I’ve always liked Emma Thompson


Fine actor. Socially conscious human being. What’s not to like? And now she has signed on to a letter rejecting TERF attitudes.

However this letter takes aim at the “harmful argument” that women’s rights are threatened by trans equality, with the letter’s signatories stating that: “Trans people have played an integral role in every civil rights movement to date; from LGBT equality to women’s causes.

“Attempts to airbrush trans people from conversations regarding equality and human rights, or to exclude them from advancements for LGBT and women’s rights, have happened before.

“Such efforts may have re-energised, but they are nothing new, and we say as a collective of women: they are not representative of us. We support trans rights.”

The letter’s author, Rhiannon Spear, goes on:

“As a woman and a proud feminist, I know that advancing trans rights does not threaten my womanhood or my feminism. That stance is not only shared by this letter’s co-signatories; but by many women’s support services, networks, organisations and centres across the country – who have a long history and solid record of standing up for women.

“Defining womanhood by conforming to strict biological and physical attributes has been fought against by strong women long before my time. To now see some advocate that trans women are denied their rights and their dignity on these very grounds, I believe would be a devastating step back for women and for feminism.”

Meanwhile, I check into YouTube this morning, and there’s Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) arguing that women have a biological imperative to reproduce, and any woman who can’t have babies isn’t a real woman with a purpose in society, so that he can complain about the existence of trans women.

Comments

  1. rietpluim says

    Defining womanhood by conforming to strict biological and physical attributes

    This. Why is this so hard for TERFs to understand? They are being counter-feminist.

  2. specialffrog says

    This follows on the heels of her publicly leaving a film project because they hired John Lassiter.

  3. microraptor says

    rietpluim @2: Because many TERFs aren’t feminists, they just appropriate feminist language to promote their counter-feminist goals.

  4. markgisleson says

    I RTed this on Twitter the other day because it speaks to why TERFs are not going to go away. The picture says it all.

    https://twitter.com/DebbieHayton/status/1101794752884817920

    Once you’ve figured out how to make transgender work in sports, you’ll have won. But first you have to figure out a logical reason why formerly male gender switchers should not be allowed compete against women who were born women. Because if you don’t, women’s sports will be dominated by former men. [Which is also an excellent reason why women should promote new sports that prize endurance and quickness over strength and speed.]

  5. anat says

    markgisleson, so where should cisgender women who are tall or big-framed compete? If women’s sports are dominated by transgender women why should anyone care? And if women’s sports are dominated by cisgender men who decide to drop their testosterone levels then haven’t feminists won anyway? It would mean that being considered a woman is not a downgrade.

  6. Rowan vet-tech says

    I see in that photo a woman who is taller but has no more muscle mass than the other women. If she’s taking estrogen, she definitely has no advantage aside maybe from height, but I don’t know if that helps in cycling or not.
    Now, I’m cisgender but before my asthma kicked in in high school I was far faster than even any of the guys my age, and significantly stronger as well. Hell, even with severe exercise induced asthma I was able to do a 7 minute mile. Into my 20s, without any sort of training, I could pick up and walk away with people up to 300lbs. I still regularly dead lift 100 pound dogs. I’m 5’6″.
    If my body wasn’t made of stupid loose joints that injure extremely easily I could have been an excellent competitor.
    This also is an argument though being used against a cisgender sprinter who makes more testosterone naturally than other cisgender women and they’re saying it’s an unfair natural advantage and rules are being considered that would keep her from being able to compete.
    Bullshit. All the excuses are bullshit.
    These are all women competing against women.

  7. says

    @markgisleleson

    I am a trans women. Pre hormones I had arms like tree trunks and was incredibly strong. Post hormones one of my friends who hadn’t seen me in person in a couple of years was worried I had cancer until I explained because I had lost so much muscle mass. I cannot carry half of what I used to. Also, with the change in muscle mass comes a profound loss in co-ordination. To do sports or physical activity of any sort I had to completely re-learn to use my body. This is a vary time consuming process and would limit any real athletes ability to compete for some time.

    This muscle mass never returns if you remain on hormones. Guidelines for the Olympics and professional sports require one have appropriate post transition hormone levels. Also, there have been trans women athletes for some time now. How come they are not dominating professional sports? Your argument is ridiculous.

  8. Hj Hornbeck says

    markgisleson @6:

    Once you’ve figured out how to make transgender work in sports, you’ll have won. But first you have to figure out a logical reason why formerly male gender switchers should not be allowed compete against women who were born women.

    Been there, done that, wrote a blog post. Spoiler alert: the logic is pretty easy. The bigger problem with transgender athletes is the irrational bigotry leveled against them.

  9. Hj Hornbeck says

    And, to be clear, that’s not a problem the athletes need to solve. That responsibility lies with the rest of us.

  10. anat says

    BTW I read the comments on that tweet and wondered into what weird dimension I landed. Where do they see the champion ‘presenting as a stereotypical man’?

  11. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    markgisleson,

    I don’t think I have ever read a single article or comment by a TERF that mentioned sports as anything but a side-note, if at all.
    Not even going into the validity of the argument, which others have already done, just pointing out this particular lie.

  12. starfleetdude says

    Renée Richards back in 1976 sued the U.S. Tennis Association to play professional tennis as a trans woman and won in court. She then went on to a successful run as a women’s player until retiring in 1981. But Richards has said that if she’d transitioned at the age of 22, no genetic woman would have beaten her, and now thinks that her being genetically male gave her an unfair advantage. In any professional women’s sport that pays well like tennis, the issue of trans women players is going to be an issue, IMO.

  13. markgisleson says

    I didn’t expect to find many allies here, but I do have to ask: Why is it important for trans to be allowed to compete with women in sports? We have age brackets and weight brackets to keep competition fair in many sports. You do not let 100-lb men compete against heavyweights in wrestling or boxing. Not only is that NOT unfair, it’s the height of fairness. Smaller men can always go up one or more weight classes if they want to, but heavyweights aren’t allowed to drop down and fight lighter men.

    This striving for perfect equality at a time when there is zero consensus on bathrooms is frankly weird. Focus on the real obstacles to equality. Sports is not one of them, but how sports are funded is. When you are part of a marginal community, try to pick fights you can win. Pushing your agenda into sports is the same as pushing away potential allies and collaborators.

  14. Onamission5 says

    @markgisleson:
    My agenda is for both of my daughters and I to share in our mutual progress, not to further marginalize one of my daughters so her sister and I can win favor of people who require us to mistreat our beloved family member in order to stay in their good graces. What’s wrong with you?

  15. Saad says

    markgisleson, #16

    Why is it important for trans to be allowed to compete with women in sports?

    Trans what? You seem to have left out a word there.

    We have age brackets and weight brackets to keep competition fair in many sports. You do not let 100-lb men compete against heavyweights in wrestling or boxing.

    Do we have 100 pound cis women boxing against heavyweight trans women?

  16. cartomancer says

    Yes, why don’t trans people wait for a more convenient time? That’s how social progress works – wait until the privileged classes allow you access to their club, and twiddle your thumbs until they do. Why, I remember that Martin Luther King fellow twiddling his thumbs furiously until civil rights for Black people were won in America. The women’s suffrage movement did little else but pointed thumb-twiddling. Emmeline Pankhurst could twiddle with the best of them while waiting patiently for the establishment to plop equality into her many-petticoated lap. And the admirable passivity of the Stonewall folks at refusing to rock any boats is legendary.

  17. Rowan vet-tech says

    Pushing your agenda into sports is the same as pushing away potential allies and collaborators.

    It’s very simple: those people were never actually potential allies or collaborators at all.

    And trans women are women. Naturally they should be able to compete against other women.

    Just say that you’re a bigot, then go away Mark.

  18. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Mark Gisleson: “Because if you don’t, women’s sports will be dominated by former men.”

    Really, so are you saying that any trans woman will be able to beat any cis woman in any sport any time? Because I sure as fuck cannot do that, and I am a cis man! Or is there some specific characteristic (e.g. testosterone level) of some trans women that might give them an advantage some cis women? If so, then does it not make sense to make regulate based on that trait rather than whether they had a penis at birth?

  19. Holms says

    “Defining womanhood by conforming to strict biological and physical attributes has been fought against by strong women long before my time. …”

    No they haven’t, they’ve been fighting against women being confined to strict behaviours since before you time. They were pushing for an end to womanhood as a defined societal role.

  20. says

    nah. She probably just pulled 100’s of hours a work from poorly paid animators because she got into an inane kerfuffle over a hiring decision. And as a supporter of Greenpeace she probably up to her neck in woo.

  21. markgisleson says

    OK, I’m a bigot.
    I’m a bigot who protested the Vietnam War.
    I’m a bigot who walked picket lines in the 1970s.
    I’m a bigot who was arrested for protesting Apartheid in the 1980s.
    I’m a bigot who worked with hundreds of refugees of all types in the 1990s.
    I’m a bigot who blogged vociferously against the War in Iraq before we went to war with Iraq.
    I’m a bigot who sees one issue differently than you do, so to hell with me.
    This is not how you win elections or grow movements.
    No matter how wrong I am, you are condemning me for seeing your cause differently than you do.
    That is not how you win.
    Build support for your cause by engaging productively.
    You may not agree with my views, but I am not your enemy.

  22. says

    BESSIE COLEMAN YOU UNGRATEFUL, PUSHY FUCK.

    What the hell are you doing, going out and being all Native American and Black and Womanly and then trying to get a goddamned pilots license at a time when poll taxes and literacy requirements were still used with undisguised glee to prohibit people of color trying to vote, when women were still denied access to unions and/or denied positions in union leadership, when political activism to encourage conscientious objection to the draft was still punishable as sedition rather than protected as political speech, when residential schools still systematically sexually abused indian kids and punished any expression – no matter how small – of any culture indigenous to North America.

    WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?

    Was piloting a goddamn cloth-covered death-trap more important than democratic rights for all? Freedom from job discrimination? WAS IT MORE IMPORTANT THAN ENDING LYNCHING FOR FUCKS SAKE?

    This woman – and lord, I hesitate to call her a woman when she so obviously disdained all the true feminine values of her time – went out and left the damn United States because she thought getting a pilot’s license in a country that would let a Black Cherokee woman fly was more important than remaining loyal to the great country that provided her god-given Separate Equality.

    What kind of hare-brained thinking is that? Everyone knows that there were more important struggles at the time and that going right out and getting a pilot’s license was just going to further the stereotypes of Uppityness.

    She was alienating potential allies! Won’t someone think of the allies?

    If you let her get away with this, well, Jesus fuck, next thing you know someone’s going to be disrupting white people’s god-given SportsBall rituals with quiet kneeling and trans* people riding bicycles. IS THERE NO END TO THE MADNESS?

    In the 1920s white people were perfectly willing to not-lynch the not-uppity colored folks, and the police are still willing to not-lynch the not-uppity colored folks most of the time, but you can’t ask for more than you deserve and you can’t ask for anything until the nice white ruling classes decide it’s time for you to ask for it. These trannies who won’t wait patiently outside the bathroom while cis* folks debate for 20 years whether or not they can pee and instead go play sports while they’re waiting the people who run trans* folk out of jobs to decide that it’s safe for normal folks to sit on the same toilet seat infected by Black trans* cooties, well those trans sportsball players are just injecting horror and anxiety into a situation that needs complete calm in order to remove all sense of urgency from the discussions of whether and when trans* people can be treated as human. How else can the discussions ramble on for the decades necessary for all the people who are the least bit uncomfortable with trannies to die of old age without having to share their precious constitutional rights with the gender freaks?

    These people disrupting SportsBall with their quiet kneeling to ask cops to stop the Blue-on-Black murders or the popping on a cycling helmet to ask people to allow trans people to pop on a cycling helmet, it’s all so ornery! It’s all so alienating! IT’S ALL SO UPPITY!

    Bessie Fucking Coleman: the trans* athlete & NFL player rolled into one and sent back in time to the 1920s. If only someone, somewhere, could learn from her example.

  23. lumipuna says

    Why is it important for [trans women] to be allowed to compete with [cis women] in sports?

    I suppose, for the same reason it’s important to have separate women’s sports in the first place…

    <

    blockquote>We have age brackets and weight brackets to keep competition fair in many sports.

    …though if we need fair competition between different body types, then mere gender or sexual segregation doesn’t help much. We need a lot more brackets based on body size and structure, endocrinology etc. in all sports.

