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Revisiting sports, trans inclusiveness and women’s sex based rights

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, October 1st, 2021 - 86 comments
Categories: feminism, sport - Tags: , ,

The UK Sports Council has released new guidance on trans inclusion in sports. This piece at The Critic by sports philosophy academic Jon Pike  looks at the guidance in relation to biological women.

Before looking at Pike’s view, I’ll drop the start of this thread by developmental biologist and researcher Emma Hilton, because it positions the guidance is as trans-inclusive (so maybe let’s step out of the name calling and false binary and look at the issues instead),

The International Olympic Committee came out after Japan saying their own guidelines were not fit for purpose but have failed to replace them. The UKSC guidelines seem very clear in comparison, developed by their Sports Council Equality Group. Pike,

SCEG say that it is not possible to secure safety, fairness, and the inclusion of trans women in women’s sport. They’re right. They say that their previous policy, like the IOC policy — is not fit for purpose. This is right, too. The emphasis on Testosterone levels as the appropriate marker has failed. Policy that — on the most charitable interpretation — aspired to fairness has failed to achieve it because, as Miroslav Imbrisevic puts it, Testosterone is not the only game in town.

For many people this is a relief, both for sports women, and because a kind of sanity has returned. That there’s been an argument that male bodied people don’t have an advantage over females is so counter to intuition and lived experience, it’s been mindboggling to watch the arguments up until now.

It’s also a relief because the idea that manipulating testosterone in a male body is somehow related to being female, can be more easily challenged. Women’s femaleness is a complex physiology including a range of interacting hormonal systems that are still not fully understood (thanks sex biased medical research). Reducing that down to testosterone levels is as insulting as it is daft. It also points to the fundamental, material difference between male and female bodies that is at the centre of the conflict of rights between women and trans women.

Pike also looks at the issue of sports integrity vs inclusion fairness,

There was a fundamental divide between two camps on this. On the one hand was a group of advocates and activists who wanted to make sport subservient to inclusion, as they understood it. On the other side were people concerned directly with the integrity of sport. It needs to be said that the push for trans-inclusion, in the absence of any scientific justification, was an attack on the integrity of sport.

A summary of the guidelines,

SCEG want the criterion for sex-categorised sport to be sex recorded at birth. This is straightforward, legal, and in line with the specific exemption for Sport in the EA2010 at section 195. It’s lawful to ask for, and record, sex at birth for these purposes.

They therefore set out three possibilities — on Page 9 of the Guidelines:

  1. Trans-Inclusive sport, in the women’s category, where trans-inclusion is prioritised over safety and fairness for women. This is the old-style IOC approach, more or less, with Testosterone reduction. Vitally, they say explicitly that this isn’t fair for women athletes (TI)
  2. Organising sport with two categories: Female and Open (F/O)
  3. Unisex – what they call “universal” sport (U)

Pike looks briefly at the small number of (U) sports (eg equestrianism) before examining (TI) vs (F/O) more closely,

But (U) is not an option for the vast majority of sports because they need sex categories to stop them being dominated by people with male advantages.

So, the option is between (TI) and (F/O). I’m absolutely delighted to see that (F/O) is on the table, and in pole position for all those cases where (U) isn’t possible.

But I think there’s a glitch. I don’t think that the options are “equally valid”… So, I’m only 90 per cent delighted because once (F/O) is on the table, (TI) isn’t a serious option.

SCEG say that trans inclusion is not compatible with sport that is fair for women. That’s right. That’s what the research by Hilton and Lundburg, and by Ross Tucker. This is solid scientific evidence, listed in the literature review, fully evidenced. This is now accepted by the other side (like Joanna Harper who want to drop “fair” for “meaningful”).

Emphasis added. What is meant here is that allowing trans women into women’s sports is unfair and potentially dangerous for women because of the physical advantages conferred by male puberty that aren’t offset by artificially lowering testosterone post-puberty. These advantages include the obvious ones of height and strength (skeletons don’t shrink when testosterone is lowered) but also less immediately obvious ones of hand size or oxygen capacity. Yes, it’s almost like men and women have different bodies (/sarcasm. Men and women have substantially different bodies).

Pike ends with this,

“Trans women are women” is a mantra; it’s not a basis for policy. And nowhere is that clearer than in sport. It shows that there are certain contexts in which sexed bodies matter. Not all contexts, but some. And sport is one of them. How much they matter in other contexts is a matter of public policy and empirical investigation.

The biggest take away here is to stop the No Debate positioning coming from gender identity activists, and government departments, political parties, and NGOs. Let people have the discussion, and trust that most of us will want fairness all round. It’s a conflict of rights, but it’s not unsolvable. Solutions will only come with openness and full debate.

