Save Women's Sport - the pearl clutching begins

Louis

Private citizen
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Multiple people have argued that they don’t think trans women should compete in women’s sports. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that a trans skater might read this thread and assume that people mean the exact thing that they’re saying.

People have argued that anyone who completes male puberty should not compete in women’s sports, with valid scientific rationale. Anyone old enough to transition is old enough to understand that the transition, post-male puberty, will give them competitive advantages over cis women. Trans people (and their “advocates”) need to understand that others have rights, too, and that we must find a balanced solution where trans rights do not infringe on cis women’s rights. Open competition is a fair solution, but it needs much more detail beyond what FINA provided so far.

Labelling people anti-trans because they only agree with 99% of what you write is silly and counterproductive. As someone on the other side of the political spectrum, where people are anti-trans in hateful and hurtful ways, I can tell you that many of the oddball arguments (e.g., women can be born with penises) from “advocates”* make the discussion unnecessarily harder. To me, this is a discussion about the sanctity of life and about doing everything we possibly can to reduce rates of suicide and self-harm that are devastatingly high in the trans community. This is not about swim teams or bathrooms or anything else. It’s unacceptable that people are killing or hurting themselves because they’re born in a body that doesn’t match their gender. Oppose care for trans people, and children will die. Regardless of religious or any other beliefs, a trans child will always be better than a dead child. That’s my message to anti-trans people.

*Most of these esoteric, kooky messages are coming from people who label themselves trans advocates rather than from the community.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
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33,031
An example of the war against women, IMO, is what has happened to Women's Studies. Finally, women had earned their own discipline in academia, Women's Studies. Now, in my part of the world, we have 'Gender and Women's Studies.' Once again, women have been pushed out of first place.

IME this evolution has happened because Women's Studies departments tend to be small and underfunded, so they expand their scope or join up with other areas of study to survive. Underfunding those programs, and why that happens, is a whole other question. But expanding the scope of the programs isn't necessarily because of a desire to minimize the importance or significance of Women's Studies as a discipline on its own.
 

Trillian

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People have argued that anyone who completes male puberty should not compete in women’s sports, with valid scientific rationale. Anyone old enough to transition is old enough to understand that the transition, post-male puberty, will give them competitive advantages over cis women.

Maybe, but we don’t have a lot of actual scientific data regarding how much competitive advantage trans women actually have in various sports, or the degree to which transitioning and other factors might offset some of those advantages. Part of the reason we don’t have much data is because there aren’t that many trans women competing in the first place, and the ones who do are not overwhelmingly successful. Nobody advocating against trans women in sports is reacting to a pattern, because there isn’t one.

Trans people (and their “advocates”) need to understand that others have rights, too, and that we must find a balanced solution where trans rights do not infringe on cis women’s rights.

As a cis woman myself, I’m really unclear as to which of my rights would be violated if I raced against a trans woman. The right to never lose a sporting event to a woman more physically gifted than me? If that’s a right, I have bad news about … the nature of sports.

On the other hand, I can easily imagine how cis women will suffer under a ban against trans women. All those years that people have pointed at someone like Brittney Griner and tried to claim that she can’t possibly be a “real” woman? Their garbage claims are actionable now. On a practical level, that’s what we’re doing here.

Labelling people anti-trans because they only agree with 99% of what you write is silly and counterproductive.

I agree. But there is a difference between labeling someone as anti-trans, and pointing out that the arguments they’re repeating originated in anti-trans rhetoric. Part of the utility of talking points is that other people will start to repeat them without knowing the source or how they’ve been deployed in other contexts. And part of the downside is that if someone is using talking points that are closely associated with a particular ideology, people who don’t know otherwise might think they support that ideology in full.
 

PRlady

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Maybe, but we don’t have a lot of actual scientific data regarding how much competitive advantage trans women actually have in various sports, or the degree to which transitioning and other factors might offset some of those advantages. Part of the reason we don’t have much data is because there aren’t that many trans women competing in the first place, and the ones who do are not overwhelmingly successful. Nobody advocating against trans women in sports is reacting to a pattern, because there isn’t one.



