Cartoon: June Davis Finally Wins, Which Is Not Allowed


This cartoon was thought of by Grace, co-written by me and Grace, drawn by me, and colored by Frank Young. A team effort!


If you support these cartoons on Patreon, that will tip the balance of the universe just enough in the right direction so that Thanos will lose. I’m not saying that if you don’t pledge and then fifty percent of all living creatures are killed, then it’ll be your fault. But I’m not not saying that, either.


Grace writes:

I love this cartoon.

I love collaborating with Barry, because it’s real collaboration.  He listens to my cartoon ideas, he listens to my scripting ideas, and we collaborate especially well in the word-by-word fine-tuning which we often do at the end.  Barry does the real heavy lifting with all of the cartooning, of course, which is not just “drawing”, but as I’ve come to learn from him also includes pacing, and what works to deliver a punchline.

And in this case, “punchline” is particularly apt, because for me, this one delivers a gut punch.  If I’m in a physical competition, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve lost.  It doesn’t matter how hard I’ve worked.  It doesn’t matter that people don’t know how low my testosterone levels are (and the T levels of trans female athletes are usually very low, well below the values for cis female athletes).  If I win, once, it was unfair.

This cartoon beautifully illustrates this, both confirmation bias and cherry-picking.  People believe what they believe, and they rationalize in support of it, and there’s no better way to rationalize than to cherry-pick the evidence and present only the evidence which supports your argument.

This cartoon does what the best advocacy cartoons all do:  it illustrates the point of a nuanced argument with a pithy example.

Thanks for making it real, Barry!


There was a photo circulating a couple of years ago, of two trans girl track athletes in Connecticut leading a footrace. It was circulated a lot among social media, and even printed in a couple of UK newspapers, with the implication (or, sometimes, explicit statement) that it was unfair for them to compete, cis girls had no chance of winning, etc..

The families of two of the cis girls who didn’t win that race even sued.

But a race isn’t a season. The two girls went on to lose some races (oddly enough, no UK newspaper reported that), and – as the judge wrote in his decision – statistically, there was no sign that other girls couldn’t beat them. By the end of the season, a girl who sued did so much better than them in one event that she became state champion.

That was very much in my mind as Grace and I batted the script for this back and forth, and as I drew it.


This one was fun and interesting to draw. I don’t draw sports or jocks often, so it’s well outside my comfort zone. I wanted to show how lean and muscular serious runners are, but I didn’t want to draw muscles in so much detail it looks like an anatomy book.

I think Frank had a challenge, too, since he had to subtly make each panel’s color atmosphere look different enough so that readers could see them as taking place on separate days. Frank did a really nice job here; he used white highlights to really pop June out, and did nice details like the subtle clouds behind June in panel two.

I’m also pleased that I got to do a “stacked” layout for three of the panels. It’s the sort of layout trickery that comics can excel out, but which rarely seems called for in political cartoons.


I drew June with one enormous hand, as big as her head, in one panel, and didn’t notice until after Frank had colored the cartoon. When I pointed it out to Frank, he said he hadn’t noticed, but now he couldn’t not see it. (We fixed the hand.)


Yet Another Example of Pervasive Anti-Billionaire Bigotry is now available for anyone to buy, in either softcover or hardcover.

It’s really big – about 8.5×11″, containing about 200 cartoons, plus a ton of process drawings and prose. It could conceivably be a great birthday present for a progressive you love, or for a conservative you hate.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has eight panels. Every panel shows a runner on a track, and in all but the last panel she’s actively running a race. She has her hair done in two afro puffs, and is lean but muscular. Let’s call her June.

In every panel but the last two, June is wearing a different outfit, but all her outfits consist of a tank top with shorts. She also always has a paper taped to her shirt with a number on it, but the number changes form panel to panel.

There’s an additional tiny “kicker” panel under the last panel of the cartoon.

PANEL 1

We see three runners during a race, but the panel is laid out to focus on June, who looks tired and not like she’s winning this race. (One of the other girls we can see is well ahead of her.)

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: And here’s June Davis in fifth place!

PANEL 2

A profile picture of June running; we can see bits of the runners ahead and behind her, but they’re mostly off panel. June again looks tired, her mouth open as if she’s gasping for air, cartoon sweat beads flying.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …June Davis in sixth place!

PANEL 3

A close-up of June running, looking very determined. It’s raining, and big raindrops splash off of her shoulders and head.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …in second place!

Panels four through six together take up the space of any of the other panels in the cartoon, as if one of those panels had been divided into three panels. This is meant to indicate that a lot of time, and a lot of races, are passing.

PANEL 4

A longish shot, showing June from the upper legs up. Again, June runs and we can see other runners behind and in front, although they’re mostly cut off by the panel borders. June looks determined but also annoyed.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …in fourth place!

PANEL 5

A closer shot, showing June from the elbows up. She looks like she’s working hard, with a determined expression and her arms pumping hard.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …in third place!

PANEL 6

A long shot shows June’s whole figure as she runs hard (and again, with girls in front and behind). She’s leaning forward, a picture of speed, with the background done as horizontal speed lines.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …in fifth place!

PANEL 7

A shot of June, arms raised, happy but exhausted looking, as she hits the… What is that called? The big ribbon that the runner in first place gets to run through and break? Whatever that’s called, June has hit it; it’s stretching around her, about to rip.

UNSEEN ANNOUNCER: …it’s June Davis in first!

JUNE DAVIS (thought balloon): Finally!

PANEL 8

In the foreground, June is sitting on the track, leaning back on her arms and looking tired and sad. In the background, we can see two middle-aged people, both of whom look angry. They’re both dressed in “casual nice” clothing. The man has a black mustache and his arms crossed; the woman is raising and shaking a fist.

MUSTACHE MAN: Dammit! The trans “girl” won!

WOMAN: Unfair advantage! Real girls have no chance!

TINY KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

The mustache man is talking harshly to June, sticking his finger in her face. June, again, looks tired and sad.

MUSTACHE MAN: You can’t have a chance to win. It wouldn’t be fair.


June Davis Finally Wins, Which Is Not Allowed | Barry Deutsch on Patreon

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues, Sports, Transsexual and Transgender related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

51 Responses to Cartoon: June Davis Finally Wins, Which Is Not Allowed

  1. 1
    JaneDoh says:

    I really liked how you used the different sized panels in this one to show time passing. I also really liked your determined June faces. This cartoon really worked well for me.

  2. 2
    Someguy says:

    It is unfair in the same sense as doping.

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    Thanks, Jane! I think this is one of my better ones.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    It is unfair in the same sense as doping.

    First, welcome to Alas! Please remember to read our comments policy. (I’m not saying you’ve broken it, I’m just saying as a new poster it’s a good idea to read it.)

    It’s not doping.

    1) People dope to gain an advantage at sports. That’s not why people are trans.

    2) Being a trans woman doesn’t provide any clear advantage at sports – which is why, contrary to what people have been predicting since Renee Richards in the 1970s, no sports are dominated by trans women. Cis women beat trans women at sports all the time.

    If there were any reliable significant competitive advantage for trans women, the fact that we haven’t seen a single trans woman even compete in an Olympics is at least a little persuasive. The average age of an Olympian is 27. The focus on excluding trans women from women’s sport focuses almost exclusively on post-pubertal trans women. We’ve had 14 years of Olympics without a trans Olympian. That’s more than enough time for an elite post-pubertal trans woman to become successful enough to compete in an Olympics, especially if there’s a supposed unfair competitive advantage on the basis of being a post-pubertal trans woman. Remember, it’s not as if trans women athletes weren’t competing until only after the 2003 policy change: we’ve been here all along.

    Sailors simply dismissed the point too easily. I think the numbers largely speak for themselves: on the low end, there are 10-15 million trans women worldwide, 54,442 Olympians since trans women have been openly allowed to compete as women, and yet not a single trans woman has even competed in an Olympics. Obviously, there have therefore been zero Olympic medals won by any trans women.

    Since that was published, there have been additional tens of thousands of Olympians, and a single trans woman has made it to the Olympics, Laurel Hubbard. As impressive as it is that she made it to the Olympics, Hubbard didn’t win any medals, and so obviously cis women are able to compete with her.

  5. 5
    Corso says:

    1) People dope to gain an advantage at sports. That’s not why people are trans.

    This isn’t right… Intent or purpose has never been the bar on substance disqualifications. There have been people disqualified for illicit substances that they credibly say that they did not know they were taking. Heck, those substances don’t even have to be performance enhancing: I can list a whole slew of athletes disqualified for marijuana use, which is like an anti-performance enhancing drug. There have been people disqualified for taking prescribed medication that they didn’t know had trace amounts of banned substances in them.

    Being a trans woman doesn’t provide any clear advantage at sports – which is why, contrary to what people have been predicting since Renee Richards in the 1970s, no sports are dominated by trans women. Cis women beat trans women at sports all the time.

    If there were any reliable significant competitive advantage for trans women, the fact that we haven’t seen a single trans woman even compete in an Olympics is at least a little persuasive. The average age of an Olympian is 27.

    I find this argument less persuasive every time it is attempted. Outside of some very one-off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete. Most sports don’t let trans women compete. Where they’re allowed to compete, there are usually very few of them. If they can’t play, why would you expect them to win? If they can’t play, how is the lack of them winning proof that they wouldn’t win if they could? The fact that trans women aren’t allowed to compete is probably more indicative of the reason that they don’t perform than a lack of competitive advantage.

    I also want to get ahead of the main argument in the comic, which is that trans women don’t always win, and we don’t hear about their losses. That’s true! But irrelevant: We’re talking about unfair competitive advantages, not strict outcomes – Not every man will beat every woman at every sporting event. If a man and a woman compete, and the man happens to lose that specific competition, it doesn’t negate the fact that men’s division records are usually significantly better than women’s division records. It also doesn’t mean that man isn’t a man.

