, and then XY women < XY men for sociocultural reasons? The problem is that there’s no money for an intersex basketball or soccer team, but what sport or sporting event ever started out being fully funded? Absolutely none, but we still found a way to let them practice, compete and prove themselves.
The alternative is to leave them competing against each other and chemically altering the XY women’s testosterone levels to below 5 nmol/L, which is still 7.5 times the value of the average woman competing at the 2011 - 2015 track and field World Championships; and a figure that not a single XX woman actually reaches at puberty. It’s basically the half-assed response to having no fan base nor any funding but not wanting to totally mess with the XY women’s already-probably-socially-stress-out youth. We want less chemical altering in sports, not more, plus who knows how much gender expression gets fucked with by that.
The main issue is that there’s just not enough XY women to saturate the fields. So then maybe they’re just specialized state wide but smaller leagues at first, but we have to find a way to let them play.
As our society becomes more accepting of gray areas of the human condition, it is those who are fighting for the traditional binary expectations who are resisting and making trouble. Unfortunately for the traditionalists, life is apolitical and affects us all with equal-opportunity for whatever condition it creates, and the more they fight the differences, the stupider they look.
I agree with ASD, it’s an interesting post. I’m not in favor of conflating transgender and cisgender competition results, because of the notable effects that different levels of testosterone have on bodies. There is more to fair competition than social and political correctness. LGBTQ organizations sponsoring differentiated competitions could be a way to push toward both biologically fair and politically correct competitions. I’m in sympathy with cisgender female athletes because they are still underfunded and underappreciated compared to male athletes, and shouldn’t have to be further subjected to, for example, hormone treatments to make them competitive with those with a history of testosterone abundance.
It’s kind of tragic . To me at least. I don’t care about sports in general but I think it’s a perfect wedge issue for the folks who would deny lgbtq folks all rights if they could. It seems trivial to me when compared to things like healthcare or equal recourse to law. It’s a cruel irony that the worry over the 100 yard dash or use of mall restrooms is actually being leveraged to deny things like emergency medical care and legal protection for next of kin. A perfect example of how republicans are generally more politically resourceful than democrats,
There’s certainly bigger things happening on the matter, but sports isn’t like acting, or singing, or thinking. It’s more objective in the sense that the score and the clock can’t lie.
Here’s some Sci-fi I thought about it:
In the not so distant future, an XY woman and an XY man will both be running world bests over the 800-meter dash. With tied personal bests at 1:39.32 a piece, they’re fierce rivals; one from Brooklyn and the other Kenya. The man is strong and lean. He’s more of a strength-based endurance runner, who sets deadly opening paces that no other runners can keep up with. The woman has higher end raw speed. She sits and outkicks with the best of them. They eventually fall in love after a fiery Olympic final. Two years later, science has it’s next leap forward when the woman miraculously gets pregnant. The baby is deemed an abomination by some and a savior by others, as the family with the help of the illuminati desperately struggles to hide from the world the fact that she/her has enhanced strength and speed, unlike anything else that has ever lived.
Here’s another way of looking at the issue.
In the sports of boxing and wrestling, contestants are classified by weight, even within the same sex/gender classificatin. The reason for this is that weight is a good index of the relative physical capabilities of contestants against other contestants, independent of the degree of talent, skill and training of the contestants. Sex/gender discrimination in athletics is similar to weight discrimination in wrestling and boxing, in that it implicitly uses the classification attribute as an index of relative physical capabilities independent of talent, etc.
Also discussed here: https://forum.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/69451/