Further reading

A thread on the methodology used for the report,

On the silencing of women athletes,

And not just women,

The systemic misogyny still to be addressed,

There’s that difference in male and female bodies again.

Sports science and research consultant Ross Tucker‘s twitter.

86 comments on “Revisiting sports, trans inclusiveness and women’s sex based rights ”

  1. SPC 1

    The feminist struggle for gender equality becoming one for protection of women's identity.

    (If one were a conspiracy theorist one might suspect the dead hand of the neo-liberal shill Q behind it all).

    As I put it recently organisations like the NOW which fight for gender equality have to be supplemented by others that fight for safety of/for women causes.

    In the matter of sport, it’s equal participation for women and fair competition between women.

    “SCEG want the criterion for sex-categorised sport to be sex recorded at birth.”

    Is anyone going to let the Select Committee know?

    • Sabine 1.1

      The feminist struggle for gender equality becoming one for protection of women's identity.

      and therein lies the crux of the matter, that our equality is based on our sex, and that if sex is removed in favor of 'gender' – what ever sex based rights Persons/People/Others/Karens currently have will be undone, everywhere.

      And the select committee judging by the appalling and yet Party endorsed behavior of Person Kerekere from the Green Party and Russell from the Labour Party don't want to know, can't be bothered to know and if told will hold their ears, singing We don't care….we really really don't care.

      Sport is just one thing that will be undone by it, because at the end of the day, sport should be fun, it should not be a fight for survival.

    • Gabby 1.2

      One might certainly suspect elements of the IOC to be not entirely unhappy at the opportunity to punish women for demanding inclusion in 'their' games.

    • Rex Landy 1.3

      LoL they'll be handing the kidfucka's/predator's charter over so they can change their birth certs and disappear. StUnNiNg AnD bRaVe.

  2. Brave post Weka, and just one aspect of a highly contentious social movement that is being blown up beyond all reasonable proportion by social media and MSM seeking clicks. I think the Caster Semenya case made everyone sit up and take notice, that women were being systematically overrun in elite sports by male bodied persons with DSDs, or other males with a special "identity".

    It has to go back to biology in order for women athletes to compete fairly in their own category.

    There is a lot of philosophical waffle from the likes of Judith Butler that tries to undermine all categories, while blithely ignoring the realities of 50% of the human population who are treated as second rate on the basis of their biologically female bodies.

    • SPC 2.1

      That Castor Semenya link says a lot, in that I did not read much of that in MSM.

      Again and again it seems we get the singular "WMD" (Bush Blair spin) narrative – and then government wonders why there is a lack of public trust – and thus control social media for going off message.

      • roblogic 2.1.1

        Definitely won't read the other side of the story from the Spinoff or RNZ.

        But even the Guardian is now reluctantly publishing pieces that recognise undeniable reality.

    • Visubversa 2.2

      I think the case of Laurel Hubbard demonstrated the problem with the selection of people based on their "special identity" claims. The debacle of Hubbard crashing out in the first lift showed that Hubbard was there to be the "first" rather than to actually compete for New Zealand.

      • Pete 2.2.1

        No, Hubbard crashing out showed the multi-faceted reality of sport. Hubbard crashing out showed the realities of competitive weigh-lifting at the highest level.

        • Rex Landy

          No. It showed a middle aged man, [deleted] as a woman, hoping his manstrength would get him over the line. [deleted] out of shape, Laurel hoped he'd just do it, such is his hubris and arrogance. Such a [deleted].

          [same note as below – weka]

        • Rex Landy

          Oh do fuck up with the mansplaining – HE IS A MAN AND HAS NO BUSINESS BEING IN THE WOMEN'S CATEGORIES. Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

          No need to get back to me, I'm done here. He's a cheating overfed tranpa with a cock. Men can never be women. http://www.terfisaslur.com

      • Rex Landy 2.2.2

        That [deleted] just got awarded sportswoman of the year by ODT so they can fuck off and swivel.

        [please dial back the slagging off language. We generally don’t allow language that has the effect of excluding others, including insulting language about bodies. The reason for this is it improves the quality of the debate and the community here, and makes it easier for a range of people to take part. thanks – weka]

    • Molly 2.3

      It would be interesting to know if her pelvic form aligned to that of males (speed) or female (childbearing) given the event she competes in.

      There's also a couple of memorable paragraphs in that article:

      BBC Gender & Identity reporter Megha Mohan ended her story on Semenya with the following two sentences. “According to a 2016 report by the UN, between 0.5 and 1.7 percent of children are born with intersex conditions. For the upper level that’s roughly the same born with red hair.”

      Again, this is totally misleading and biased reporting.

