So… I have to take issue with an article that thinks so shallowly, even with a limited word count. Your bias is showing, Ben, even if you believe you’ve cast it off.
Strong words, I know, but rather than examine the issue from the ground up you allow lazy presupposition skew your efforts.
I’ll start with a heresy to start with then settle down. Why the hell does it matter? Why are competitive sports so emotive? Why does winning matter? There I’ve said it. Sport surely grew out of a desire to show our physical prowess to potential mates. In the twenty first century it shows zero sign of transcending this facile goal. What I wouldn’t give for some growing up among humanity.
So that’s the first presupposition, that sport matters. Gendered violence is epidemic according to WHO but sure let’s stop the trans women running too fast.
Second up, the suggestion of universal sexual dimorphism. You suggest better testing. Sigh. On what basis, Ben? What criteria would NOT adversely and disproportionately affect cisgender women. Would you care to dicuss Caster Semenya? This is not a matter of the fineness of the instruments. It’s a case of there being too many interrelated things that need to be considered. Humans are complex. Categorisations in sport are not. Someone will always be injured by the edges of the boxes, no matter how specific we are.
Then there’s the idea that natal sex is what confers advantage. This ignores nuance like there being sports in which women outperform men, hyperrunning being one.
As a woman who was assigned male at birth I can happily tell you there have been any number of women who could outrun me, at any distance, both pre- and post-transition. So I’m not exceptional for a woman.
Which brings me to your worst presupposition, that trans women are not women. Ah, ah, before you argue, I know what you said. But you then went on to argue that they are biologically male and therefore have an advantage. Let me break this down. What you’re saying is that for me, as a woman, I have some advantage over other women. That made be so. But so what? That an accident of birth gave me an advantage is a huge nothing. You don’t complain about Michael Phelps’ advantage. You cite studies showing the advantage trans women supposedly have, going as far as to compare hemoglobin levels in males and females, rather than trans women and cis women. Is that too fine a distinction? It’s a moot point. You certainly do not cite the studies that show trans women perform in the same proportional strata pre- and post-transition ie. A trans women who performed at the middle of the field among men pre-transition will not perform in the Top of the field among women post-transition. There are studies that show she’ll be in the middle of the women’s field.
And so you (perhaps unconsciously) underline the belief that trans women are not women, we’re men. It’s offensive because it’s wrong. Let me put it another way, a tall woman is likely to be better at basketball than a short one but neither is any less a woman.
There are other points I could make but that latter is the one that us trans women wish people understood. We don’t want to compete in women’s sports so we can sweep the medals. How would that even work anyway? At best trans women make up 0.5% of the general population, so 1% of women then. So how pray tell are we going to dominate ladies sports?! We don’t have the numbers. We’ve been competing professionally with other women for decades and still only won a handful of accolades. We’re no threat.
No. Trans women want to, and should compete with the women because we ARE women and attempting to argue otherwise is not just transphobic, it’s misogynistic.
Talk about solving problems that don’t exist.