Sex Testing in Elite Sport

It's still all about testosterone.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

If we're going to define the women's category in elite sport on the basis of sex, we have to be prepared to sort athletes in and out on those grounds. The Olympic Movement has a long and complicated history with this work, which has involved continually updating the approach to atypical cases so that the eligibility rule remains consistent with sport's core commitments and its evolving values. The current iteration, which rests exclusively on testosterone (T) levels, is illustrative. It represents a renewed commitment to a women's category based in female sex-linked traits and, within that framework, a new commitment to a pathway into the category for male-bodied athletes who identify as women.

Here are the specifics:

The IOC's Transgender guidelines require transgender women and girls who want to compete in the women's category to drop their T levels to below 10 nmol/l for at least a year before their first competition. (See my post on Tuesday for details about the male and the female T ranges.) It is expected that the required T levels will be revised to below 5 nmol/l.

The IAAF has taken the lead developing the eligibility regulation for 46 XY males with differences of sex development (DSDs). Athletes with DSDs are often described as "intersex" but for sport's purposes, the only relevant conditions are those affecting biological males, i.e., athletes with testes, male T levels, and functional androgen receptors. The IOC is waiting for the outcome of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision in the case Caster Semenya has brought challenging the regulation to align its rule with the IAAF's.

The IAAF's eligibility rule requires 46 XY males with relevant DSDs who identify or are legally identified as female to drop their T levels below 5 nmol/l for at least 6 months before entering women's competition. In other words, as I explained in the NYT last year, the IAAF's rule "limit[s] entry into women's events to athletes who have testosterone levels that are capable of being produced solely by ovaries."

Both rules permit male-bodied athletes who identify as women to compete in the women's category—they are no longer sex tested and then excluded because they are male—but they cannot enter as superwomen. Here are some useful additional facts:

5 nmol/l represents a generous reading of the outer boundary of the female range, as it captures outlier results from 46 XX females with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). The normal female range is generally described as no higher than 3 nmol/l.

The time frames in the two rules are based on evidence about how long it takes for the body to wind down the physiological advantages that account for important aspects of the performance gap between male and female athletes. For a summary of these advantages, see my post on Tuesday.

The rules are also designed to address concerns about prior iterations, including the overinclusion of 46 XY males with complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS) when eligibility was established via chromosome analysis; and unnecessary intrusiveness when eligibility was established via external examination and then via the medical standard of care / differential diagnostic for DSD.

In Sex in Sport, I argued that the eligibility rule for both transgender women and males with DSD should require all athletes competing in the women's category to have T levels in the female range. And—consistent with Martina Navratilova's position—I argued that the category should "not be open to intersex and trans athletes who had testes and testosterone in the male range through puberty, since the point of the women's category in elite sport is to provide a space free of competition from athletes with male bodies." Male puberty builds the male body in the respects that matter for sport, including the development of the secondary sex characteristics responsible for the performance gap. Winding down the physiological advantages of male T levels post puberty significantly reduces the male advantage, but it cannot erase it entirely—particularly as to its structural aspects.

Nonetheless, I agree with the IAAF and the IOC that because they are committed both to protecting the category for female-bodied athletes and to including post-pubertal male-bodied athletes who identify as women, using T levels to do this work is the best, i.e., the most accurate and least intrusive, approach. In the language of anti-discrimination law, the policy goals are important, and the means chosen to accomplish them are narrowly tailored and proportional. I testified to this effect in the Semenya case at CAS.

The rules are, of course, subject to criticism. This includes the critique Navratilova and I have made that I've just described and that's further developed in my last two posts. And it includes Semenya's and Rachel McKinnon's critique (summarized in yesterday's post) that gender of rearing and/or identity should be determinative, not biology. Finally, it includes finer points about over- and under-inclusion, and about intrusiveness and proportionality, that I don't have the space to develop further here, and so this list will have to do:

The argument that the rule is over-inclusive is that the governing bodies should but cannot (or do not try to) prove that the performance of a particular male-bodied athlete is due to their male T levels, as opposed to some other endogenous or exogenous factor(s). Generally, this argument is made with respect to male-bodied athletes who are about the same as or only slightly better than the females in the field, e.g., all of the boys and men surrounding Allyson Felix in the 400 meters figure I provided in Tuesday's post. As the detailed public analyses of Semenya's performances demonstrate, this work is not impossible, but I'll leave you to ponder the administrative burdens of such a case-by-case charge. And the categorical problem that is permitting non-elite males to compete without condition for the highest prizes in women's sport.

Arguments that the rules are under-inclusive include concerns that:

  • The 10 nmol/l threshold for transgender women doesn't limit entry into the women's category only to women with T levels in the female range.
  • The 6 months period for at least some categories of DSD athletes is too short.
  • The IAAF's pending DSD regulation only applies to certain "restricted events"—the long sprints and middle distances—when it should apply to all events affected by the performance gap.

Arguments that the rules are intrusive and disproportionate include:

  • Even if confidentiality is maintained, the rules can have the incidental effect of revealing private facts about the athlete's sex or sex traits, or triggering suspicion about those traits. This can be especially damaging when the athlete comes from a traditional society.
  • The rules require athletes to alter their endocrine profiles for purposes of sport when this is not necessarily consistent with their financial, psychological, or physical best interests.
  • Consent to treatment in these circumstances is not truly voluntary, which is to say it's given under a form of duress, becauseo f the athletes' desire to compete in the women's category.

NEXT: Is Redistricting Depriving Women of Their Voting Rights?

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  1. Consent to treatment in these circumstances is not truly voluntary, which is to say it’s given under a form of duress, becauseo f the athletes’ desire to compete in the women’s category.

    True. However, isn’t consent to treatment simply because you want to look more like a girl also therefore under a form of duress? Both are goals you voluntarily want to achieve but reality forces your hand.

    1. The only duress is allowing guys to compete against girls. Just say no.

      1. Anyone who is pro trans women sports needs to watch the mma fights of a trans in south Africa. Believe he has now broken 2 different competitors faces.

  2. Wow, this is easy.

    Born with a penis you play men’s sports
    Born with a vagina you play women’s unless you feel you are up for competing with the guys.

    You can spend a lot of money pretending to be a women, example Bruce Jenner, but you are still a guy.

    1. Well, to be fair, the specific case that they are talking about that kinda sparked some of this level of specificity about testosterone that South African woman who has no womb but internal testes, and thus who has very high testosterone. I presume she has a va-jay-jay. She has no package, let’s put it that way, based on the pictures of her in the tight running clothes.

      I say, if there is even a question, they should not be allowed to compete. Sorry.

      1. Yes I also realize there is a very small percentage of tweeners. They can compete as men if they wish.

        1. Which mean they will be locked out of high level competition by default, which I’m fine with, but let’s just call a spade a spade. I knew I’d never play in the NBA due to my height and it is what it is.

          1. Discrimination!

  3. Now testing is still required because actual women, see East German swimmers, can be doped up with testosterone.

  4. >The 10 nmol/l threshold for transgender women doesn’t limit entry into the women’s category only to women with T levels in the female range.

    What is the legal threshold under the current drug testing regime? That is, will this allow women to dope moderately?

    1. That was my reaction: If you’re going to set a T level above what women can naturally have, aren’t you inviting doping?

      I don’t actually mind doping, of course, research on fighting sarcopenia has been set back horribly by the fight to make sports “fair”. But it is an obvious question.

      1. I don’t actually mind doping, of course

        Once you allow doping then doping becomes mandatory in order to be competitive.

        research on fighting sarcopenia has been set back horribly by the fight to make sports “fair”.

        How has research been set back?

        1. Well, anti-doping pressure interferes with application, and researchers are reluctant to devote themselves to areas where their research probably won’t ever be applied.

          1. Sorry to be so dense but I’m still not following. Sarcopenia is apparently a condition of age-associated muscle degeneration that becomes more common in people over the age of 50. Are you saying that treatment for sarcopenia using steroids (SARMS, DHEA) has not been explored because competitive athletes are not permitted to take these?

            1. I think you understand the argument.

        2. “Once you allow doping then doping becomes mandatory in order to be competitive.”

          What’s wrong with that?

          1. >What’s wrong with that?

            The traditional argument is to protect athletes who don’t want to dope (due to long term health risks)

            1. What about athletes who dont want to wear contact lenses?

              1. As far as I know, there are no health concerns about contact lenses.

                The more serious counter-argument is that being an elite athlete is a health hazard. IIRC, lower life expectancy. And, at the very least, lots and lots and lots of QoL issues.