As a cis woman myself, I’m really unclear as to which of my rights would be violated if I raced against a trans woman. The right to never lose a sporting event to a woman more physically gifted than me? If that’s a right, I have bad news about … the nature of sports.

On the other hand, I can easily imagine how cis women will suffer under a ban against trans women. All those years that people have pointed at someone like Brittney Griner and tried to claim that she can’t possibly be a “real” woman? Their garbage claims are actionable now. On a practical level, that’s what we’re doing here.



I agree. But there is a difference between labeling someone as anti-trans, and pointing out that the arguments they’re repeating originated in anti-trans rhetoric. Part of the utility of talking points is that other people will start to repeat them without knowing the source or how they’ve been deployed in other contexts. And part of the downside is that if someone is using talking points that are closely associated with a particular ideology, people who don’t know otherwise might think they support that ideology in full.
Now that’s a reasonable response (or am I tone-policing for saying that?)This discussion has a lot of valid POV and I think you’re right that I should be careful not to give credence to haterz’ talking points - while still thinking that some of the extremist rhetoric has done a lot of harm.

“Don’t give the bastards a stick to beat you with” is a truism of my career. The first time I heard “defund the police” I yelled NO don’t say it that way! I realize I’m conditioned by the lousy postulates of Comms work and that’s a very singular lens.

Anyway I can’t imagine the swimming issue arising in skating, a transwoman isn’t going to necessarily land quads purely on physical strength and skinny little cis girls can do that anyway. A transman pairs or dance guy is probably at a strength disadvantage relate to cis guys. And in such a heteronormative lookist sport, good luck to anyone who doesn’t fit the stereotype, cis or trans.
 

Asli

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As a cis woman myself, I’m really unclear as to which of my rights would be violated if I raced against a trans woman.

The right to fair competition and for some contact sports the right to safety would be violated.

If you have time to watch the video prepared by World Rugby, they explain how significant the performance difference between male and female bodies is and how little of this advantage is diminished when a trans woman reduces her testosterone to the accepted level.

For instance, the difference in muscle volume/area is 45% and there is a decrease of 0 to 4% when testosterone is decreased.

The difference in strength is between 30-60% with only 0-9% decrease with reduced testosterone.

Only running speed is significantly reduced with testosterone: The difference is originally 10-15% and is reduced by 0-10% with reduced testosterone.

They stress the fact that the advantage of trans women comes mostly from having undergone male puberty.

The right to never lose a sporting event to a woman more physically gifted than me? If that’s a right, I have bad news about … the nature of sports.

It is unfair to biological women. The above enormous differences can't be compared to the small differences between two biological women.

In sports, biology is important, not gender. The fact that a trans woman's gender is female doesn't take away her on average 45% superior muscle mass, longer arms and legs, lower fat ratio, narrower hips, bigger heart, bigger lungs, stronger cardiovascular system and other advantages a male puberty has given her.

This doesn't reflect in any way on her gender, but only on her sports performance.

Which brings me full circle, because I'm pretty sure this was the first thing I had said in this thread. :)
 
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Asli

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Since the number of transgender young people is increasing and more athletes are likely to want to compete hopefully the various federations can use their imagination to make the open categories more interesting and acceptable to trans women. Trans women wouldn't want to be the odd one out in a men's race, so for instance in the IAAF sprint events one or more of the heats could be 4 men with 4 trans women. In longer distances trans women could also be grouped together. Mixed relays are an incentive for clubs to support female athletes and so they might be for them to support trans women athletes.

All sports have evolved so much, I'm sure they'll think of something.
 

Trillian

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Now that’s a reasonable response (or am I tone-policing for saying that?)This discussion has a lot of valid POV and I think you’re right that I should be careful not to give credence to haterz’ talking points - while still thinking that some of the extremist rhetoric has done a lot of harm.

“Don’t give the bastards a stick to beat you with” is a truism of my career. The first time I heard “defund the police” I yelled NO don’t say it that way! I realize I’m conditioned by the lousy postulates of Comms work and that’s a very singular lens.