    The question, properly asked (IMO), is whether trans women disproportionately appear on podiums where they are allowed to compete. If they do, and I’m pretty sure they do, then the follow-up question is: If trans women who are allowed to compete disproportionately appear on podiums, and we want to argue that they don’t have a biological competitive advantage… Then what’s happening?

  6. 6
    Eytan Zweig says:

    the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete

    That is not accurate. The IOC has let trans women who had undergone genital surgery to compete as women since 2004 . In 2015, that requirement was removed, and replaced by testosterone level tests. In 2021, that further requirement was removed as well, though that is recent enough that the effect is unknown.

    So while it’s true that not all trans women were allowed to compete by the IOC, it’s not true that the counter-examples are “One-off”. There have been 5 summer Olympic games and 5 winter olympic games in which some trans women could compete.

    The question, properly asked (IMO), is whether trans women disproportionately appear on podiums where they are allowed to compete. If they do, and I’m pretty sure they do, then the follow-up question is

    What makes you pretty sure they do? If your certainty is based on evidence, please share it. If it’s not based on evidence, then it’s a pretty weak argument compared to the one provided by Barry, who cites a pretty detailed source.

  7. 7
    Corso says:

    The IOC has let trans women who had undergone genital surgery to compete as women since 2004 . In 2015, that requirement was removed, and replaced by testosterone level tests. In 2021, that further requirement was removed as well, though that is recent enough that the effect is unknown.

    Right… Which is why I said: “Outside of some very one-off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete.”

    In the last Olympics, out of the 11,000 athletes who participated, three trans women competed, and one of them medaled.

    I call that pretty one-off. Alternately, you can say it’s indicative, and 33% of trans Olympic competitors medal. Which still proves my point.

    What makes you pretty sure they do? If your certainty is based on evidence, please share it.

    Math, mostly… trans people are such a small portion of the general population that any wins are almost definitionally disproportionate. In my example above, when one trans woman won her medal, there would have to be hundreds of trans women to make her win proportionate. There were three. The reality is though, that we just don’t know because no one actually tabulates this with anything approaching accuracy. To Barry’s point, which is absolutely true: Trans athletes don’t tend to make headlines unless they win, so we really don’t know the denominator. We just see all the examples of when they do.

  8. 8
    Dianne says:

    In the last Olympics, out of the 12,000 athletes who participated, there were three trans women, and one of them medaled.

    Doesn’t that suggest that transwomen are not disproportionately athletic? The statistic I remember (though it may be wrong) is that 1 in 1000 people are trans. If half of those are transwomen, then the expected number of participants would be 6. Although I did not do a formal statistical analysis, I’m pretty sure three is in the 95% confidence interval for the expected number of athletes and, if it’s not, then it’s low, suggesting that transwomen are disadvantaged at sports and making those that do compete all the more exceptional.

    Alternately, you can say it’s indicative, and 33% of trans Olympic competitors medal. Which still proves my point.

    Small number statistics are tricky. If I said that 100% of people using the nym corso argue against transwomen competing with ciswomen in sports, that would be accurate for the current sample, but useless in terms of predicting the viewpoint of anyone else using the nym corso. Or, consider that 100% of people with a nym starting with c have expressed issues with transwomen competing in the Olympics. Does that predict that the next person (or the next 10 people) with nyms starting with c will be against transwomen competing in the Olympics?

  9. 9
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I call that pretty one-off. Alternately, you can say it’s indicative, and 33% of trans Olympic competitors medal. Which still proves my point

    It’s certainly not indicative. But it’s not correct to say that “outside of one off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete”. For the past 18 years, they have consistently let trans women compete. The amount of trans women athletes who both chose to do so, and qualified, was very low. Note that we don’t have any statistics about how many trans women attempted to qualify; all we know is how many succeeded.

    I do agree with the point you’re making in the end – we’re just at the beginning of the data collection on trans women in sports. Until we have an actual clear picture, it seems to me that the fair and reasonable approach would be not to discriminate against trans women. That would have the side benefit of allowing better data collection. If it turns out that there is a clear advantage to being trans, then the conversation of how to deal with that could begin in an informed manner, rather than as a knee-jerk reaction.

  10. 10
    Corso says:

    Doesn’t that suggest that transwomen are not disproportionately athletic?

    I wouldn’t read that much into it, both because we’re talking about small numbers and because trans women at the Olympics is a relatively new thing, and the rules to get in were murky. If this normalizes, I expect attendance to rise.

    Small number statistics are tricky.

    Right… And that was kind of my point, if a little tongue-in-cheek: Had we had this discussion two years ago, there would have been zero trans competitors who medaled and the rate would have been 0% (Quinn was the first). Now there’s been one, and the rate of trans competitors medaling in a year is 33%. There have been so few trans women competitors that the assertion that their presence or lack thereof on a podium is functionally meaningless.

  11. 11
    Dianne says:

    There have been so few trans women competitors that the assertion that their presence or lack thereof on a podium is functionally meaningless.

    Well if you’re going to be all reasonable about it…Yeah, there’s no reason to think that transwomen will dominate women’s sports if the barriers against participation are removed. Also, anyone competing in the Olympics is an incredible athlete who owes their success to a lot of hard work and determination–and probably to some degree to genetics, but not whether they have a Y chromosome or not. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

    It’s not even clear to me that men (cis or trans) have a uniform advantage over women (cis or trans). Per wiki, the current record holders for time to completion of a marathon are 2 hours 1 minute for men, 2 hours 14 minutes for women. Is that 13 minute difference biology or training? The men’s record has changed by <10 minutes since 1970. The women's has dropped by 30-40 minutes during the same time frame. If this trend continues…Of course, it may not, but the point that there's more to being an athlete than a Y chromosome stands.

  12. 12
    Dianne says:

    If it turns out that there is a clear advantage to being trans, then the conversation of how to deal with that could begin in an informed manner, rather than as a knee-jerk reaction.

    What if there’s a clear disadvantage? At this point, that’s at least as likely.

  13. 13
    Eytan Zweig says:

    What if there’s a clear disadvantage? At this point, that’s at least as likely.

    That’s a good question; the question would be whether trans atheletes would want to compete in that case, knowing they are disadvantaged. If they do, then there’s no reason not to allow them to do so.

  14. 14
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    In defense of the anti-trans position, we can see how the trans and non-binary athletes playing professional women’s soccer and professional women’s basketball have just dominated the sport…

    Wait! I’ll come in again.

  15. 15
    Grace Annam says:

    I recommend “trans woman” in place of “transwoman”. The former illustrates grammatically that we are women, women who are trans, rather than a different category entirely from “women”, which is what some people take from “transwoman”.

    Corso:

    Outside of some very one-off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete. …In the last Olympics, out of the 11,000 athletes who participated, three trans women competed, and one of them medaled. I call that pretty one-off.

    That’s a one-off result, not a one-off eligibility. As a matter of policy, in one way or another (the eligibility requirement have changed over the years), as Eytan correctly points out, trans women have been eligible to compete since 2004, provided they meet certain criteria.

    Dianne:

    The statistic I remember (though it may be wrong) is that 1 in 1000 people are trans.

    The best work I’m aware of on trans prevalence is done by the Williams Institute. They are currently putting trans people at 0.5% of adults and 1.4% of children.

    See for further:
    https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/subpopulations/transgender-people/
    https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/trans-adults-united-states/

    Personally, I suspect that it’s actually higher than that for adults. What they’re really counting is people who feel safe enough to say it, who are willing to say it, and who are alive to say it. Which is why it’s so much lower for adults than for children, because adults above about 25 or so came of age in a time when there was much less effective support for trans people on every level (vocabulary, guides, level of abuse in response, etc), and so a lot of us were taught brutally to hide, and a lot of us died (especially as you get into the older age cohorts).

    Now speaking to the general conversation, not Dianne specifically.

    But let’s posit 0.5%, for giggles. So, about 0.5% of all women are trans women. 1 in 200.

    https://olympics.com/ioc/faq/competing-and-being-part-of-the-games/how-many-athletes-and-countries-take-part-in-the-olympic-games

    The above link says that, in the summer and winter games combined, about 13,400 athletes compete. But wait, that’s not what we want to know. We want to know how many women compete. Well, according to the graph at this link,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participation_of_women_in_the_Olympics#Women_in_Sport_Commission,

    women now make up about 45% of summer Olympic athletes. Presuming because my time is limited that the ratio is the same for winter athletes, that’s about 6,030 women.

    If trans women were equally successful in qualifying for the Olympics, at current rates we would expect about 30 trans women to qualify. But, according to that Wikipedia article, not a single trans woman competed in any Olympics until 2020, when we had … one. Laurel Hubbard. How did she do?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_Hubbard

    She placed last in her group.

    Now, when trans women were first permitted to compete, in 2004, about 40% of Olympians were women. In 2004, the summer Olympics had 10,625 athletes, of whom 4,329 were women. If we assume a flat curve for simplicity and average 6,030 and 4,329, that’s an average of 5,179 women competing per summer Olympics.

    There were summer Olympics in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. That’s about 25,897 women.

    The 2006 winter Olympics had 2,629 total athletes, 40% of which would be about 1,051. In 2018, there were 1,242 women. Assuming again a flat curve, we get 1,146 women per winter Olympics.

    There were winter Olympics in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. That’s about 4,586 women.

    (sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Summer_Olympics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Winter_Olympics, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Winter_Olympics)

    So, since trans women were eligible to compete, a total of about 30,483 women have competed in the Olympics. Round figures. If we have 4 significant figures, then it’s 30,500. If we have two (0.5%), then it’s 30,000. In all that time, how many trans or nonbinary humans of any kind have qualified to compete? Four. (Source: https://www.transathlete.com/olympics.)

    Alana Smith, United States skateboarder, competing in women’s street skateboarding: nonbinary, assigned female at birth.
    Quinn, Canada soccer player, competing in women’s soccer: nonbinary, assigned female at birth.
    Chelsea Wolfe, United States BMX alternate, does not appear to have actually competed: female, assigned male at birth.
    Laurel Hubbard, New Zealand weightlifter: female, assigned male at birth.

