It’s women who will lose out if the male/female binary in sports disappears

Rachel McKinnon, a trans-identified cyclist, won the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championship in the women’s 35-44 age bracket in Los Angeles. (Image: Rachel McKinnon/Twitter)

The proliferation of trans ideology in the mainstream media is pressuring many institutions into a balancing act between inclusion and fairness.

That is, inclusion of trans people at the expense of fairness to women…

Early this month, a team of researchers in New Zealand attempted to answer the question of whether or not male-born athletes have a physical advantage over female athletes competing in the Olympics.

In what many feminists would refer to as a “no-brainer,” the researchers’ findings indicate that that the current Olympics policy on transgender athletes creates “an intolerable unfairness” to female competitors.

In spite of their conclusion that the Olympics policy is detrimental to female athletes, the authors recommend not that transwomen should be excluded, but that the “existing male/female categories” in sports should be scrapped altogether.

Rules allowing male-born athletes to compete in women’s events are rapidly taking effect around the world. Prior to 2003, male born athletes weren’t allowed to compete with members of the opposite sex, period.

Then, in 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rolled out its first policy to address both male-to-female (MTF) and female-to-male (FTM) transgender athletes who wished to compete in the sex category of their choosing.

The policy allowed for transgender athletes to compete, but only after they had both received gender reassignment surgery and completed at least two years of hormone therapy.

However, in 2015, in response to public pressure, the IOC discarded those standards in favor of a policy that would be more inclusive to trans people.

The updated policy allowed for transgender individuals to compete in the Olympics and other international sports competitions without undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

Under the new guidelines, MTF transgender athletes have just one requirement for entrance into women’s events: they must show through multiple blood tests that their testosterone levels have been below 288 ng/dL for at least a year prior to competing.

It’s also worth noting that FTM transgender athletes can compete in men’s categories without any restriction. But the IOC stopped short of admitting females have zero physical advantage over men when it comes to sports.

Aside from the fact that testosterone in and of itself is a male sex hormone, created in the testes no less, the proposed barrier to entry, 288 ng/dL, is still well within the normal range for healthy men, which falls from 280 to 1100 ng/dL.

And for women? Testosterone levels tend to hover closer to the 15 to 80 ng/dL range.  It’s hard to imagine how a biological woman could even come close to the 288 ng/dL testosterone level that’s awarded to a transgender athlete.

Even if women could achieve a testosterone level as high as men, the guidelines do absolutely nothing to address discrepancies in height, weight, muscle mass, bone density, or any other number of physical characteristics that vary between the sexes and potentially affect athletic performance.

So what effect does eroding boundaries between males and females have on the nature of competitive sport?  We’re starting to see the effects play out in real time.

Recently, several high profile cases have emerged of male-born athletes taking titles, scholarships, and spots on elite teams from deserving female athletes.

The research out of New Zealand confirms the obvious: that it’s intolerably unfair to allow male born athletes to compete in women’s sports. But it also highlights what radical feminists have been warning against for years now: women are losing their right to fair competition in order to accommodate the hurt feelings of men who feel excluded.

However, in calling for the abandonment of male/female categories in sports, the authors of the study arrived at exactly the wrong conclusion. The answer isn’t to erode the boundaries between male and female categories in favor of “a more nuanced approach,” but to strengthen the boundaries to ensure fair competition for everyone regardless of their sex.

Because let’s be clear: it’s women who will lose out if the male/female binary in sports disappears. The fight to compete is a right that women fought hard for.  And if we don’t fight back, we could very well lose it.

Courtney Tanner is an American freelance writer. She lives in the mountains outside Denver, Colorado with her two dogs. 

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