  24. says

    @markgisleson:

    This is not how you win elections or grow movements.
    No matter how wrong I am, you are condemning me for seeing your cause differently than you do.
    That is not how you win.
    Build support for your cause by engaging productively.
    You may not agree with my views, but I am not your enemy.

    Oh really?

    I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

    Seems like you didn’t learn jack shit.

  25. Saad says

    markgisleson, #24

    I’m a bigot who protested the Vietnam War.
    I’m a bigot who walked picket lines in the 1970s.
    I’m a bigot who was arrested for protesting Apartheid in the 1980s.
    I’m a bigot who worked with hundreds of refugees of all types in the 1990s.
    I’m a bigot who blogged vociferously against the War in Iraq before we went to war with Iraq.

    It is possible to do all that and be a bigot against trans people. For example, cissplaining to trans people that you know what issues should be important to them and to forfeit their dream of playing sport because elections.

  26. lumipuna says

    Anyway, since a substantial number of trans women have been already admitted in women’s sports (by certain gatekeeping standards), you’d think it’s actually empirically possible to study whether they tend to succeed disproportionately or not.

  27. curbyrdogma says

    Because the sports thing. An individual can claim to be the opposite sex in their mind, and there are studies that bear this out, but that doesn’t change the fact that their bodies are influenced by certain hormones and are therefore not comparable to those of the opposite sex. This is biology.

    It does not mean, however, that stereotypical gender behavior should be expected of those individuals.

    I think there’s a real confusion over definitions and the idea that both sides think behavior should match [what we expect of] physiology. Both sides assume this. I think both sides are wrong. Humans aren’t selecting for only ubermasculine and uberfeminine traits, and therefore we are getting a wide diversity of different personalities and behaviors. The idea that stereotypical gender behavior is more a social construct doesn’t seem to occur to people; that perhaps the idea that it’s OK if males indulge in dresses and dolls without convincing people that they’re really girls kind of follows the same logic as social norms changing to allow women to wear pants and be combat soldiers (which were considered “masculine” a few decades ago).

  28. says

    @markgisleson
    You:
    1. Referred to trans women as formerly male and cis women as born women.
    2. Brought up sports which is a wedge issue against trans rights
    3. Told us in a marginalized community how we should advance our issues as a non-member of said community
    4. Claimed we were condemning you for disagreeing on an issue you brought up.
    5. Claimed activism in areas not involving us gave you a right to attack us.
    You may not be our enemy (I will give you the benefit of the doubt on that) but you certainly are not being much of an ally at the moment.

  29. Hj Hornbeck says

    lumipuna @29:

    Anyway, since a substantial number of trans women have been already admitted in women’s sports (by certain gatekeeping standards), you’d think it’s actually empirically possible to study whether they tend to succeed disproportionately or not.

    It’s still early days, but the data is starting to trickle in.

    Many people believe transgender women such as [Joanna] Harper have athletic advantages over non-transgender women—sometimes called cisgender women—because of their previous exposure to male levels of testosterone. But Harper, a medical physicist at a large medical center in Portland, Oregon, has been challenging that assumption with data. In 2015, she published the first study of transgender athletes’ performances, finding that transgender women who received treatment to lower their testosterone levels did no better in a variety of races against female peers than they had previously done against male runners. Although Harper’s study included only a few transgender women, Eric Vilain of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., a geneticist who specializes in gender-based biology, calls it “groundbreaking.”

    Having said that, it doesn’t matter if transgender people do perform better, as per my prior blog post.

  30. Onamission5 says

    Again @markgisleson

    Your past activism which as far as I can tell from that list was completely unrelated* to trans rights does not exempt you from displaying bigotry against trans people in the present. Which you have done right here in this thread. If you’d like people to see you as not-bigoted against trans people, it would help if you’d examine your present behavior and expressed attitudes and adjust them as needed. You can start by listening to the trans people attempting to speak to you right here, right now, in this very thread, rather than spreading TERF memes and pretending that’s a salient argument.

    *To put it another way, I used to canvas for environmental issues and have done my share of activism battling anti-gay attitudes and legislation, and I am also anti-war, does that mean I cannot possibly harbor or express racist sentiments? Of course not. You’re using the Mark Meadows deflection but instead of “This specific action of mine can’t be racist, I have black nieces and nephews” it’s “I can’t be promoting prejudice against trans people through my actions right now, I’ve been good on other, unrelated issues in the past!”

  31. Holms says

    #7 anat
    markgisleson, so where should cisgender women who are tall or big-framed compete?

    Women’s leagues. Just like large men still compete in men’s leagues.

    If women’s sports are dominated by transgender women why should anyone care?

    Wow, what a doozy of a comment. Thank you for making it clear that you are completely indifferent to the female sex (i.e. women) having any representation in sports. Because that was the foundational purpose of sex segregation in athletics: giving representation and a chance to win to the female sex, instead of being relegated to the sidelines by an accident of birth.

    And if women’s sports are dominated by cisgender men who decide to drop their testosterone levels then haven’t feminists won anyway? It would mean that being considered a woman is not a downgrade.

    Uhhh, no. Because that also removes all athletics representation from the female sex. Because here is a stark truth for you: in athletics, being female is disadvantageous compared to being male.

    #8 Rowan
    I see in that photo a woman who is taller but has no more muscle mass than the other women.

    If a person is roughly the same build as another, but is taller, then that taller person has more muscle mass. And I question your call that Natalie is of the same build as the others.

    However, set that aside for a moment. How do you explain Natalie sweeping the field, despite being 44 in a field with an average age of ~25? If there is no advantage to developing as a male, what edge does Natalie have that she can do what not even Lance Armstrong could do without doping?

    #9 anna
    I am a trans women. Pre hormones I had arms like tree trunks and was incredibly strong. …

    In former days, this blog and its denizens would scoff at an appeal to personal experience.

    #10 anna
    Also stop with the formerly male thing. Most of us don’t identify as ever having been male.

    But your biology was whatever it was irrespective of your identity.

    #21 a_ray
    Really, so are you saying that any trans woman will be able to beat any cis woman in any sport any time?

    That is a …unique… interpretation of markisgisleson’s quoted words. Non-evident, even.

  32. says

    Oh, look, Mark has found the TERFs favourite trans woman. Of course they still hate her, but never tire to parade her around like racists do with that black friend.

    Why is it important for trans to be allowed to compete with women in sports?

    Don’t worry, Mark, nobody is allowing The Trans to compete in women’s sports. Just the trans women.

    We have age brackets and weight brackets to keep competition fair in many sports. You do not let 100-lb men compete against heavyweights in wrestling or boxing. Not only is that NOT unfair, it’s the height of fairness. Smaller men can always go up one or more weight classes if they want to, but heavyweights aren’t allowed to drop down and fight lighter men.

    I don’t think you’re making the argument here that you think you’re making. You say that in many sports there are different categories that have nothing to do with gender at all. So maybe someone’s chromosomes aren’t the whole story.
    And also, how far do you want to go? There are currently debates to force cis women with naturally high testosterone to take the same HRT trans women are taking. Do you want to ban them as well? Obviously their higher testosterone levels also greatly influenced their physical frame.
    But why stop there? Nature gave me these very short legs, so I never was a good runner. Seems to me like women with longer legs have an unfair advantage over me, maybe we should do something about that, too?

  33. anat says

    Holms @35: Transgender women participating in women’s sports is indeed representation of women in sports.

  34. Hj Hornbeck says

    lumipuna @33:
    I stand corrected! From that Twitter thread:

    2. Quick test: name a transgender Olympian off the top of your head. You can’t, because since the IOC started allowing transgender people to compete in 2004 there hasn’t been one.

    3. The NCAA has allowed transgender people to compete without surgery since 2011, and there has not been a single dominant transgender athlete anywhere in college sports.

    4. These constitute large scale, longitudinal tests of the system with millions of athletes as a sample, and the IOC and NCAA rules for transgender athletes are clearly sufficient to preserve the integrity of sports at this time.

    5. 15+ years and millions of test subjects is bigger, and longer, than any clinical trial of a drug that I can think of. The development and deployment of the F-22A, the world’s most advanced stealth fighter, lasted roughly as long.

    6. The clinical evidence and subject matter opinion aligns with the observed results: removal of testosterone for a year is sufficient to remove competitive advantage. In terms of testing this hypothesis, there is literally no disagreement between various results.

    We can put a lid on this one: transgender athletes perform according to their identity, after a short period of adjustment.

    Holms @35:

    But your biology was whatever it was irrespective of your identity.

    BWAHAHAHAHA, you picked the perfect time to show up! Innit weird that you only seem to show up when transgender people are mentioned, and show no sign you’ve listened to the evidence presented to you in previous rounds?

  35. says

    Why is it that Holms’s outright, unvarnished bigotry, which flies in the face of all available science and consists mostly of trying to mock anyone who isn’t transphobic, does not count as bannable trolling at this point?

    (in b4 but muh freeze peach u wants tuh silence Difrunt Views – bigotry is not a “view” it is a reprehensible behavior)

  36. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Mark Gisleson: “No matter how wrong I am, you are condemning me for seeing your cause differently than you do.”

    So, you are saying that your past causes make you immune from being wrong or ignorant or bigoted or…what exactly? I mean I am sure that similar wails of indignation were heard in 1861: “I supported the rights of settlers to take away the land from the red savages just like you, but because I differ with you on the south’s peculiar institution, you condemn me…”

    Or when Frederick Douglas threw women under the bus to get the franchise for black men? He made arguments very similar to those you are making now. And guess what. Black males effectively lost the franchise due to Jim Crow less than a decade later. If women had also won the right to vote, might reconstruction have continued? It doesn’t work to deny rights to one segment of society. Society advances only as rapidly as we allow the most oppressed among us to advance.

  37. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Holms, Mark identified the advantage as lying with trans women, not me. If it is not the property of being a trans woman that defines the advantage what is it, and why are you not talking about regulation of that rather than the property of being trans?

  38. says

    @Holms:

    Because here is a stark truth for you: in athletics, being female is disadvantageous compared to being male.

    No.

    In athletics, being female is neither advantageous nor disadvantageous. However, in some sports being large-framed or tall-framed or having large muscle-mass is advantageous. Female persons are statistically less likely to be so, so in those particular sports fewer female competitors will being represented among the elite.

    Also, too: in some sports being small and lithe is a tremendous advantage. Muscle mass grows proportionately to volume but muscle strength only grows proportionally to the cross section. When absolute lifting power is a net-positive, any increase in muscle mass that comes with any increase in cross section is probably worthwhile, but when relative lifting power is a net-positive – in sports like gymnastics – increases in muscle mass eventually overwhelm the gains in strength from any increase in cross section.

    If we were actually interested in the athletic potential of the human body, there would be equal numbers of well-paid sports positions that reward small-framed bodies, compactly-framed bodies, and relative lifting as their are sports positions that reward tall-framed bodies, large-framed bodies, and absolute lifting.

    It is sexism that rewards best those careers in which men have a competitive advantage, not something intrinsic to human bodies. fFs, we even work like fuck to prevent women from competing in sports where participants do gain (at least collectively) statistical advantages from being female. Case in point: jockeys in horse racing. (And holy fuck, could I go on and go on about sexism in horse racing.*1)

    Stop trying to make immutable biological truths out of the sexism-determined choices of societies.

    ======
    *1: I only didn’t include more links because I don’t want to trip PZ’s spam trap, but it’s not like these stories are limited to multiple outlets responding within a month of each other about a single scandal. This shit is everywhere and it’s been going on for centuries and it’s been reported for decades and Fuck. This. Sexist. Shit. Search it yourself.

  39. says

    @curbyrdogma:

    I think there’s a real confusion over definitions and the idea that both sides think behavior should match [what we expect of] physiology. Both sides assume this. I think both sides are wrong.

    It’s so nice that you think you’re superior to “both sides”. You don’t even let your superiority stop you from inventing binaries out of complex and multitudinous human variation. That’s just beautiful, cupcake. I also like your crayon drawing. Would you like to tell me about your picture?

  40. Hj Hornbeck says

    abbeycadabra @39:

    Why is it that Holms’s outright, unvarnished bigotry, which flies in the face of all available science and consists mostly of trying to mock anyone who isn’t transphobic, does not count as bannable trolling at this point?