          2. If doping causes harm, then perhaps it is wrong to require a person to harm herself in order to be competitive.

            1. Perhaps it is wrong to require an athlete to harm himself in order to be competitive, at all. Maybe we shouldn’t have sports. Of course, right now we allow all athletes to harm themselves, and place themselves in harm’s way, in order to remain competitive.

              1. Perhaps it is wrong to require an athlete to harm himself in order to be competitive

                Are you really saying that you see no difference between the normal risks inherent in sports and the risks that come with massive steroid use? It’s one thing to say as a society that we think that the benefits of sports outweigh the risks. It’s another to say that we are now willing to convert traditional sports into an activity in which effort and perseverance and natural ability are not enough to achieve success, knowing the effect this will have given the societal rewards of being an athletic champion? Now in addition to the physical trainer and coach we will have the pharmaceutical trainer? Does this person operate under any constraints? Are we willing to accept some level of risk but that’s all, so that some drugs may not be given because of the severe risk to health? If so, then we’re right back where we started. Why go down this road at all? I can’t believe that you really believe the position you’re arguing.

                1. “Are you really saying that you see no difference between the normal risks inherent in sports and the risks that come with massive steroid use?”

                  I am really saying that for certain athletic activities, the already-required physical harm that athletes suffer often far exceeds the damages they would otherwise suffer from steroid use. Especially since doping can be used to help athletes recover from “normal risks inherent in sports”. The dangers of steroids are as known to athletes as the “normal risks inherent in sports” yet the former is treated differently.

                  “Does this person operate under any constraints?”

                  Yes, of course. Even under a doping-is-legal regime.

                  “…so that some drugs may not be given because of the severe risk to health?”

                  Sure, I’m willing to have that conversation. For the same reason that NFL players wear pads and helmets. But the voluntary assumption of risk by grown men factors into my evaluation of what is too risky to tolerate.

                  “I can’t believe that you really believe the position you’re arguing.”

                  Get this man some smelling salts! If you don’t know where to find them, your local high school has plenty, that they use to arouse concussed 16 year olds after ordered violent collisions. Thank God someone is thinking of the children for once.

                  1. But the voluntary assumption of risk by grown men factors into my evaluation of what is too risky to tolerate.

                    So you are willing to have age restrictions and drug restrictions. We would still have the issue of illegal doping while having allowed an unnecessary risk into sports, and having modified rules in a way that athletes can’t be competitive unless they dope. How does that improve the situation from where it is today?

                    Your comments with respect to the inherent dangers of sports is apparently that if there is X amount of risk already then what objection can anyone have to 2X amount of risk?

                    1. “So you are willing to have age restrictions and drug restrictions.”

                      Of course. We already have different rules/limits based on age for athletic competition.

                      “How does that improve the situation from where it is today?”

                      I don’t view improving the doping “problem” in sports as something that’s particularly worrisome. But the problem you’re trying to answer exists without doping. Athletes will do legal and illegal things that cause harm to their bodies to compete. We’re just discussing the universe of things that are legal.

                      “Your comments with respect to the inherent dangers of sports is apparently that if there is X amount of risk already then what objection can anyone have to 2X amount of risk?”

                      No, it’s that if there is X amount of risk already, then what objection can anyone have to something that is X amount of risk. But, even if you can persuade me that it is between X and 2X, what I’m wondering is why you’ve decided that grown adults should be able to consent to X but not 2X?

                    2. If you are on board with limiting the drugs that may be legally used in competition, why?

                      what I’m wondering is why you’ve decided that grown adults should be able to consent to X but not 2X

                      I am in favor of grown adults being able to consent to drugs. I am not in favor of adopting a new rule that excludes people from a chance of winning unless they agree to dope themselves. I also think it will harm sports. People enjoy watching it because they believe that success comes from hard work and natural ability. As soon as they start believing that pharmaceuticals are the most important factor people will tune out. Athlete X has discovered a compound that makes him run faster than anybody else but he won’t disclose what it is. Am I going to tune in to watch this new wonder drug in action?

                    3. “People enjoy watching it because they believe that success comes from hard work and natural ability.”

                      People who take anabolic steroids still have to work out to build muscle mass. And all the steroids in the world would not transform John Stockton into Lebron James.

                      What about drugs that speed up tissue repair, and can shorten down times for injured athletes? These don’t necessarily enhance athletes’ strength, but can return an otherwise naturally able athlete to the field sooner than otherwise. What’s your objection to those types of drugs?

                      “As soon as they start believing that pharmaceuticals are the most important factor people will tune out.”

                      This is doubtful. When athletes perform above all prior competitors, the evidence shows that people watch more. Many may be blissfully unaware of doping use, but we’re deep enough into multiple sport scandals to pretend to be so doe-eyed about it. Would it really surprise that many people to learn that Bolt doped? And who would care?

                    4. @NToJ:

                      1. If you are on board with limiting the drugs that may be legally used in competition, why?

                      2. Are you in favor of adopting a new rule that, in a practical sense, excludes people from a chance of winning unless they agree to dope themselves?

              2. Who should make the decision which harms are worth it?

                1. Democrat authoritarians duh.

                2. My view would be to leave it to the sports leagues and the athletes. This is not an issue that needs to be addressed by government. As far as a civil discussion among consumers of sports, I think we get to decide with our pocket books. What I’m suggesting is that my pocket book is pretty open to allowing grown men to use drugs whose risks are known, to enhance performance, because I generally defer to them on the assumption of risk. I can be persuaded by an overwhelming public policy need to remove that decision from grown men. But you guys aren’t presenting that overwhelming public policy need.

          3. Everything is wrong with that. Sporting competitions should be sporting competitions, competitions between athletes based on physical training and natural ability, not competitions in biochemistry between teams of scientists to see who can get their human racehorses to perform the best.

            1. What about a cortisone shot? Regular pain relievers at elevated doses (I’m assuming you won’t deny athletes the ability to take over the counter medication according to the manufacturer’s instructions)? Are nutritionists okay, or is that too far over the line?

            2. Sporting competitions should be sporting competitions, competitions between athletes based on physical training and natural ability

              Up to a point, Lord Copper. Formula 1 is a sport, and as well as the driver’s ability and training, the design, construction etc of the car is very important. Of course, there are very tight rules constraining the design, but even so, you finish up with some cars being better than others. One of the interesting features of the sport is that you sometimes get a slightly better driver in a slightly worse car beating a slightly worse driver in a slightly better car. But sometimes the car advantage is decisive. Of course you can see this as being really a competition between the whole teams, driver plus designers, engineers, mechanics, strategists. But in that competition, money is very important.

              Similar considerations apply in sailing. And golf.

              The assistance of biochemistry is just something that needs to be constrained within tight limits. It’s just difficult to police them effectively.

              1. Just wanted to let you know I got and enjoyed the Waugh reference.

                Now back to my memoirs of my six months in Patagonia, entitled “Waste of Time.”

            3. “Sporting competitions should be…”

              Should be whatever the fuck we want them to be. Why do you get to decide for me, what product I want to consume? If I want to watch competitions in biochemistry between teams of scientists, what business is it of your’s?

              Is there any doubt that consumers have already answered with a resounding yes, that they want doped athletes? How many Americans can name a Tour de France winner besides Lance Armstrong? Who wasn’t watching Sosa and McGwire duke it out for the home run record?

        3. See professional Cycling for evidence.

          1. And professional cycling was never more popular than when everyone was doping, at least in America (but that might have something to do with one particular doper).

  5. The more interesting broad policy query is: after trannies, where does the outrage industry go next?
    We did blacks, women, the disabled, the gays, and, now the trannies.
    Can we infer from the #fightfor15, and the apparent love affair of young lefties with hardcore socialism, that UBI is next?

    1. Talk about how blacks exploited the “outrage industry” is another reason vanquishing right-wingers in the culture war has been so important, just, and enjoyable.

      Toe that line, clingers! (You can complain about all of this damned progress, tolerance, and science all you want, though.)

      1. You know how some more right wing commentators bring abortion up in a thread when it is somehow tangentially related to the OP? Yea, you’re that guy Rev, but on the left, but worse. Anyway, just who do you think will be making clingers toe the line, because it sure ain’t gonna be you.

      2. “…vanquishing right-wingers in the culture war has been so important, just, and enjoyable.”