      The 1.7% figure comes from a book written by biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling in 2000 called Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. But Fausto-Sterling used a very broad definition of the word “intersex” — one much broader than she herself used in the past. As Dr. Leonard Sax has pointed out both on his website and in a scientific paper, if you limit the term intersex to its traditional meaning — to refer either to individuals who have XY chromosomes with predominantly female anatomy, XX chromosomes with predominantly male anatomy, or ambiguous or mixed genitalia (which is what Fausto-Sterling herself did in her 1993 essay “The Five Sexes”), then the rate of intersex births is just .018% — less than two out of every 10,000 people.


      The crazy thing about the Semenya case is that even though intersex births like Semenya’s are extremely rare it’s believed that all three of the medallists in the 2016 Olympic women’s 800 – Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui — are intersex. Yes, all three. If that doesn’t make you understand from a simple odds perspective that there needs to be a limit on testosterone in women’s sports, then I don’t know what will.

      • Rex Landy 2.3.1

        Caster is a man. He was never brought up/socialised as female. He has a DSD and it is not an identity.

    • miravox 2.4

      Agree, this a brave post. It shouldn't have to be prefaced with brave, but as a good, great or excellent post – i.e. a usual post about things that have been reported. But stepping up for women in sport these days seems to be anything but usual.

      I did not know Caster Semenya is XY. I've great respect for how she has managed the situation she was born into and I can't see why there is no Open Category for gender-diverse people to compete. I realise some trans-gendered women would have to up their game, but the surely there's more glory in that than beating [up] biological women?

      • Rex Landy 2.4.1

        Caster is XY therefore a man. Thanks for coming to my TED talk! Intersex is NOT an identity. He was never raised as a girl.

  3. Gypsy 3

    I have been involved in coaching in women's football for some time, and have a good understanding of the advantages that a biological male body brings to this sport. I have also coached a player who was born female, played as a female, and chose to identify as a male from the age of around 14. My view on this is that someone who is born a biological male should not be allowed to play football in female competitions. End of.

    • Phil 3.1

      … a player who was born female, played as a female, and chose to identify as a male from the age of around 14. My view on this is that someone who is born a biological male should not be allowed to play football in female competitions. End of.

      So, in summary: Your sample size was one (1) and it wasn't even a direct one (again, 1) that was relevant to supporting your conclusion. I can only imagine how great a coach you must be.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        Note the "I have also", the secondary point related to the Canadian who competed in their women's football team who was born biologically female but now identifies as transgender.

      • Sabine 3.1.2

        I can only imagine how great a coach you must be.

        ? what does that add to the discussion? or did you only make this comment to make this statement?

        • Phil

          I was already one (1 🙂 ) wine deep into my Friday evening and feeling punchy. The second sentence was therefore deliberately snarky.

          But I stand by the fact that if a person is willing to so boldly assert a a global or absolute conclusion based off a singular personal experience, then their broader body of work as an advisor, mentor, or even coach, might need to be viewed with an increased level of skepticism.

          • Sabine

            yeah, nah nah.

          • Molly

            Punchy? Strange excuse – when you've commented on a post where the author has provided numerous links to data and research, and someone had the temerity to add a personal anecdote from their perspective that reflected the presented data.

            Did you read the post itself before entering the ring?

          • weka

            It's a massive stretch to assume that Gypsy has no idea at all about the physical differences between men and women (or boys and girls) other than what they relayed in their comment. Atm it just looks like you are playing the man not the ball.

          • Gypsy

            My assertion was not based on a singular personal experience. It was based on 50 years of playing and coaching football, including over 20 years coaching male teens and female players from aged 12 through senior womens. As to my coaching? I was coaching a team of 16 year old female players who were winning the league in a canter, and some of the players were getting arrogant and disrespectful to other teams. So I organised a training game against a boys team 2 years younger. The girls thought they'd win easily, but got soundly beaten. We went on to win the league, and we all learned some valuable lessons.

          • DukeEll

            1 wine and you act like this? Lay off the wine and hoon mineral water by the thimbleful maybe

      • Anker 3.1.3

        Hi Phil,

        This is an interesting interview with Dr Ross Tucker who did a review of trangsgender in sport for World Rugby.


      • Gypsy 3.1.4

        I never claimed anything about a sample size. I'm commenting based on my knowledge of the very real difference between the physical attributes of biological males and females.

      • Nic the NZer 3.1.5

        There is loads of evidence running the other way however. In football female players can get an exemption to play in male leagues at senior level. I know of only 1 example however where a female player was playing in a top Wellington league (0 in lower leagues). She played in goal and was I think international level among women. This should give some idea of the performance gap.

        I'm a masters player who could no longer compete in a top Wellington league (I sometimes play in a non masters team however against younger opponents). I would still be physically faster and stronger than most of the top level womans players at least in Wellington. What Gypsy says is basically a statement of experience.

