Author Topic: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?  (Read 657 times)

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Offline KennedDoll

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My impression of the issue about trans women competing against cis women in sports is that gender/sex is inadequate for categorizing players. I would think people would argue for division based on body size/body weight etc., regardless of gender, similar to the heavy weight/feather weight distinctions in boxing.

Do you know what the argument against that might be among transgender athletes?

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 03:53:12 am »
If you take a man and a woman of comparable size/mass, the chance of the man winning is high, that would be the issue, it isn't so much about trans women/women, I think. The rationale of being on cross hormones for 3 years does make sense however.

Offline emma-f

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 05:49:11 am »
Arguably the Semenya decision has already been the first stage in removing a pure gender divide in sports, at least in certain events in athletics (although surely others will follow)

No longer can it truly be said to be (1) women's sport and (2) men's sport's, but instead is now (1) women (who come within defined categories, in particular androgen levels) and (2) "everybody else". Even the IAAF's hyperandrogenism regulations have made men's sports effectively an open category for everyone who doesn't come within what they define as women.

Within many sports this is only likely to hasten the collapse of the binary gender divide in sports. And if sports think they've had difficulty with trans athletes, as society begins to accept and understand non-binary and gender fluid, it will be even more difficult to split the categories into two nicely defined columns.

One of the big arguments against the removal of the gender divide is that many universities offer scholarships based on sporting achievement. Removing a gender divide in many sports (eg. sprinting) would create a 1st division, 2nd division, 3rd division etc. and most Universities would be offering scholarships on the top category, which would be unfair on women who would rarely be in the top division

Offline KennedDoll

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2019, 07:22:13 pm »
Quote
One of the big arguments against the removal of the gender divide is that many universities offer scholarships based on sporting achievement. Removing a gender divide in many sports (eg. sprinting) would create a 1st division, 2nd division, 3rd division etc. and most Universities would be offering scholarships on the top category, which would be unfair on women who would rarely be in the top division

Ah, thank you! It seems to me like that is in argument for not making the divisions ranked (if I'm understanding correctly), as part of removing gender divide.

Offline sarahc

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2019, 08:55:41 pm »
Because if there are no gender divisions, women can't win "at the highest level of the sport" in virtually all sports, even if there were adjustments for height or weight. That would make even the best women "second-class athletes." But I think both men and women want the best women athletes to feel like "first-class athletes." So championships for AFABs seems fair and helps to promote sport among women.
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Offline KennedDoll

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2019, 11:40:44 pm »
So, in boxing, for example (I know little about sports), is a heavyweight boxer considered to be at a higher level than a flyweight boxer? I thought the point of the categorization was to make it that neither is above the other. So, similarly, if runners were categorized by physical attribute, rather than by gender, one wouldn't be above the other by being in a different category. If not, then I would think that would be what people should try to make happen.

Offline sarahc

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 08:43:38 am »
But that's the false part. If you take a woman and a man of equal weight or height, at the world-class level there are going to be many, many men who are going to be better than the best woman in almost any sport. You mention boxing...there would be hundreds of flyweight or featherweight professional boxers would destroy the best woman of equal weight. Can you imagine Manny Pacquiao (who is 5'5") losing against any 5'5" woman in a 10-round fight?

Here's another example...from tennis. There is a new ranking system that ranks women and men on the same scale...(http://www.myutr.com). Serena Williams is tall, talented, skilled. She's 5'9" and strong. Serena Williams as a UTR of 13.33. But there are a dozens of top pro men who are similar if not smaller in stature than Serena Williams who have UTRs much higher than Serena's. Like Diego Schwartzman who is 5'7", 141 pounds but ranked 23 in men's tennis and has a UTR of 15.42. Even a 1 point UTR gap implies that the better player would completely dominate the inferior player. And there are tons of men who are similar to Diego Schwartzman in stature who have a higher UTR than Serena. So equalizing for height /weight doesn't work either. Maybe in her height class, she'd be in the top 30...maybe.

I know we want to believe that we can come up with some system that would equalize women and men in sport. But at the top levels of sport, men just get too many advantages from the testosterone during puberty that even the best women athletes can't match.
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Offline KennedDoll

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2019, 09:52:39 am »
Ok, I've exhausted my very meager understanding of biology and sports. I'm still left thinking there is a reason for the difference between cis gender male athletes and cis gender female athletes, other than their genitals or the decision by someone about which side of the binary they should be assigned. Height, isn't it. Weight isn't it. Sex isn't it. Is testosterone level it (i.e. eliminate ranking that would give an advantage to testosterone level)?

Shouldn't we try to narrow down a definition of what is unfair, so that people aren't discriminated against arbitrarily? If we eliminate biological sex, other unfair implications are left, shouldn't we try to reduce the arbitrary distinctions there too?

Offline tgchar21

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 02:23:24 pm »
I'm still left thinking there is a reason for the difference between cis gender male athletes and cis gender female athletes, other than their genitals or the decision by someone about which side of the binary they should be assigned.

The correct answer is current AND past hormone influence. For example, if someone is AMAB or has a penis (but identifies as female), but never went through male puberty (whether via blockers or because of an intersex condition), then not letting said person compete as a female would probably be discriminatory. In practice most transwomen have been under the influence of testosterone long enough that even if she has been on blockers or had her testicles removed her body would have developed male-like characteristics that would question the fairness of competing with ciswomen.

On the other hand, since testosterone is the primary factor here, transmen can and should compete as males once on HRT.

When it comes to school issues competitive athletics (where innate biological differences are relevant) is different than for example what bathroom a student can use (a social construct apart from urinals being present in one bathroom and not the other).

Offline emma-f

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2019, 03:02:05 pm »
The correct answer is current AND past hormone influence. For example, if someone is AMAB or has a penis (but identifies as female), but never went through male puberty (whether via blockers or because of an intersex condition), then not letting said person compete as a female would probably be discriminatory. In practice most transwomen have been under the influence of testosterone long enough that even if she has been on blockers or had her testicles removed her body would have developed male-like characteristics that would question the fairness of competing with ciswomen.

On the other hand, since testosterone is the primary factor here, transmen can and should compete as males once on HRT.

When it comes to school issues competitive athletics (where innate biological differences are relevant) is different than for example what bathroom a student can use (a social construct apart from urinals being present in one bathroom and not the other).

Although the evidence for a link between past testosterone and ongoing athletic performance is weak. That’s the reason why Semenya, who has had high testosterone since puberty, has to reduce her testosterone to race in women’s events but is not banned outright. The IAAF and CAS both appear to have looked at the issue and rejected such an advantage. It’s also of note that the competitive advantage of high testosterone at all is not uniform across sports, with the IAAF unable to prove any advantage above the mile

Offline KennedDoll

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Re: What is the argument against removing gender divisions in sports?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2019, 11:37:06 am »
Every discussion that I've read about the inclusion of transgender people in sports flips between arguing what is fair and arguing what current rules require and it always seems to me like the conclusion is inconsistent because the conversation got stuck on some technicality.

If there is no way of changing rules to be fair, then there is nothing to discuss, because rules are rules and it doesn't matter what is fair. If rules can be changed and fairness does matter, then where the current rules are unfair, there is a reason to argue that they should be changed.

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