    Of those four, two were assigned male at birth.

    Of those two, one has competed. And, see above, she placed dead last.

    At 0.5% of the population, on its face, that would mean that if trans women had a competitive advantage, then we would be winning more than 1 in 200 events.

    There are about 40 summer sports and 16 winter sports in the Olympics. Not all of them allow women to compete, but it’s late and I’m tired. (https://olympics.com/en/sports/summer-olympics, https://olympics.com/en/sports/winter-olympics) Across 5 summer Olympics that’s 200 events, and across 4 winter Olympics that’s 64 events, so that’s about 264 events since trans women were allowed to compete. Since each event gives three medals, that’s 792 chances to win.

    Trans women have won zero.

    I’m just not seeing a competitive advantage in the data, here.

    But, one might say, not all trans women have transitioned hormonally (required by some sports, but not all) and not all trans women have had genital surgery (required by some sports, but not all). Therefore, the baseline for equality should be lower than 1:200.

    That is true. To know the answer to THAT question would require more work than most people are willing and able to put into it (obviously true, since most people aren’t even willing to put the amount of work it required to write this comment into it before declaring that letting trans women compete is self-evidently unfair). One would have to calculate the number of trans women who have met the eligibility requirement for each sport, and then examine how often we win in each sport. We have to do this for reasons of mathematical accuracy, but also for correct analysis, since trans women could, hypothetically, have an advantage in one sport, a disadvantage in another sport, and no advantage in yet another sport. You wouldn’t want to bar trans women from a sport where they had no advantage, or were actually at a disadvantage, at least not if you wanted to enact that ban on the basis of fairness.

    (There are nuances beyond that, too, which I won’t get into here, partly because I have a life, and I’ve already spent too much time on this.)

    (Also, regardless of where you set the baseline, trans women have won how many? Zero. When we win just one bronze medal, then the baseline becomes theoretically significant. But right now, we could be one in 10,000 and it wouldn’t matter.)

    (Also also, we’re not 1 in 10,000. Even way back in 2001, Lynne Conway showed mathematically that, just based on the number of trans women willing and able to access surgery, which is clearly a huge undercount, we had to be at least 1:2500. But we no longer cite her, because people like those at the Williams Institute actually went out and did their best to count us; see the first link in this comment.)

    I could do that work, in theory, but I shouldn’t have to. Let the people who want to discriminate make the case for discrimination.

    Which they could do, by doing exactly that work.

    But no one has done it. Because they don’t have to. Because enough people believe that trans women have an unfair advantage that all you have to do to enlist them to your cause is make the assertion and wait about a quarter of a second to hear them say, “Well, obviously.”

    But, fundamentally, if you want to exclude people from participation in public activities, the onus should be on you to demonstrate why that’s right. The default should be inclusion.

    Grace

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    Great post, Grace.

    I will add that the question shouldn’t be “advantage” alone. Everyone who wins could be said to have an advantage. It should be “an unfair advantage.”

    Nearly every Olympian who medals has a physical advantage over the average person, and even over the average athlete; they have the right genes, the right body proportions, the right kind of twitch muscles, etc.. Michael Phelps famously has a body that is almost uniquely suited for being a great competitive swimmer – he’s worked incredibly hard, of course, but he also hit the genetic jackpot.

    Is that an unfair advantage? Apparently not, since Phelps’s achievements are celebrated.

  17. 17
    JaneDoh says:

    Nice analysis, Grace! Agree that there is pretty much zero evidence that being a trans woman confers any sort of competitive advantage at the elite level. At the non-elite level, sports should be about participation anyway.

    The trans kids competing on school teams thing is patently ridiculous considering that in many places girls compete on boys teams when there are no girls teams in the sport (like wrestling, football, and baseball) and boys complete on girls teams when there are no boys teams in the sport (like field hockey). School sports should be all about participation anyway. My son didn’t make his school team in his favorite sport, but his coach is cool and allows anyone who tried out to participate in practices, which is something more schools should encourage for all students.

    From the amount of noise in the press, it is at the school sports where people in the US freak out about trans women and girls competing rather than at the Olympic level. At the Olympic level, it is mostly about picking on women (all assigned female at birth) who have naturally high levels of testosterone for one reason or another. For example in track, they pretty much formulated special rules to prevent Caster Semanya from competing.

    As society gets more inclusive of difference, things are changing rapidly. My kids and my friends’ kids all know trans kids from school, and it is just another thing for them. They don’t perceive it as freakish or undesirable. It is just another thing about a classmate. This is a change I can definitely applaud. Granted, we live in a very diverse city, but this is a definite change from my childhood. If this trend continues (and I hope it does), future generations may wonder what the fuss was.

  18. 18
    Corso says:

    That’s a one-off result, not a one-off eligibility. As a matter of policy, in one way or another (the eligibility requirement have changed over the years), as Eytan correctly points out, trans women have been eligible to compete since 2004, provided they meet certain criteria.

    I was going to say this to Eytan and declined… but this seems very semantic. The fact of the matter is that despite having some kind of allowance criteria, like you later said, most of the games didn’t have a trans competitor. Then they had one. Then they had three and one medaled. Quinn probably wasn’t what we had in mind when we said “trans competitor”, so you want to call it two? Sure. I don’t think that reinforces an argument that their results are representative.

    More, like Eytan said, the criteria changed on an almost constant basis… in the 18 years that trans people were technically allowed, there were five sets of rule changes. So long as we’re all aware of the details, the specific term we use seems like a weird place to get hung up.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_Hubbard

    She placed last in her group.

    I encourage you to read that wiki article. Because we’re talking about such a small population I think we can dive into details on it. Hubbard was crushing records between 2017 and 2018, then in 2018 she suffered a catastrophic elbow injury during a lift (Huge trigger warning if you go to Google it: it was ugly and hard to watch) and she never fully recovered. She announced her retirement shortly after, and I expect the only reason she participated in 2020 was exactly that: She wanted to say that she was the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics. Had she lifted at the weights she had pre-injury, she would have set records.

    At 0.5% of the population, on its face, that would mean that if trans women had a competitive advantage, then we would be winning more than 1 in 200 events.

    This is an ever poorer iteration of the point I talked about at 5. There are barriers to entry that prevent this from being true. The reason trans women aren’t winning events isn’t because they wouldn’t win if allowed to play, the reason they aren’t winning is because they weren’t allowed to play.

    There’s levels to this….

    1) Do we agree that the average athlete who has undergone male puberty probably has an advantage over the average athlete who went through female puberty?

    I think the answer should be yes. The data certainly reflects it.

    2) Then, if you agree that that average athlete who underwent male puberty has a competitive advantage, and they decide to transition socially, does the act of social transition mitigate that advantage?

    I think the answer is no. Because why would it?

    3) Let’s say instead that they start transitioning hormonally. If we accept that there will eventually be mitigation, at what point does that happen?

    Because it’s not a light switch. There very well might be a point during transition where that advantage mitigates, but we’re not sure when. The IOC standard changed between 1 and 2 years, but I’ve seen studies that show measurable advantages persist for more than a decade, and some advantages never really mitigate. This seems more subjective than scientific.

    And because of that, I think this is where the real arguments begin.

    I’m going to be a little crass here because I think this needs to be clearly stated… There’s a sought after sweet spot for athletic activity. Trans athletes will push to compete as close to their transition date because, as I think we all at least suspect, their male puberty has diminishing returns and there’s a sweet spot during transition between when they start to transition, when they lose their advantage, and when the osteoporosis sets in… Which is exactly what happened with Hubbard.

    But, fundamentally, if you want to exclude people from participation in public activities, the onus should be on you to demonstrate why that’s right. The default should be inclusion.

    My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they don’t care about sport. I don’t understand how they could. Like Barry said… People have advantages in sport, and that’s not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. We’re talking about what an unfair advantage is. The entire reason that divisions exist. And inclusivity proponents don’t seem to care. They have no line, they have no standard, they just want inclusivity, unless perhaps their line and standard is inclusivity. Meanwhile, that’s entirely antithetical to sport.

    It’s not the job of sport to justify their rules to people that want to change them, it’s up to the people seeking change to justify their change. Those changes need to conform to the spirit of sport, which include in the vanguard “fair play”.

  19. 19
    Eytan Zweig says:

    My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they don’t care about sport. I don’t understand how they could. Like Barry said… People have advantages in sport, and that’s not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. We’re talking about what an unfair advantage is. The entire reason that divisions exist. And inclusivity proponents don’t seem to care. They have no line, they have no standard, they just want inclusivity, unless perhaps their line and standard is inclusivity. Meanwhile, that’s entirely antithetical to sport.

    Resorting to ad hominem attacks is not a very convincing strategy. That said, when it comes to me specifically, you’re right. I care about inclusivity much more than I care about sports. So if you don’t want to listen to me, go ahead and don’t listen.

    That said – when the IOC released its inclusivity framework in 2021, essentially favouring inclusivity, do you think that that’s evidence that the IOC doesn’t care about sports? Or that they do not understand the sports they organize?

    I agree that caring about sports is not the same as caring about inclusivity. But caring about one is not mutually exclusive with the other, and most people on the inclusivity side do care about both, even if personally I’m not one of them.

    You, on the other hand, despite not only conceding but actively arguing for the lack of sufficient data about the perofrmance of trans atheles in professional competitions, have decided – without citing a single source – that they have an advantage, and that that advantage is unfair.

    It’s not the job of sport to justify their rules to people that want to change them, it’s up to the people seeking change to justify their change. Those changes need to conform to the spirit of sport, which include in the vanguard “fair play”.

    Does that also apply to the people trying to ban trans atheletes from sports where they are currently allowed?