      • Rex Landy 3.1.6

        Men can never be women. You cannot identify into womanhood. The ONLY way you can be a woman is to be born a girl. Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

  4. left for dead 4

    Good work weka,thanks.

  5. Phil 5

    SCEG say that trans inclusion is not compatible with sport that is fair for women… once (F/O) is on the table, (TI) isn’t a serious option.

    The problem as I see it with Pike's position is that it focuses on fairness for women/female athletes without giving any consideration to fairness for transgender athletes, which is still a critical part of the entire conversation.

    I accept that there is evidence of advantages to trans athletes over women in various ways, but it seems to me those advantages are outweighed by the many disadvantages trans athletes would face if they were expected to compete against men under the F/O approach, especially if that delineation applies through youth/junior sports.

    I think we also need to be really aware of the fact that transgender is not one-size-fits-all. Pike's argument implicitly focuses on the challenges that exist between biologically-female and female-presenting-transgender athletes, without taking into many other ways people choose to present themselves.

    • SPC 5.1

      One of the main principles for Olympic sport is fair competition and related rules (once all amateur and still no drug enhancements).

      For contact sport, a major concern is player safety.

    • Sabine 5.2

      maybe the male sports could be a bir fair and make place for Transwomen?


      In modern Samoa, there’s no stigma if your son is a fa’afafine: they are warmly accepted, even celebrated.

      A fa’afafine, Jaiyah Saelua, was the first transgender footballer to play in a World Cup qualifying game. She was centre back for the American Samoan national team: the men’s team. Samoans understand that changing gender does not affect a person’s immutable biological sex.

      You know, just to be fair a little bit. Like a tiny wee little bit. Unless of course men have issues with being fair, and think that all the Twomen and Tmen and Non binaries are just something for persons/peoples/others/karens to deal with.

    • Molly 5.3

      "I accept that there is evidence of advantages to trans athletes over women in various ways, but it seems to me those advantages are outweighed by the many disadvantages trans athletes would face if they were expected to compete against men under the F/O approach, especially if that delineation applies through youth/junior sports."

      So, the evidential data would mean that transwomen athletes would maintain an advantage over women athletes, but not necessarily over their biologically male peers – so women need to make space because…?

      What are these unspecified disadvantages?

      How did you determine the very real benefits are outweighed?

      What stops them competing in the male class if it's truly about sport? Because the division in sport is based on biological sex. (or is it about unending societal validation?)

    • weka 5.4

      by the many disadvantages trans athletes would face if they were expected to compete against men under the F/O approach, especially if that delineation applies through youth/junior sports.

      I'm also curious what you see those advantages are, specifically.

      I think we also need to be really aware of the fact that transgender is not one-size-fits-all. Pike's argument implicitly focuses on the challenges that exist between biologically-female and female-presenting-transgender athletes, without taking into many other ways people choose to present themselves.

      The issue isn't about presentation, it's about biology. If someone were NB and male the issues would still be there. Not sure what you meant tbh about presentation, maybe you could explain.

    • You acknowledge the inclusion of M2F trans athletes in women's sports is unfair because the average performance advantage that men have over women is not all lost when T levels are reduced, but you think it's more unfair for those athletes to compete against men.

      So what’s the answer?

      Here's a thought, how about we focus on how to make it easier, safer, and fairer for trans athletes who were born male, to compete in the male category?

      I'm sure they could find a way to make male sport fairer for MtoF trans athletes. The sports admins and scientists could develop a handicap system to account for the loss of APA as a result of various types and degrees of transition. That way, MtoF trans athletes who don’t medically transition won’t have to take anti androgens, which is a good thing.

      And given that even with no limit on exogenous T, F2M trans athletes are disadvantaged against natal males, a handicapping system would level the playing field for them also.

      I say let the men do the inclusion thing for a change.

      • weka 5.5.1

        Indeed. Why are women being asked to change but men aren't?

        Cue discussion about the UK where women's toilets are being replaced with gender neutral ones. So a public space will have men's toilets and gender neutral toilets. How can lefties not see the sexism underlying this?

        And agree that fairness in sports has to include not requiring people to take medications. Identity is a powerful drug of course.

      • Gabby 5.5.2

        Sounds unworkable. Blanket handicapping would disproportionately favour outliers.

    • Anker 5.6

      Phil, read the link I posted from Dr Ross Tucker. In rugby women face a higher risk of injury if trans men play. This is if tackled.

      Sports should be categorized by sex,not gender. Bodies play sports not identities.

    • DukeEll 5.7

      “I accept that there is evidence of advantages to trans athletes over women in various ways, but it seems to me those advantages are outweighed by the many disadvantages trans athletes would face if they were expected to compete against men under the F/O approach, especially if that delineation applies through youth/junior sports”

      Can you point to a study invoking transgender athletes in youth junior sports?

