Trans athletes make great gains, yet resentment still flares (1 Viewer)

Mr. Sparkle

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Across the U.S. and in many places abroad, transgender athletes are breaking barriers in high school, college and pro sports and being embraced by teammates and fans. But resentments can still flare when transgender women start winning and dominating their sport.

Exhibit A is a recent public exchange involving tennis great Martina Navratilova, who came out as a lesbian in 1981 and is a longtime gay-rights activist. She now stands accused of being “transphobic” after asserting that many transgender women — even if they’ve undergone hormone treatment — have an unfair advantage over other female competitors.

“A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires,” Navratilova wrote in a Feb. 17 op-ed for The Sunday Times of London. “It’s insane and it’s cheating.”


I find the headline and overall tone of the story to be a classic example of media bias but its an interesting phenomenon.

If my teenage daughter was competing against a teenage boy undergoing hormone therapy I'm not sure I'd consider that a fair competition. I consider that a good faith question that has to do with biology, not "transphobic resentment."

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Optimus Prime

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Article definitely related to this conversation, but delete if it's too political for the EE

Interesting that this article says that there is no research showing there is any advantage for transgendered athletes but the other article I just posted (also from the Guardian BTW) shows literal research showing an advantage

Trans women retain 12% edge in tests two years after transitioning, study finds | Sport | The Guardian
=================================================================

Republican lawmakers in more than 25 US states have advanced legislation banning transgender children from certain sports teams and limiting their access to gender-affirming healthcare.

Trans youth represent just a fraction of the US population – recent estimates suggest they make up 0.7% to 2% of youth. But conservative lawmakers have introduced more than 80 bills regulating their lives in the first three months of 2021, the highest-ever number of anti-trans legislative proposals filed in a single year.

The volume of bills, which have spread in nearly every region of the country, and the coordinated campaigns behind some of them, suggests trans kids’ lives have become a central focus of the GOP culture war following the 2020 presidential election.

“They are acting like we aren’t humans, that we don’t deserve the same things as them,” said Kris Wilka, a 13-year-old football player and trans boy in South Dakota, where lawmakers have passed legislation that would prohibit trans students from playing on the sports teams that correspond with their gender.

“Trans rights have been turned into a wedge issue,” said Jules Gill-Peterson, professor of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at the University of Pittsburgh, who has researched the history of trans children in the US.

“The Republican party is hardly interested in defending women’s sports. This is a purely calculated political play,” Gill-Peterson said. “And it’s really easy to use children as a political football, because we don’t grant children the privilege to speak for themselves and defend their own interests.”...............

‘This is not a real issue’
The have largely focused on two issues: sports and healthcare. The sports bills seek to ban trans kids from competing on teams that correspond with their gender. The healthcare bills block their access to gender-affirming medical treatments, and in some cases and criminalize doctors and parents who support them.

The youth sports bills, which claim to “promote fairness in women’s sports”, are based on a simple claim: that boys allowed to compete against girls and have an unfair advantage.

“They’re telling parents of cisgender children that you’re losing something by allowing transgender youth to play in sports,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ+ rights group. “We’ve seen this playbook before – you’re losing something if you allow same-sex couples to marry, if you protect racial minorities in the workplace, if immigration laws are respected. It’s us vs them.”

But there is no research suggesting that trans girls have a competitive advantage. When the Associated Press recently contacted lawmakers behind the proposed bans, most couldn’t cite a single local example of a trans girl playing sports. Some pointed to a Connecticut case in which cisgender girls’ families sued, alleging that two trans female sprinters had an unfair advantage.

But two days after that lawsuit was filed, one of the cis girls beat her trans competitor in a state championship race, noted Dr Jack Turban, a child psychiatry fellow at Stanford who researches trans youth mental health: “This is not a real issue impacting America’s youth.” In California, schools for years have been required to allow trans students to participate on the teams that match their gender, and there have been no concerns, he said..............

How trans children became 'a political football' for the Republican party (msn.com)
 
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Mr. Sparkle

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I don't see how it's false equivalence. The point is that it's not about your gender, it's about what physical advantages you were born with and how hard you work at your craft. At the upper levels of any sport there are people who just have greater physical talents and men will always have the advantage in any sport based on pure physical force. But, in the middle and lower levels, there likely isn't much difference in physical talent between men and women besides men just having a brute force advantage.

I mean, I recall watching a 12 year-old girl throw a softball 70 MPH. Imagine had she been allowed and trained to throw a baseball instead? I would bet she would have been just as good as any other 12 year-old boy pitching baseball.