  20. 20
    Corso says:

    Resorting to ad hominem attacks is not a very convincing strategy. That said, when it comes to me specifically, you’re right. I care about inclusivity much more than I care about sports. So if you don’t want to listen to me, go ahead and don’t listen.

    “Ad hominem” is when you attack the person and not their ideas… Not only did I not do that, but you’re saying that I accurately stated your ideas, so I have no idea what your issue with the statement is.

    But here’s the point I was bringing up: If I could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that trans women did have an unfair physical advantage – Would you care?

    Because I think the argument about the existence of unfair advantage stands in the breach of the less popular argument that many inclusion proponents hold: That they don’t actually care whether the advantage exists or not, even if the unfair advantage exists, they would want inclusion.

    Tell me if I’m wrong.

    That said – when the IOC released its inclusivity framework in 2021, essentially favouring inclusivity, do you think that that’s evidence that the IOC doesn’t care about sports? Or that they do not understand the sports they organize?

    I think that the IOC is a political entity that dabbles in sport more than a sports entity that dabbles in politics. And I think that they’re very carefully navigating through the bleeding edge the issue.

    The argument, both from Grace and myself really boils down to “We don’t have enough information, but I look at this situation through the lens of (x) being more important, and you need to prove your case.” x being either inclusivity or fairness in sport, respectively.

    Honestly… I think 2024 is more important to this conversation than most the people having this conversation realize. There’s no amount of conversation on current data that will convince us. I could cite the few studies that show lasting biological advantage, you could cite the few that say no advantage exists, we could pick apart eachother’s methodology, but we wouldn’t get far. The reality is that consensus does not exist here.

    But rubber has to hit the road, and reality can’t wait for consensus sometimes, so I think the IOC is taking a wait and see approach. Paris will be the first summer Olympics under the new rules, and I think that trans representation is going to be high. Based on the results of 2024, the IOC probably won’t change the rules if trans people don’t disproportionately break records or win events. But if they do, I think the IOC re-evaluates and changes their position again.

    You, on the other hand, despite not only conceding but actively arguing for the lack of sufficient data about the perofrmance of trans atheles in professional competitions, have decided – without citing a single source – that they have an advantage, and that that advantage is unfair.

    I feel like you need to re-evaluate the position you are criticizing from. You haven’t cited anything either. Id hate to put words in your mouth, and I’m interested to know:

    Do you actually think that there is no unfair advantage?

    1) Do you think that men, on average, have a physical advantage over women, on average?

    2) If yes, do you think that advantage mitigated by social transition?

    3) If no, do you think that advantage mitigated by hormonal transition?

    4) If yes, at what point do you think the mitigation occurs?

    I’ll go first. I think the answer to 1 is yes. That the answer to 2 is no. That the answer to 3 is probably, and I don’t know what the answer to 4 is, but I expect it takes years.

    Does that also apply to the people trying to ban trans atheletes from sports where they are currently allowed?

    Eventually? Maybe. Look, if we get clear and consistent data that says that after a year of hormone replacement theory and a certain maximum threshold of T values, any unfair physical advantage between trans women and the average woman mitigates, then I wouldn’t actually have an issue with trans women in sport. That might seem cheap, because I don’t think that data is ever going to exist and I don’t think it’s true, but I’m already on record saying that trans men should play in the men’s divisions. This really is a fairness thing more than a bigotry thing for me. So if we get that data: Play ball! And if we got to the point where sport generally had moved to an inclusionary policy following that data, I’d advocate for that to continue.

  21. 21
    Ampersand says:

    (I cross posted with Corso, so this comment was posted before I read Corso’s most recent comment. –Amp)

    1) People dope to gain an advantage at sports. That’s not why people are trans.

    This isn’t right… Intent or purpose has never been the bar on substance disqualifications. There have been people disqualified for illicit substances that they credibly say that they did not know they were taking. Heck, those substances don’t even have to be performance enhancing: I can list a whole slew of athletes disqualified for marijuana use, which is like an anti-performance enhancing drug. There have been people disqualified for taking prescribed medication that they didn’t know had trace amounts of banned substances in them.

    It’s not the rules, but it’s an important moral line to most people. When people are disqualified for unknowingly taking prescription medicines that contain banned substances, the reaction is mostly sympathetic. Those athletes aren’t morally condemned like athletes caught purposely taking performance-enhancing steroids are.

    I was going to say this to Eytan and declined… but this seems very semantic. The fact of the matter is that despite having some kind of allowance criteria, like you later said, most of the games didn’t have a trans competitor. Then they had one.

    That’s not a semantic difference.

    I wish you would be willing to admit it when you’re plainly, factually wrong. You claimed that “Outside of some very one-off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete.” That’s factually wrong. There’s a huge and substantial difference between “not allowed to compete so couldn’t be in the Olympics” and “allowed to compete but didn’t make it to the Olympics.” That you’re pretending there is no substantial difference there shows how genuinely ridiculous and baseless your position here is.

    By the way, until a year ago, the IOC allowed trans women to compete in all sports. There are barriers to entry – the most common of which is informal bigotry – but they were not at the IOC level, contrary to what you claimed.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Trans women were at least technically allowed to compete in many (perhaps most) sports, as far as I can tell. And yet, contrary to what trans-banning advocates have been claiming for decades, they didn’t dominate. Not in any sports. (Laurel Hubbard set some New Zealand lifting records – but local records are set and broken all the time.)

    Also, let’s notice that your claim was specifically about “trans women.” Now you write:

    Then they had three and one medaled. Quinn probably wasn’t what we had in mind when we said “trans competitor”, so you want to call it two?

    There was one “trans women.” (Ignoring your attempt to shift your claim to “trans competitor.”) Not two, not three: one. And that one didn’t medal.

    And Laurel Hubbard is hardly the only example of serious trans women athletes who didn’t dominate their sport.

    One indication of fairness is that fears of trans women dominating in women’s sports have never been realized. Richards was knocked out in the first round at the U.S. Open. Golfer Mianne Bagger may have seemed like a giant-killer when she was winning Australian national amateur titles, but once she began to play against the pros in the Ladies European Tour, she was quickly relegated to also-ran status. Similarly, while Fox’s 5-1 professional fight record may seem gaudy, she toils in MMA’s minor leagues and, as so often happens when fighters are elevated, she would be promptly dispatched if she competed in the top-tier Ultimate Fighting Championship.

    Science provides a clear explanation for why, in many sports, trans women don’t maintain any athletic advantage. Hormone therapy for trans women typically involves a testosterone-blocking drug plus an estrogen supplement. As their testosterone levels approach female norms, trans women see a decrease in muscle mass, bone density and the proportion of oxygen-carrying red cells in their blood. The estrogen, meanwhile, boosts fat storage, especially around the hips. Together, these changes lead to a loss of speed, strength and endurance — all key components of athleticism.

    I understood that this would happen to me, too. But I was surprised how fast it happened. Within three weeks of starting hormone therapy in August 2004, I was markedly slower. I didn’t feel any different while I was running. But I could no longer match my previous times. By 2005, when I was racing in the women’s category, the difference was astounding. I finished one 10K in 42:01 — almost a full five minutes slower than I’d run the same course two years earlier as a man.

    Corso wrote:

    1) Do we agree that the average athlete who has undergone male puberty probably has an advantage over the average athlete who went through female puberty?

    Yes. Put another way, we agree that the average athlete who has undergone male puberty is a cis man.

    But trans women aren’t the same as cis man. Especially at the elite athletic level.

    Also, I’ve never seen a single trans ban advocate say that trans women who have never gone through male puberty – something that’s becoming more and more common due to the increasing use of puberty blockers – should be allowed to compete. Which makes me think that most trans ban advocates aren’t truly serious about their “male puberty” point.

    Finally, I’m pretty sure the (uncited) studies you refer to aren’t of trans athletes.

    I collected almost 200 race times from eight distance runners who were transgender women (including myself as runner No. 6).

    My research, published last month in the Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities, found that collectively, the eight subjects got much slower after their gender transitions and put up nearly identical age-graded scores as men and as women, meaning they were equally — but no more — competitive in their new gender category. (The outlier was a runner who had raced recreationally as a 19-year-old male and became serious about the sport — doubling her training load and shedding 22 pounds — years later as a female.)

    To be clear: This study speaks only to distance running.

    And this is hardly worth responding to:

    My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they don’t care about sport.

    As Eytan said, this is just an ad hominem attack. It’s also very inaccurate; there are lots of inclusion advocates who have written about this who care passionately about sports.

  22. 22
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Resorting to ad hominem attacks is not a very convincing strategy. That said, when it comes to me specifically, you’re right. I care about inclusivity much more than I care about sports. So if you don’t want to listen to me, go ahead and don’t listen.

    “Ad hominem” is when you attack the person and not their ideas… Not only did I not do that, but you’re saying that I accurately stated your ideas, so I have no idea what your issue with the statement is.

    You weren’t taling about me, you were talking about people advocating for inclusion generally, and you said that they do not just not care about sports, they do not understand sports. That is absolutely an ad hominem attack, even if it also happens to be true of me (note that it’s not true of my ideas, it’s true of me personally; my lack of understanding of (many) sports is not an idea).

    But here’s the point I was bringing up: If I could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that trans women did have an unfair physical advantage – Would you care?

    Yes, of course I would care. And if you could prove that, then I would re-evaluate my objection to rules aiming to mitigate that, including ones that limit participation of trans atheletes in those sports where they have such an advantage. I might end up deciding that I still value inclusion more than fairness. But in that hypothetical I will be honest that that is the decision I’m making. At the moment I’m not making such a decision, because I don’t think there’s clear evidence that an advantage – fair or unfair – exists.

    I feel like you need to re-evaluate the position you are criticizing from. You haven’t cited anything either.

    I have, actually, though indirectly – I’ve cited the comments by Barry on this thread where he cited further sources. But even if I’m doing a poor job of arguing for my position, others in this thread are arguing for the same position and doing a better job. You’re the only person here arguing for your point of view, so the burden of proof is yours alone.