      “I think we also need to be really aware of the fact that transgender is not one-size-fits-all.”

      thank you Justin Marshall. Captain obvious here has seized on the sole explanation for why trans men should be able to compete with biological women.

      in the absence of PED’s, how is the playing field even and level, which is the aim of rules in sport, when biologically stronger and faster beings can compete against there biological inferiors

    • miravox 5.8

      "… but it seems to me those advantages are outweighed by the many disadvantages trans athletes would face if they were expected to compete against men under the F/O approach"

      What are your views on how we should manage the many disadvantages biological women would face, and that have been identified in the work this post references, in your preference for transgendered athletes to compete in women's categories?

    • Rex Landy 5.9

      LoL why won't you let men in dresses compete with women? Oh JFC how tiresome. MEN are NEVER WOMEN.

      Have a trans league. And before you start whining about how there wouldn't be many to start with, welcome to women's sports. We fought for ours, but no trans is fighting for their rights. They're fighting for prison of choice, change of language so they don't get triggered, hormones on demand, free surgery LOL none of which are human rights.

      The self-identification law/clause they think gives them the right to self-ID under international law is noting to do with single people being able to self-determine. NO. If you look at Rosa Freedman's submission to the BDMRR clowns, she tells you they are misusing international law. It was never meant for self-determining an ID. It was for people PLURAL as in, a people, to be able to self determine, indigenous/natives. So no.

      Men in dresses are not women. SO they need to get their own league of trans, and do some fucking work on their own behalf instead of hijacking the rainbow and forcing lesbians and gay men out. http://www.terfisaslur.com and https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipN6bUPUugEzmNmC-nZTunsVPUtgAuMANMmoVSD1j5gmROqY5E53VSCukHKc8zSRHA?key=bTMzMDNKeC1vbkFkRjlqTHJKM284RU1IQ3JkSlF3 show me the hatred and where it lies. It's not with ME saying 'men in dresses need to get their OWN rights.'

  6. bwaghorn 6

    We have a special Olympics for people born with deviations from what is considered normal, surely transgender, gender fluid , etc are people born with deviations from what is considered normal (cant think of a better word sorry) .

    So surely they should compete in there own classes.

    • Molly 6.1

      They already can. Sport is divided into biological sex classes because there are recognised, researched, verified biological advantages held by men.

      They can compete in their biological sex class, like everyone else. There are no rules prohibiting their participation on the same principles that were considered fair for a reason. Included in sports if they wish – like everyone else.

      In(clusive) like Quinn.

      • Sabine 6.1.1

        This might actually be a solution, and fwiw, could be a financial success.

        Have proper Queer Games, and every one opt in.

        Keep the rest as is.


        But maybe its cheaper to just lump all the gender non compliant men into the womens sports and be done with it.

        • SPC

          I agree on the inclusion of transgender categories and enhanced (more official) status of Queer Games. The world class level performance in some female events would raise their status and might one day lead to Olympic inclusion.

        • Nic the NZer

          It could be a financial success until they ban all the oppressive referees and the advertisers pull out.

    • Nic the NZer 6.2

      If the backlash involves excluding transgender athletes into their own categories this will be quite harmful. I'm not convinced a lot of transgender athletes share the beliefs of gender ideology.

  7. francesca 7

    So if we are to go for fairness in sport, sex at birth does matter.And how are we to know this?Well I guess it's the birth certificate.OOPs Green/Lab, a bit too quick with your not very well thought out SOP59

    Another approach might be to have medical birth records archived and everyone to have a gender certificate with self ID.But it's definitely biologic sex that matters in sport.

    There may be a different approach for those transwomen who haven't gone through puberty.(Puberty blockers then straight on to cross hormones).I'm no expert on that but those trans people wouldn't have the male advantages derived from a post puberty transition .

    When gays and lesbians were fighting to get out of their societal straight jackets, they were out and loud and proud, not wanting to "pass" as different kinds of heteros.

    Could there be pathways for transpeople to also be proud of who they are, where the fear of being "outed"(by a birth certificate for instance) is removed

    • Molly 7.1

      I understand that even at birth lung capacity and heart size are notably different. After all, females are designed to accommodate growing humans somewhere – it doesn't just condense during pregnancy.

      Also, pelvic shape and orientation is to facilitate birth rather than speed.

      Fat to muscle ratios also persist, There's a good interview with Professor Alison Heather from Otago University…

    • SPC 7.2

      Yup, a birth certificate (biological history) and an identity certificate is one option.