On the other hand, my daughter who did not have those physical talents or drive to be great, had to try to hit that 70 MPH pitch and she had no chance at it. What's the difference if that 70 MPH pitch comes from a girl or a girl that was born a boy? I mean, maybe there is a difference, but I'm struggling to see it.

I think the difference is there are going to be lots and lots of boys that throw 70, but only a handful of girls. So if it doesn't matter if its a boy or a girl that throws that hard imagine a coed league where your daughter is facing that velocity nearly every at bat and not just when she faced the Best Player in the League. It's not the outliers, its the rest of the field that's at issue.
 

guidomerkinsrules

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You know that he didn't mean every man is physically more gifted than every woman.
maybe you don't understand science facts ;)

This is not that hard... biological males are physically different because they went though a testosterone driven puberty and developed differently... This is science fact... regardless of how you mentally identify... there will nearly always be an unfair advantage in favor of a biological male... ignoring this fact is insane, and unfair to biological females wanting to compete in sports.

of course his coming in on page 22 tuttutting about the obvious obviousness of the science facts - which has been discussed many times over in the thread - perhaps made me lean in a bit
but now that i know he's an ignore list user, i'll ease up:p
 

Saint_Ward

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I'm pretty sure I stayed out of this thread (if I'm wrong, I just don't recall). I'm not reading all 23 pages of posts, so if there is a very good point I need to consider, point it out.

I'll start out with a few caveats. I was a junior high and high school athlete. Just not a great one. I played basketball until I decided to no longer play my Sophomore year. I ran cross country for 5 years, I did track and field for 6 years, I did soccer a couple years in grade school, and I played golf one year. I was also on the Quiz Bowl team (like the academic challenge thing in Spiderman Homecoming)

Most of the sports I participated in had simple Male/Female, Varisity/JV/Freshman (sometimes) divisions. And that ignores State Class A, B, C, D (or however each state does it). I hated states for Quiz Bowl, because they would combine class C and D, so our little class D school, ended up getting third in the state my senior year, because 1 and 2 were both class C schools. Bigger schools have more resources and the law of averages works out that you may have more top students or athletes. May not have the best, but overall odds are better. It's why sports are divided by divisions.

Me, being like a bottom 25 percentile athlete in most events (discus I just barely missed state qualification, that was my better event)., would definitely be beaten by girls in many sports or events, but I wouldn't be a bottom 25 percentile athlete for them. And in a lot of events, I'd crush them. Discus, shot put, etc. Our JV basketball couch would always talk trash, and he loved talking trash when the Varsity girls Basketball team thought they were better than they were (they really weren't, they were better when I was a bit younger).. he'd counter that the boys Freshman team would dominate the women's varsity team.

Also, I know for one or two cross country meets, instead of the usual Women's JV, Women's Varsity, Men's JV, Mens Varsity races, some Meets would just do the Varsity races, and then have an "open" race, where JV, junior high, anyone who wasn't an adult could run.

I also want to add in that my son in law is gay and somewhat gender fluid at the moment. I'd consider him (he'd rather I use They, but grammatically it's difficult and I don't want to use his proper name) androgynous. No sex changes, no hormone therapy, etc. No desire to do sports. So, just want to say that I'm sensitive to the issues.

So, with all that said....

I think the competitive advantage needs to be factored in. I think in most cases, it makes more sense for transgendered girls (boys to girls) and transgendered boys (girls to boys) to be able to compete in the boys division or create their own or an open. This becomes more of a challenge in larger team sports. i.e. you can't have a transgendered basketball team, because most schools won't have 5-10 transgendered kids, let alone 5-10 who want to play basketball. I think this tends to come up more often in individual type sports. So, either they have to compete in the harder gender division, or an 'open' or 'un-rated' division / designation would need to be created.

Unrated, meaning.. Compete, but the result doesn't count. We disqualify kids for all kinds of reasons. I think that may be potentially more 'hurtful' than an "open division", but it may be more practical to implement when talking one or two kids.

Another option could be that you allow only transitions kids to play on their transitioned gender for JV sports only, where there really aren't state champion, state records, etc, usually. I'm sure parents would complain it is unfair to their kids, but JV really doesn't count as much to me. Otherwise, just stick to the ideas I posted above for all levels.

And, I never really looked into how different states or sports are doing this.
 

DaveXA

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I think the difference is there are going to be lots and lots of boys that throw 70, but only a handful of girls. So if it doesn't matter if its a boy or a girl that throws that hard imagine a coed league where your daughter is facing that velocity nearly every at bat and not just when she faced the Best Player in the League. It's not the outliers, its the rest of the field that's at issue.