        And you could have done it twenty years ago, if you didn’t have to make Gloria Steinem write a column about how it’s OK for a boss to grope and expose himself to his employees.

      3. The Rev. is Smolletting today.

      4. I could have started with the Communists and fellow travelers in the 30’s, or Jacob Riis in the 1890’s, or the abolitionists before that.
        I’m m not saying that there has never been a reason for political outrage, only that eventually diminishing marginal returns sets in.

        1. Hey, thanks to Kirkland’s people, we no longer have to tolerate bigoted little shits like Morris Dees in polite society.

    2. That is a great question. Not sure, once you’re in full ‘woke” tranny mode its hard to get more ridiculous. Maybe some other identity issue will take over.

    3. The Next Big Thing will be equal rights for children. We already see this starting with advocacy of ridiculously low voting ages.

      1. I think that if some places want to give 16 year olds the right to vote, that’s fine, as long as they allow them to buy cigarettes, beer, and firearms at that age, too.

  6. As I pointed out in the other similar Volokh post, it’s NOT all about the testosterone. No matter what t-level you use for the standard, it doesn’t change skeletal structure and other things, so it doesn’t level the playing field.

    For example, women have a wider pelvis that facilitates child bearing, but is not optimized for running. No amount of hormones are going to change that. So no matter how much surgery a person has, and how many hormones they take, it’s still putting lipstick on a pig. You can’t turn a man into a woman no matter how hard you try.

    People should be free to express themselves as whatever gender they wish, but sporting events have standards, and men competing as women fragrantly violates the standard of women’s sports.

    1. >but sporting events have standards,

      Counterexample: the infamous Casey Martin SCOTUS case.

    2. It’s not all about the current testosterone level, anyway.

      They should just test T levels to rule out doping, and do a quick chromosome check to verify sex. But they’re running scared, afraid to offend the SJWs.

      1. As I understand Coleman, 46-XY males with complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS) never had high testosterone levels.

        1. No. 46 XY males with CAIS had and have normal male level testosterone. But, their body doesn’t process the testosterone, so their body has all the secondary sex characteristics of a woman. They have zero competitive advantage over 46 XX females.

          1. On a side note, I’m not sure what this “46” is really doing for us here; I doubt anybody with the wrong number of chromosomes is going to be remotely competitive in sports anyway.

            1. If they have a chromosome missing, that’s true. If they have extras, they might still be competitive.

      2. afraid to offend the SJWs

        To me, the mystery is how the SJWs were able to establish transgendered athletes as a victim group, and why women were willing to go along with this. Seems like an emperor has no clothes problem, with those speaking up being subject to vicious retaliation making it not worth it. But what motivates the PC police? Perhaps the belief that the protection of all gay rights is threatened otherwise, or maybe just residual anger at past discrimination against gays. Could be it’s the same as what Bill Maher says about cultural appropriation: “These people just want to bitch.”

        1. It’s a virtue signaling arms race: Every time somebody comes up with something to indicate how “woke” they are, somebody else has to one up them.

          1. It’s a virtue signaling arms race

            Good point.

        2. If an individual has demonstrated athletic talent at some high level, but current rules make it difficult to assign this person to either the “men’s sports” or “women’s sports” category, then that is a problem with the rules, having nothing to do with SJW virtue-signaling.

          The rules should facilitate discovery of which athlete is “the best”, not to unnecessarily turn away capable athletes.

          1. It is not difficult to assign genders just like when you go to the pound its not hard to identify which dog are male and which are female.

            1. You mean sex, right? Not gender? Because gender is different than sex.

              Even still, even if you are referring to sex and not gender, there are still difficult borderline cases.

              1. If you are the very rare tweener then you compete as a male.

                1. Why?

                  1. Because otherwise the normal women become uncompetitive.

                  2. wreckinball : If you are the very rare tweener then you compete as a male.

                    chemjeff : Why?

                    Because in substance the “men’s” competition is really the “open” competition. It’s just called the “men’s” competition because nobody who isn’t a man can compete. I’d be quite content to rename all men’s competitions as “open” and allow anyone to have a go. And no doubt there are some sports in which some women, or inbetweeners, might be able to compete.

                    Showjumping is an obvious example, where there’s no sex advantage and men and women compete on equal terms. Strictly, I suspect men and women are not equivalent as such, when it comes to show jumping, but that there are minor advantages and disadvantages which cut both ways. So the male power advantage may sometimes be useful, but the weight disadvantage may sometimes be costly. In any event men and women both seem to be able to win show jumping and cross country equestrian events. Whether the male predominance in jockeying has to do with power/weight advantage I don’t know. I suspect probably yes.

              2. You mean sex, right? Not gender? Because gender is different than sex.

                But separate sports were set up for men and women because of differences based on sex (i.e. anatomical and physiological differences), not because of differences based on gender (i.e. the social and cultural role of each sex within society), right? The rules against women becoming physicians or lawyers were based on reasons of gender and have rightfully been abrogated as artificial and nonsensical. But in the area of sports the reason for the different treatment is not based on gender. In fact, what should gender have to do with it? If you think it should be based on the gender that the athlete identifies with then why should there be any consideration of physiological factors such as hormone levels or transition periods? Is that what you believe? Why should the gender an athlete identifies with trump physiology?

              3. Gender is different than sex if you’re fucking retarded. The whole post modernism movement is for retarded people Jeff. No, facts are not subjective to your life experience.

                1. Gender is a perfectly reasonable concept, different from sex, if only peole would use it consistently to mean the same thing from one sentence to the next. Unfortunately the people most likely to use gender in a run of sentences tend to dislike sticking to a single consistent meaning.

                  But “gender” could be a reasonably way to distinguish :

                  (a) the different ways in which people of the two different sexes typicaaly behave differently in a given society. (Obviously some of these differences in behavior will be strongly influenced by biology, some will be much more culturaly influenced. And of course the concept gets harder to apply in a society which insists, as a matter of culture, that the two sexes should behave in the same way.)

                  or to describe

                  (b) the mental sense of sexual identity “I am, or I feel I ought to be, of Sex P or Sex Q”
                  Even though such a mental sense is not apparent to most of those whose mental sense of sexual identty matches the evidence of their body, there’s not much doubt that such a mental sense does exist, as the case of the poor fellow who had a botched circumcision and was brought up as a girl till he was in his teens, demonstrates.

                  The difficulty is that (a) or (b) are different ideas, and if you leap willy nilly from one to the other, or a third meaning, and then sometimes use gender as a synonym for sex, you’re bound to confuse your listeners. And probably yourself.

          2. The rules should facilitate discovery of which athlete is “the best”

            And in nearly all cases, that athlete will be male. That’s the reason for the existence of women’s sports. Women compete separately so that we can discover which WOMAN is best. That’s why men must be excluded from women’s sports, regardless of their psychological issues, and how they might have poisoned or mutilated themselves in response to those issues.

        3. “why women were willing to go along with this’

          I think it gets back to the victim group ranking:
          1) Blacks
          2) Muslims
          3) LGBT
          4) Women
          5) Hispanics

          LGBT ranks higher than women. It also explains why LGBT is ever so silent and not outraged when a Muslim throws some of them off a roof or shoots up one of their nightclubs. Then its all peace and concerns about Islamophobia. Muslims outrank LGBT>.

          1. You need to update that by dropping the G from LGBT. Gay men are no longer considered a Victim Class.

            1. Gay men are no longer considered a Victim Class.

              Why not?

              1. Poofs are, not bears.

                1. In seriousness, there are a significant amount of gay men who are, except for the gay part, supporters of masculine values and masculinity in general. They get off on it, literally, and they don’t want women spoiling that. Once they won gay marriage, the reasons to be on the side of the feminists have gone away.

      3. BB: “But they’re running scared, afraid to offend the SJWs.”

        I tend to agree, and that fear underscores a major point. All the continued bluster we run across here, the repetition of “men are men and women are women,” is basically a kind of group therapy and mutual support (it’s also oversimplified, but I’ll try to stick with one thing). But it doesn’t get us very far. Yes people are afraid. And why? Because the culture supporting the current situation is ascendant and situated in schools and boards and other governing bodies. It’s amazing how quickly something can flip.

        People face character assassination not because they are evil or even wrong, but because their ideas don’t fit in. So careers are ruined — not just those of contrarians but those of serious researchers, clinicians, and therapists (there’s a literature — read some articles by the science journalist Jesse Singal).

        So where do we go? What does one do?

        Hell, I don’t know. But I do know it requires a competing ontology, one that goes beyond the group therapy sessions. I think the OP is a decent place to start.