    Id hate to put words in your mouth, and I’m interested to know:

    Do you actually think that there is no unfair advantage?

    No. I think it is plausible that there is no unfair advantage. I do not think there is conclusive evidence one way or another.

    1) Do you think that men, on average, have a physical advantage over women, on average?

    Yes

    2) If yes, do you think that advantage mitigated by social transition?

    Probably not in the overall population; specifically among atheletes, I don’t know.

    3) If no, do you think that advantage mitigated by hormonal transition?

    I don’t know.

    4) If yes, at what point do you think the mitigation occurs?

    I don’t know.

    I don’t differ from your occasionally stated position that there isn’t enough data for a clear picture. Where I differ from you is what we believe should be done until a clearer picture emerges. You seem to be of the position that we should treat it as highly probable that there is an unfair advantage, and therefore either A – ban trans atheletes from competing until more data is collected or B – persist with the current status quo and not change any existing rules until more data is collected (I honestly am not sure which of the two is closest to your position). I, on the other hand, am of the position that the balance of evidence is nowhere near sufficient to justify A, and that B is arbitrary and unjustifiable regardless of the evidence (and note that I think a universal ban is more justifiable than a piecemeal one).

  23. 23
    Dianne says:

    Grace @15:

    The best work I’m aware of on trans prevalence is done by the Williams Institute. They are currently putting trans people at 0.5% of adults and 1.4% of children.

    Thank you for the correction and the reference.

    I think you’re right that the number of adults is artificially low due to adults feeling more pressure to not transition or live as their actual gender. In fact, I’d speculate that the numbers are still too low and the true rate may be more like 2-3%. (Based on the amount of social pressure to not publicly transition, which is still considerable, although perhaps less now than in the past–hence the larger number of young people who are identified as trans.) Which means that it is quite common to be trans–the incidence is similar to that of celiac disease, for comparison. And that there are probably a lot of trans people living as a gender that they are not. Which seems like a bigger problem than whether or not they have a minor advantage in sports.

  24. 24
    Dianne says:

    corso @20:

    1) Do you think that men, on average, have a physical advantage over women, on average?

    It depends. A physical advantage for what? If we’re talking weightlifting, then yes: men have an average advantage. If we’re talking surviving covid, then women have an average advantage. (At least cis women. I don’t know if immune function and changes in immune function have been studied in trans women.) Given the context, I’m going to assume that you mean athletic ability, but I’m still going to have to go with “maybe”. Do men have a true advantage in endurance sports like marathon running or distance swimming? It’s not clear to me. The advantages of muscle mass may be offset by the lower fat reserves and higher oxygen demands. (Women, especially women who have had children, tend to survive hypoxia better. Again, the studies have been in cis women versus cis men, so I can’t comment with certainty on trans men and women’s relative ability to survive hypoxia.) Do men have better marathon times right now? Yes, but that may be training differences.

    2) If yes, do you think that advantage mitigated by social transition?

    Again, assuming areas where men tend to have an advantage–the answer is still “maybe”. There are a lot of variables at play and it’s hard to sort out. Almost certainly some of the advantages will be mitigated. Others, probably not. Others will be enhanced by social transition. Just too many variables to say.

    3) If no, do you think that advantage mitigated by hormonal transition?

    The advantages to weight bearing sports are certainly going to be lessened by hormonal transition. Otherwise, see above.

    4) If yes, at what point do you think the mitigation occurs?

    Again, hard to answer, too many variables, but I doubt any changes to state are going to happen in a single moment.

  25. 25
    Corso says:

    Amp,

    It’s not the rules, but it’s an important moral line to most people. When people are disqualified for unknowingly taking prescription medicines that contain banned substances, the reaction is mostly sympathetic. Those athletes aren’t morally condemned like athletes caught purposely taking performance-enhancing steroids are.

    Regardless of whether people treated those cases sympathetically, the athletes weren’t allowed to compete, sorry, but I don’t understand what your point is supposed to be.

    I wish you would be willing to admit it when you’re plainly, factually wrong. You claimed that “Outside of some very one-off examples, the IOC doesn’t let trans women compete.” That’s factually wrong. There’s a huge and substantial difference between “not allowed to compete so couldn’t be in the Olympics” and “allowed to compete but didn’t make it to the Olympics.”

    Honestly… I’ll own the one mistake I actually think I’ve made: I thought Quinn was AMAB. Everything I saw referred to them as a trans competitor in a women’s event, and I’m not sure I’ve quite wrapped my head around trans-non-binary.

    As for the rest of it… There’s also a significant difference between competitors who didn’t qualify because their records were not good enough, and competitors who had sufficient records but didn’t quality because they hadn’t been on hormones long enough or their T-levels were out of tolerance. The IOC made exceptions from the general prohibition on trans women from women’s events if they could prove certain metrics, and there were many trans women who did not qualify under those rules. We know those women exist because some of their cases were fairly high profile, I’m thinking about CeCe Telfer, off the top of my head. And for every woman who was rejected because her hormone levels were out of tolerance, there were almost certainly some that didn’t even apply because they knew theirs would be. Those rules created a system where literally only one trans woman has ever competed. I call that an exception.

    Also, I’ve never seen a single trans ban advocate say that trans women who have never gone through male puberty – something that’s becoming more and more common due to the increasing use of puberty blockers – should be allowed to compete. Which makes me think that most trans ban advocates aren’t truly serious about their “male puberty” point.

    It’s an interesting point. Puberty blockers used to be used to pump the breaks on precocious puberty, using blockers to stave off puberty until either the person either desists or goes on therapy is relatively new, and some of the new information coming out suggests that those people who do go on to therapy are seeing some significant bone density issues (osteoporosis/arthritis). If that’s true… Then I don’t think that those people who went on blockers before transitioning would ever be in a position to compete, so it might be a moot point. If that’s not right, I think it would almost be definitionally easier for those trans women to qualify for whatever standard was required to play, so… Sure?

    My research, published last month in the Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities, found that collectively, the eight subjects got much slower after their gender transitions and put up nearly identical age-graded scores as men and as women, meaning they were equally — but no more — competitive in their new gender category. (The outlier was a runner who had raced recreationally as a 19-year-old male and became serious about the sport — doubling her training load and shedding 22 pounds — years later as a female.)

    https://cgscholar.com/bookstore/works/race-times-for-transgender-athletes

    We’ve talked about that example before. If there’s anyone who hasn’t looked at it before, there’s a link to a free PDF download by the top. It was conducted over 7 years. Half the participants were over 30 when it started. Again… the results were mixed, the timeframe was weird, it was a very small study, and it’s never been replicated.

  26. 26
    Dianne says:

    Last thought on this issue: Suppose trans women have an advantage over cis women in some athletic events. So what? Myosin knock outs have an advantage in strength. No one tests for myosin gene status before allowing someone to compete in weight lifting. People whose families value sports and competition have an advantage because they’re more likely to get early training and encouragement. Should they have to compete in a separate category? Cis women have varying levels of testosterone. Should high testosterone cis women be considered ineligible for competition in women’s sports? (Trans women are low testosterone, so this is a red herring anyway, but I wanted to bring it up since the argument has been made to disqualify trans women.)

    It’s clear that trans women don’t have an overwhelming advantage over cis women in sports. It’s not impossible that a small advantage might be present but confounded by other factors and therefore not evident in, for example, Olympic medals. If so, it’s one advantage among many. Any professional or Olympic level athlete has multiple advantages over the average person. Why should one advantage (if it even exists) be singled out as “unfair”? Why, in short, is this even a question of interest?

  27. 27
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    In defense of the anti-trans position, look at how trans and non-binary athletes have dominated track and field, from the amateurs to the pros, and how women’s marathon records have continued to fall, year after year, to trans women runners…

    Wait! I’ll come in again…

  28. 28
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    Should high testosterone cis women be considered ineligible for competition in women’s sports?

    Judging by Caster Semenya, I think we know what the anti-trans position is.

    The anti-trans position, btw, always (always, always, always!) winds up gender policing women and girls who aren’t “feminine enough”. Just look at what’s going on with girls’ high school sports in Utah. They’re targeting cis girls and nobody but cis girls.

    The anti-trans position is inherently misogynistic if we judge it by its effects. Which is, of course, how it should be judged.

  29. 29
    Dianne says:

    The anti-trans position is inherently misogynistic if we judge it by it’s effects.

    Given that it is inherently about reducing people’s identity to what’s between their legs and in their nuclei, I think we can call it inherently misogynistic in its concept as well.

  30. 30
    Kate says:

    Wow, look at all that mint!!!! Thanks, especially to Grace, but also Amp and JOS, for all your work on that!

  31. 31
    Corso says:

    The anti-trans position, btw, always (always, always, always!) winds up gender policing women and girls who aren’t “feminine enough”.

    A little bit late… But I was waiting for this comment.

    Full disclosure, this is a little snarky… But I was a frustrated by this last week, knew this was coming, and promised myself I’d at least bring this up when it happened. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I would personally appreciate if some of you at least considered what I’m about to write.

    I took a fair amount of criticism for not adequately making it clear that I was generalizing when I said “My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they don’t care about sport.” Sure, the statement would have been more clear and correct had I said, “My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they generally don’t care about sport.” Obviously there are going to be people who care about sport in the overall subset of inclusivity proponents.

    But even as stated: It is my perception, and my perception does not have to be correct. You can disagree with that, I would have clarified… But in reality, I don’t think clarification helped people here… The one person who actually engaged the point admitted they didn’t care about sport. I don’t think anyone was actually confused.

    This is all beside the point. Frankly, I am always surprised by how eager some of you are to get derailed over missed qualifiers on generalizations. Uncharitably, it’s almost like you don’t want to engage on the points and prefer the form argument.

    I’d like to point out that no one ever seems to take offense to comments like the above – Which wasn’t framed as an opinion or generalized but is stated as an “always, always, always” truth. Maybe I just didn’t give you all enough time to reply, but it’s almost like the generalization police work unidirectionally.