Yeah, the 95th percentile for males is going to be far, far different than the 95th percentile for women.

I want to say it was the example of the Olympic short track, the slowest male competitor was faster than the fastest woman, and by a good margin iirc.
 
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I would argue that the difference would be significant enough at the mid and lower levels. Maybe not as apparent because I suspect people pay less attention to those levels. But it's there. And for someone who is already skilled making the transition will have the added advantage of being that much stronger physically than her peers, at least initially. I don't know if it should be 12 months or 24 months after, but even after all of the treatments there still is a small advantage, and maybe arguably skill can overcome that.

And this is coming from someone who is sympathetic to trans being able to fit in. I think it can work, but it's going to be a lot of trial and error before we settle on something that works for most everyone involved.

I do think expanding rosters could be a starting point. But every team is going to have to play by the same rules and agree on what's fair to everyone involved.
I think a good question also to ask about professional competition is what permanent advantages are gained in the developmental stages while being a biological male and what advantages, such as bone density & reflexes are things that cannot be reversed with any amount of therapy?
 

guidomerkinsrules

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went though a few pages but did not see it discussed...
is the point of competition winning or improving?

the sprinter who only bronzed bc there were 2 trans athletes who beat her
if she continues to compete against them, she's bound to get better, right?
this is why USWNT competes against boy soccer teams - not to win, but to get better
 
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I'm pretty sure I stayed out of this thread (if I'm wrong, I just don't recall). I'm not reading all 23 pages of posts, so if there is a very good point I need to consider, point it out.
All of my points are awesome. You can just read those and ignore everyone else. :D
 

DaveXA

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went though a few pages but did not see it discussed...
is the point of competition winning or improving?

the sprinter who only bronzed bc there were 2 trans athletes who beat her
if she continues to compete against them, she's bound to get better, right?
this is why USWNT competes against boy soccer teams - not to win, but to get better

Both. You get better in order to try and win. Did those 2 win 1/2 because they were trans or because they were just better? I think it's relevant.

To put it another way, that 3rd place athlete likely was already winning among other females until the trans athletes come into the picture. Right?
 

GeauxWhoDats

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how in the world did you get there?

If Bronze strives to improve to beat Silver and Gold are the Silver and Gold runners incapable of improving at the same rate of Bronze? Is Bronze only improving because it is a feel good story to overcome the odds to beat Silver and Gold? The carrot on the stick argument doesn't hold weight here because everyone has the same size stick (no pun intended).
 

guidomerkinsrules

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Both. You get better in order to try and win. Did those 2 win 1/2 because they were trans or because they were just better? I think it's relevant.
i was a very good athlete before HS - my best friend was just a physical freak
i was never going to beat him, but i certainly got better bc i competed against him ALL of the time
 

guidomerkinsrules

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If Bronze strives to improve to beat Silver and Gold are the Silver and Gold runners incapable of improving at the same rate of Bronze? Is Bronze only improving because it is a feel good story to overcome the odds to beat Silver and Gold? The carrot on the stick argument doesn't hold weight here because everyone has the same size stick (no pun intended).
there was no 'to beat Silver & Gold'
chasing faster people makes you faster
it's a science fact
 
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I think the competitive advantage needs to be factored in. I think in most cases, it makes more sense for transgendered girls (boys to girls) and transgendered boys (girls to boys) to be able to compete in the boys division or create their own or an open. This becomes more of a challenge in larger team sports. i.e. you can't have a transgendered basketball team, because most schools won't have 5-10 transgendered kids, let alone 5-10 who want to play basketball. I think this tends to come up more often in individual type sports. So, either they have to compete in the harder gender division, or an 'open' or 'un-rated' division / designation would need to be created.

Unrated, meaning.. Compete, but the result doesn't count. We disqualify kids for all kinds of reasons. I think that may be potentially more 'hurtful' than an "open division", but it may be more practical to implement when talking one or two kids.
I honestly like the idea of an open division where everyone is allowed a chance to compete.
 

DaveXA

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i was a very good athlete before HS - my best friend was just a physical freak
i was never going to beat him, but i certainly got better bc i competed against him ALL of the time

Sure, but the point of competing, at least for a lot of people is to win, not just to get better.

I was a decent enough athlete in HS to win a decent amount in basketball, football and baseball. But those were all team sports, and while I helped the team win, I wasn't typically the best on the field. But our team usually was better than the other team. The point was we tried to win. I think if my team knew the other team was playing by a different set of rules, we'd probably still play, but know it wasn't a legitimate match.
 

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