        1. All the continued bluster we run across here, the repetition of “men are men and women are women,” is basically a kind of group therapy and mutual support

          🙂

          Nope. There’s a class of person, who even when they don’t have a dog in the fight, aren’t interested in dogs and aren’t interested in fights, have a natural tendency to deny that stroking a cat is a dog fight. It’s the Emperor’s new clothes thing. The courtiers and flunkeys are all rushing round saying “Men are not men, women are not women, it’s all much more complicated and gender oozy and a man who wants to be a woman IS a man” And so on.

          Some people – small boys mostly, but also some small girls – have an uncontrollable urge to say :

          “Hahhaha, you stupid people. He’s not wearing anything ! He’s starkers !”

    3. Exactly.

      We talk a lot about running (and swimming) because they are largely individual sports that enable very easy measurements among competitors.

      But what about height? Taking hormones does not shrink a 6’3 man (97.5th percentile); the individual is still 6’3, but is now in the 99.997th percentile. How does that work when you’re on the basketball or volleyball teams?

      The solution has always been simple: a women’s sport (for XX, non-doping women) and an “open” sport (wherein anyone can compete but cannot dope, with certain limited exceptions for FTM transsexuals). In actuality, the latter will almost always be a men’s division, although the occasional MTF transsexual would be forced to stay there, and the occasional exceptionally talented woman may choose to compete at a higher level.

      1. >a women’s sport (for XX, non-doping women) and an “open” sport

        Aka downgrade women’s sports into a lesser championship akin to “U-21” or “over-65,” which is an ironic thing to advocate in the name of “diversity and inclusion.”

        1. What are you even talking about?

          1. Right now, women’s champions are generally considered equal in status* to the men’s champions e.g., the women’s 100m champion is an official “Olympic Gold Medalist,” and not something lesser, like the “over 70 yro 100m champion.”

            There are lots of handicap competitions and leagues, but they are just for fun; nobody really cares about them. IMHO, if we change to an “open” competition and a “not-men” competition to accommodate transwomen (as Volokh, theobromophile, and others advocate), then there will only be one champion, the “open champion.” Women’s sports becomes just another handicap league, like “over 70 yro.” This will undue decades of work by female athletes to make their sports relevant.

            1. Right now, women’s champions are generally considered equal in status* to the men’s champions

              No they’re not. Nobody’s remotely interested in athletics or Olympic sports generally between Olympiads. Sports that people are actually interested in, year in year out, and which make the stars rich and famous are things like football, baseball, soccer (outside the US), golf and cricket (in India.) Nobody ever watches the women’s versions of these.

              Equal status officialy – eg in the Olympics – comes when there’s a major official and political input. Or when there’s a lawsuit which finishes up requiring equal status.

              None of which is to say that it isn’t a splendid achievement to be the Women’s World or Olympic Champion at something, nor that such women aren’t superb athletes. But women athetes only have equal status to men, when they beat them in the same competition. Which happens in things like some equestrian events.

              “Women” is a handicap class in most sports. But it’s half the world’s population, and it’s well worth competng in such a competition. This is precisely McEnroe’s point when we said Serena was the best women’s tennis player in history, and was pulled up for saying “women’s.” Serena’s the best women’s player ever. That’s something for her to be rightly proud of. But delete the women’s and she’s a nobody.

        2. Yes, that is exactly the purpose of separate women’s sports, in recognition of the reality of male athletic superiority. It’s only ironic when the same people argue for both women’s sports AND diversity and inclusion. Excluding males is the sole reason for the existence of women’s sports.

          1. It’s only ironic when the same people argue for both women’s sports AND diversity and inclusion.

            The irony becomes particularly poignant when the same person argues that the decision of a biological male to adopt the female gender should be respected and honored (even encouraged) but that for a white person to wear dreadlocks or dress in clothing of a different culture for Halloween represents a shameful and reprehensible cultural appropriation, for which even solemn and abject apologies will not avoid severe condemnation.

    4. What’s the evidence as to the extent of any advantage for a person who experienced male level testosterone through puberty (and thus the structural advantages you’re referring to) but for the past 6 months or more has testosterone levels in the normal female range (i.e., the sort of athletes that the proposed IOC and IAAF rules would allow to compete in the women’s category)?

      1. My understanding is that those things are not measured very well. We have reams of data comparing, say, men’s times in the mile to women’s times in the mile, but precious little data comparing post-op, hormonally-changed MTF transsexuals to biological women.

        As I mentioned above, things like height don’t change, which is an advantage in everything from basketball to swimming to hurdles. Lung capacity remains higher, due to development before puberty. Bone density is higher, which means that MTF transsexuals can handle higher levels of training. (I stress-fractured three bones while running track in high school, including my femur. I still limit my mileage to prevent injuries.) As mentioned, the q-angle is better for running, and the pelvis does not change shape.

        A biological male who is, for example, in the 50th percentile in his running times would be a champion if he ran as a woman. Hormone therapy will erode some of that advantage, but do we say that the MTF transsexual has received no benefit if she is now in the 95th percentile of women, instead of the 99.9th?

        1. >My understanding is that those things are not measured very well.

          I suspected that would be the case. I know many want to draw lines based on their notions of who is and who is not a woman or their notion of fairness, justice, inclusivity or whatever, but for someone like myself who thinks of things from a more utilitarian perspective, I’d really want to know the practical impact of proposed rules like that of the IAAF.

        2. >A biological male who is, for example, in the 50th percentile in his running times would be a champion if he ran as a woman.

          Not sure what you mean here. Obviously, men have an advantage over women in track, but there’s no way the average man is anywhere near champion women in any running distance. If you look at the chart the professor produced in the first in this series, it shows roughly 10,000 men as fast or faster than the all-time female 400m times. Even if you double that number of men, it’s only 20,000 in 3,750,000,000 males, or a male in the 99.9+ percentile of all males.

    5. Just wait until genetic engineering kicks in.

  7. So when a nation uses drugs to improve performance, it is cheating (Russia, Germany), but if an individual does it, it is just ‘being themselves’?

    If we choose to continue to allow different sports based on sex (men / women) then the only differentiation should be sex, not GDS. No need to look at hormone levels, look at the chromosomes.

    The only fair way to address this issue is to eliminate the dual sports industry, and just have sports. All are welcome to compete in all events.

    1. Don’t be ridiculous. Barring sex-separated sport would mean women wouldn’t have a chance, except in the very few sports that require flexibility and light weight above any other traits (gymnastics, perhaps).

      The only fair option is strict sex segregation by testosterone level and chromosomal category, and it’s going to mean a very few people with unique circumstances aren’t allowed to compete in the category corresponding to their desired gender identity. (This burden will fall disproportionately on male-to-female transgender persons and women with chromosomal abnormalities.) Is that unfortunate for them? Sure.

      Doesn’t matter, though, because it’s *fair*.

      It enables fair competition and equal opportunity to participate and win for everyone, and that’s the most important thing in sport.

      1. Modest proposal: replace all Olympic events with eSports.

        Maybe the shooting/equestrian events can stay, too.

        1. Replace Gymnastic Dance with Rock, Paper, Scissors.

          1. You left out Lizard, Spock.

  8. It’s sad/funny/disgusting when conservatives talk about individual liberty but when a person wants to be treated as an individual (however off-norm they wish to be), then conservatives have a fit.

    It’s like there’s only one way to be an individual – the conservative way of course – and any other way of being an individual is bad.

    1. Who/what are you talking about?

      (What does “being an individual” have to do with sex-segregated sports, specifically?

      Individuality that expresses a different gender identity is fine … but if it comes with other-gender testosterone and performance, it’s not fair sport to “respect” that individuality in terms of which group they compete in.

      Individual liberty has nothing to do with the rules of a sporting league, in any case, no?)

      1. You’re desire to make me treat a man as a woman interferes with my individual liberty to respect objective reality (and to have a fair sporting event).

        You wanna dress up and cut bits, fine, but don’t make me part of the lie you tell yourself. That’s liberty.

        1. my individual liberty to respect objective reality

          No one is interfering with your liberty to ‘respect objective reality’.

          If you want to call Bruce Jenner a dude, or a girl, or anything else that you choose, you have every right to do so.

          1. The women who are being forced to compete against men are having their liberty destroyed.

          2. Men can’t be women, ever. You’re asking people to be complicit in a lie, either actively or passively, by accepting a system that allows for that lie. Any individual’s right to self-deception ends when it interferes with someone else’s liberty to be truthful to themselves and others. Never mind what a disservice done by letting people lie to themselves.