      Though those who "bodily" transition by op+ can now seek change on the birth certificate (via a slower process than they can "gender" self identify for DL and passports). That could be allowed to continue, but also bring in a identity certificate for those who do not currently qualify.

      The identity certificate could be available to anyone wanting to use it in place of a birth certificate, or because it provided for a greater statement of identity (government records would connect the identity certificate to the original birth certificate – with limited access without the persons consent).

      Identifies as

      Name, age and then specifies of the many categories listed as applies, or willing to state – as to sex, sexuality, gender etc.

  8. chris T 8

    Kind of silly really

    You have biological sex and then you have gender

    Biological sex: Male or female (and on extremely rare occasions hard to distinguish, so some poor prick doctor has to decide and may get it wrong)

    Gender: What ever someones internal feelings make them think they should be I am apparently supposed to give a shit about.

    Sport is based on biological sex and not internal feelies.

    If a biological male decides they should have been female, No probs. Rock with it chick. But what sort of arsehole/arseholeette would then think it is fair to compete against biological females after going through puberty as a male?

    • Pete 8.1

      Some poor doctor has to decide? And may get it wrong?

      Naked inspections and all the tra las around that?


      • chris T 8.1.1

        I honestly can't be arsed reading that unless I have to.

        There are extremely rare occasions kids are born inter sex (Note sex and not gender). People have to pick.

        It is what it is and has nothing to do with someones internal "gender" affliliation.

        I don't care how much the activists try to merge them.

        Biological sex and gender are not the same.

        This in no way means I would not treat a trans woman any different from any other woman, as get they think it.

        The only probs I have is when it clashes with hard faught womens rights involving womens spaces etc

        • Pete

          What I was getting at was people turning up at a sport attesting they are legitimate participants. A birth certificate? Maybe visual inspections were done at some time in some places as birth certificates could be falsified.

          • Molly

            Do you mean turning up to register at elite levels of sports claiming to be something other than they are or drug-free of a particular age or weight when they are not? That's fraud, and if someone makes that choice, there is the chance they will be found out.

            Same with steroid abuse, or performance enhancers.

            People don't usually exist in a vacuum. Elite athletes will have coaches, support people etc. that will know them well, and would need to be part of the fraud. Although, it may happen – Armstrong springs to mind – it is unlikely. A biological history is harder to keep out of public view compared to a private use of drugs.

  9. I am pleased some common sense is returning in this issue. We are only moderately dimorphic as a species but the average performance advantage natal males have over natal females is significant – 10% over all sports and rising to 25+% in weight lifting. The safety issues in contact sports are immense. Of course all contact sport involves risk – and women come in different sizes/weights/strengths etc but the point is the added risk when people who were born male and went through male puberty compete against females. For example, a little known fact – females have a different musculature in the cervical spine and are at a higher risk of chronic and acute cervical injury.

  10. coreyjhumm 10

    As an LGBT+ person I've got to say, I don't know any trans people who actually care about this …. Not really. I absolutely agree that fairness and fact needs to be placed over ideology but like so many things these days people can't see through their ideology.

    I absolutely think it's important women and trans women are able to speak out but can I say one thing … 99% of the people talking about this aren't women or trans women… or even athletes …. It's incredibly bizzare to see so many heterosexual and g/b men be the ones pushing this discussion constantly.

    My trans friends care more about getting a house than this stuff ….

    It's incredibly bizzare to me that with a climate catastrophe a housing catastrophe a mental health and poverty crisis a never ending global pandemic, a looming west v east war, all we ever talk about are increasingly small minorities of people

    Do trans people not need air or housing or food? A lot of politicians and commentators think politicizing this is a vote winner but it's a distraction from the pressing issues that endanger everyone regardless of their skin colour sexuality gender or gender identity.

    I'm a same sex attractive individual, I understand where the author is coming from and I can imagine the frustration

    I wish the powers that be would stop putting women and trans women up against each other and listen to both rather than speaking for both, I have never met a trans person who cares about sport… The people who do are a tiny minority of a tiny minority, trans women care more about mental health and the environment than what the media and politicians obsess about….

    People need to stop attacking women who air their concerns and activists who claim to speak up for trans rights need to let the trans people speak for themselves… Both groups are quite reasonable it's their supporters on both sides who have a political agenda that make it so difficult for the people actually involved to have a reasonable discussion.

    • Molly 10.1

      It's all fine and good if you don't consider this to be a priority, even though the political process means that public discussion should be taking place on this issue at this time.

      Every individual has the right to put their energies and their time into the issues they consider important. That changes over time, and rightly so.

      But I had a discussion with a young male friend a while ago, when he was incensed about the failure of women to talk about male circumcision alongside female genital mutilation. I suggested that if male circumcision is such an important topic to him, then he needs to get involved in the discussion – you don't get to co-opt someone else's time and energy or pass comments on their efforts because you believe they have the wrong priorities at any one time. Gently, I repeat this in a response to your comment.