I don’t have your professional background, but I feel like the weird extra layer in these kinds of conversations now is that it’s increasingly harder to figure out how people have been influenced by rhetoric that in some cases we don’t even know is floating around out there. I didn’t get super into literary theory in college, but the idea of “interpretive communities” made a big impression on me and I sometimes wonder if part of the challenge with communication now is how fractured those communities have become.

Anyway I can’t imagine the swimming issue arising in skating, a transwoman isn’t going to necessarily land quads purely on physical strength and skinny little cis girls can do that anyway. A transman pairs or dance guy is probably at a strength disadvantage relate to cis guys. And in such a heteronormative lookist sport, good luck to anyone who doesn’t fit the stereotype, cis or trans.

I agree. I would really like to see skating err on the side of inclusion.

In sports, biology is important, not gender. The fact that a trans woman's gender is female doesn't take away her on average 45% superior muscle mass, longer arms and legs, lower fat ratio, narrower hips, bigger heart, bigger lungs, stronger cardiovascular system and other advantages a male puberty has given her.

Even if all this is true, we don’t have any data showing that physical differences between trans women and cis women will result in a pattern of trans women utterly dominating cis women when they compete together in sports. The small amount of data we have doesn’t support that conclusion. Cis women are more likely to lose opportunities in sports because men cut the funding than because a couple of trans women showed up to compete. There are real systemic problems that exist for women’s sports. There’s no data to support the assertion that trans women are one of those problems.
 

PRlady

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I don’t have your professional background, but I feel like the weird extra layer in these kinds of conversations now is that it’s increasingly harder to figure out how people have been influenced by rhetoric that in some cases we don’t even know is floating around out there. I didn’t get super into literary theory in college, but the idea of “interpretive communities” made a big impression on me and I sometimes wonder if part of the challenge with communication now is how fractured those communities have become.



I agree. I would really like to see skating err on the side of inclusion.
Interpretive communities is a concept that came along long after my academic days but it’s an interesting thought. Agreed that on so many hot topics these days, it’s hard to remember the common foundation that used to be taken for granted (which probably excluded minority POV and lived experience, so there’s that.)

Two things I do know from experience. One is from my miserable two years doing Comms for an academic society: it’s almost impossible to translate complex, nuanced topics like CRT into simple concepts that can’t be caricatured by opponents.

The other is that when someone accuses you of tone policing or moving the goalposts it means they have no substantive response to what you’ve just said.
 

Asli

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Even if all this is true, we don’t have any data showing that physical differences between trans women and cis women will result in a pattern of trans women utterly dominating cis women when they compete together in sports.
We do have the data showing the differences in performance in various sports between men and women and the data showing that the physical performance of trans women reduces only marginally when they reduce testosterone. We have the conclusions reached by scientists that male puberty is the main source of physical advantages in sports.

If you take the time to look at the various presentations made during the two-day workshop by World Rugby, you will see that there is quite enough data. The data they use comes from twelve separate peer-reviewed research articles.

If trans women are allowed to compete with natal women despite this data, this situation is likely to be harmful to the sisterhood between these two groups.

An annual review is going to be made to include any new data. I don't think the process can be any fairer.
 
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MacMadame

Doing all the things
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49,233
But the pain comes mostly from society’s lack of inclusion—from legal barriers like this week’s swimming decision to the outrageous expenses associated with surgery and hormones—rather than from transpeople being trans.
Some people even de-transition because of these sorts of things. Or are kept from transitioning as fully as they want to.

“Tiny minority” may be misused as a talking point although it is objectively true. And weighing the good for numbers of people IF their interests conflict is political philosophy 101. The question of conflict in this area was one of the topics in this thread open to debate.
You are talking here and elsewhere in this thread as if this is some abstract discussion but we are talking about the existence of real people here. This isn't the gun control debate where we're talking about how to regulate a piece of hardware. It's people's bodies and lives and rights that are being regulated.