    I’m not going to respond further… I’m just going to point out that I don’t do this. I’ll say things like “Well, “always” seems a little extreme, and my experience is that…” or “that’s not my position, though”. It would be really cool if you all would forward me the same courtesy.

  32. 32
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Well, let me say the following. Before that, I’ll remind you that I am a semanticist – that’s literally what I am paid to do – so please do excuse me if I think semantics are important.

    1. Your comment was explicitly about “trans inclusivity proponents” (your words), who are people. Jacqueline and Diane commented about “the anti-trans position” which is already a generalization. There’s no need to double genealize. If Diane had said “anti-trans proponents always gender police women and girls…” then I’d agree with your classification of the discussion here as biased.

    2. Of course I’m biased. I’m far more likely to call out bad logic and bad generalizations when they’re made by the people I’m arguing against than by the people I’m agreeing with. I’m human, we’re all human.

    3. Based on your post, I don’t think you understood the criticism of your statement about trans inclusivity proponents caring about sport. I don’t think anyone misunderstood that it was meant as a generalization.

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    To add to what Eytan said, Jackie O’s comment, read in context, was very clearly about the inevitable effects of anti-trans policy, not about the characteristics of people who argue for that position. She explicitly says she’s talking about judging a position “by its effects.”

    Judging by Caster Semenya, I think we know what the anti-trans position is.

    The anti-trans position, btw, always (always, always, always!) winds up gender policing women and girls who aren’t “feminine enough”. Just look at what’s going on with girls’ high school sports in Utah. They’re targeting cis girls and nobody but cis girls.

    The anti-trans position is inherently misogynistic if we judge it by its effects. Which is, of course, how it should be judged.

    I understand, Corso, that it’s hard to be the single person arguing against the group, and we’re all human and take things personally when we shouldn’t. So if you misread Jackie O, that’s understandable. But what Jackie O wrote was clearly about the effects of policy, and what you wrote was clearly about the motives and personal characteristics of people who disagree with that policy. It’s not the same thing.

    BTW, at least two people here arguing against you care a lot about sports, that I know of. Since 60% of Americans describe themselves as sports fans, and 40% don’t, it’s a safe bet that any random sample of opponents of trans bans will include a mix of sports fans and sports, er, indifferents.

  34. 34
    JaneDoh says:

    I can honestly say that I don’t care that much about sports. Also that I think all kids sports should have encouraging participation as an important goal, particularly pre-high school. I do have friends that care a lot about sports – some take Corso’s position and some don’t. I don’t think caring about sports is a major determinant for which side of this issue one falls on.

    I am not sure why Corso selected that quote about anti-trans rules ending up gender policing “unfeminine” women and girls but then didn’t address it. I can say that 100% of the people I know (including myself, my daughter, my sister, and several friends) who have been harrassed or had security/the police called on them have been people who not only identify as female, but were assigned female at birth. It is not a surprise that anti-trans rules end up harming the 98% of women and girls who are not trans, since they vastly outnumber trans women.

    I still don’t see a strong argument as to why Caster Semenya should be disqualified for her genetics, but Michael Phelps should be celebrated for his. In addition, the cartoon is clearly aimed at kids’ sports, which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. In a world where kids often compete against opponents with vastly different levels of skill/access to training/experience, it makes zero sense to pick on trans girls as the one difference that will break sport even if there were any non-anecdotal evidence that this is true.

  35. 35
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Since 60% of Americans describe themselves as sports fans, and 40% don’t, it’s a safe bet that any random sample of opponents of trans bans will include a mix of sports fans and sports, er, indifferents.

    True; though I’ll point out that there’s no correlation between being an opponent (or supporter) of trans bans (in sports or otherwise) and being an American.

  36. 36
    Ampersand says:

    True; though I’ll point out that there’s no correlation between being an opponent (or supporter) of trans bans (in sports or otherwise) and being an American.

    Very true! I considered this, but the poll I found was of Americans, and I was too lazy to keep searching. :-p

  37. 37
    Sebastian H says:

    (To be super clear I’m trying to use male/female as sex and man/woman as gender)

    It seems like Hubbard is a good example for the other side. She was absolutely dominating the sport before her injury and she was (at least) 10 years older than other medal contenders. That suggests a male advantage.

    I’d look at it another way—we’ve yet to see an elite male athlete transition. We’ve seen middling male athletes transition and dominate. (Hubbard non competitor as male and Thomas mid level college athlete as male). That strongly suggests advantage otherwise you would expect them to still be middling athletes right?

    Further, we seem to be assuming that at least some physical transition is necessary for the discussion. Why do we do that? As the definition of trans has gotten much more open (more self-ID) it appears to include more people who are interested in a wide spectrum of transitions, some with very little physical change at all. Do we agree that some physical transition (not just self-ID) is necessary for competition? Doesn’t that imply that we can see advantages?

    Contra Amp, I’m perfectly willing to say that a transwoman who didn’t go through male puberty should be fine to compete because she will not have had the advantages so there is nothing to reverse in that sense.

  38. 38
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I’d look at it another way—we’ve yet to see an elite male athlete transition. We’ve seen middling male athletes transition and dominate. (Hubbard non competitor as male and Thomas mid level college athlete as male). That strongly suggests advantage otherwise you would expect them to still be middling athletes right?

    These are data points, but you cannot interpret them without further context. One issue is selection bias – we don’t hear about failed athletes as much as about succesful one. If 1 in 10 middling athletes transition and become better, and 9 in 10 athletes transition and become worse, then would you consider transition an advantage? So first you have to demonstrate that those two data points you gave are typical (I’m not saying they’re not. I’m saying you can’t tell that from just looking at the most well known examples).

    A second issue is how you define the comparison. Maybe transitioning didn’t give them an advantage, but being pre-transition gave them a disadvantage. Maybe they suffered from dysmorphia that prevented them from properly training, for example, until they transitioned. Hubbard, for example, has publically stated that that was the case; she stopped training for 11 years between her early debut and when she transitioned. It’s not implausible that a cis woman with the same training trajectory might have been able to achieve similar results.

    Further, we seem to be assuming that at least some physical transition is necessary for the discussion.

    I was assuming no such thing; but I will concede that that’s an additional factor that needs to be considered. Which brings up the following:

    Do we agree that some physical transition (not just self-ID) is necessary for competition? Doesn’t that imply that we can see advantages?

    This makes no sense. Imagine you’d make the same case about the paralympics. Lets assume that an able bodied two-legged sprinter has an advantage in the 100m race over a one-legged participant. So I would not think it’s fair for a two-legged sprinter to simply identify as a one-legged sprinter and enter the paralympic 100m race. But does that mean that if a two-legged sprinter has an accident and loses a leg, they cannot then participate in the paralympic 100m race, because they had an advantage before their amputation? Similarly, having an advantage before transition does not imply an advantage after transition.

    Furthermore, what do you mean by “we can see advantages?” I mean, I can certainly imagine all sorts of advantages that trans women would have over cis women. To name just one, I can imagine that Zeus is attracted to athletic cis women but, unfortunately, is a bit of a transphobe. Cis women, therefore, are far more likely to attract the jealousy of the goddess Hera, who will burden them with curses. If correct, this is a serious advantage to trans women. Does the fact that I just imagined all that mean we should ban trans women from participating in athletic competitions? Of course not. And neither does any other story about an advantage we can imagine, plausible or not. All that matters is actual data – not just a few data points, but complete data sets – analyzed properly. Until we have such data, we should not act on our imagination (which, by the way, is not independent from our biases and preconceptions), but wait and see until the data is available. Then we can have an informed discussion.

  39. 39
    Corso says:

    Furthermore, what do you mean by “we can see advantages?”

    This isn’t the first time someone has asked this question… And at some point I have to question the sincerity. Again… This comment section has a really bad habit of becoming intellectually incurious and obtuse when interacting with an argument I think they’re struggling against.

    I mean… Really. We’re 40 comments into a discussion about the advantages that trans women might have over cis women in sport. Do you actually think that when someone asks: “Do we agree that some physical transition (not just self-ID) is necessary for competition? Doesn’t that imply that we can see advantages?” They’re asking whether trans women have an advantage over cis women on the topic of the predation of ancient fictional characters? And whether that advantage should have bearing on whether or not trans women should compete in the Olympics? Is that what you think is most reasonable?

    “Of course not” you’ll invariably say, “I was just pointing out that the question was imprecise.” As if they could have been talking about anything else.

    To answer the question directly: We can see the advantages in height, bone density, muscle tone, fat distribution, hand size, depth perception, and body proportion. Those measurable, objective, sex based differences have lead to leaderboards where for almost every event the men’s results are markedly better than women’s in almost every sport, and that has been true for basically the entire history of humanity.

    Does that clarify it for you?

  40. 40
    Corso says:

    This makes no sense. Imagine you’d make the same case about the paralympics. Lets assume that an able bodied two-legged sprinter has an advantage in the 100m race over a one-legged participant. So I would not think it’s fair for a two-legged sprinter to simply identify as a one-legged sprinter and enter the paralympic 100m race. But does that mean that if a two-legged sprinter has an accident and loses a leg, they cannot then participate in the paralympic 100m race, because they had an advantage before their amputation? Similarly, having an advantage before transition does not imply an advantage after transition.

    I think this was supposed to be a got’cha. I think we were supposed to say that “The reason a person that lost a leg can compete in the one-legged races is that they only have one leg” and then you could come back with “well trans women are women” Well.. A few things.

    First off, there’s no such thing as a one legged race at the Paralympics. The amputee division is for anyone who has lost or does not have at least one major joint, usually ankle, knee, wrist or elbow. Some passing familiarity might be advantageous.