    I’m seconding this. Holms may be an old-timer, but under Ophelia Benson’s influence he’s turned into a garden-variety bigot with nothing valuable to contribute.

  41. Grace says

    markgisleson:

    Because if you don’t, women’s sports will be dominated by former men.

    …a thing which has not happened. You know that trans women have been competing in women’s sports for a long time, right?

    When you are part of a marginal community, try to pick fights you can win.

    Tell us, what marginal population are you a member of, and what is your population’s agenda. Asking for a friend who’d like to critique your strategic choices.

    starfleetdude:

    In any professional women’s sport that pays well like tennis, the issue of trans women players is going to be an issue, IMO.

    Yes, it will be an issue, but not because we win at higher rates, because we don’t.

    Since the results are in, and post-HRT trans women demonstrably have no advantage, it will be an issue because transphobic cis people keep making it an issue. That’s why it will be an issue.

    It doesn’t matter what the evidence says, though; every single time a trans woman does well, people assert that she has an advantage. Every. Single. Time.

    markgisleson:

    Why is it important for trans to be allowed to compete with women in sports?

    “Trans” is an adjective. Your sentence should read, “Why is it important for trans women to be allowed to compete with cis women in sports?” We are not something apart from women. We are women.

    Grace

  42. says

    But your biology was whatever it was irrespective of your identity.

    Ahhh, I see Holms is taking classes from Sargon. But biology!!!!
    You are correct. Biology exists. Bodies exist. Mine has a vagina and a uterus and coincidentally that aligns with my identity as a woman because being trans sounds like a very short ending of a stick in a world where people like Holms aren’t even the worst, which makes me believe that lots of cis dudes starting HRT just to be able to compete in badly paid women’s sports is not a thing we need to worry about.

  43. curbyrdogma says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden
    You totally read my comment wrong. Nowhere did I imply I’m “superior”. I just happen to disagree. And nowhere did I “invent binaries” – quite the opposite. I was suggesting that stereotypical “binary” notions be done away with — at least the idea that behavior must match physiology. I pointed out that humans aren’t selecting for such strict binaries and therefore should not expect them.

    Have no idea what you mean by the “crayon drawing” as I did not upload any images. Maybe you’re being distracted by the adult coloring book your psychologist gave you. Next time, calm down and try responding with facts and logic instead of childish hissy-fits.

  44. starfleetdude says

    Grace, Renée Richards herself has a different opinion now, and it’s not like she hasn’t direct, relevant experience about the issue:

    Despite all this, Richards has expressed ambivalence about her legacy. She continues to take pride in being “the first one who stood up for the rights of transsexuals.” But she also mused, “Maybe in the last analysis, maybe not even I should have been allowed to play on the women’s tour. Maybe I should have knuckled under and said, ‘That’s one thing I can’t have as my newfound right in being a woman.’ I think transsexuals have every right to play, but maybe not at the professional level, because it’s not a level playing field.” She opposes the International Olympic Committee’s ruling in 2004 that transgender people can compete after they’ve had surgery and two years of hormonal therapy.

    The science of distinguishing men from women in sports remains unsettled. And Richards has come to believe that her past as a man did provide her advantages over competitors. “Having lived for the past 30 years, I know if I’d had surgery at the age of 22, and then at 24 went on the tour, no genetic woman in the world would have been able to come close to me. And so I’ve reconsidered my opinion.” She adds, “There is one thing that a transsexual woman unfortunately cannot expect to be allowed to do, and that is to play professional sports in her chosen field. She can get married, live as woman, do all of those other things, and no one should ever be allowed to take them away from her. But this limitation—that’s just life. I know because I lived it.”

  45. says

    @curbyrdogma:

    You totally read my comment wrong. Nowhere did I imply I’m “superior”. I just happen to disagree. And nowhere did I “invent binaries” – quite the opposite.

    You think there are two sides when in fact there is a complex range of opinion and innumerable expressions of those opinions every available medium, much of it vastly more informed than yours. “Both sides” is indeed a binary (I feel compelled to add for those unfamiliar with such things as dictionaries and such fields of knowledge as etymology) and a completely unjustified one which you made up out of whole cloth, cloth previously exclusively available to the Emperor, though I’m sure you believe it’s quite beautiful and sophisticated. As for the question of superiority, well of course it’s true that you only implied that you’re superior if one takes being “right” to be superior in comparison with being “wrong”, and perhaps you genuinely enjoy being wrong, so that inference of mine is arguably less-than-thoroughly justified.

    Of course, every other reader knew what I was talking about. Despite your familiarity with all internet traditions, I find plausible the idea that you’re too ignorant to make any positive contribution to this discussion. Harsh, I know, but maybe you can sit down over there with the art supplies and create another painting for the fridge. The adults will be done in a while, and then you can go home to your nap.

  46. Hj Hornbeck says

    Holms @35:

    In former days, this blog and its denizens would scoff at an appeal to personal experience.

    starfleetdude @48:

    Grace, Renée Richards herself has a different opinion now, and it’s not like she hasn’t direct, relevant experience about the issue.

    Yeesh, you transphobes need to get your stories straight. Does personal experience count, or does it not? If it doesn’t, maybe you should reconsider holding up individual transgender women as proof that transgender people have an unfair athletic advantage.

  47. curbyrdogma says

    By “both sides” I was referring to right wing conservatives who think that everyone should follow assigned gender-stereotypical behaviors according to their physical sex, and left-wing identity politicos who believe that one’s physical sex is also the “gender” one identifies with. BOTH views are restrictively binary.

    For f’s sake, this is the blog of a biologist. Everyone should know that biological males and females are defined by the gametes they produce, or were capable of producing. From the evolutionary perspective, humans aren’t selectively reproducing only stereotypical individuals, and therefore I agree that we are very diverse.

    Therefore, we shouldn’t be expecting the idea of “gender identity” to also define sex, as mind and body should be considered two separate entities; and should also consider the idea that notions about “gender” can also be socially defined. FWIW I’m fully aware of the difficulties of not identifying with stereotypical gender roles, as I am somewhat non-stereotypical myself. So I’m not unfamiliar with this subject.

  48. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Starfleetdude,
    Because Renée Richards utterly dominated women’s tennis for over a decade…oh…wait…

  49. lochaber says

    So, while the TERFs and such are wringing their hands about trans women competing in sports, how about trans men?

    There was some bit in the news recently where a trans man was in competitive wrestling, but was forced to wrestle in the women’s events, because some birth certificate nonsense. They wanted to compete in the men’s events. They pretty much dominated the women’s events, likely due in no small part to the extra muscle mass from testosterone.

    So if trans women shouldn’t be allowed to compete in women’s events, how do you handle trans men?

  50. starfleetdude says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, Richards transitioned after she was 40, and was playing as a trans women until 1981 at the highest level in professional tennis. So her comment about how she could have dominated women’s tennis had she transitioned at age 22 does hypothetically support her dominating the sport.

  51. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    starfleetdude,
    You do realize that Serena is laughing her ass off right now, right?

  52. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    curbyrdogma: “For f’s sake, this is the blog of a biologist. Everyone should know that biological males and females are defined by the gametes they produce, or were capable of producing.”

    Also, because we are intelligent people who actually listen, we realize that there is a whole lot more to even biological sex than production of gametes–and a whole helluva lot more to sex than biological sex. For one thing there is the experience of the individual–which cannot be ignored when we are talking about something as complicated as sexuality. Here’s the thing–science simplifies, but it doesn’t simplify so much that it negates the phemomenon it’s trying to explain.

  53. says

    Not-So-Shorter curbyrdogma:

    By “both sides” I was reductively portraying a vast and complicated array of views on policies related to the medical accommodation and social integration of both trans and non-trans persons who may violate any or many of a multitude of restrictive stereotypes or biological norms in order to pretend there are only “two sides”, that both are “wrong” that I am “right” and that my policies are so commonsensical as to need no arguments in their support, despite my inability to even acknowledge the patently obvious reality that there might be more than “two sides” and that different policies might be better for some persons while being worse for others and that policy implementability is an entirely different issue than policy desirability and that therefore some policies which might be reasonably and productively advocated in this decade may not actually express or realize the just and reasonable society we believe may be possible to create five decades hence.

    It is exactly the reductive simplicity of ignoring all the scholarship, personal insight, and empirical data to declare only “two sides” exist – or at least that only “two sides” are relevant – that makes my comments so valuable to the larger world. Indeed, I assume that they are so valuable that I shall continue to reductively act as if my previous reductions were reasonable, plausible, and informative in order to prevent myself from being overwhelmed with the shame and embarrassment of my Dunning-Krueger flavored stupidity, lest I fail to ramble on further in elaboration of my idiotic opinions and thus deprive this world of a very special fount of wisdom. For my voice not to receive voluminous space and attention would be the most terrible of tragedies, and that crisis, however much my words fail to communicate anything like intelligence, information, or insight, must be avoided at all costs.

  54. curbyrdogma says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden: Sorry, but I don’t spend all my time on the Internet doing acronyms and jargon and cute internet “memes”. I wasted enough time on Usenet back in the day. However I am familiar with the term “rabbit hole”, and you seem to be rather far up into it. Kudos for your ability to type in that rather awkward position; do you use echo-location to find your keyboard? I’ll get back to arguing with other delusionals like Creationists and leave you to marinate in your personal stew of dank wankery. Whatever.

  55. Aoife_b says

    @53
    Yeah, and if the transphobes are so concerned about hormones and biological advantages, you’d expect trans men would be in the men’s events. Since they actually take testosterone.

    @30
    Piss off with your gender-critical garbage. Also, hormonal effects are not permanent!

  56. says

    Dogma dude, you’ve been making a fool of yourself in this thread, and finishing by juvenile mockery of one of the blog holders really just cements our opinion that you’re a self-satisfied transphobic troll.

  57. asoricaho says

    It seems unlikely that there will ever be enough trans athletes to significantly impact gender-segregated sports, so that the number of males winning men’s events and the number of females winning women’s events will be diminished.

    I’m dubious about the concept of gender identity, because not being mind readers, I think we can only ever be ourselves, and we have no way of knowing what it feels like to be anyone else from the inside. Gross manipulation of the body only goes so far in reproducing the underlying structure of natural-born sex, and we know from weight-loss attempts, if nothing else, how hard the body fights back at attempts to change it.

    I think there will also be a severe backlash against allowing children to have their bodies manipulated that way. It’s activists getting ahead of themselves without wisdom, in the same way that believers in repressed memory decided that children should be believed about Satanic sex rituals.

    On the other hand, I have no dog in the fight, and I’m content to refer to people as whatever they want to call themselves, and use whatever pronoun they want to use. I don’t have to believe in their version of reality in order to be polite.

  58. says

    @ asoricaho

    How condescendingly magnanimous of you to philanthropically do literally the very least you could, despite your bigotry.

  59. starfleetdude says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, if anything an intersex athlete who has much more testosterone than other women that gives them a huge performance boost supports Richards’ position about trans women competing as women.

  60. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    starfleetdude: ” if anything an intersex athlete who has much more testosterone than other women that gives them a huge performance boost…”

    And there we have it. It is not whether said trans woman was born with a penis, but rather her testosterone level–and that is why the proposal is not to allow unregulated competition, but to monitor the testosterone level of the athlete. After all, we do not allow Chinese or Russian cis women swimmers to dope with testosterone. Regulate the thing that matters.

  61. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    asoricaho: “I’m dubious about the concept of gender identity, because not being mind readers, I think we can only ever be ourselves, and we have no way of knowing what it feels like to be anyone else from the inside.”

    Ooh! Ooh! I know! You could ask them what their reality feel like. You could care what they feel. Hell, you could even celebrate their differences, rather than merely tolerating them. But, hey, that’s all just SJW crap, amirite?

  62. starfleetdude says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, it’s not that simple. When a male athlete transitions they may lose some muscle mass after lowering their level of testosterone as part of their transition, but they don’t lose that much of their overall former physique. Part of the reason why Richards wasn’t as dominant was simply age, which does lower performance. Gonads do make a difference in development with respect to male and female bodies.

  63. starfleetdude says

    abbeycadabra, here you go:

    Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis.