Susan Faludi wrote a book called 'Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women' some years ago, but it still rings true today. She demonstrates that for every step forward women take, they take two or three back.
You've said that before and I was going to comment but (a) I've read that book and that is not what she said and (b) if we took two steps back for every one step forward. we would never have gotten out of the Dark Ages. It's actually 1 step back for every 2 steps forward.

I agree. I would really like to see skating err on the side of inclusion.

Published last Friday so I think it's a good sign.

The other is that when someone accuses you of tone policing or moving the goalposts it means they have no substantive response to what you’ve just said.
Personally, I find your constant questioning of @Flake99 to be offensive and a way to derail her points. And you have been tone policing and also moving the goals posts. I guess that means I have no substantive response either. 🤷 If you are truly curious about their posting history, why don't you send them a PM instead of responding to their actual points by casting doubts about who they are?
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
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Since the number of transgender young people is increasing
I apologise in advance for being pedantic, but I don’t think the numbers of transgender people increasing or decreasing can be quantified properly. LGBT people have always been here. It is just that now we live in societies where it is safe to be open about ourselves at a younger age. I knew I was gay when I was 10. I also knew it was not safe for me to be open about it. I was in my twenties before I was officially out. It is a good thing that young people don’t have spent decades hiding their identities.
Trans women wouldn't want to be the odd one out in a men's race, so for instance in the IAAF sprint events one or more of the heats could be 4 men with 4 trans women.
There are no elite transgender women athletes competing that I know about. I am not sure why you think transgender women would want to compete against men in any case. I am not trans myself, but if I was I would find it humiliating. It would be more honest to just ban them from competing and say there is no place for transgender people in sport at any level.

Side note: the IAAF is now World Athletics.
 

Asli

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I apologise in advance for being pedantic, but I don’t think the numbers of transgender people increasing or decreasing can be quantified properly.

You're absolutely right and I apologise. I should have said "Since the number of people applying to gender clinics is increasing". I meant that since almost 50 times more teenagers are applying, in the near future there will probably be more trans athletes.

I am not sure why you think transgender women would want to compete against men in any case.

IMHO the stigma here might be surpassed if an "open" category can be sold as a really mixed one, in the same way as we have surpassed the centuries-old idea that sports were unladylike.

Mixed sports isn't an unfamiliar concept for younger people, because children play sports together at school. In France up to around 13 years of age, they race together, long jump together, wrestle together and even (rather alarmingly for this mum of two little tulips at that age) play rugby together. Then they have to be separated for some of the sports because they develop differently during puberty. The group of trans girls will have the same puberty as the boys, but otherwise there is continuity. 13 isn't so far back for the current group of teenage trans people.

The current trans women athletes come from men's sport. That is the body they compete with. While being respectful to their gender identity, it is important to tell the truth about their biological reality. You wouldn't base any medical decisions, for instance, on the assumption that these trans girls have the same body as biological girls.


Side note: the IAAF is now World Athletics.

The French GP is still Lalique to me. 😉
 

Trillian

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508
We do have the data showing the differences in performance in various sports between men and women and the data showing that the physical performance of trans women reduces only marginally when they reduce testosterone. We have the conclusions reached by scientists that male puberty is the main source of physical advantages in sports.

What does the data from real life indicate? Where are the studies that show a clear pattern of actual cis women being consistently unable to beat actual trans women in actual competitive events in a given sport? In which specific sports have cis women been rendered unable to compete or win at the highest levels because trans women have become so dominant? In other words, what is the proof that this hypothetical disparity in athletic skill is actually hurting cis women?

In contact sports, significant size differences between athletes might increase the risk of injury. But not all cis women or trans women are built the same, so why wouldn’t the rules control for size disparities instead?
 

PRlady

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What does the data from real life indicate? Where are the studies that show a clear pattern of actual cis women being consistently unable to beat actual trans women in actual competitive events in a given sport? In which specific sports have cis women been rendered unable to compete or win at the highest levels because trans women have become so dominant? In other words, what is the proof that this hypothetical disparity in athletic skill is actually hurting cis women?

