Author Topic: Trans-people in Sport  (Read 1040 times)

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Offline TonyaW

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Re: Trans-people in Sport
« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2019, 08:00:07 pm »
I am a woman.  Trans is just a part of that, it does not make me a separate type or class of woman. Yes its different from cis, but not lesser than or greater than.

The current "debate" was not brought on by any new evidence that trans women have an advantage.  It was started by certain very vocal groups that desire to separate trans women from all women's spaces. They are using their "concerns" for fairness to create an issue for that purpose.  If they are successful in othering us in sport, they will use that to remove us from restrooms and so on. 

The lack of trans Olympic athletes is relevant because Olympic eligibility affects not just the actual Olympic games but most if not all competitions of the sports involved. Trans women would also be eligible for those and still we do not see trans women dominating any of those.
This has also been a non issue for the NCAA. Neither has said that they need to re-evaluate their eligibility rules.

So unless or until new evidence of an advantage comes to light, there is no need for this debate. 

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Offline Iztaccihuatl

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Re: Trans-people in Sport
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2019, 12:36:54 am »
In CAS recently there has been litigation in respect of Caster Semenya, which is the culmination of around five years of arguments which started in Chand v IAAF in 2015. In that case CAS found that there was insufficient evidence before it to prove that increased testosterone was in fact an advantage, and therefore the IAAF's proposed policy of requiring female athletes to reduce their testosterone below 5nmol/l was unfair. In 2018 the IAAF considered that they had sufficient evidence to prove that increased testosterone did give an athletic advantage and therefore required female athletes with increased testosterone to take medication to reduce their testosterone or be refused to compete. Semenya and South African Athletics have challenged that. The extent to which CAS do draw a link, or otherwise, between testosterone and athletic ability must impact on the approach to trans women on sports as well. Lets assume that they find that there is insufficient evidence to link testosterone and increased athletic ability, or that this is of a fairly minor level, that must impact on our argument that merely reducing testosterone levels the playing field sufficiently for full inclusion.

I don't think that the Caster Semenya case is significant for the topic of trans athletes. As far as I understand that case she identifies as cis-female and whatever gender tests the IAAF threw at her didn't reveal anything else except for unusually high testosterone levels. Since her high t-levels occur naturally, she should be permitted to compete in the women's division without any restriction, irregardless whether her t-levels result in an advantage or not. So far the common understanding of unfairness in competition does not include naturally occurring advantages, only man made ones, like doping or now in the age of CRISPR-cas9 the genetic design of a future super athlete. In some sense, every outstanding athlete has some natural advantage that sets them apart from the rest of the field. Caster's are high t-levels, other athletes have super fast muscle cells, an extreme high pain threshold, are extremely tall and so on, but nobody is thinking of excluding anybody whose traits do not match 95% of the population.

Also I disagree with Ms Tannehill not only on the relevance of the lack of trans women at the Olympics for reasons set out above, but also that we should deal with this if there are suddenly a disproportionate number of women at the highest level of sport in the future. My view is this needs to be fully dealt with. I wouldn't want any woman (CIS or Trans) to be put through what Semenya has, or Martinez-Patino in the 80s.

What we could do with, ideally, is CAS to deal with this (perhaps as a test case, or even a hypothetical scenario if they would be willing to deal with it) simply so that a line could be drawn under it. The issue is becoming toxic. There's lots of misinformation out there even in the traditionally reliable media.

Which means that a trans woman would first have to medal at the Olympics before such a case could come up before the CAS.

I was discussing this with a few lawyers the other day. These are liberal people who are in no way anti-trans. When I came out I said I would use the disabled toilets so as not to make anyone feel awkward, these are people who said that no, I should use the ladies, thats where I belong. However, they are concerned about the future of female sport and ensuring that cis-women aren't disadvantaged. They agreed that in many sports depression of testosterone might (subject to any contrary evidence on the point) be sufficient, but in some sports they were concerned that the inherent physical advantages of being born male could never be offset merely by testosterone depression, giving rowing as an example. In this sport height is a huge advantage and the male rowers are often closer to 7 foot rather than 6 foot, heights which very few ciswomen will reach and would give the trans woman a huge advantage over the ciswoman rowers.

Sir Steven Redgrave, arguably the best rower of all times, measures about 6'4". For a male rower this is about average. Granted, as a trans female rower that would be more on the upper edge, but still within naturally occurring height variances among cis-women.

Whilst brainstorming with them I wondered whether a system not unlike that used at the Paralympics might be the answer, that being an assessment of whether an individual competitor carried an unfair advantage by virtue of their trans status. Whilst I anticipate that there might be some objection as such an assessment "feels" unfair, the reality now is that ciswomen appear to be subject to a similar assessment of whether they carry any unfair hormonal advantage in any event.

I would strongly advise against that. The goal of the Paralympics is to let people who otherwise have no chance of competing in an open event compete against alike people by excluding all athletes who are not handicapped. In this case it would be the other way around, this would create a new class with the goal of excluding trans athletes from 'regular' competitions. This would move trans people in sports again into the trans corner from where we are struggling to escape.

Offline emma-f

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Re: Trans-people in Sport
« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2019, 03:04:22 am »
In case anyone is interested the talk went exceptionally well and I will be turning it into a paper for submission to Sports Law Journals. If that happens I'll look at posting a link to it here