      As a member of the LGBT+, it may be of interest that the changes happening in language are now having an effect on the services being offered to young people in your community, as Anker pointed out in a comment recently.

      The Rainbow Youth national organisation in NZ, has a website where the word "lesbian" has disappeared. The word "gay" only comes up in searches in regard to their submission to the Gay Conversion Therapy bill, "homosexual" also results in no documents.

      Many may accept the erasure of language that accurately described their sexuality, but that makes the LG prefix no longer necessary. I consider that to be a situation worth rectifying and will continue to emphasise that the use and misuse of language in this matter needs to be fixed.

    • Sabine 10.2

      If women loose all their sex based rights, so will transgender women. By default, we either all have rights based on our sex, or we don't.

      To me it seems that this is pushed by Non binary – which were included by Butler in to the queer, but are mainly het orientated, hence the 'translesbian' crap thrown at lesbians.

      And of course by transing children from 18 month on – declaring them the opposite sex by age 7 – including changing the birth certificate at which stage can we raise red flags and ask if this is not really just a new form – a devious form – of conversion therapy, in which the child will be neutered, fit with neo vagina fashioned of the scrotum and penis (micro penis most likely after several years of estrogen), and send of into a brave world of lifelong medication, if they dare dance or want to play wit hthe sparkly toy. That is so regressive gender wise. We used to say boys and girls can be what they want. Now, we neuter them and call them brave and stunning. . The medical industrial complex will rejoice that is for sure at the money they can make and all the guinea pigs that are coming their way for some experimentation in playing God.

      Our bodies are now a profit centre, and protesting against it will make us transphobes.

      The sport side is just a very visual side of it. this is where it has shown that the inclusion that these people demand goes way beyond 'wanting to pee in a toilet of my gender – or in the case of the het men with fetishes, pee in a toilet of their choosing.

      • coreyjhumm 10.2.1

        It is of course important. What I mean by my statement was the people leading this debate from what I've seen are usually just trendies who want to sound woke and be hip or demonize one side for political points.

        I think there is a difference between Trans people and non binary people, trans people are transitioning genders where as non binary people believe gender is a spectrum or that there are thousands of genders or don't believe in gender. I personally believe non binary should get its own letter in the acronym but honestly… You're not allowed to say anything or you get your bitten off…

        Ive never had my head bitten off by trans people who are often just as confused about the non binary stuff as I am.

        I do believe there should be places for women so that women should feel safe, I do believe there is a difference between biological women and trans women and that while I think it should be easier for someone whose living as another gender to legally change gender I still believe there's a medical difference and I don't think you should be able to rock up and say I'm opac or two spirit gender on your passport and licence.

        On sports I think maybe a trans category could be added I don't have the answers to this but the science and the people involved women and trans women should be heard not the voices that get likes and retweets by shouting abuse while speaking for these groups.

        I will say, I have been offended myself by some of the woke language that compares my sexuality to a preference or a choice and says people are bigots if they don't sleep with you or talk about "genital preference" that's incredibly homophobic to me and to see mainstream media and politicians agree and pander to that … Freaks me out… So yeah I understand to a degree where women are coming from

        I also understand where trans people are coming from in their desire to be included but I never hear trans people talking about sport. Almost never.

        I disagree with the way the government is going about this and the hate speech legislation and feel people are being unfairly demonized and not heard by politicians and media who wrap themselves around in feminist and LGBT rhetoric only to ignore anyone who disagrees or has concerns but ….

        I genuinely feel trans women and women… Are far more reasonable than the loud voices coming from political ideologues who want to score points on this issue and if there was a way to drown out the people trying to score points …. There would be a happy medium and I wasn't accusing anyone on this blog or thread of being a point scorer that's twitter.

        • Molly

          Thanks for the clarification coreyjhumm. It is appreciated and understood.

          I would just say, that by not participating in this current debate which is under public and political discussion that must likely will result in changes to legislation that you do not agree with, the conversation will be continued to be dominated by those with the most strident voices and the outcome might be one that has an negative effect on us all.

          However, need to take my own advice and refrain from telling you where to put your energy and time. wink

        • Sabine

          thank you for your considerate comments. Really truly, thank you.

          Firstly i think we must differentiate between Transwomen/Transmen, Non binary and for what its worth, opportunists.

          And i think the gist really boils down to for me at least, I don't want the Non binary men, and the opportunity men, and the sexual offender men, in places where i might get naked, or are other wise vulnerable. I can not even begin to imagine having to live in a cell with a entire male who is in prison for rape and murder. I can't even begin to understand being offered the pill or an abortion because i can not prevent being sexually used by the 'transwomen' who is an entire male. And i can not even begin to understand why so called sane, electable, 'representatives' of the working class think that this is ok.