    Abstract
    We have studied the effect of a pharmacological dose of testosterone enanthate (3 mg.kg-1.wk-1 for 12 wk) on muscle mass and total-body potassium and on whole-body and muscle protein synthesis in normal male subjects. Muscle mass estimated by creatinine excretion increased in all nine subjects (20% mean increase, P less than 0.02); total body potassium mass estimated by 40K counting increased in all subjects (12% mean increase, P less than 0.0001). In four subjects, a primed continuous infusion protocol with L-[1-13C]leucine was used to determine whole-body leucine flux and oxidation. Whole-body protein synthesis was estimated from nonoxidative flux. Muscle protein synthesis rate was determined by measuring [13C]leucine incorporation into muscle samples obtained by needle biopsy. Testosterone increased muscle protein synthesis in all subjects (27% mean increase, P less than 0.05). Leucine oxidation decreased slightly (17% mean decrease, P less than 0.01), but whole-body protein synthesis did not change significantly. Muscle morphometry showed no significant increase in muscle fiber diameter. These studies suggest that testosterone increases muscle mass by increasing muscle protein synthesis.

  64. Rowan vet-tech says

    starfleetdude… but trans women who have transitioned are no longer producing testosterone. That abstract doesn’t talk about the effects of removing testosterone and taking estrogen.

  65. says

    Cool, dude, and do you have a relevant one, i.e. a study about trans women including the effects on HRT?

    Or are you just – as most anti-trans-woman-athlete people are – making the assumption that trans women have the same biology as cis men? Because a lot of people have tried to tell you what happens when the testosterone GOES AWAY but you haven’t been listening, and posting this argument really tips your “they’re really men” hand.

  66. says

    @70 starfleetdude

    Wait a minute, it wasn’t even as vaguely relevant as I thought! Your CLAIM was “Trans women don’t lose much muscle mass on HRT” and you backed it up with a study about pumping cis men full of extra testosterone – which is THE OPPOSITE CLAIM on each word!

  67. unclefrogy says

    sports really? I am not much of a sports fan so maybe what I think does not matter much I really do not see much of a problem with who competes in sports. Up thread the naame Lance Armstrong was brought up well from the news it sounds like he could not have done what he has done with out cheating his ass off and lets not get into pro-sports either it looks to me that everyone is playing as close to the line on legality as they can possible get and getting caught is not even a giant scandal any more. I take what I have read here as evidence that there is no real advantage.
    so sports
    really?
    transitions are disruptive so what I see no alternative that is likely to prevent them that does not end up in eventual chaos and collapse and the diminishing of all civil rights.
    uncle frogy

  68. starfleetdude says

    Rowan vet-tech, it’s that there are sex differences in body development while growing up that matter. Women have 52% of men’s strength in the upper body and 66% of men’s strength in the lower body. A trans woman may lose some of that strength advantage but not that much after transitioning.

  69. starfleetdude says

    Cool, dude, and do you have a relevant one, i.e. a study about trans women including the effects on HRT?

    Feel free to bring one up yourself. I’m not doing everyone’s homework, thanks.

  70. starfleetdude says

    Hj Hornbeck, rights aren’t a one-way street. Trans women have rights, as do cis women. When it comes to athletic competition there is a fairness issue with respect to trans women having a performance advantage over cis women. While I respect and agree with Emma Thompson’s statement with regard to civil rights, there’s more than just trans women to consider here.

  71. says

    @starfleetdude:

    #77

    A trans woman may lose some of that strength advantage but not that much after transitioning.

    #78

    I’m not doing everyone’s homework, thanks.

    You’ve made an assertion that you know the limits of bodily changes post-transition for MtF trans women. Supporting that assertion is your homework, dude. If you don’t want to do it, okay, these are just comments on an internet blog. But don’t pretend that we just have to believe your assertions because you don’t feel like actually supporting them.

    Exactly how do you know how sex reassignment surgery and HRT affect muscle mass? What’s your expertise? Where is your supporting evidence?

    Got none? Then your assertions can fuck off completely.

  72. starfleetdude says

    Crip Dyke, prove to me that a MtF transition results in losing half your upper body muscle mass.

  73. Rowan vet-tech says

    starfleetdude…. sources? How do you know? My trans women friends are not as strong as I am despite the fact that I’m quite a bit shorter than they are. The one I was friends prior to transitioning and during her time transitioning definitely lost the majority of her muscle mass and had less than I do, and I don’t even exercise.

  74. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I’m gonna try out an analogy here:
    We have three transphobes shipwrecked in a sea of bullshit assertions that trans women aren’t real women.

    And each is grasping at the last straw that hasn’t sunk into the depths–namely sports, the original realm where the most ignorant imbecile’s opinion was of equal worth to the veteran coach with 9 Superbowl rings. And if that straw gives way, they have to either climb into the ship of decent humanity or the rubber dinghy of bigotry. Which will they choose?

  75. starfleetdude says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, what we have here is balancing the rights of trans women and cis women when it comes to fairness in athletic competition. That there are sex differences when it comes to physical body development is a given. Whether transitioning MtF negates those differences isn’t.

  76. says

    Hey, starfleetdude, above I brought up the example of cis women with high levels of testosterone. Do you think that they have an “unfair advantage” as well and should be banned?

  77. Hj Hornbeck says

    starfleetdude @80:

    When it comes to athletic competition there is a fairness issue with respect to trans women having a performance advantage over cis women.

    Are you going to actually read the thread, or just wallow in ignorance and bigotry?

  78. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    starfleetdude: “what we have here is balancing the rights of trans women and cis women when it comes to fairness in athletic competition.”

    And yet, you have nowhere given any evidence that the rights of any cis women to fair competition will be in any way harmed by competing with trans women whose testosterone is adequately regulated.

    If you are seeking to negate the experiences and identities of an entire class of people, you are going to have to do better than simply yelling out repeatedly “But what about the REEEAAALLL Wimmins?”

  79. cartomancer says

    I can understand well enough the desire of trans people to participate in the socially valued phenomena of our society like sport – even if those phenomena have been shot through with regressive and harmful gendered thinking from the very beginning.

    But it does strike me as somewhat strange that the approach most take to this issue is to argue over how to fit individuals within the already existing gender binary of the institution, rather than to reform the institution wholesale so that it no longer reflects this binary thinking.

    Perhaps I just don’t get sport at all. I certainly don’t derive any pleasure from watching it. It all seems rather pointless to my mind. We now have machines that can outperform pretty much any sportsperson at pretty much any sport – no weightlifter can out-compete a hydraulic crane, no sprinter can outrun a speeding car, no javelin-thrower can get the thing further than a ballista. Compared to technological power the abilities of humans of any gender fall far short. So I’m guessing that’s not why people watch humans do these things so much less effectively than machines can. So what is the attraction? Is it purely about the competitive aspect? Is it about weaving dramatic narratives of human conflict from abstract statistical phenomena? Is it basically a highly stylised form of improvisational acting? A focus for ambient feelings of tribalism in society? A vessel for hero-worship?

    The question, I think, is a relevant one here. What is sport for and why is it done? Because that affects how it is interpreted and how its results are measured and assessed. If the draw is purely about observing the extreme excesses of human capacity in physical exertion, then gender is only tangentially related to that. Having socially gendered categories seems a tad silly and counter-productive if biology is going to stratify competitors itself anyway. If it’s about weaving dramatic narratives of close competition then gender is also largely irrelevant to that – because there is just as much tension between two people of virtually identical ability competing at a much less physically extreme level as there is at the most extreme level – featherweight boxers are just as much boxers as the vast lumbering hulks in the heavyweight divisions. Though boxing is of itself a somewhat dangerous activity, and I do not feel that should be encouraged. Why should a male and a female and an intersex Javelin-thrower who consistently throw the same kinds of distances be stratified separately? It makes no sense to me beyond perpetuating traditional cultural gender binaries.

    Why not value types of physical prowess that all can participate in equally, rather than focus on the ones where certain gendered trends exist? Why not value things that lighter, smaller, more dextrous people are good at as well as the lumbering hulk sports?

    Or why not just discard the whole tedious mess and have competitive book-reading, essay writing, library searches and scrabble instead?

  80. asoricaho says

    Why not ask them? For the same reason that when creationists ask “Were you there?” we respond that that question is silly, and that the correct question is “How do you know?” They have never been in anyone else’s head any more than anyone else has, so the only thing they know are their own feelings. If we’re going to define man and woman as other than “adult human male” and “adult human female” and make gender be only an aspect of personality, it forces a reductive “all men are this and all women are that” if we’re going accept people saying that they’re female men or male women. Which is where TERFs are coming from – they’ve been fighting the “all women are” notion since feminism existed.

    Doing the least you can despite bigotry (more like indifference or skepticism) is what tolerance is about. I agree not to obstruct you and your beliefs even though I might think they’re ridiculous, and you do the same for me. And of course, you have no idea which of your supposedly enlightened friends really believe as you do, or are just pretending for the sake of politeness and tolerance, or because of your social milieu.

  81. starfleetdude says

    Giliell, an intersex person who had testes instead of ovaries may have female genitals, but they are not the same thing as a female who has ovaries when it comes to body development. So yes, they do have an unfair advantage with respect to other women athletes. Whether or not intersex persons should not be allowed to compete against other women depends on why you’re having an athletic competition for women in the first place. I think we do because there is a biological divide when it comes to the physical strength of men with respect to women, which is why we have two separate categories for athletic competitions.

  82. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    starfleetdude: “Crip Dyke, prove to me that a MtF transition results in losing half your upper body muscle mass.”
    OK, maybe this is the source of your confusion. It isn’t just about the MtF transition. To compete in a competition with other women, a trans woman’ testosterone levels would have to be in the normal range for women. Period. That is what is being proposed. If a trans woman’s testosterone was too high, she would have to take sufficient estrogen to lower them into the normal range.

  83. petesh says

    curbyrdogma: “For f’s sake, this is the blog of a biologist. Everyone should know that” …
    Ahem, cough, have you ever read the thoughts of Chairman PZ? He’s a biologist, you know.

  84. starfleetdude says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space, I wasn’t speaking to the level of testosterone alone, but to how much transitioning from MtF affects muscle mass, and whether or not that offsets the advantage men have over women in that regard.

  85. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    asoricaho, Now just a frickin’ minute. No one is asking them whether they prefer being in a woman’s body or a man’s body. They are asking them about their experience of being in their own body–and that we can certainly ask them. In fact, we cannot know how they feel unless we do ask them. You really don’t understand this empathy thin, do you?

  86. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    starfleetdude–and testosterone is key to gaining and keeping muscle mass. That’s why linebackers do steroids and become homicidal maniacs with testicles that resemble raisins.

  87. says

    @starfleetdude:

    Crip Dyke, prove to me that a MtF transition results in losing half your upper body muscle mass.

    Too late!

    you could have said, reasonably,

    I don’t know what the risks of allowing trans* women to compete in women’s sports post-transition might be. Maybe they won’t lose all their testosterone-induced difference in muscle mass. Maybe in some sports trans* women will dominate solely because of lingering testosterone-induced differential muscle mass. I would consider that unfair and undesirable. Maybe in some sports trans* women will cause more injuries to fellow non-trans* women players as a result of lingering, testosterone-induced differential muscle mass. Until I see a good study on the change in muscle-mass in elite athletes post-transition – or at least studies on the number of medals or championships going to trans* women athletes and the number of injuries to fellow players – I can’t be sure that the risks don’t outweigh the values of inclusion and non-discrimination our society prioritizes and thus I won’t endorse inclusive participation until there’s reliable and relevant information making it clear these potential bad outcomes are unlikely to manifest.

    But you didn’t. You said nothing like this reasonable statement. You’ve insisted that you know that differential muscle mass lingers, and then as evidence linked to a study showing that, among other things, testosterone acts on short time scales. This does nothing to prove your assertions, but it does prove – or at least provide significant evidence for the conclusion – that you simply don’t understand how much your position relies on assumptions.

    Your basic scientific literacy is poor. We have every reason to believe you lack the ability to read a study and recognize that research about changes to the bodies of cis-males over weeks when given extra testosterone tells you little to nothing relevant to the changes in the bodies of trans* women over years after sources of testosterone are removed or reduced and sources of estrogen are augmented – save the information that undercuts your argument that testosterone’s effects on muscle mass are attributable to short-term effects.