            So, as an individual, you’re right, I can choose to not watch crappy sports with men dressed as women. But you’re destroying the individual freedom of the women who are being forced to compete with them in what is called a “womens'” sport.

            Theoretically, if you called it “women and trans tennis/volleyball/weightlifting” then I suppose then it wouldn’t be a lie anymore. But do you really think THAT is gonna happen?

            1. Men can’t be women, ever.

              Biologically? No.
              In terms of social expectations? Sure they can. Ever hear of cross-dressing?

              1. A cross dresser is just that, a cross dresser. Look, I can go to a Marvel movie and pretend that there is a man named Captain America, but I am a willing participant in that suspension of reality. Just like cross dressing, there will never be a Captain America with a vibranium shield. You should be able to understand that.

            2. You’re asking people to be complicit in a lie, either actively or passively, by accepting a system that allows for that lie.

              Wait, you want me to stop tolerating religious liberty? Is that what you are saying? Because I think myths about sky gods are lies. Why should I participate in a system that forces me to be complicit in a lie by tolerating those religious whackos out there? Maybe the state should force them to accept reality and convert them to atheism against their will. It would be for their own good. Because it’s a disservice by the state permitting them to continue lying to themselves.

              Oh wait that isn’t what you are saying, is it?

              1. Apples and oranges.

                Are you being forced to give the sign of the cross, or to say aloha snackbar? No. Are you forced to live, generally speaking, under the laws the majority chooses, much of which is based on religious morality? Yes.

                Oh wait, is that what you’re complaining about, well, is it?

                1. Are you being forced to give the sign of the cross, or to say aloha snackbar? No.

                  Are you being forced to call Bruce Jenner a woman? No.

                  1. You seem to be missing the point of the comments above, and below, this one, that you’re imposing on the rest of us. And as an individual, if I don’t want to watch men dressed as women in a sports contest, I can change the channel, but you’re making us complicit in your lie if you call it “womens’ sports”. Call it Trans and Womens’ Tennis, and ya got me, I admit it. Would you go for that name change?

                    1. I do not care what label it has. All I want all along is for athletes to be able to compete in the category that is most appropriate for them based on their individual talents and abilities.

                    2. Jeff advocates for men dressed as women to commit violence on females. Jeff supports abuse against females. See mma fighter.

                  2. chemjeff: “Are you being forced to call Bruce Jenner a woman? No.”

                    Not completely true. In both California and New York (or at least NYC) people in certain occupations can be arrested, tried, and sent to prison for consistently using the “wrong” pronouns and “misgendering” a trans person. There was vigorous discussion of the California law in the VC a year or more back.

                  3. Are you being forced to call Bruce Jenner a woman? No.

                    Actually, in Canada, yes.

            3. If you value freedom of conscience in its own right, then that freedom must include the freedom to believe lies if people choose to believe lies.

              1. To paraphrase Jefferson, if your lies neither pick my pocket nor break my leg, you can go ahead and keep telling them to yourself (to your detriment). But to further mix metaphors, your right to lie to yourself swinging your fists ends when my nose for objective reality (i.e. that men aren’t women) starts.

                1. You are free to believe what you want. I am free to believe what I want. Even if our beliefs don’t correspond to reality. That is what freedom of conscience means. If you really want to start establishing the ‘objective reality’ police then you are going to be undermining a lot more than just transgender rights.

                  What if I don’t accept the scientific consensus on climate change? Do you really want the ‘objective reality police’ to forcibly change my views?

                  1. What a motte and bailey argument if ever there was one. No one is talking about interfering with your freedom of conscience…unless it imposes on ours. Worse, you combine it with a straw man position on climate change. We are talking about this one specific issue of sex differences, no more, no less.

                    You wanna go all social constructionist, go ahead. If that’s the case, then the majority of people believe a lot of things I bet you disagree with, and yes, they would have the right to force a lot of things on you. You’re lucky, then, that the majority ALSO has a live and let live attitude in conjunction with beliefs that are different from yours, so unless you bother them, they won’t bother you.

                    1. No one is talking about interfering with your freedom of conscience

                      Except this whole “forcing me to believe in a lie” nonsense. No one is forcing you to believe lies. You are free to believe what you wish, even if it does not correspond to ‘objective reality’. I point out that not agreeing with ‘objective reality’ is a component of liberty. People believe in things that you or I disagree with. Just deal with it.

                    2. Yea, just deal with it. Men are men and women are women, and cross dressing won’t change it. Just don’t force me to deal with cross-dressers and call them women if I don’t want to. You always seem to miss that second part, you’re like an underwear gnome in seek of profit.

                      Would you be in support of renaming womens’ sports “women and transgender sports” so we would at least have accuracy in naming. To call a thing by its true name is wisdom, Confucius say.

                    3. Damn, there should be some sorta mercy rule on some threads. mad_kalak just kept coming back for more!

                    4. He just kept destroying Jeff. You might be the one Volkh refugee who is diumber than the Rev.

                    5. I didn’t see anything that even addressed jeff’s analogy between personal faith and personal feelings on gender.

          3. chemjeff radical individualist|3.14.19 @ 1:08PM|#

            “If you want to call Bruce Jenner a dude, or a girl, or anything else that you choose, you have every right to do so.”

            Everyone here who is familiar with your posts knows that you do not actually believe this.

    2. It’s sad/funny/disgusting when conservatives talk about individual liberty but when a person wants to be treated as an individual (however off-norm they wish to be), then conservatives have a fit.

      So you’re saying that a conservative who claims to value individual liberty is a hypocrite if he denies the right of a man to compete in a women’s event, or of a heavyweight to compete as a lightweight?

      1. I identify as 150 lbs lighter than I am. Lemme at them Bantamweights!

  9. The rules require athletes to alter their endocrine profiles for purposes of sport when this is not necessarily consistent with their financial, psychological, or physical best interests.

    Olympic sport competition is rarely consistent with those best interests, that I can see, eh?

  10. Damn you people talk like there needs to be a law for everything. Why is this topic in Volokh except to say there shouldn’t be laws that decide what a female is or a male is? Let each organization set whatever rules they want and let people watch or participate if they so choose. Don’t like how the IAAF or IOC defines a female, start your own group and make up your own definition. If people enjoy the competition then they’ll watch and buy Air Eunuchs, or Air Trannies or Air Elites with so many *****’s that it stretches the word elite right out of Webster’s.

    1. To let each organization set their own rules would be ideal, but there are already different laws on the books (like Title IX) that people use to prevent that.

      For example, when USA Powerlifting decided to no longer allow transgender women to compete, people in Congress sent them letters claiming they were violating the law. Rep Ilhan Omar ludicrously claimed they were violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

      1. That is the thing, this is a progressive cause and even if women did want to start their own groups they would never be left alone and allowed to do so in peace.

      2. title ix isn’t applicable to private and non-federally funded enterprises.

    2. That is easy for you to say. The IOC is established. Why should women have to go and fight another battle to have their own sports again? Tell the trannies to set up their own IOC. You would never tell them that, you only tell women to do that because telling the trannies doesn’t allow you to virtue signal your tolerance. Fuck that.

      1. “Why should women have to go and fight another battle to have their own sports again?”

        Thank you.

        Signed,

        Thankful for Title IX

      2. There’s the gay olympics (called the gay games because they can’t use the word olympics).

    3. In fairness, there are a ton of special laws / rules in place that privilege the IOC over other parties (sports and otherwise).

    4. Let each organization set whatever rules they want and let people watch or participate if they so choose.

      At this point in your argument you will be denigrated as a supporter of Jim Crow, with transgender discrimination being the same phenomenon in different garb.

    5. bravo!

  11. I think people need to step back a moment and to ponder what is the point of having all of these rules for athletic competitions in the first place. It would seem to me, that the point of the rules ought to be to enable the discovery of “the best” athlete, based on some fair, neutral criteria. And if the rules prohibit an otherwise legitimate contender from participating because that person does not fit inside the narrow confines dictated by the rules, then that would seem to be a problem with the rules, not with the person.

    1. Woman have no chance against men. They have understandably been given their own catagory. We already do have a neutral catagory, it is called men’s sports. We created women’s sports so they would have a chance to compete on a fair level.

      We know who the fastest human on earth is, it is the world’s best male hundred meter runner. Try another rationalization to dehumanize women because this one doesn’t work.