    Second; The premise of that question is flawed. Oscar Pistorius, before his unfortunate fall from grace, kicked the tires on competing in the 2008 Olympics and was originally told that his blades were an unfair advantage against people running with legs. He appealed that, won his appeal, and was allowed to compete in 2012, where he won silver. There aren’t many (any?) track and field events where you could take the gold medaling woman and have her compete in the men’s division and medal.

    Third, as a stand alone, your example is bizarre. It’s self defeating. I actually think trans people might find it offensive. Are you saying that gender is as objective and obvious as whether or not someone has one leg or two? Are you saying that the biological advantages I mentioned @39 are mitigated as completely as the whatever advantage one might have in having two legs is mitigated by removing one?

  41. 41
    Ampersand says:

    (To be super clear I’m trying to use male/female as sex and man/woman as gender)

    It seems like Hubbard is a good example for the other side. She was absolutely dominating the sport before her injury and she was (at least) 10 years older than other medal contenders. That suggests a male advantage.

    (You’re not a blogger here or a moderator; you don’t get to rewrite this blog’s rules with a parenthetical “to be clear” at the start of your comment.)

    It’s a policy on this blog to not call trans women “male” or trans men “female.” Not in any context. Not ever.

    If you need to distinguish between cis women and trans women to make an argument, you can use the terms “cis women” and “trans women.” Such as, “that suggests an advantage for trans women.”

    IF you’re not willing to make that small concession for the dignity and comfort of trans people you’re sharing this discussion with, then don’t post on this blog.

    This rule is not subject for debate on this blog, and you will not be given a second warning.

  42. 42
    Eytan Zweig says:

    “Of course not” you’ll invariably say, “I was just pointing out that the question was imprecise.” As if they could have been talking about anything else.

    No, I will not say that, because that’s not what I was doing. The question was very clear. As are you in this section:

    To answer the question directly: We can see the advantages in height, bone density, muscle tone, fat distribution, hand size, depth perception, and body proportion. Those measurable, objective, sex based differences have lead to leaderboards where for almost every event the men’s results are markedly better than women’s in almost every sport, and that has been true for basically the entire history of humanity.

    You name a list of physical factors that you believe are advantages for male athletes over female athletes, and you are making the very clear claim that A – trans women share these physical characteristics with men, and B – that that therefore gives them an athletic advantage over cis women.

    And despite you stating that these differences are objective and measurable, you provide no sources that give these measurements for trans women (as a group or by type of transition), and you provide no evidence that this is actually an advantage for trans women. Instead, you are basing all of this on your own beliefs. If those beliefs are justified by evidence, cite the evidence. Otherwise, they’re just beliefs.

    Obviously my Greek myth based example is absurd. But it’s not substantively different than any argument you or Sebastian made, because it’s comparing one set of beliefs against another. The question I and others keep asking is entirely sincere – *where* is it that you see an advantage for trans atheletes? Is it in actual substantial data? Or is it in your common sense? Because your common sense is influenced by your prejudices just as much as mine is influences by my prejudices.

    I think this was supposed to be a got’cha. I think we were supposed to say that “The reason a person that lost a leg can compete in the one-legged races is that they only have one leg” and then you could come back with “well trans women are women” Well.. A few things.

    I mean, that’s the rough structure of the argument, but that’s not a got’cha and wasn’t meant as one. I’m not sure if you’re overestimating or underestimating my debating abilities here.

    First off, there’s no such thing as a one legged race at the Paralympics. The amputee division is for anyone who has lost or does not have at least one major joint, usually ankle, knee, wrist or elbow. Some passing familiarity might be advantageous.

    That’s entirely irrelevant to anything I was saying, and you know it.

    Second; The premise of that question is flawed. Oscar Pistorius, before his unfortunate fall from grace, kicked the tires on competing in the 2008 Olympics and was originally told that his blades were an unfair advantage against people running with legs.

    And yet the Olympic world record for the 100m sprint is faster than the Paralympicc world record (according to wikipedia. As you point out, I’m no expert). But I was actually aware of that, and decided to ignore it since I was making an analogy, not an actual point about the paralympics. And you clearly understood my analogy, so I don’t think the fact that the details don’t make much sense detract much from my point. You are free to disagree, of course.

    Third, as a stand alone, your example is bizarre. It’s self defeating. I actually think trans people might find it offensive. Are you saying that gender is as objective and obvious as whether or not someone has one leg or two? Are you saying that the biological advantages I mentioned @39 are mitigated as completely as the whatever advantage one might have in having two legs is mitigated by removing one?

    It’s certainly possible that things I say are offensive to trans people – I’m not a trans person and I have my own blind spots. But there are plenty of trans people who post on this blog who are more capable of speaking for trans people’s feelings than you are (or than I am), so I’ll wait until I hear from them before I decide whether this example was problematic in that way.

    As for the rest – I may well have been unclear. But I said nothing about sex or gender. I was talking about a physical process (physical transition, as referred to by Sebastian) and making an analogy to another physical process (amputation). It’s not a perfect analogy, on many levels. But as you recently told me in another thread, context matters. I was responding to a specific claim that I understood Sebastian was making – which is that people who argue that some level of physical transition is a prerequisite for competing in women’s sport are conceding that all trans women have and advantage over cis women in that sport. And my point (possibly badly argued) was that that specific claim doesn’t make sense, because it’s possible to believe that untransitioned trans women have an advantage over cis women without believing that transitioned trans women have an advantage. I did not mean to imply that I believe either or both of those things.

  43. 43
    Ampersand says:

    I’ve been spelling it “gotcha” all these years. Am I wrong?

    It’s Thanksgiving and that’s got me very busy, but I am planning to comment more substantively on this thread tomorrow, if I can get some good drawing time done first.

  44. 44
    Sebastian H says:

    Hubbard, for example, has publically stated that that was the case; she stopped training for 11 years between her early debut and when she transitioned. It’s not implausible that a cis woman with the same training trajectory might have been able to achieve similar results.

    I think we are bumping up against physical reality here. Peak age for males in weightlifting is 26. Peak age for females is 25. It is much easier to exactly know this than in many other sports because we can chart their precise best lifts every single competition every single year. Median age and average age is plus or minus one year from that for medalists. The very oldest male medalist I could find was 37 (and I’m speaking of every year’s competition not just the Olympics). The oldest female medalist I could find was 34, though the lists I could find did not seem as comprehensive as the male list I could find so there is some chance I’m missing a female medalist from before 2000.

    Like Lia Thomas, Hubbard was accomplished as a male athlete but not remotely world class. (Top New Zealand junior but nowhere near comparable on the international field) However, just like Lia, Hubbard was already near or above comparable world champion female weightlifters, which as in swimming makes sense because male athletes in both sports tend to be far above female competitors starting around just after puberty. Hubbard then did not compete (we don’t really know about training) between 2001 and 2017. At that point she comes in at 39 (2 years older than the oldest ever male medalist and many years older than the oldest female medalist) and immediately wins second in the world. She then goes on to easily win first place in every competition which she enters except for a competition that she injures herself in the middle of (at 41, 4 years older than the oldest male medalist). BTW if you watch that video, it is clear that the injury is brutal. She is the prohibitive favorite at the Olympics at 43, but gets reinjured.

    No cis man ever had a career like that in weightlifting. No cis woman had a career even close to that in weightlifting. It is very implausible that a cis woman with the same training trajectory might have been able to achieve similar results because thus far, no cis woman with any training trajectory whatsoever has been able to win any recent world competitions in their late thirties much less their forties. (I think ever, but as I say the data I found seems fragmented before 2000).

    Similarly, having an advantage before transition does not imply an advantage after transition.

    This seems unresponsive to the Self-ID question. The question is ‘what counts as transition’? You then compare being a woman to a disability, which ok there are physical ‘deficits’ if we are counting the male baseline, so I’ll try to follow you there. But I can see the lack of leg. As we lean more toward self-ID situations there is a huge variation of what counts as ‘transition’. We seem to be leaning toward the idea that no surgical transition whatsoever is necessary. Ok. Which then raises the question ‘what counts as transition’? Hubbard appears to be a relatively clear example, that at least in the sport of weightlifting, hormonal transition doesn’t create the ‘disability’ that you allude to.

    Now is that limited to weightlifting? You could argue that it counts largely on grip strength, which is one of the most sex linked of all the major physical traits (much more so than even height–the top 5% of female grip strength is below the bottom 30% of male grip strength) and which is almost certainly not reversed after male puberty because the muscle structure of the hands and arms don’t change as much as say chest strength in response to later hormonal changes (old males retain high grip strength compared to females even after the decline in testosterone).

    But again we then have the example of Lia Thomas–middling male college swimmer, not expected to make the US team in any event. Then after hormones, at the very top of women’s swimming in the US and flirting with world record times. That *seems* like the ‘disability’ you’re referring to may not be present.

    Also in the general statistics that we talk about, as opposed to the case studies, you’re comparing some notional idea of how many trans people there are in the West, with a huge number of countries that are definitely not having something like 0.5% *medical* transition rates. In fact I’m pretty sure that even very pro-trans countries don’t have anything close to that for medical transition rates, and certainly not extending backward 30 years like the rest of the analysis.

  45. 45
    Jacqueline Squid Onassis says:

    I’ve been spelling it “gotcha” all these years. Am I wrong?

    You are not wrong.

    It’s certainly possible that things I say are offensive to trans people – I’m not a trans person and I have my own blind spots.

    I’m one trans person who doesn’t have the energy to address the myriad factual errors being made by the anti-trans folks on this thread – there are studies accessible via that google thingy that even I can read and understand that refute all these anti-trans claims of athletic domination but do I really want to have this awful discussion again? No. No, I do not. -, but I do want to say thank you to Eytan for lifting this particular weight. I appreciate it. A cis person disputing the “common sense” anti-trans position carries so much more weight than if it were trans person doing so. It means more to me than you can probably understand.

    As to the physical advantages I have over cis women… A data point to add to the 2 famous cases mentioned several times above:

    I am 5 ‘ 6″.