    I am not in a position of needing to prove something to you because you’re the one that made assertions of knowledge that turn out to be based on bullshit. I’ve made no assertions that I know exactly how and when and by how much muscle mass falls over time for trans* women post-transition. I’ve made no assertions that this will be the same (or different) among trans* women that are elite athletes. I’ve made no assertions that this will be the same (or different) among trans* women that are high school athletes.

    I’ve made no assertions other than that your argument is, objectively, bullshit. And it is. Even you now are so afraid of supporting your position that you’ve attempted to assign the burden of proof to me.

    If you want to quote a statement of mine that you feel is unsupported, feel free. I might even provide evidence if I don’t think such evidence already exists in this thread. But don’t for a second think that you can get away with this bullshit bait-and-switch without being caught.

    You have no evidence for your position. Your position is based entirely on assumption and stereotypes. To the extent that you have any information at all, your evidence shows that testosterone’s effects on muscle mass are achieved through short-term (weeks, at most) effects. Thus to the extent that you have any relevant information at all, your position is contradicted by your own evidence. Your position is irrational up til the moment you actually have evidence that supports reasonable conclusions synonymous with your position.

    But feel free to keep up your personal delusion that on the internet know one knows you’re a fool.

  88. Hj Hornbeck says

    starfleetdude @94:

    I wasn’t speaking to the level of testosterone alone, but to how much transitioning from MtF affects muscle mass, and whether or not that offsets the advantage men have over women in that regard.

    Wallow in ignorance it is, then.

  89. Grace says

    starfleetdude:

    Grace, Renée Richards herself has a different opinion now, and it’s not like she hasn’t direct, relevant experience about the issue

    I’m well aware of Richards’ opinion, on this; people love to quote it in discussions like these.

    I, too, have direct, relevant experience about this issue. At the time I went on hormone therapy, I had to meet a physical standard designed for men aged 18-29. It became much, much harder to make that standard. I maintained my upper body strength only by working much harder than I had to, before, and I watched my run times get higher no matter how hard I trained.

    I’m still an athlete, in a full-contact sport. And I’m a skilled athlete. But when I mix it up with men, as I occasionally do, I’m well aware of the difference between what I had and what I have, and there are plenty of cis women in my sport who outperform me without blinking.

    One factor in our difference of opinion may be that female athletes now are rather different from female athletes in Richards’ day. Title Nine and cultural changes have raised several generations of women who come at it with a rather different attitude than they did when I was a kid, and that was well after Richards was in her prime on testosterone. Which is why the records keep falling.

    And more to the point of this topic, almost none of those records are held by women who are trans. The evidence is just not there, and the issue has been studied extensively.

    Grace

  90. Grace says

    This thread, but shorter:

    “Sports.”
    “The evidence is that there is no difference.”
    “But [shiny theory]!”
    “Yes, it’s an understandable proposition. But it’s not supported by the evidence.”
    “But [shiny theory]!”
    “…”

    Grace

  91. says

    @Giliell:

    Hey, starfleetdude, above I brought up the example of cis women with high levels of testosterone. Do you think that they have an “unfair advantage” as well and should be banned?

    SMN1 exon 7 provides an unfair advantage compared to those who lack it. We should not permit persons possessing an SMN1 gene that includes exon 7 to participate in athletics. Failing that, we should at the very least prohibit those with higher expressions of SMN1 and SMN2 (especially those with multiple copies of the SMN2 gene) from competing against those with lower expressions of these genes and/or fewer active copies of SMN2.

    In the interest of fairness, of course.

  92. anat says

    To starfleetdude @85:

    what we have here is balancing the rights of trans women and cis women when it comes to fairness in athletic competition.

    The question has already been settled. See Circulating Testosterone as the Hormonal Basis of Sex Differences in Athletic Performance

    The review article looks into other potential sources of possible athletic advantage a transgender woman might have and rules them out.

    From the abstract:

    Suppression of elevated circulating testosterone of hyperandrogenic athletes results in negative effects on performance, which are reversed when suppression ceases. Based on the nonoverlapping, bimodal distribution of circulating testosterone concentration (measured by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry)—and making an allowance for women with mild hyperandrogenism, notably women with polycystic ovary syndrome (who are overrepresented in elite athletics)—the appropriate eligibility criterion for female athletic events should be a circulating testosterone of <5.0 nmol/L. This would include all women other than those with untreated hyperandrogenic disorders of sexual development and noncompliant male-to-female transgender as well as testosterone-treated female-to-male transgender or androgen dopers.

    You can read for more details. BTW they mention that women with PCOS are in fact over-represented in sports. Is that discrimination against cisgender women who do not have PCOS? A problem with the representation of women who do not have PCOS in sports?

  93. chrislawson says

    markgiselsen@6 (introducing the subject): “Once you’ve figured out how to make transgender work in sports, you’ll have won.”

    @16 (responding to pushback): “This striving for perfect equality at a time when there is zero consensus on bathrooms is frankly weird. Focus on the real obstacles to equality.”

    Then why did you bring it up?

  94. DavidinOz says

    @ H J Honbeck #11

    Been there, done that, wrote a blog post. Spoiler alert: the logic is pretty easy.

    Yes, you did write a post, and the immediately thereafter wrote another post attacking a former FTB Blogger.

    But as a gutless coward, you do not permit comments. No alternative views. No challenges. Not even a right of defence.

    There are many bloggers with whom I disagree, but you are the only one that runs from an opposing view.

    Trans women are no more women than Trans African Americans are African American. The clue is right there, in the word trans.

    Why must we accept the claims of, say, Rachel McKinnon and not Nkechi Amare Diallo? Both are based on identity and feelings, not biology.

    Yes, trans people are to be respected and to be treated with dignity and equality, but that does not excuse them imposing themselves in women’s spaces.

    OK – I’m off to drink coffee while I wait for the shitstorm to follow.

  95. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    OK – I’m off to drink coffee while I wait for the shitstorm to follow.

    You left the shitstorm. Typical of ignorant unemphatic bigots.

  96. asoricaho says

    No one has any experience except that of being in their own body, so I still don’t see what asking them is supposed to demonstrate.

    The politically correct belief about gender appears to be that there are a pair of abstract genders, man and woman, that are independent of the sex of the body but are so intrinsically different that someone can be certain which one is theirs. At the same time, there is also the belief that gender roles are stereotypes formed socially, and that there is no intrinsic behavior actually required of men and women related to gender – men can play with dolls and women can play with trucks. Those beliefs are contradictory.

    There is the belief that a male having the woman gender identity or a female having the man gender identity is, for want of a better word, normal, just an aspect of personality like sexual attraction to males or females, and not a sign of a disorder to be treated. That’s socially determined – as a society, we have decided that we will not believe anorexics when they say they are too fat, or depressed people when they say they have nothing to live for, but we have decided that it’s fine to be attracted to either sex, and a significant contingent wants to say that gender dysphoria falls into that latter category. Which will be fine if the science shows that people go on to lead better lives if they express the dysphoria by switching rather than seeking to ease the dysphoria through other therapies. But activism has leapt ahead, which means that scientists who want to study the issue stand a great chance of being villified as transphobic, and are probably going to decide it’s too risky to bother, leaving the field only to those who are actually transphobic and don’t care.

    There is also the belief that gross manipulation of the body to alter its sex is routine and relatively easy, and that prepubescent children should be free to decide for themselves to have such manipulation done, even over the objection of their parents. This when most localities do not even allow children to be vaccinated without permission from their parents. And I would not be at all surprised if the the people in favor of this overlap significantly with the people who think circumcision should be illegal. Because people.

  97. Hj Hornbeck says

    DavidinOz @105:

    OK – I’m off to drink coffee while I wait for the shitstorm to follow.

    You do realize Pharyngula is a separate blog, right? One that’s gone on a lot longer than mine, and built a dedicated core of lurkers and regulars. Why would anyone here rush to my defense? Heck, the crowd here does not hesitate to criticize me when they feel it is warranted.

    Yet somehow we’re all part of the same hive mind?

  98. vucodlak says

    @ DavidinOz, #105

    Ok, so you say…

    Yes, trans people are to be respected and to be treated with dignity and equality

    …but then you say…

    but that does not excuse them imposing themselves in women’s spaces.

    So they’re to be treated with “equality and dignity,” but people like you get to tell them who they are. And if they say something silly like “I think I know myself better than you do, stranger,” you will still compel them to behave in accordance with who you have decided they are.

    You don’t see the problem here? In what way is that treating trans women with dignity and equality?

  99. anat says

    Also, gender dysphoria is a condition that requires treatment, which is done by transitioning. Nobody starts medical treatment for transition without a medical evaluation showing that the treatment is likely to be helpful to them. And prepubescent children do not receive medical transition treatment at all – one must start puberty to receive puberty blockers. IOW your response #108 is uninformed or misinformed.

    I don’t see how having a gender identity contradicts the social construction of gender roles and stereotypes.

  100. Hj Hornbeck says

    DavidInOz @105:

    Yes, you did write a post, and the immediately thereafter wrote another post attacking a former FTB Blogger.

    Huh, someone who comments at Ophelia Benson’s blog doesn’t have a positive view of me. Quelle surprise!

  101. says

    Do we get to call #108 an entire straw battalion or what? Arrogant dude there has no idea, NONE, what the current state of (scientifically supported, thank you) thinking on gender is.

    Then there’s the australian asshole who literally showed up only to be an asshole.

  102. says

    Starfleetdude, I was talking about cis women, but thanks for playing.
    DavidinOz
    You are aware that this thread is about cis women actively affirming that trans women are women and therefore belong in women’s spaces?

    asoricaho, could you start by defining the first part of your definition, adult, please?

  103. asoricaho says

    @vucodlak #111

    A good portion of the #MeToo and consent movement is dedicated to the fact that females do not want to have male genitalia imposed upon them. They don’t want to see arbitrary male genitalia in picture or in person, they don’t want to have discussions with owners of male genitalia about why those particular male genitalia are different than other male genitalia, and they don’t want to be naked in front of people with male genitalia. That some people with male genitalia insist on doing exactly those things is an imposition on the people that don’t want it.

  104. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Well, the chuds certainly have a lot of conjecture on their side.

  105. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    And here I thought #metoo was about sexual harassment and sexual assault (by and towards people of all genders). But it turns out it’s actually about excluding trans women. I guess it was just too complicated for my fluffy pink ladybrain.

  106. John Morales says

    I found it interesting to read this thread.

    My main impression? That, though the OP is quite general, the discussion has largely been about transwomen in sport, beginning with markgisleson’s comment @#6.

    I think Anna @31 is spot-on (“2. Brought up sports which is a wedge issue against trans rights”), as well as ARIDS @84 (paraphrasing, it’s a last straw for their recalcitrance). Apparently, the “bathroom” issue and the prison issues have lost traction when expressing their… um, concern.

    In particular, I noticed this give-away by DavidinOz @105: “Yes, trans people are to be respected and to be treated with dignity and equality, but that does not excuse them imposing themselves in women’s spaces.”. Might as well have written ‘transwomen are not women’ and been done; the relevant semantics are identical, and the attempted plausible deniability is nonexistent.

  107. Hj Hornbeck says

    asoricaho@116:

    A good portion of the #MeToo and consent movement is dedicated to the fact that females do not want to have male genitalia imposed upon them.

    Sounded better in the original Ferengi. Transphobes apparently come from an alternate planet where bathroom stalls are forbidden from having doors, and everyone waves their genitals around in washrooms.

    You have a phobia of penises? Fine, we can work around that. But don’t project your anxieties onto other people.

  108. Aoife_b says

    There just needs to be a counter set up, “It has been 0 days since the last transphobic jackass in the comments.”

  109. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    So I’m looking at this thread where the conservatives have given a whole lotta nothing to support their anti-trans views but now we’re supposed to believe the anti-trans conservatives are correct about the medical science when it comes to trans kids? That’s a pretty tall ask.

  110. asoricaho says

    @Hj Hornbeck #121
    Locker rooms don’t have stalls. People shower, then emerge naked to dress, sometimes wearing towels and sometimes not. Everyone can see everyone else.

    Stalls are a strawman anyway. The point of transgender activism around bathrooms is that transgender people are fully the genders they identify with and therefore should be able to use bathrooms associated with that gender regardless of whether they may see other people nude or be seen nude themselves in those bathrooms.

    “Females” because “women” is no longer supposed to mean “people who were born with vaginas.” You change the meaning of words and then complain that people are using them in the way you intended? Do you have another word for “adults who were born with vaginas”?