      1. No one said anything about “dehumanizing women”. We have categories for ‘fastest male runner’ and fastest female runner’, sure. But if you have a runner, who is a fast runner and therefore an eligible contender, but we can’t decide whether to put this person in the ‘male’ or ‘female’ categories, should this person be eligible to compete on any level? Or should the rules be changed to accommodate this person, on some level?

        1. Claiming that someone can be a woman simply by claiming they want to be despite not being one geneticlly or ever lived as one is utterly dehumanizing to women. Imagine if you said this about any other catagory of person. I am handicapped or a dwarf or black because I say I am. Allowing me to do that totally invalidates the experience and reality that is being those things. Transgenderism is the most rank and apalling form of misogyny I have ever seen. The TURFs have it exactly right.

          And we can decide who is a male and who is a female. Their genes and how they were born tell the story. Biology matters and it especially matters in sports. So you are asking questions that are absurd and just assume your desired conclusion that it is somehow possible to be a woman because you desrire it.

          1. Put your outrage boner away for a moment. You are illustrating precisely the difference between sex and gender. Sex is about biology. Gender is about one’s lived experiences as well as social expectations. There is only one biological way to be a woman, or a man, correct. There is not one single way, socially or otherwise, to be a woman or a man. And individuals who are biologically men/women, may experience some of the same social expectations, lived experiences, etc., as those belonging to the other sex. No one is trying to invalidate the reality of “being a woman” or “being a man”. It’s just that there is no one single way to “be a woman” or “be a man”. The only misogynistic thing around here is the expectation that a woman, or a man, must conform to a narrow set of social expectations in order to be a “woman” or a “man”.

            it is somehow possible to be a woman because you desrire it.

            Why isn’t it possible, John? Presuming you mean “woman” in terms of gender, and not sex. Cross-dressing has been around for a long time actually.

            1. Why isn’t it possible, John?

              Because being a woman involves biology that you can’t change. All you are doing is changing the meaning of the word so that it can mean something that it doesn’t and allow people to pretend they are something they are not. I can’t be Napoleon. I can’t be a 6’7 black kid with a 40 inch verticle leap and a great jump shot. Chaging the definition of those words to mean something that they don’t doesn’t change that fact. It just changes the truth into a lie.

              They absolutely are invalidating women. That is what it is about. It doesn’t matter that you were born a woman. It doesn’t matter that you had this experience as one. Someone who did none of that can claim to be your equal., It totally invaldates and dehumanizes pretty much everyone. And the fact that you will buy into it because you are told doing so is necessary to be “tolerant” is terrifying because it shows there is no lie no matter how hideaous that you and those like you will not repeat if you are told to do so in the name of “tolerance”.

              1. Because being a woman involves biology that you can’t change.

                Well then, it seems the crux of the argument is a rather esoteric question of, “what does it mean to be a woman (or a man)?” Is it just biology alone? Or is there more to it?

                If you are talking strictly about sex, then “being a woman” is determined 100% by biology. We don’t disagree there.

                But that is not really the source of your disagreement. You are talking about “the experiences” of women. One doesn’t have to be biologically female to have many of the same experiences that women have. Same deal with men. It doesn’t mean that they are “your equal”. They are just different.

                It totally invaldates and dehumanizes pretty much everyone.

                Why? I don’t get this at all. If a woman dresses up and pretends to be a man, how does that ‘dehumanize’ you, as a biological man, in any way? No one is claiming that you and the cross-dresser are exactly equivalent, except maybe you in your own head.

            2. “Once your faith persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life?. Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”?Voltaire

              1. The only absurdity here, are the people who think that biological sex mandates a set of social conventions, and that deviations from those conventions should be treated as some sort of heresy and social leprousy.

                1. No, the absurdity is your refusal to acknowledge the reality of the differences in athletic prowess between males and females. Whether the athletes prefer dresses to trousers or prefer doing embroidery to outdoor grilling is irrelevant to this conversation.

                  1. I’ve said all along that they are different. I wrote at the very beginning that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to athletic ability. My whole point here is that the rules for athletic competitions ought to be to enable the discovery of the best athlete, not to turn away otherwise eligible athletes. So if we have an athlete whom we can’t quite decide belongs in the ‘male’ category or the ‘female’ category, based on the rules, and that athlete is otherwise eligible to participate, then the problem here is not with the athlete, it’s with the rules. That is my point.

                    1. Then we agree. The judgement of whether an athlete is male or female should be based in reality, and not on contrived rules designed to allow males to compete in women’s events.

                    2. Then what do you do about athletes who don’t cleanly fit in either category? Toss them out?

                    3. Then what do you do about athletes who don’t cleanly fit in either category? Toss them out?

                      Assuming that Coleman is correct and the reason men outperform women is male-related biologically-based testosterone, then perhaps we should draw the line based on whether a person has “too much” male-related biologically-based testosterone?

                    4. That sounds reasonable. It’s just a matter of where one draws the line. And if someone is willing to reduce their own testosterone levels in order to compete, then they should be permitted to do so, based on this standard. But it is a change in the rules that allows trans women to participate in women’s sports, much to the consternation of the Johns out there.

                    5. You’re overlooking the biggest advantage men gain during puberty in almost all athletics that can’t be overcome with hormone use: skeletal structure. Men are better able to move than women since women and up with widened hips. Transwomen still have that advantage and besides breaking and resetting bones they can’t even approximate a normal woman.

                    6. That’s effectively a non-issue because virtually everyone is either male or female. Those who are not female may compete in the men’s events. If one or two athletes with CAIS or some other extremely rare disorder are disadvantaged by this, that’s a reasonable price to pay for protecting the integrity of women’s sports. In a sane world, such rare cases could be dealt with individually, with no changes to the general rules, without opening the floodgates to “transgender” female impersonators wanting to compete against women. Sadly, our world is not sane.

                    7. If one or two athletes with CAIS or some other extremely rare disorder are disadvantaged by this, that’s a reasonable price to pay for protecting the integrity of women’s sports.

                      So once again, it sounds like what you want is NOT to discover who the best athlete is overall, but only to discover who the best cis male athlete is and the best cis female athlete is.

                    8. No, as has already been explained to you repeatedly (which never does any good), the goal is to contend for who the best athlete is, who in almost all cases will be male, and then, in addition to that, to determine who the best woman athlete is. “Cis” is meaningless argot.

                    9. the goal is to contend for who the best athlete is, who in almost all cases will be male, and then, in addition to that, to determine who the best woman athlete is.

                      First, that isn’t everyone’s goal. Ask Brett for example.

                      I see it a little differently – the goal ought to be who is the best athlete, based on different categories of competition, irrespective of sex. But, the categories can include physical attributes that are associated with sex differences. Such as, for example, weight classes in wrestling. It’s less important that wrestlers are the same sex, and more important that the wrestlers are of similar weight, in order to make a proper apples-to-apples comparison.
                      A 150-lb wrestler wrestling against a 200-lb wrestler would be unfair, even if both wrestlers were men (or women). The same concept can be applied in all classes of competition. So there would be no reason in principle not to have mixed male/female teams as long as all participants belonged within the same parameters that are being compared.

                      I don’t view women’s sports as this patronizing pat-on-the-head trophy that the “weaker sex” gets for participating in sports. I view female athletes on par with male athletes, simply that all athletes should be judged based on a metric that is most appropriate for them.

                    10. I view female athletes on par with male athletes

                      Even though it is a clear and obvious fact that they are not.

                    11. So there would be no reason in principle not to have mixed male/female teams as long as all participants belonged within the same parameters that are being compared.

                      But if you accept the proposition that going through puberty gives a man greater size and muscle mass then how can men and women compete within the same parameters? At a minimum, shouldn’t the burden be on the biological male to demonstrate that he gained no physical advantage during this period and after as a result of hormonal differences, and shouldn’t that burden be a very difficult one to overcome?

                    12. I don’t view women’s sports as this patronizing pat-on-the-head trophy that the “weaker sex” gets for participating in sports. I view female athletes on par with male athletes,

                      They are not and never will be.

                    13. Jeff :” But, the categories can include physical attributes that are associated with sex differences. Such as, for example, weight classes in wrestling. It’s less important that wrestlers are the same sex, and more important that the wrestlers are of similar weight, in order to make a proper apples-to-apples comparison.
                      A 150-lb wrestler wrestling against a 200-lb wrestler would be unfair, even if both wrestlers were men (or women). “

                      A 150lb male wrestler would beat a 200lb female wrestler every time. And doubleplus so for boxing. Weight is a useful categorisation for wrestlers with similar skeletal and muscular structures. As between men, it works fine. As between women it works fine. As between humans generally, it doesn’t.