In contact sports, significant size differences between athletes might increase the risk of injury. But not all cis women or trans women are built the same, so why wouldn’t the rules control for size disparities instead?
Just to that last point, that seems right. Wrestling and boxing have weight classes, and although weight doesn’t completely equate to strength, in contact sports it’s a fair way to categorize.
 

Asli

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What does the data from real life indicate? Where are the studies that show a clear pattern of actual cis women being consistently unable to beat actual trans women in actual competitive events in a given sport?
You are responsible for making me say this: A trans woman is born with a male body, has male puberty and in every way that relates to sports, is not different from a male athlete. Gender has nothing to do with physique. Therefore the statistics that compare men and women are valid.

Only testosterone levels are different and the scientific evidence shows that the difference is not significant for the results.

Rules have to be made according to fairness and safety criteria. Not according to whether there haven't been many trans athletes up to now. If even one trans woman athlete wants to compete, the federation has to make a decision about the rules.

Many federations aren't listening to the world governing bodies anyway. It looks like trans women will be able to play rugby and football in some women's teams.
 

Asli

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Just to that last point, that seems right. Wrestling and boxing have weight classes, and although weight doesn’t completely equate to strength, in contact sports it’s a fair way to categorize.
The research I talked about above says that on average a man's punch is 160% stronger than a woman's IIRC. The weight difference betweeen the sexes is pretty small.

We, of course, carry around a good deal of fat that was supposed to be of use if there were famine while we were pregnant. ;)

ETA: I've just checked. The advantage is 160% for punching while "only" 30% for weightlifting. Our species sure needed to punch during evolution. :eek:

These values are in the summary video, around 10min20, to the right of the screen.
 
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Trillian

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Rules have to be made according to fairness and safety criteria. Not according to whether there haven't been many trans athletes up to now. If even one trans woman athlete wants to compete, the federation has to make a decision about the rules.

So there isn’t any actual data from athletic competition to support the assertion that trans women will invariably outperform cis women, or that controlling for genitals instead of size makes contact sports inherently safer for cis women?

But despite this lack of evidence, the threat … of something … for cis women is so great that the correct policy decision is to exclude an already marginalized group rather than err on the side of being inclusive, even though rules excluding trans women also have the potential to directly harm cis and intersex women?

Cool. Got it.
 

Asli

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So there isn’t any actual data from athletic competition to support the assertion that trans women will invariably outperform cis women, or that controlling for genitals instead of size makes contact sports inherently safer for cis women?

There is ample evidence that the male advantage doesn't come from the genitals being there and therefore "controlling for genitals" as you say, won't change it. The advantage comes from the puberty.

However many times I say this, you answer back "there is no evidence".
 

just tuned in

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There was an episode of Queer Eye where a very sweet trans woman was a power lifter. One of the ways that the rift was healed between her and her father is that she had just recently won first place is a prestigious power-lifting competition (women's division). Nice for her, but maybe not so nice for places two through four.

Related: I cannot help but wonder why are so many people being born in the wrong body. Scientists and the medical community need to check the water or something.
 

Trillian

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However many times I say this, you answer back "there is no evidence".

I asked you to share data showing actual harm toward real cis women caused by including real trans women in real competitions. If you have that data, by all means, I’d love to see it.
 

Asli

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I asked you to share data showing actual harm toward real cis women caused by including real trans women in real competitions. If you have that data, by all means, I’d love to see it.
For instance person A punches 160% harder than person B. Person B has a thinner bone structure and a much lighter mass of muscle holding them. You don't accept this as "data", you want person A to actually punch person B and break her neck. Is that it?
 

Asli

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There have been reports of the few trans women playing rugby injuring female players, but I don't want to give links to them because these are anecdotal. This article sums up some security concerns:

World Rugby bans trans women from elite women’s game due to injury risks

This article is based on scientific data. Several national rugby federations won't be heeding the recommendations of World Rugby. So soon you may have more of the kind of "data" that you seem to prefer, @Trillian :scream:
 

Trillian

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For instance person A punches 160% harder than person B. Person B has a thinner bone structure and a much lighter mass of muscle holding them. You don't accept this as "data", you want person A to actually punch person B and break her neck. Is that it?