  111. vucodlak says

    @ asoricaho, #116

    A good portion of the #MeToo and consent movement is dedicated to the fact that females do not want to have male genitalia imposed upon them.

    Which has nothing to do with trans women. Yes, a trans woman could be a sexual harasser, but simply existing while trans is not sexual harassment.

    Since we seem to be getting into bathrooms again: One doesn’t generally see the genitals of other people in a public restroom, unless one is looking. This is especially true in women’s restrooms. If the restroom is so poorly designed that one cannot help but see other people’s genitals, then that’s a serious design flaw.

    As to the locker room problem: that’s again a problem with the design of locker rooms, not a problem with trans women. Demanding changing stalls with either doors or curtains is the answer, not excluding trans women from participating in places where changing clothing is required. Same deal with showers in locker rooms- separate stalls with curtains, at the very least.

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other public space where one would be likely to accidently catch a peek of another person’s genitals.

    they don’t want to have discussions with owners of male genitalia about why those particular male genitalia are different than other male genitalia

    If you’re interrogating someone about their genitalia, then the person being questioned isn’t the problem. You are. That’s sexual harassment. If your child is asking, then you’ll just have to grow the fuck up and answer the question like an adult. It’s not that complicated.

  112. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Umm cis woman? It doesn’t make you sound like you’re doing a nature documentary about a different species.

  113. asoricaho says

    @Hj Hornbeck #121
    “You have a phobia of penises?”

    Anthony Wiener served over a year in prison for sending a photo of his penis to a young girl.
    Louis CK masturbated in front of reluctant women.
    Peter Farrelly exposed his penis to female actors “as a joke.”

    Are you really saying that if females object to seeing penises or being seen nude by people with penises they “have a phobia” and they should “work around it”? Do you maybe see why some feminists might ask you to take that opinion and place it where the sun don’t shine?

  114. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Also when you say “females” you’re not only including non-human animals but als trans men. I know y’all have some newspeak complex about using the word cis but it’s a useful word, use it.

  115. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Jerking off in front of another unwilling man would also be sexual assault/harassment, does that mean men shouldn’t be allowed in male locker rooms?

  116. says

    abbeycadabra, #114:

    Do we get to call #108 an entire straw battalion or what? Arrogant dude there has no idea, NONE, what the current state of (scientifically supported, thank you) thinking on gender is.

    asoricaho, #122:

    @abbycadabra #114
    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/when-transgender-kids-transition-medical-risks-are-both-known-and-unknown/

    So… your proof that you know something about gender is an article on medical interventions in sex combined with an inability to even spell the name of your conversation partner when it’s literally spelled out for you in the comment to which you’re responding? Okay, for providing proof that you can’t tell the difference between sex and gender in supposed rebuttal to a comment asserting you’re ignorant of current thinking on gender, we get:
    abbeycadabra: 1
    asoricaho: 0

    actually, fuck it. Just for your general incompetence in misspelling abbeycadabra’s name, we’re at
    abbeycadabra: 1
    asoricaho: -1

    Oh, but wait! Let’s look at what abbeycadabra was referencing in asoricaho’s #108:

    There is also the belief that gross manipulation of the body to alter its sex is routine and relatively easy, and that prepubescent children should be free to decide for themselves to have such manipulation done, even over the objection of their parents. This when most localities do not even allow children to be vaccinated without permission from their parents.

    And yet, if you look at asoricaho’s link, we find it’s all about … the use of puberty blockers for early-adolescent kids, which makes no sense and is entirely inapplicable to truly pre-pubescent kids. Moreover, do the kids decide this over the objections of their parents? Nope:

    “That’s really what these pubertal blockers do,” Dr. Rob Garofalo told FRONTLINE. Garofalo is the director of the Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Gender and Sex Development Program. “They allow these families the opportunity to hit a pause button, to prevent natal puberty … until we know that that’s either the right or the wrong direction for their particular child.”

    Families. Not kids. Families.

    Oh, but the article also discusses HRT! Maybe HRT is somehow given before the normal age of puberty or against parental objections!

    While the Endocrine Society’s guidelines suggest 16, more and more children are starting hormones at 13 or 14 once their doctors, therapists and families have agreed that they are mentally and emotionally prepared. The shift is because of the concerns over the impact that delaying puberty for too long can have on development, physically, emotionally and socially.

    Ooops! Wrong again! It requires the agreement of “doctors, therapists and families”.

    For those keeping score at home, we’re at:
    abbeycadabra: 2
    asoricaho: -1

    As for the eternal mystery of why it is that the people who show up in this thread to make anti-trans arguments consistently provide evidence that proves themselves wrong, let’s all agree that the one thing that couldn’t be part of this answer is the fact that bigotry always finds its basis in unsupported assumptions and unreasonable thinking.

    We wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

  117. DavidinOz says

    Why must we accept the claims of, say, Rachel McKinnon and not Nkechi Amare Diallo? Both are based on identity and feelings, not biology.

    Too hard to answer?

    DavidinOz
    You are aware that this thread is about cis women actively affirming that trans women are women and therefore belong in women’s spaces?

    Well aware, but that does not make them the authority on the matter. They hold an opinion, others hold a differing opinion.

    Why is it we only ever see men insisting they’re women and entitled to everything women are entitled to, but we rarely, if ever, see women making the same claims to men’s spaces? Where are the trans men insisting they be permitted to compete in men’s sports?

    Could it be because trans women have been conditioned from birth to believe their masculinity makes them superior, while the trans men have been conditioned to be meek and mild?

  118. asoricaho says

    @vucodlak #126
    And we can also ban bakeries as a solution to the problem of bakers not wanting to make cakes for same-sex weddings.
    Yes, of course we can change the environment so that no one gets to see another person nude by accident. In which case, we don’t have a women’s locker room or a men’s locker room any more, we just have single-occupant locker rooms. Will that make trans activists happy, though? You haven’t created a situation where trans people are accepted into the spaces associated with their gender identity, you’ve removed the gender identity from those spaces altogether.

  119. Aoife_b says

    @128
    Note who you pointed out there? Three cis men. Trans women actually spend a good deal of effort not waving our dicks around.

  120. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Crip Dyke:

    <

    blockquote>bigotry always finds its basis in unsupported assumptions and unreasonable thinking.<\blockquote>

    Or as Jean-Paul Sartre put it in “Anti-Semite and Jew”

    <

    blockquote>Never believe that anti‐ Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors.<\blockquote>

  121. vucodlak says

    @ asoricaho, #125

    Locker rooms don’t have stalls. People shower, then emerge naked to dress, sometimes wearing towels and sometimes not. Everyone can see everyone else.

    I spent a total of 6 years in Phys. Ed. classes that required students to change clothes. I never once saw anyone else’s dick, and I’m damn sure no one saw mine since I refused to get fully naked in the presence of other men. It is NOT that difficult to avoid being a nosey asshole.

    Never showered, either. No one did, and PE was the first class of the day. Somehow, we all survived.

    Stalls are a strawman anyway.

    Since your argument is that ‘feeeeeeemales cis women don’t want to see genitals that don’t look exactly like their own,’ stalls are not a strawman. They’re the end of your stupid argument. Since it’s apparently too much to ask that people mind their eyes and business, eliminate the line of sight.

    Problem solved.

  122. rietpluim says

    When a male sporter has high testosterone it’s called talent.
    When a female sporter has high testosterone it’s called unfair.

  123. rietpluim says

    When a male sporter is well muscled, he is called well trained.
    When a female sporter is well muscled, he is called a cheat.

  124. Rowan vet-tech says

    I’ve had far more issues with seeing unwanted tits than unwanted penises. It’s almost like it’s not actually the organ but rather the person it’s attached to who is the problem.
    If you think penis equals man and that penis people shouldn’t be around vagina people spaces then all you are doing is reducing me to what’s between my legs and that makes you a shitty feminist.
    I have nothing at all to fear from my friends who are trans. A trans woman belongs with women. A trans man belongs with men. If a trans guy showed up to a women’s only thing wanting entrance the answer would be fuck no because him possibly having a vagina doesn’t make him a woman anymore than me coming home covered in fur after work makes me a cat.

  125. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Hey asshole! You gonna’ address the ridiculousness of comparing cis men sexually assaulting and harassing people to trans women using facilities the same as everyone else? Or are you just going to pretend you didn’t say something ridiculous and just keep cycling through talking points like the right-winger you are?

  126. Rowan vet-tech says

    @138 asoricaho
    Your source shows your innate bias, and is extremely blatant by misgendering the teen the entire time. Just because the father is an intolerant asshole doesn’t mean he gets to object to what his son needs for his mental wellbeing.

  127. Khantron, the alien that only loves says

    Yeah, I’m not too fond of requiring parental consent in a lot of cases, especially when a lot of parents are right wing maniacs intent on making their children suffer for their hateful conservative ideology.

  128. says

    Biologically, an adult is a human or other organism that has reached sexual maturity. In human context, the term adult additionally has meanings associated with social and legal concepts. In contrast to a “minor”, a legal adult is a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible. The typical age of attaining legal adulthood is 18, although definition may vary by legal rights and country

    Yep, I thought so. No clear definition, muddling of biological and social categories and no accounting for the shift over time. Which is ok for a Wikipedia article, but just shows that your favourite definition of “woman” is just as human made and vague as all others.
    DavidinOz
    Are you actually aware that right now you are the man who is imposing himself on women’s questions?
    Besides, trans men do compete in sports. Occasionally they are banned from the men’s competitions and protest. Just because you aren’t paying attention doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  129. says

    If a trans guy showed up to a women’s only thing wanting entrance the answer would be fuck no

    Actually, that makes women less safe, because suddenly we’d have to accept every bearded guy in our facilities.

  130. rietpluim says

    Talking statistics, women on average achieve less in sports than men do, which leads some to believe that women’s bodies on average are less equipped for sports. That is a mistake. Women now are doing better than men did fifty years ago. Since our biology can’t possibly have changed significantly in such a short period of time, the only reasonable conclusion is that women aren’t less equipped; they are catching up.

  131. anat says

    asoricaho@125: Behold the state of Washington, where the law explicitly defines bathroom/locker room etc use based on gender identity. And allows anyone not happy with whom they might encounter in said locker-room to request greater privacy for themselves. The arrangement appears to be working. Those who sought to change the law (a repurposed anti-marriage equality group, BTW) by initiative have twice failed to gather sufficient signatures to do so. The sky has yet to fall, it looks like other than a small group of haters, Washingtonians are happy to welcome transgender folks in bathrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and so forth.

  132. dean says

    asoricaho, I’ve never understood why anyone believes the Federalist to be any more reliable than Blaze, drudge report, or the other right-wing dishonesty/dogma sites, so the fact that you use it to “support” your view speaks (to me) volumes.

    While your dishonest intent is to say that the courts have over-ridden the desires of the boy’s parents, that is far from true (as has been pointed out). The father is objecting, but the mother was on his side.

    These are the opening paragraphs from o.canada.com, from 2/28/2019.
    They don’t tell the same story you are pushing. (Looking at your previous posts, I’m shocked (SHOCKED, I say) to find out that there is a lack of honesty and thought in your comments. (No, not really.)

    A 14-year-old transgender boy has the capacity to consent to his own medical treatments and should be allowed to proceed with hormone injections to help transition from a female to a male body without delay, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

    The teenager, who can be identified only as “A.B.,” has been at the centre of a complicated legal fight that raised questions about parental rights and child autonomy. His parents are separated and have joint custody.

    While the boy and his mother were prepared to begin testosterone injections last summer, his father objected, citing the need for more time to examine the implications of such a move.

    But in a written decision released Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden said he was satisfied A.B. understood the benefits and risks of treatment and that postponing treatment further could result in A.B. — who had previously attempted suicide — trying to harm himself again.
    “The totality of the evidence regarding A.B.’s medical needs … leads me to conclude that his hormone treatment should not be delayed further,” the judge wrote.
    “While A.B.’s father does not consent to the treatment, I am satisfied that A.B.’s consent is sufficient for the treatment to proceed.”

  133. vucodlak says

    @ asoricaho, #133

    And we can also ban bakeries as a solution to the problem of bakers not wanting to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

    Wait, I thought you were talking about the ‘safety’ of the people in the locker room, but now you’re talking about the people who own the locker rooms being able to discriminate against certain classes of people? I guess? I don’t really know where you’re going with that (attempted) analogy, and I suspect you don’t either.

