Sport needs to look hard at fairness

Let’s learn more about that University of Otago study.

New Zealand researchers say trans athletes have an “unfair” advantage over other women and sport needs to fix binary gender categories.

The advantages trans athletes have over female competitors are considerably large and sport needs to look hard at fairness, along with their inclusion policies, Otago University Associate professor of physiology Lynley Anderson says.

The issue became hot because of Laurel Hubbard.

Male to female trans athletes have been allowed to compete in women’s divisions since 2015 provided their testosterone level does not exceed 10 nanomoles per litre.

However, the average amount of testosterone for a cis female (born female) ranges from .870nmol/L. to 1.7nmol/L – nearly ten times less than that limit.

So it’s kind of like saying we’ll give this group of competitors only a five minute head start.

In a paper published in the BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics, Anderson and fellow Otago University researchers, Alison Heather and Taryn Knox, found the 10nmol/L level permitted by the International Olympic Committee was “significantly higher than that of cis-gender women, whose sex and gender align as female”.

Heather, also a professor of physiology, says the rule book needs to change.

“It is ten to 20 times higher than a cis female, so this is one of my major concerns.”

“At the moment we are really targeting inclusiveness for our trans females to compete in a female division and in that aspect we are not considering a fairness issue for cis females.”

“Inclusiveness” is such a manipulative buzzword. I know I’ve said it a billion times, but “inclusion” is not the goal in every circumstance, which ought to be blindingly obvious. Filters, criteria, qualifications are not always and everywhere arbitrary and discriminatory. Separate sports for women are a necessity given the sexual dimorphism of humans.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee stands by its policy around transgender athletes, but welcomes the research.

“The issue of transgender athletes in elite sport is extremely complicated as it requires a balance to be struck between protecting an individual’s human rights and ensuring the field of play remains fair,” a spokesperson told Stuff.

No it doesn’t. There is no “human right” for a male to compete against women, no matter how he identifies.

Heather said the advantages go well beyond a testosterone level test.

A trans athlete has prior exposure to testosterone, which develops larger muscle mass, muscle distribution and even the amount of oxygen the athlete can accumulate.

“All these factors are not considered. We just say your testosterone level is under 10mnol/L. It is still much higher than a cis female and none of the rest is being considered.

“It’s not just your here and now testosterone that matters, there is also prior exposure to testosterone. Testosterone even form a fetus is defining a males brain, a male’s bone structure and lung structure.”

“They have a different bone structure so they are able to put more power in their jumping and anything that involves having to lift something, they have more power in their legs through their knees to hip ratio.”

But inclusion blah blah human right blah blah transphobia blah blah.

I don’t see any changes in the near future.

16 Responses to “Sport needs to look hard at fairness”