                      Try, as a 200lb man, wrestling with a 150lb mountain lion and see how you get on.

                    14. No no I get it. A “sane world” in which trannies are viewed as the freakshows that they really deserve to be treated as.

                    15. A sane world to me would be one in which “transgender” people would be viewed with sympathy for their mental illness and offered better treatments than poisoning and mutilating them in a vain attempt to make their delusions come true.

                    16. “So if we have an athlete whom we can’t quite decide belongs in the ‘male’ category or the ‘female’ category, based on the rules, and that athlete is otherwise eligible to participate, then the problem here is not with the athlete, it’s with the rules. That is my point.”

                      Who says that “we can’t quite decide”? We are not obligated to change the rules just because a bunch of people want to destroy women’s sports in the process of feeling validated.

                    17. We are not obligated to change the rules just because a bunch of people want to destroy women’s sports in the process of feeling validated.

                      This is the problem here. You want to keep out eligible athletes because they don’t conform to the rules, even if it means keeping out the potentially best athletes in a field. I want to change the rules to accommodate all eligible athletes in order to discover which is the best. It all boils down to what is the real point of having rules in the first place. To discover the best athlete? Or to enforce social expectations?

                    18. You want to keep out eligible athletes because they don’t conform to the rules

                      This is a contradiction in terms. If they don’t conform to the rules they are not eligible.

                      what is the real point of having rules in the first place. To discover the best athlete? Or to enforce social expectations

                      It is to discover the best athlete within a set of constraints; for example, the best middleweight. If you keep eligible heavyweights out of the middleweight competition then you don’t discover the best athlete? The problem is that men have inherent heavyweight attributes that give them an advantage in the middleweight event, and this doesn’t change just because the man is a middleweight in his own mind, nor is it a social construct.

                    19. chemjeff radical individualist|3.14.19 @ 2:36PM|#

                      “You want to keep out eligible athletes because they don’t conform to the rules, even if it means keeping out the potentially best athletes in a field.”

                      No we are not saying that transgender females should be kept out; we are saying that they should compete in accordance with their sex.

                    20. chemjeff: “otherwise eligible to participate”

                      And therein is the issue, no? By what criteria do we determine that eligibility? Can one pick and choose? How does one handle this situation?

                      The OP’s posts have centered on what happens to women’s sports when MTF trans people are deemed eligible to participate in them. The available evidence indicates that biologically-female females (call them cisgendered) are quickly overwhelmed. The rules being discussed at major sports groups appear to be aiming for criteria easy for the MTF’s to meet.

                      You seem to be aiming for a single criterion for all, one in which cisgendered men frankly would dominate everyone, so women go home (the discussion has gotten into issues of what one shall be called and how much one needs to respect that, but the issue at hand is the hard physical one of competition). You say perhaps there can be separate awards or acknowledgements for men and women. That wouldn’t handle the problem of the MTF. Cisgendered women would still be overwhelmed when MTF’s were allowed to compete in that category. So, cissy go home.

                      There’s actually not a lot of consensus here, but there does seem to be at least near-consensus on one thing: that allowing MTF’s to participate in anything but men’s sports will — perhaps fairly quickly, perhaps not — bring about the end of women’s sports.

                  2. Whether the athletes prefer dresses to trousers or prefer doing embroidery to outdoor grilling is irrelevant to this conversation.

                    Not to people like John, who evidently think that men who like to do embroidery are “dehumanizing to men”.

                    1. He’s said nothing of the kind here. Don’t whine about people putting words in your mouth and then do it to others.

                    2. Well John just seems to be sputtering rage through his outrage boner. I can’t quite understand exactly what his point is with regards to individuals who don’t conform to the social expectations associated with their biological sex.

                    3. The point is sports is based on biology. Men and women have different biology such that women should not be expected to compete against men. And we know perfectly well what male and female biology is. It is about your genes and the body which you were born with. There is no grey area. You are just pretending that there is because you are as usual being dishonest.

                      And anyone who cares about women should be outraged at their chance to compete fairly in sports being destroyed. You are not outraged by this because you have been told Trannies are higher on the victimhood scale and therefore women no longer matter. The women who are robbed at a chance to compete and win in sports mean nothing to you because your ideology has ordered you to disregard them. Sorry, I won’t do that.

                    4. Not to people like John, who evidently think that men who like to do embroidery are “dehumanizing to men”.

                      No I don’t. I think thinking you are man or a woman when you are not is dehumanizing to people who are. Are you too stupid to understand that point or just too dishonest or more likley both?

                    5. I think thinking you are man or a woman when you are not is dehumanizing to people who are.

                      So, if I am a biological man, but I present myself as a woman, my actions are “dehumanizing” to you somehow? How? That is absurd even for you.

                    6. if I am a biological man, but I present myself as a woman, my actions are “dehumanizing”

                      If you are a man, and you claim that you REALLY ARE a woman for all purposes, then you are saying that there is no significance or value to the condition or experience of being a woman; that “Women” is nothing more than a club that anyone can join and then be the equal of all other women with respect to their sex. That is insulting and denigrating to women.

                    7. Are you too stupid to understand that point…

                      I’ve read enough from him at this point to conclude that he really is that stupid.

                    8. Yeah yeah, when the insults come out that means I know I am making a point.

                    9. Yeah yeah, when the insults come out that means I know I am making a point.

                      So, you admit that everything you said after accusing John of having an “outrage boner” was pointless?

                2. The only absurdity here, are the people who think that biological sex mandates a set of social conventions,

                  It mandates the reality that woman cannot compete with men in most physical endevours. That is reality. Your pretending that you can change that is what is absurd.

                  1. You want to keep out eligible athletes because they don’t conform to the rules, even if it means keeping out the potentially best athletes in a field.

                    Eligible for what? 100% of humans are eligible for “men’s” sports. John said that right up front.

                    “men’s” sport is not based on gender/sex. It is not exclusionary. It is based on simply being the best.

                    “women’s” sport IS based on sex. It’s is specifically exclusionary. The question, which you appear to be ducking, is exactly who does it exclude?

      2. I just checked he Illinois HS Association 100 yard and 100 meter records for girls. I ran back in the late 70’s. I am still the record holder in both events.

        I wasn’t the fastest guy on my team even,.

        1. The world record in the women’s 100 meters was set in 1987 by Florance Griffith Joyner and is 10.47. It has stood for over 30 years because we now know Joyner was an enormous steroid user. With the advancement in steroid testing, that record may never be broken.

          To put that into perspective, that time in the 100 meters would have finished 4th in the 2018 6A (which is the largest and most competetive class) boys Texas High School track and field championships. The greatest women sprinter who ever lived couldn’t get on the podium at a top boys high school track meet.

          But clowns like Jeff and the author of this post claim that biology doesn’t matter and that allowing men to compete in women’s sports won’t destroy them.

          1. I never said that biology doesn’t matter. Don’t put words into my mouth.

            My whole point is that the rules for athletic competitions ought to enable the discovery of who the best athletes are, and if the rules disqualify otherwise eligible athletes, then the problem is with the rules, not with the athletes.

            1. Yes or no: do you think there should be a separate division for women?

              1. Good luck with that!

              2. Yes.

                Now, your turn. Yes or no: if an athlete does not cleanly fall into the “male” or the “female” category, should that athlete be excluded from competing, even if that athlete is eligible in every other way?

                1. if an athlete does not cleanly fall into the “male” or the “female” category

                  Given that the separation of men and women in sports is done for physiological reasons, then whether a person cleanly falls into the male or female category should be determined by natural physiology. The only people concerned would be those natural physiology does not clearly match either that of a man or of a woman, which I understand is a microscopic segment of the population.

            2. We want to know who the best female athlete is, and who the best male athlete is, both, in the same way we want to know what the fastest NASCAR car is, and what the fastest Drag car is.

              Because men and women aren’t just two points along a single line. We’re on DIFFERENT lines.

              We’ve got freaking different genetics. Males and females have been evolving in parallel, but not on the same track, since evolution first came up with sex and split our early multi-cellular ancestors into male and female lines.There’s a larger genetic difference between men and women than between many species, and this is true of most species that have distinct sexes.

              True, all that difference is concentrated on one chromosome, but it’s still a lot of difference.