    In which case, we don’t have a women’s locker room or a men’s locker room any more, we just have single-occupant locker rooms.

    Huzzah! You get the picture. There is no good reason for the abusive practice of making strangers strip in front one another to continue, just because it’s been done that way for a few decades.

    You haven’t created a situation where trans people are accepted into the spaces associated with their gender identity, you’ve removed the gender identity from those spaces altogether.

    It creates a situation where everyone is treated precisely the same way. No one has to accidentally see anything they don’t want to see, no one has any excuse for interrogating another person about the configuration of their genitals.

    This horse is well-and-truly dead. Just leave the poor bloody thing lie.

  134. says

    @asoricaho

    despite the headline/url, which included “doctors-insist-canadian-14-year-old-needs-no-parent-consent-trans-hormone-injections/”, what in fact occurred was that the 14 year old had parental consent. A non-custodial parent objected to the custodial parent independently granting consent for medical treatment without consulting the non-custodial parent.

    I suppose, stretched far enough, this does justify the exact wording of your dependent clause that kids can access treatment “over parental objections” … but only in the case where a non-involved, non-custodial parent objects to treatment given with the full cooperation and consent of the responsible, custodial parent. However, the distortion required to make this tiny portion of your statement true renders the statement in its entirely still false. Remember the statement was this:

    There is also the belief that gross manipulation of the body to alter its sex is routine and relatively easy, and that prepubescent children should be free to decide for themselves to have such manipulation done, even over the objection of their parents.

    The child did not “decide for themselves”. The child and custodial parent and multiple parents decided in collaboration, with the custodial parent having full legal authority to withhold or grant consent. She chose to grant it. The legal precedent does nothing to enable or expand the ability of children to grant consent for medical treatment “for themselves”.

    The courts ruled, essentially, that the validity of parental consent for treatment does not differ with the underlying diagnosis. If the parent is entitled to give valid parental consent for cancer treatment, the parent is entitled to give valid parental consent for trans*-related health care.

    That’s it.

    Oops! Your own evidence refutes you again!

    But feel free to try to tell me the state of British Columbian law. That could be an amusing display of your ignorance.

    For those who still care about the score, we’re at:
    abbeycadabra: 3
    asoricaho: -1

  135. vucodlak says

    @ DavidinOz, #132

    Too hard to answer?

    You actually expected someone to address your asinine bit of whataboutism? What, you think we’ve forgotten the last time we played this game with you?

    I certainly haven’t. Any time someone answers your stupid questions you, ignoring the answers you’ve already received, serve up another trencher of disingenuous JAQing-off.

    Here’s one last question for you: why don’t you go play in a nettle patch?

  136. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I wasn’t speaking to the level of testosterone alone, but to how much transitioning from MtF affects muscle mass, and whether or not that offsets the advantage men have over women in that regard.

    You ignorant motherfucker. Muscle mass isn’t a thing that you just build once and then it remains static for the rest of your life. Why do you think off-season training is a thing that exists???

  137. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    …like, seriously, if you built muscle mass once and then nothing that followed affected it then my back should feel a lot better right now, as should most people’s. WTF?

  138. John Morales says

    DavidinOz:

    Could it be because trans women have been conditioned from birth to believe their masculinity makes them superior, while the trans men have been conditioned to be meek and mild?

    Heh. Oblivious, you.

    Can’t fathom how it’s the masculinity of transmen and the femininity of transwomen that motivates them to transition, can you?

    But fine, you imagine (because to do otherwise would be too dissonant?) it’s an exception to their rejection (or overcoming, more properly) of their birth-assigned gender conditioning. Which they obviously have done.

    (Can’t really call you dishonest if you’re lying to yourself, I guess)

  139. says

    @DavidInOz:

    Why is it we only ever see men insisting they’re women and entitled to everything women are entitled to, but we rarely, if ever, see women making the same claims to men’s spaces? Where are the trans men insisting they be permitted to compete in men’s sports?

    A combination of general obliviousness, sexist dismissal of the possibility that a trans man could be a competitive threat (leading to more jurisdictions treating this as “no big deal”), a history of non-trans women playing in men’s sports in some areas, thus setting a precedent that makes trans* men’s participation even less remarkable, and confirmation bias.

    you could try to protest that you’re not generally oblivious, except that Lochaber brought up one case of just this in #53 of this thread. To wit:

    There was some bit in the news recently where a trans man was in competitive wrestling, but was forced to wrestle in the women’s events, because some birth certificate nonsense.

    I don’t follow athletics at all, but I remember the story as being from Texas. With that, I decided to go ogle and found this and this.

    Please note that the Phyllabuster, Phyllis Randolph Frye, is a legendary MtF trans* lawyer from Texas who has been practicing there for decades and has consistently fought evenhandedly for accommodation of FtM athletes like Mack as fiercely as for MtF athletes in the state.

    The fact that you don’t know this has been a consistent position over decades and that non-trans* people have been fighting to prevent FtM folks from participating in men’s sports for decades only proves your ignorance, not a bias in trans* activism or advocacy.

    Perhaps you might consider avoiding explicitly relying on well known fallacies in the future. That might even be enough make you sound vaguely reasonable at first glance. To some people anyway.

  140. Grace says

    asoricaho:

    There is also the belief that gross manipulation of the body to alter its sex is routine and relatively easy, and that prepubescent children should be free to decide for themselves to have such manipulation done, even over the objection of their parents.

    Bullshit. Cite one example of someone who has expressed any of those beliefs.

    Grace

  141. DavidinOz says

    vucodlak, it isn’t “whataboutism”, they are both genuine cases of an individual making a claim to an identity. Why must one be accepted without question, when the other can be dismissed as fantasy?

    If today I identify as a woman, dress as a woman, act like a woman, I will be accepted as a woman. If, however, I claim to be aboriginal, there are a number of tests that I must meet in order for my claim of aboriginality to be accepted.

    Government agencies and community organisations usually accept three ‘working criteria’ as confirmation of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage:

    being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
    identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
    being accepted as such by the community in which you live, or formerly lived.
    All of these things must apply.

    The way you look or how you live are not requirements.

    https://aiatsis.gov.au/research/finding-your-family/before-you-start/proof-aboriginality

    There are a number of claimants who have failed only on the third criteria, notwithstanding their skin colour and physical appearance.

    Perhaps you’d like to challenge that?

  142. Hj Hornbeck says

    DavidInOz @132:

    Too hard to answer?

    I don’t know who those people are. If you read through the thread, you’ll see my primary sources were the IOC, the NCAA, and a medical physicist who studies athletes. You might want to focus on those sources, rather than some straw ones you invented out of thin air.

  143. Hj Hornbeck says

    asoricaho @125:

    Locker rooms don’t have stalls. People shower, then emerge naked to dress, sometimes wearing towels and sometimes not. Everyone can see everyone else.

    Then your problem isn’t with transgender people, but architects who never took into account your phobia. I’d be A-OK with agitating for individual shower stalls, so that you can shower in peace. Excluding transgender people from those spaces makes no more sense that exterminating all spiders because some people find them icky.

  144. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    you could try to protest that you’re not generally oblivious

    To be fair, he can’t be more than “general”ly oblivious, insofar as it’s an established principle in the US that no one can outrank George Washington.

  145. says

    @DavidInOz:

    The situations are not comparable. I’m not familiar with Australian law on the topic, but you’re talking about qualification for government benefits that would be useful to anyone, but are only available to specific persons – almost certainly (though again, I don’t know the exact Australian legal context) – as partial fulfillment of treaty obligations.

    Australia doesn’t generally permit the offer or provision of benefits which might be of general benefit to persons of only one specific gender or sex. The Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 prevents government educational institutions from discriminating on the basis of sex or gender identity (see Education §21). This is qualified by the act’s Exemptions (see § 42) which permit discrimination within a sport for anyone age 12 or over. However, because of § 21 an institution must provide equal sports opportunity for players of all genders & sexes. This means that while within a sport discrimination is tolerated, between sports there must be a non-discriminatory equality of opportunity at universities and secondary schools.

    Ultimately, then, the school doesn’t save money by excluding a trans* person from a particular sport since they have to provide an equal opportunity to play. For many if not most sports, the school will spend identical amounts of money whether a trans* player plays on a team targeted to girls or targeted to boys. In this arena, there is no benefit to the government or society in enforcing a distinction that cuts through the body of a trans* athlete.

    However, the government has an absolute duty both to spend money to fulfill obligations to aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities and also to ensure that the money set aside to fulfill those obligations is not spent on persons that are not covered by the treaty (or similar) legal obligations. In that case, as damaging as it may be to override someone’s will or to have some white person sit in judgement of whether that person is “aboriginal enough”, the legal duty to determine the requirements of treaty obligations effectively requires a subsidiary duty to determine which persons have access to treaty-determined funds.

    I find the process noxious, but the lack of effective treaty enforcement is even more odious. I imagine that Australia, like Canada, has been through and continues to go through extensive discussions about the contours of national treaty obligations, individuals’ qualifications for benefits, how this interacts with principals of non-discrimination, and, finally, the proven need for some dependable criteria which will allow communities to prove breach of obligation where it occurs. The racist, rapacious, and routine violations of treaty obligations by colonial powers and their daughter colonial nations absolutely require measures which we would not abide, and do not abide, in other contexts.

    In short, the situations are not analogous, and please do not use the situations and experiences of colonized peoples for the purpose of your arguments against trans persons. It’s clear you don’t understand them well enough to use them respectfully.

  146. DavidinOz says

    Hj Hornbeck
    4 March 2019 at 11:32 pm

    DavidInOz @132:

    Too hard to answer?

    I don’t know who those people are.

    And in the arrogance of ignorance so typical in the uStates a 30 second google search is too hard?

    One is a man who claims to be a woman, the other is a caucasian who claims to be African-American. The first is automatically believed, the second has been pilloried, yet both cases have the exact same source – feelings.

    How can one be accepted and the other not?

  147. Silentbob says

    @ 105 DavidinOz

    Why must we accept the claims of, say, Rachel McKinnon and not Nkechi Amare Diallo? Both are based on identity and feelings, not biology.

    This is like the transphobic meme that will never die. I’m a cis guy and I must have already debunked this idiocy a dozen times. For those who don’t know, he’s referring to Rachel fucking Dolezal, and the old Fox News meme, “If Caitlyn Jenner can be a woman, why can’t Rachel Dolezal be black?”. It belongs in the same basket as, “If two men can marry, why can’t a man marry his dog, or his toaster?”.

    I can’t be fucked rebutting this in long form again; here’s a brief synopsis:

    Humans don’t differentiate in the womb into “black” and “white” so your analogy is stupid.
    Humans don’t have “race hormone” receptors that respond to “race hormones” to turn them “black” or “white” so your analogy is still stupid.
    Transgender people are at least 0.6% of the population and seem to be present naturally in all cultures throughout history as far as we can tell. “Trans-racial” consists of one con-woman who got caught trying to pass herself off as black as a career move, including trying to claim an unrelated black man as her father, and a black adopted sibling as her son. So your analogy continues to suck.
    Actual black people find your analogy offensive, so it sucks as much as we need it to suck before we tell it to fuck off and not come back.

    Anyway, let me take a different tack and ask: Why are you cherry-picking such a bizarre analogy? Why not a more obvious one?

    If a gay person experiences attraction to the same gender, should we determine their orientation by their “identity and feelings”, or “biology”? Isn’t who they are more important than conforming to some supposed biological norm?

    If a child calls their adopted parents Mom and Dad, should we judge who the child sees as their parents by “identity and feelings”, or “biology”? Isn’t who they love more important than who donated DNA?

    So why should people who are happier and healthier living as a different gender be forced to conform to someone else’s rules for their “biology”, rather than being true to their “identity and feelings”? It’s their life, after all.

  148. DavidinOz says

    Crip Dyke, as soon as you use the word “treaty” in relation to Australia’s relationship with indigenous people, you lose. You may have heard Yothu Yindi sing about one, but we have no treaty.

    In that case, as damaging as it may be to override someone’s will or to have some white person sit in judgement of whether that person is “aboriginal enough”, is so far out of the ballpark as to be hilarious. The decision is not made “by a white person sitting in judgement”, it is made by aborigines.

