An advantage over rivals

New Zealand’s own Rachel McKinnon:

History might well record that we reached peak craziness on July 20, 2019. That was when I read a story in the sports pages about a champion New Zealand mountain biker named Kate Weatherly, who was born male but “transitioned to female” from the age of 17.

Weatherly was reported as objecting to a University of Otago study which found, surely to no-one’s surprise, that transgender female athletes have an advantage over rivals who are born female.

Her own record seems to prove the point. According to the story, Weatherly went from being an “average” men’s downhill mountain biker to winning the women’s elite national championship.

Just like McKinnon, and Hubbard, and Miller and Yearwood. Duds as males, stars as females. What a coincidence; how can it possibly be explained?

Weatherly resents being described as transgender and disputes the finding that she enjoys an advantage over her rivals. “I’m not a transgender,” she insists. “I am a woman who happens to be transgender. As a result I want to be able to compete with my fellow women.”

In order to whup them all. I’m sure his fellow women are deeply touched.

It was all coolly set out by one of the authors of the Otago University study, physiology professor Alison Heather, in an in-depth interview for the Stuff website.

Weatherly, who has been having hormone treatment since she was 17, says her testosterone is tested every three months and has never been above 1.4 nanomoles per litre, which is within the average range for “cis” women – those who are born female. The implication is that she enjoys no advantage from having been born male.

But as Heather points out, many of the physical advantages men have over women in sport – such as bigger and different-shaped bones, greater muscle mass, larger hearts and superior oxygen capacity – are formed in the womb and continue to develop through puberty.

Fiddling with testosterone levels doesn’t magically undo all of that.

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