              So why shouldn’t we have sports for men, and sports for women, the same way we have auto races, and motorcycle races?

              1. So why shouldn’t we have sports for men, and sports for women, the same way we have auto races, and motorcycle races?

                So what about this “car”?

                http://i60.tinypic.com/5349k6.jpg

                Is it an auto, or is it a motorcycle? If the owner of this vehicle wanted to participate in a race, should it be permitted to compete with the autos, or with the motorcycles?

                If the purpose of the race is “to discover which auto or which motorcycle is the fastest among 4-wheeled autos/2-wheeled motorcycles”, then the above vehicle should be excluded from either one, and tough noogies for that guy.

                But if the purpose of the race is “to discover which vehicle is the fastest among all possible vehicles”, then this vehicle should be permitted to compete in *some* level, under *some* category, and if the rules forbid this vehicle’s participation *at all*, then the rules are the problem and ought to be changed.

                It sounds like what you want is to know only who is the best male athlete or best female athlete, among those potential athletes who clearly fall into either of those two categories, and all other potential athletes should be excluded, no matter how athletic they are. I don’t think that should be the purpose of rules surrounding athletic competitions. They ought to be about discovering who is the best athlete, among *all* possible competitors, and that the rules should facilitate, as best they can, making fair comparisons among different competitors in whatever sport they choose.

                1. Chemjeff, just because you can’t find the ideal Platonic form of something, doesn’t mean you can’t call a square a square or a triangle a triangle, a car a car, or a woman a woman and a man a man.

                  1. Mad Kalak,

                    Yes. I would call Jeff a sophist but I honestly don’t think he understands his own arguments well enough to have the requisite intent required to be one.

                    1. Jeff is meeting assumed answers with dodgy analogies. Surprisingly, it seems quite effective at stirring up the ‘only two genders because I refuse to countenance otherwise!’ crowd.

                    2. ‘only two genders because I refuse to countenance otherwise!’

                      No. Only two sexes because that is a fact.

                    3. Good God you are hideously stupid

                  2. So, does the vehicle I posted above, does it get to compete with the autos, or with the motorcycles?

                    1. How about both, where it would lose in either case, or none, in a world the rest of the auto and motocycle racers can say “shove off”.

                    2. So you’re not interested in discovering which is the fastest vehicle, only in discovering which is the fastest vehicle among a subset of all possible vehicles. That’s fine, just say so up front. You want “men’s athletics” really to be “discovering who is the best athlete among cis male athletes and no one else”, and “women’s athletics” to be “discovering who is the best athlete among cis female athletes and no one else”. All other athletes remain undiscovered. Got it! I mean, who cares about them really.

                    3. Sounds fine by be, at least we would have truth in advertising if that’s the case, and besides, there are already different categories already. Do you have a problem with those OTHER categories?

                      We know who the best basketball team is in the NBA but not in the world (they is some hypothetical team out there, somewhere), the best judo player (in a weight class) the best long distance runner, the best sprinter, the best MMA figher (in that weight class, in a specific fighter organization like UFC or Pride) and so on, and so on.

                    4. His example negates his own position. It does not matter what people consider this vehicle. Every racing org has it’s own set of rules that determine it’s eligibility to run in races sanctioned by that org. Like sports, it’s a competition to find the fastest example that meets the rules of eligibility. Jeff would allow healthy non-disabled athletes to compete in the Special Olympics as long as they claimed to be disabled.

                2. It sounds like what you want is to know only who is the best male athlete or best female athlete, among those potential athletes who clearly fall into either of those two categories, and all other potential athletes should be excluded, no matter how athletic they are.

                  No one is excluded you fucking half wit. Everyone has a biological sex. They are free to compete in whatever catagory that is. You want these catagories defined by what people think they are. That allows biological men to compete against women and destroys women’s sports. Sports is about biology. The divisions are therefore necessarily based on biological sex not fanstasy gender.

                  You just keep beggging the question and assuming that the catagories should be judged by something other than biology. No they shouldn’t.

                  1. You want these catagories defined by what people think they are.

                    I want individuals to compete in the category that is most appropriate for that individual. Suppose a trans woman has been taking hormones for years and years and years and no longer has the ‘natural’ levels of testosterone that a cis man has. Should that person compete with men, or with women?

                    1. Suppose a trans woman has been taking hormones for years and years and years and no longer has the ‘natural’ levels of testosterone that a cis man has.

                      If he had dreams of becoming an Olympic athlete, he shouldn’t have sabotaged himself by taking hormones. Obviously impersonating a woman was more important to him than his athletic career.

            3. You are just begging the question. and if the rules disqualify otherwise eligible athleteswhat makes them eligable other than you say they should be?

              You seem to be completely incapable of making even one point without engaging in some kind of logical fallacy. You are the most illogical person I have ever seen in my life.

              1. if the rules disqualify otherwise eligible athletes

                That depends on the purpose of the competition.

                If it is to find the best male athlete among cis men, then sure, exclude everyone except cis men.

                Is that what you think the purpose of these types of competitions should be?

                1. should that athlete be excluded from competing, even if that athlete is eligible in every other way

                  No. They should compete in the “men’s” division, unless you can give a very good reason for why they fit into the definition of “woman”.

          2. “To put that into perspective, that time in the 100 meters would have finished 4th in the 2018 6A (which is the largest and most competetive class) boys Texas High School track and field championships. The greatest women sprinter who ever lived couldn’t get on the podium at a top boys high school track meet.”

            Exactly.

            My older sister has a high school record – shattered one that stood for over a decade, and holds it over twenty years later. She might not have been able to place in a standard men’s one-on-one league meet (even if she were given the lower women’s hurdles).

            I’ve also noted that the more athletic the person, the less he or she agrees with the whole “trans women should play women’s sports” nonsense. Exceptions exist, but the differences are so extreme it’s impossible to not notice.

    2. the point of the rules ought to be to enable the discovery of “the best” athlete

      I thought the rules were designed to discover who the best athlete is and separately to discover who the best woman athlete is.

      1. Best male athlete, and best female athlete. It’s just that, as a practical matter, for most sports the best male athlete will be the best athlete, period.

        1. It should really always be “best athlete”. “male athlete is simply a proxy for that. It would be best if we stated that outright…but holy hell the feminists would be in an uproar about how that “demeans” women.

    3. Fail

      The point of athletics is to extract the maximum amount of revenue out of gullible people who enjoy watching others “compete” in somewhat rigged system.

      The Romans became very good at this, just before the fall. Bread and circuses you know.

  12. “I’ve wanted to compete in women’s sports ever since I was a little boy.”

    1. You just wanted to get into the girl’s showers.

      1. Have you *seen* women runners? Of *course* I do!

  13. From the final paragraph:
    “Even if confidentiality is maintained, the rules can have the incidental effect of revealing private facts about the athlete’s sex or sex traits, or triggering suspicion about those traits. This can be especially damaging when the athlete comes from a traditional society.”

    ‘traditional society’? we all have traditions, just some not as backward as others.

    “The rules require athletes to alter their endocrine profiles for purposes of sport when this is not necessarily consistent with their financial, psychological, or physical best interests.”

    They mistake their incredibly good fortune for bad fortune.
    Not everyone’s body will totally support the athlete’s goals. Instead of cursing their luck that with a hormone level change they have all the other physiologic gifts necessary to excel at the elite level. That’s more opportunity than the other 99,999,999 out of a 100,000,000 have.

    “Consent to treatment in these circumstances is not truly voluntary, which is to say it’s given under a form of duress, because of the athletes’ desire to compete in the women’s category.”

    No more duress than it is for me being required to sit for board exams, pass a background check, and pee in a cup for drugs, before being given license to perform an operation on another human. Every pursuit has potential

  14. Wow,

    I fill out documents all day long where I have to put a check mark for sex. The offerings are usually Male, Female, LGBTQ or other.

    I’ve wondered what the hell “other” is for some time. Now I know. 🙁

    1. What kind of form is asking if your sex is ‘LGBTQ?’

      1. If he means gender then I would guess something related to high school, college, or medicine.

    2. Even in LGBTQ circles they don’t refer to LGBTQ as a sex. I’m going to guess it’s actually for gender. Otherwise, whatever you’re filling out forms for doesn’t really say anything about anything but itself.

  15. Will the IOC change its motto: “Citius Altius Fortius”, to “Sic Semper Trannies”…?

    1. SLaR: Oh, bad, bad, bad. But clever.

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