T Nation

Transwoman Takes First Place

That’s a reasonable statement. But it turns on how one defines the categories of man and woman.

He is indeed a superb athlete. (Full disclosure: LSU homer here.) In fact, it is precisely his superbity (©EyeDentist 2017) that led the parents of other, more ordinary children to complain that it was unfair that their kids had to compete against him. (I’m not siding with them–just using this as an example of how slippery a concept ‘fairness’ can be.)

If it is, wouldn’t it follow that cis-female athletes should have their test levels checked, and that they should be obligated to compete against the boys if their level was found to be above a certain value?

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Me too (former wrestler)! It seems to me that in wrestling of all sports, it wouldn’t matter at all what gender you are as long as you make weight. In fact, I can’t see there even being a different gender division. You scrimmage for the weight class and if you win you go out on the mat.

If you make it that far- good luck, because the other guy doesn’t care what you are.

The weight lifting thing though- that seems to run a little foul. That former guy just looks like a guy that tucked his junk and entered the womens division. I just don’t think that the differences between male and female are as simple as internal vs. external genitalia and one single hormone level.

Another solution would be to eliminate gender class all together- male or female, trans which ever, if you make the cut you get to play, if not- off you go no matter what.

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I’m not suggesting that it isn’t a fair metric. I’m questioning if it’s the only one worth considering. Are there additional physiological differences between male and female that should be considered?

For the purpose of athletics, is there a real need to deviate much from the rather simple model I outlined above? I realize this will mean that some F to M transgenders will not win first place, but guess what, losing is part of the lesson in sports.

Let’s also go out on this limb a little further. If I had a transgender child, I would not want xim looking up to Hubbard. I would rather Xhe place last and compete xis hardest than pull some shit like Hubbard and then cry tears of joy on the platform. And I’d probably read up on the new pronouns a bit more, so I wouldn’t embarrass Xher.

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Another excellent, important empirical question.

Well, for one thing, it’s inconsistent. You would have FTM TGs compete as their identified gender, but MTF TGs wouldn’t. Your primary concern was/is fairness–does this seem fair?

You seem to be suggesting that Hubbard engaged in subterfuge of some sort–that she gamed the system to maximize her athletic success. Is that correct, or am I misreading you?

I think there’s @twojarslave 's argument is revolving around exogenous testosterone, not natural levels. In ftm cases. Basically they are injecting test, which would be illegal for the rest of the competitors in either gender class.

Another place I could see unfairness is in joint structure. If you are born a man your joints are more robust and your tendons aren’t prone to stretching with monthly cycles. This would be a bigger problem in strength sports obviously.

Also no mtf Trans person is ever going to replicate the monthly cycle women have to go through which any woman athlete will tell you it’s a bear to make progress working around it.

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It is more fair than the alternative. And yes, I’m mostly concerned with women’s sports here. It is inconsistent because of the inherent inequalities of male and female.

You could say that, although extreme unsportsmanlike behavior is what I’d choose to call it. I guess I’m not sure what you are suggesting here. Should high-level women’s sports boil down to who can get the most athletic and talented men to say that they are women?

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How about you can’t take supra-physiological doses hormones and compete?

or better yet, have another category that’s anything goes. Basically the all drug olympics from SNL. Then everything is even.

On a national level, I think the Special Olympics provide a good model. I realize many transgender people want to feel like they are the same as other men and women, but they just aren’t.

The Trans Olympics probably wouldn’t get much in the way of ratings or sponsors, but that’s no reason to play a massive game of make-believe where we pretend that Hubbard isn’t, in fact, a man competing against women to see who can lift the most weight.

I’m all for an anything goes category too. I’d love to see some coked-up transgender steroid monsters chugging whiskey before massive deadlifts. That I’d watch.

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What I’m suggesting is that you seemed to imply Hubbard gamed the system–say, by delaying his transition until he was an accomplished male Oly lifter, knowing he would transition afterwards with a decided competitive advantage. Is that the case?

I have no knowledge of Hubbard’s motives. I am saying that men competing against women is extremely unsportsmanlike. Do you disagree?

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Whether he actually gamed the system or not is irrelevant. He was an elite male. He still is an elite male on testosterone suppression therapy. There might as well not be a women’s class if we let men take drugs and compete as women.

We can’t judge what is going on in his brain or mind. But he has a man’s body.

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No, I do not disagree with that statement. Where we disagree is with respect to who is a man vs who is a woman.

As I said above–the issue re what is required (with respect to hormone levels, etc) for trans-women and cis-women to be on an equal playing field athletically is an empirical issue.

I agree. There’s a nearly endless supply of rabbit holes we could venture down. I lack the vocabulary and awareness to discuss the entire spectrum of trans behaviors, so let’s focus on the case of Hubbard.

Do you consider Hubbard a woman?

Do you think it is a good outcome to have “women” who were born with a penis dominating women’s athletics?

Not really for strength sports. If you had an identical twins sister with all the same genes as you, your joints/bone density/muscle bellies would all be better suited to strength sports than hers. Especially if you went through puberty as a boy and got virilized. Taking testosterone suppression medication and then competing against your sister wouldn’t be fair play.

I’m not trying to insult Trans people. Gender dysphoria is a horrible debilitating disorder. But they are .03% of the population max. I don’t see the logic in upending sports because of a psychiatric disorder.


It also seems to fall into that old category of natty vs non natty. If you spend 10 years on roids (male level T compared to female level T), you don’t magically lose all that progress that your body did for you passively.

I’m all for trans rights, but your hormone HISTORY matters in these cases imo.


Successful elite athletes are physically different than other people. How can you empirically distinguish between:

–a man competing as a woman that has an advantage because he is a man.
–a man competing as a woman that has an advantage because he is physically elite.

Unless your empirical criteria is that men can be allowed to compete as women so long as they lose, there isn’t a way to determine when a man wins because he is a man or he wins because he is better in some other allowable way that explains why one person wins in fair competition.

In addition to hormone levels, men and women have different muscle mass, bone densities, fat levels, neurological connections, bone structures and angles, blood cell counts, and more. The problem is that average women and elite women athletes also typically differ in those same ways. And in many respects, elite women athletes differ from average women in the same ways that men differ from women. So how do you distinguish between an elite woman and a man, if not through chromosomes?

Assuming the individual is not mentally ill, I tend to defer to their self-reporting in this regard. So if she states she identifies as a woman, I would accept that.

I think athletic governing bodies are obligated to determine what steps are needed to render the playing field level (if possible) vis a vis hormone levels, etc.

You are speculating here. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) That said, your concerns are valid, and it is important they be evaluated. If it turns out you are correct–if being born biologically male produces irreversible inherent athletic advantages–that would be a legit reason to preclude trans-women from competing against cis-women, at least in those sports in which an advantage is conveyed.

Never said it would be easy. You raise valid concerns. But let’s not dismiss out-of-hand the possibility of an empirical determination.

I disagree. I think that needlessly complicates a rather simple competitive standard. Besides, you didn’t answer the question.

Hubbard’s win. Good outcome or bad outcome?

Let’s have multiple classes in every sport. Male, Female, Trans male, Trans female, Trans male (transitioning), Trans female (transitioning), Trans male (drugs), Trans female (drugs). Should work?

Eh, fuck it. Just shut it down. No sports for anyone. It’s the only fair way to do it.

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