If the athletes are just straight up punching each other in a given sport, there needs to be attention to safety protocols independent of gender identity. That scenario shouldn’t happen regardless of the gender identities of the athletes involved.

“Cis women can’t compete against trans women or they’ll literally die” is a great argument though. I guess I must be a real extremist for being skeptical of that one.
 

allezfred

Lipinski Stole My Catchphrase
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There was an episode of Queer Eye where a very sweet trans woman was a power lifter. One of the ways that the rift was healed between her and her father is that she had just recently won first place is a prestigious power-lifting competition (women's division). Nice for her, but maybe not so nice for places two through four.
How do you know how places two through four feel? There is a possibility they don’t mind as sport is supposed to about fun after all and just doing your best.
Related: I cannot help but wonder why are so many people being born in the wrong body. Scientists and the medical community need to check the water or something.
I am going to let you have a few minutes to sit back and think why this is so offensive.
 

Asli

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If the athletes are just straight up punching each other in a given sport, there needs to be attention to safety protocols independent of gender identity. That scenario shouldn’t happen regardless of the gender identities of the athletes involved.
There is such a sport. It is boxing and it is independent of gender identitiy. It is utterly dependent on biological sex.
“Cis women can’t compete against trans women or they’ll literally die” is a great argument though.
:rofl: Literally hilarious.
 

Trillian

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There is such a sport. It is boxing and it is independent of gender identitiy. It is utterly dependent on biological sex.

I’m not personally a fan of boxing or any other sport where the objective involves punching each other in the head, but aren’t the athletes already separated by weight class? If muscle mass is a concern, develop a policy to address that. It doesn’t have to be a blanket ban on all trans women.

How are trans women swimmers going to kill their cis opponents? I feel like if they were trying to drown each other the sport would get better TV ratings.
 

Asli

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I’m not personally a fan of boxing or any other sport where the objective involves punching each other in the head, but aren’t the athletes already separated by weight class? If muscle mass is a concern, develop a policy to address that. It doesn’t have to be a blanket ban on all trans women.
As I have mentioned several times above, research shows that men punch 160% harder than women, despite the weights being fairly close. Womens' weight includes more fat. It's distribution is bottom-heavy - heavier hips and thighs that are dead weight and affect their movements, while men's weight is top-heavy and they have narrower hips.


How are trans women swimmers going to kill their cis opponents? I feel like if they were trying to drown each other the sport would get better TV ratings.

Safety is only an issue for contact sports. This is made very clear in the report by World Rugby. The issue with the other sports is fairness.
 

Trillian

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Safety is only an issue for contact sports. This is made very clear in the report by World Rugby. The issue with the other sports is fairness.

Okay, so again: what is the actual data from actual sporting events showing that the inclusion of trans women in non-contact sports creates an unfair situation for cis women?
 

morqet

rising like a phoenix
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I’m not personally a fan of boxing or any other sport where the objective involves punching each other in the head, but aren’t the athletes already separated by weight class? If muscle mass is a concern, develop a policy to address that. It doesn’t have to be a blanket ban on all trans women.
Weight classes without sex segregation are pointless because (as @Asli has so beautifully pointed out multiple times) bodies that have been through male puberty have a significantly higher weight to power ratio, due to male bodied people having a lower body fat percentage than female bodied people. This difference is not eliminated when an individual transitions from male to female.

How are trans women swimmers going to kill their cis opponents? I feel like if they were trying to drown each other the sport would get better TV ratings
Oh cool, so as long as we're not going to actually die, women should just suck up any other changes? Good to know.

If you genuinely are interested in understanding the data around the fairness or not of trans inclusion in female sport, listen to the Science of Sport podcast, which is presented by a scientist who has been extensively involved in looking at this for the World Athletics and World Rugby, and had his mind changed about what is and isn't fair from actually looking at the data;
https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podca...s-on-transgender/id1461719225?i=1000542224517
 

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