    My hands are slightly smaller than my mom’s hands. My mom is 5’ 2″.

    My feet are of a size that I hadn’t bought men’s shoes (except from a specialty catalog for dress shoes I needed for work) since 1991 or so because they simply stopped selling them in my size around that time.

    As to muscle tone… I was shocked at how hard it became to open jars after a year of HRT. Never had a problem before, now I need to use a lever to open them. Maybe there’s something to no longer having testosterone floating around my body?

    I am, however, unable to address my advantages of fat distribution, depth perception and body proportion because a) I’ve never heard a description of the advantages body proportion or fat distribution give to trans women (Does this mean that having wider hips makes one less athletic?) and b) I’ve never before heard the claim that trans women have better depth perception than cis women.

    But, as always, gender policing always, always, always hurts more cis women and girls than it does trans women and girls (although not a higher proportion!). All you have to do is look at the state of high school athletics in Utah – a state that currently has zero trans girls competing – to see the harms inherent in the anti-trans position.

  46. 46
    Sebastian H says:

    I posted 44 before I saw Amp’s comment. I wasn’t try to rewrite the rules of anything. I was trying to be clear about using the academically accepted distinction between gender (man/woman) and sex (male/female) in a topic where that very distinction is what we were talking about. I’m happy to use whatever terms are considered most proper in whatever context. I’m not sure how you want me to rewrite the sentence you pulled out. I’m not pointing to a trans woman advantage (the suggestion you seem to offer). I’m pointing out a testes-fueled, sex linked (but you won’t let me call it male puberty) advantage in bone density, muscle strength, height, twitch speed, etc. calling that a transwoman advantage seems wrong because as you point out if she doesn’t go through (what am I supposed to label it to distinguish the 2 types if I can’t say male?) puberty as a (I can’t say trans woman here that doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t distinguish the type of puberty and you don’t want male puberty?) then she won’t have the trans woman advantage. Also I would have sworn transwoman was preferred not trans woman but I’m happy to use whatever nomenclature is required. (Edit) {sorry I looked this upthread and sorry that I got it exactly backwards. I knew that I had read one was preferred but I wrote into my brain the wrong one. I apologize for that.]

    None of those sentences are trying to deny that a trans woman is a woman. We are specifically talking about physical sex advantages which is why I’m trying to be as clear as humanly possible about the distinction between sex and gender.

  47. 47
    Sebastian H says:

    which is that people who argue that some level of physical transition is a prerequisite for competing in women’s sport are conceding that all trans women have and advantage over cis women in that sport.

    I’m pretty sure that this just imprecisely worded but if not I want to be clear. The argument is not that the weakest trans woman is stronger than the strongest cis woman. It is that a trans woman in the top 10% of strength before transition will be much stronger than a cis woman in the top 10% of strength. This advantage is lessened somewhat in (hormonal) transition but converts to ‘only somewhat’ stronger not ‘equal strength’ and definitely not ‘lower strength’. This applies to all the common sports characteristics with one major exception (balance).

    So in the cases discussed we see someone going from the middle ranges of competition in the men’s competition pre transition to the very very top of the women’s competition post (hormonal) transition. Or in Hubbard’s case from a middling level to heights unreached by any cis women of her age ever. In the context of the ‘disability’ metaphor (which again I’m not sure I’m happy with but I’ll use your frame), that suggests that the hormonal transition is not ‘disabling’ to a cis women’s level. Because if it were, you would see transition taking such an athlete to a similar level of competition that they experienced before.

    It’s definitely not an argument that any non-athletic trans woman could beat every elite cis woman at any possible sport.

  48. 48
    Grace Annam says:

    Corso:

    I actually think trans people might find it offensive.

    Kindly don’t speculate about what trans people think. There are at least two participating to some extent in this discussion.

    I’m far too busy with other things to spare much attention for this dumpster fire of a discussion. But rather than suppose what people like me might be thinking, you might try asking and listening to see if we have the time and energy to answer.

    After we’re, y’know, done figuring out how we can have community without getting shot to pieces by random drop-in murderers. Priorities.

    Grace

  49. 49
    Grace Annam says:

    Sebastian H:

    I was trying to be clear about using the academically accepted distinction between gender (man/woman) and sex (male/female) in a topic where that very distinction is what we were talking about.

    Accepted by some, rejected by others. Those rejecting it tend to argue two points. 1: you can define these terms any way you like, but in common speech they are largely interchangeable, and therefore as a discussion goes on, the probability of their being conflated approaches 1, which leads to trans people saying “ouch” and the people seeking to make that distinction protesting that they defined the terms up front and so it should be okay, which leads to acrimony rather than discussion. 2: it is offensive to many trans women to call us “male” and to many trans men to call them “female”, and so if we want trans people in the discussion, we should avoid verbiage which makes them grit their teeth.

    That formulation makes me, personally, grit my teeth. Choose your path with an awareness of that outcome.

    Grace

  50. 50
    Jacqueline Squid Onassis says:

    It’s interesting that Corso never apologized for – or even acknowledged – their misreading of my comment. They have, instead, continued their awful part of this awful discussion as if it had never been pointed out by two separate commenters. Take from that what you will.

    You can see what I take from it because, as I recall, my last direct interaction with that commenter was an apology for misreading their comments/mistaking who made which comments.

  51. 51
    Grace Annam says:

    Kate:

    Wow, look at all that mint!!!! Thanks, especially to Grace, but also Amp and JOS, for all your work on that!

    Yeah, I know. It’s part of why this has not been high on my priority queue, and why I doubt the wisdom of spending any effort to engage further. But, here we go.

    Dianne:

    I think you’re right that the number of adults is artificially low due to adults feeling more pressure to not transition or live as their actual gender. In fact, I’d speculate that the numbers are still too low and the true rate may be more like 2-3%.

    I agree that that number is possible.

    I don’t know if immune function and changes in immune function have been studied in trans women.

    I have spent a LOT of time learning about COVID, since early 2020, and to my knowledge, that question has never been studied. The only consideration I have seen given to trans people is that CDC-compliant medical questions now ask you for your sex assigned at birth, without asking for ANY other information, which tells me that they’re simply assuming that trans women are medically equivalent to cis men and trans men are medically equivalent to cis women, a stance which, to the extent that it has been studied in other areas like neurology, is contraindicated by the known evidence. (Note for the hard-of-reading: I’m not asserting that trans women are medically equivalent to cis women. I’m just pointing out that there’s evidence to suggest that we are not medically equivalent to cis men.)

    Ampersand:

    I’ve been spelling it “gotcha” all these years. Am I wrong?

    That’s standard, in my experience.

    Corso:

    Quinn probably wasn’t what we had in mind when we said “trans competitor”, so you want to call it two?

    No, Corso, I want to call it one, because (a) the issue isn’t trans people in sport, it is trans women in sport, and (b) if we are trying to follow actual evidence, we have to go with people who actually gave us some, so people who didn’t compete can’t be part of the analysis.

    I was just laying out how I got to that one, to show that I knew something about the topic, and to bring the receipts and show my work.

    I encourage you to read that wiki article.

    I encourage you to suppose that I have read that wiki article, and more besides, and over time, and might know something about trans people generally, and trans people who make the news generally.

    But you carry on insinuating that I haven’t read the sources I cite.

    I expect the only reason she participated in 2020 was exactly that: She wanted to say that she was the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics. Had she lifted at the weights she had pre-injury, she would have set records.

    So, on an evidentiary basis, your argument is that if it had happened differently, the evidence would support your argument.

    Also, news flash: aging athlete makes a final try for glory. But she’s trans, so her motives are nefarious, whereas other athletes simply compete because that’s what athletes do.

    The reason trans women aren’t winning events isn’t because they wouldn’t win if allowed to play, the reason they aren’t winning is because they weren’t allowed to play.

    Yes, that’s true for some sports. So confine your analysis to the sports where we’re permitted to play, offer evidence, and then we can discuss that evidence.

    I’m going to be a little crass here because I think this needs to be clearly stated… There’s a sought after sweet spot for athletic activity. Trans athletes will push to compete as close to their transition date because, as I think we all at least suspect, their male puberty has diminishing returns and there’s a sweet spot during transition between when they start to transition, when they lose their advantage…

    So, trans athletes don’t just have an unfair advantage, but we want an unfair advantage, and we game the system to get it.

    My perception of trans inclusivity proponents is that they don’t care about sport. I don’t understand how they could… And inclusivity proponents don’t seem to care. They have no line, they have no standard.

    My perception of you is that you have a strong belief which evidence is unlikely to shift, for which you have offered plenty of rhetoric and no good evidence. As evidence supporting my perception, I offer this comment thread.

    Show good statistical evidence. Change my mind.

    If I could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that trans women did have an unfair physical advantage – Would you care?

    You weren’t addressing me, but I’ll answer for myself: of course I would care. Age divisions and weight classes exist for a reason.

    I want this question decided. Let’s find out if trans women have an unfair advantage. Because the current state of play is absolutely horrible. Trans women play and lose, or trans women bump someone out of fifth place and people cry foul and assert an unfair advantage, and we lose. Right now, trans women take it on the chin going and coming.

    And right now, the best available EVIDENCE is that …

    There is no firm basis available in evidence to indicate that trans women have a consistent and measurable overall performance benefit after 12 months of testosterone suppression. While an advantage in terms of Lean Body Mass (LBM), Cross Section Area (CSA) and strength may persist statistically after 12 months, there is no evidence that this translates to any performance advantage as compared to elite cis-women athletes of similar size and height. This is contrasted with other changes, such as hemoglobin (HG), which normalize within the cis women range within four months of starting testosterone suppression. For pre-suppression trans women it is currently unknown when during the first 12 months of suppression that any advantage may persist. The duration of any such advantage is likely highly dependent on the individual’s pre-suppression LBM which, in turn varies, greatly and is highly impacted by societal factors and individual circumstance.

    Lots of interesting reading at the link.

    Grace

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