          And yes, just as the non binary and straight Transwomen want to be translesbians, their male counterparts Transman also want to be transgay. And you will be vilified, as are straight non males and males who can not think of engaging in sexual activity with them due to 'genital preferences'. The Superstraights comes to mind.

          And that in my books is legalised sexual terrorism.

          As for sport, that was the last bastion of women to really conquer, and to be potentially more entertaining and better earners then men. You used to watch maybe three female sports, gymnastics, swimming and running and that was that. But they are now in Motorsports, Fighting sports, Rugby, etc. And i think that this is really just a push to get girls out of sports again. On the other side, there is also quite a few men and women ( yes, both sexes) that do not have an issue watching a 'feminized' bloke beat a women to pulp in a televised setting as happened with the two who did fight females. So there is that aspect of, that a sport that was between equals now clearly is not, and women can not not consent to opt out or into a transfree space, unless they give up the sport. Bread and circuses.

          But then, that is what happens when a place/a group of people gets colonised by others and have inclusion forced up on them. And the transwomen in the long run will also suffer from it, as will everyone else. Because we don't live on a different planet us non males. We live right next to all of us others. And if we do it to one of us, we end up doing it to all of us.

    • Delia 10.3

      Maybe form a group to get your view across. It would be good to hear from every day trans people and how they see these issues.

  11. Just checking twitter, everyone is freaking out that Otago Uni has named Laurel Hubbard its "Sportswoman of the year", seemingly not realising it's an award for Otago Uni students! Not all NZ women are eligible… sigh.

    Neat thread by Emma Hilton though, honouring Kiwi female athletes.

    • Sabine 11.1

      Otago University does not have a lot of non male sportspersons if a losing weightlifter makes the cut as sportsperson of the year. But then, some can never fail, no matter how bad they are.

  12. Lucy 12

    If sport was not paid for – only amateur and everyone had to do a real job we would not have an issue. If there was no pay to play there would be way more money for people playing sport because they enjoyed it, and way less attention on the sex of participants. Most of the issue is the perceived idea that men who are not good enough will change gender to participate at an easier level. I don't think that perception is correct but if the money went away and people played because they enjoyed the game then many of the issues plaguing sport would vanish

    • Sabine 12.1

      Have a good look at the person who won the award as 'female sports person of year' from Otago university and realise that that person did exactly that. A failed male weightlifter retired into the 'womens' sport, won everything for a year or two and then simply started crapping out due to age. . But their failure cost a young person – natal women – a spot she actually earned, a spot that was given to that trans identified male under the guise of diversity.

      So yes, female sport is where old washed out male sportsmen get to retire, under the guise of and with the help of “transrights”.

      And when they lose, as this particular person did, they get a participation trophy from a University, cause the natal women were good enough to win their own medals and thus were not eligible in the running of becoming “female” sports person of the Year according to Otago University.

      Oh to be a trans identified male, all the womens places are yours to go and colonize. And our so called representatives in politics and our elites in academia are helping to smash the places that women have fought so hard for over the last century.

    • Nic the NZer 12.2

      I don't think this agrees with experience. I know of teams who repeatedly avoid top places and promotion to a higher amateur football league as they will not be competitive in the league up, though they could have consistently earned it the league below.

      You can also look up the numerous examples of people cheating at online chess to understand its not about money (because there is no money involved what-so-ever).

      For example this guy decided to cheat in a charity game against an ex-world champion. Its hard to understand why you would want to expose yourself to be willing to cheat while simultaneously donating to charity, but this is what he did.


    • weka 12.3

      I played volleyball and netball at high school. No way could we have competed against 16 and 17 yr old boys and that been fair.

      • Sabine 12.3.1

        not sure how to send you this, but i thought you might find this article relevant to some of the things you were trying to raise awarness off.


        by Abigail Shrier

      • RedLogix 12.3.2

        Sports are organised by characteristics like age, weight, sex and multiple other aspects all the time. This does not have to be a long debate – any attempt at gatecrashing the wrong category on the spurious grounds we're discussing here is cheating. End of.

        That any more than two paras ever got wasted on this topic baffles me – but nonetheless a very good OP which says everything needed.

  13. Tabletennis 13

    Thank you Weka for this very fine post. I’m encouraged to read the contributions of so many, that the issue of conflicting rights between women and (male) trans-women, e.g. in sport, has gained so much more understanding.

    And that biological facts and scientific facts are being adhere to far more. After all this government encourages us to listen to the science on covid. Lets hope they continue to do so on other aspects that affects our lives too.

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