    And I do see it is analogous, aborigines get to decide who is aboriginal, women get to decide who is a woman. What is wrong with that?

  149. says

    @DavidInOz:

    as soon as you use the word “treaty” in relation to Australia’s relationship with indigenous people, you lose. … The decision is not made “by a white person sitting in judgement”, it is made by aborigines.

    What I said:

    I’m not familiar with Australian law on the topic, but you’re talking about qualification for government benefits that would be useful to anyone, but are only available to specific persons – almost certainly (though again, I don’t know the exact Australian legal context) – as partial fulfillment of treaty obligations.

    …to ensure that the money set aside to fulfill those obligations is not spent on persons that are not covered by the treaty (or similar) legal obligations.

    I’m abundantly aware I don’t know the specific legal foundation for the claims, thus how I phrased it above. I probably shouldn’t have said “almost certainly”, but whether I stressed that or not, I was plainly stating that I was, in fact, less than certain and that I was unfamiliar with the Australian law specifying federal obligations to aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders. The requirements are, nonetheless, written into law and, indeed, it is to the white-dominated courts that administrative actions are sent for legal review. Australia had not one single Aboriginal judge until the mid-1990s, and IIUC they still have not had a single Aboriginal or Torres Island Straight justice on the High Court of Australia – and they have certainly never had an aboriginal majority of High Court Justices.

    So, yes. When administrative actions come in for review, there is a 95% chance that the sitting judge will not be aboriginal and possibly even a 95% chance that the judge will be white (I was not at all certain of the exact intent of the 95% figure I read), and that chance only goes up – all the way to 100% at the High Court for the vast majority of the history of Australia and probably even today – the farther up the system a decision is appealed.

    I’m fully aware that local communities of color play a role in the initial determination of criterion 3. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about accountability and decision making through the courts, which are not controlled by communities of color and are absolutely white-dominated in Australia.

    Sorry, I’m perfectly happy to admit where my knowledge is uncertain (such as exactly where the economic requirements of federal provision of benefits are written into Australian law), and I’m perfectly correct that white people sit in judgement of these decisions.

    And even if I had assumed knowledge I don’t have about treaty status rather than tentatively putting forward the word “treaty”, that still would do nothing to contradict the fact that the situations were, and remain, non-analogous.

    And I do see it is analogous, aborigines get to decide who is aboriginal, women get to decide who is a woman. What is wrong with that?

    There is plenty wrong with both situations. I had earlier said that the first case is “noxious”, if you hadn’t noticed. However, in one case the government is forced to make determinations of aboriginal status for purposes of fulfilling legal obligations. Focussing the 3 criteria on individual experience and the community’s sense of acceptance of that person makes it minimally noxious, but still undesirable. Without moral and legal obligations to aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders there would be – to my mind – entirely insufficient positive reason to overcome the negative consequences of establishing such a legal regime.

    For “women determining who is a woman” there are no such compensatory reasons, yet there are equally strong reasons to avoid it. Further, “women deciding who is a woman” does not place things on the analogous level of local communities. Your phrasing gives equal weight to a woman in Perth, a woman in Canberra, and a woman in Queenstown to determine the ability of a trans* woman in Darwin to use a local restroom.

    However, even if you made it community specific – which your hypothetical decidedly did not – other objections would remain. Most importantly, there would be no way to enforce such a ban on the use of certain public restrooms on the basis of sex or gender without panty checks. Imagine the power this gives to harassers who insist that they must check for the presence of a vagina or penis. Who in the community would be empowered to require another person’s genitals be revealed? To whom would the reveal be necessary?

    Frankly the proposal is – or should be – sickening to anyone who has spent the briefest moment thinking through the implications. It becomes somewhat less outrageously, hideously awful in relation to sport only to the extent that there would likely be fewer forced genital inspections. In other words, the damage would be different only in frequency, not in magnitude or kind.

    And all this is evident in the first second of contemplation. Thinking it through for a moment more, it becomes obvious that inevitably some of those subject to forced genital inspections will be survivors of sexual assault. Some of those will have active symptoms of PTSD. And yet you propose such a system? How fucking dare you. The indifference you show to your fellow human beings is grotesque.

    Having dispensed with that nauseating task, now: are you willing to concede that your ignorance of situations where FtM folk wish to be accepted in men’s institutions and are denied was erroneous and necessarily based on bullshit? Because as often as you get proved wrong in this thread, I never see you actually admit error. That might be a useful thing to do if you wish to be taken as an honest conversation partner.

  150. asoricaho says

    @Khantron, the alien that only loves #142
    Here’s one: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/11/transgender-prisoner-who-sexually-assaulted-inmates-jailed-for-life

    In any case, your argument makes no sense. Non-harassing and non-assaulting cis men are also not allowed in women’s locker rooms and bathrooms, whether clothed or nude. That’s because (cis?) women typically do not want people with penises looking at them while they’re nude, and they don’t want to have discussions with people with penises about why those penises are special and don’t disqualify them from being in the room. The “solution” of forbidding places of public accommodation from providing spaces where cis women can be nude together without people with penises present is not going to endear trans activists to those women.

  151. says

    @asoricaho:

    Do you even know what law is being interpreted? You certainly don’t know the conditions required and you have no idea of the case law surrounding trans* kids in BC, but if you even knew the statute in question you would know that

    minor understands and wants treatment

    is a misstatement of the law’s conditions. Also, fuck you for even linking that letter with the identifying information of the child in question.

  152. asoricaho says

    @vucodlak #150
    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve been to a few gyms, and the locker rooms (at least the men’s) are open areas with (duh) lockers, individual curtained shower stalls, doored toilet stalls, and urinals. No one is “forced” to strip in front of anyone else, but typically people wander around in towels or nude as they’re changing or drying off from showers. Some facilities also include rooms for groups of people to steam or sauna bathe. You seem to be thinking only of school PE classes, for reasons I can’t understand.

  153. asoricaho says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden #169
    The letter contains only the child’s new (male) first name, and the letter was publicized by the child’s father. But sure, go ahead and curse at me if it makes you feel better.

  154. Holms says

    #37 anat
    No it isn’t. Sex segregation in sports is specifically to give representation to the female sex, which is still the basis of the word ‘woman.’

    #38 HJ
    BWAHAHAHAHA, you picked the perfect time to show up! Innit weird that you only seem to show up when transgender people are mentioned-

    What makes you think I don’t comment in other threads?

    -and show no sign you’ve listened to the evidence presented to you in previous rounds?

    There was precious little good evidence presented in the previous threads.

    #39 abbey
    Why is it that Holms’s outright, unvarnished bigotry…

    In which saying factual things like noting that women’s leagues are based on sex rather than identity, or “But your biology was whatever it was irrespective of your identity” are considered bigotry.

    #41 a_ray
    Holms, Mark identified the advantage as lying with trans women, not me.

    Yes, which you then interpreted as “…any trans woman will be able to beat any cis woman in any sport any time?” Hence, me pointing out that your interpretation was unique, to put it lightly, and non-evident.

    #42 Crip
    Yes.
    In athletics, being female is neither advantageous nor disadvantageous. However, in some sports being large-framed or tall-framed or having large muscle-mass is advantageous. Female persons are statistically less likely to be so, so in those particular sports fewer female competitors will being represented among the elite.

    …Which is why sex segregation exists in those sports where the male body has a statistical advantage, and is superfluous where there is no disparity.

    #44 Hj
    I’m seconding this. Holms may be an old-timer, but under Ophelia Benson’s influence he’s turned into a garden-variety bigot with nothing valuable to contribute.

    Say what? A far greater influence on me is my aversion for the illogical silliness on display by many commenters here, going back to before I even knew she existed.

    #45 Grace
    Since the results are in, and post-HRT trans women demonstrably have no advantage…

    Oh, neat. Perhaps you’ll be the one to answer the question I posed in post #35:
    “However, set that aside for a moment. How do you explain Natalie [van Gogh] sweeping the field, despite being 44 in a field with an average age of ~25? If there is no advantage to developing as a male, what edge does Natalie have that she can do what not even Lance Armstrong could do without doping?”

    #46 Giliell
    Ahhh, I see Holms is taking classes from Sargon. But biology!!!!
    You are correct. Biology exists. Bodies exist. [a bunch of unrelated stuff]

    I’m glad we agree on this much! Now please join me in telling #10 anna that a person cannot ‘identify as’ not having certain biology, which is what I was replying to.

    #50 Hj
    Yeesh, you transphobes need to get your stories straight. Does personal experience count, or does it not?

    I’m not certain whether you noticed this or not, but starfleetdude and I are not the same person and have no control over the others’ posts. I don’t think anna’s tale of going from strong to weak is useful at all, I don’t know what starleetdude thinks of it.

    #52 a_ray
    Starfleetdude,
    Because Renée Richards utterly dominated women’s tennis for over a decade…oh…wait…

    If you look up Richards’ tennis record, you can directly compare her placings in US Opens (the only grand slam she played in) before and after her transition. While competing against men, Richards was never seeded and never got past the second round. Richards then transitioned in ’75, and entered the women’s US Open in ’77. Note that this was a full 17 years after her last US Open in the men’s, and she was 43.

    Firstly, do you have any idea how old that is in the tennis world? Players are considered to peak in their late twenties. Richards was aged 19 to 26 for the men’s US Open attempts, and 43 to 47 for the women’s. Do you think that maybe her age played a role in her lack of dominance?

    Secondly, she was actually much more successful competing against women than against men. In particular, in her first year playing against women she became a grand slam finalist. This happens to be five elimination rounds better than her best against men… and again, she was 43. In her second year she reached the third round, which is an undeniable slump yet is still better than anything attained against men. Third year, not only did she reach the semi-final, but for the first time ever she entered a tournament in a seeded position. You know, that thing reserved for the top quarter of the tournament entrants, and something never attained as a man.

    Richards was 45 for this tournament.

    Finally, for her fourth and fifth years competing against women, she reached the third round both times which is, say it with me, better than anything attained while competing against men. At age 46 and 47.

    Pray tell, where did her sudden surge in rankings come from if being born male has nothing to do with it?

  155. says

    despite the headline/url, which included “doctors-insist-canadian-14-year-old-needs-no-parent-consent-trans-hormone-injections/”, what in fact occurred was that the 14 year old had parental consent. A non-custodial parent objected to the custodial parent independently granting consent for medical treatment without consulting the non-custodial parent.

    This is a side note, but in joint custody cases, which are the majority nowadays, it’s a common pattern of abuse for the parent with whom the child does not live (and in 19 out of 20 such cases that parent is the father) to withhold consent for things relating to the kid. I often have that problem in special ed, where fathers refuse their signature on applications that would get their child more help and resources. My friend works at the youth office and recently had a crying woman where the father refused to sign the papers to register the kid at primary school, which isn’t a school you can choose anyway. But the mother with whom the child lives has the responsibility to send the kid to school and would be fined…

    Holms

    I’m glad we agree on this much! Now please join me in telling #10 anna that a person cannot ‘identify as’ not having certain biology, which is what I was replying to.

    Of course anna did no such thing. She said she was never male, not that she wans’t assigned male at birth or never had a penis. That’s the crux of it. You are the one who insists that “born with a penis” has always and must always equal male (just don’t tell an electrician). Again, you’re being at the level of Sargon, unable to separate language from biology, social conventions from bodies.

  156. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Regarding Richards’s better record on the women’s circuit than the men’s, I am not familiar with any record of her testosterone levels. Are you? It may have been that her testosterone levels remained higher than the cis women against which she was matched.

    Or it may have been that having competed on the men’s circuit, she benefitted from the better coaching, facilities, etc. It has long been established that women athletes are much more poorly resourced than their male counterparts–hence Title IX. When you reduce a complex phenomenon to a single factor, you inevitably come up with risible conclusions. Not that I mind. We have a serious lack of chew toys these days.

  157. says

    Renee Richards one final was in doubles with a female partner. Her success could also have been due to a good draw or to a good partner. There are frequently one off final results for players that are never repeated.

    If you look at her singles results they are remarkable similar between her playing in the men’s and playing as a women.
    Men’s Singles: 3 first round loses, 2 second round losses
    Women’s Singles: 3 first round losses, 1 second round loss, 1 third round loss

    As for age, a number of players have had success into their 40’s particularly in the past. I can name Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova off the top of my head.

  158. specialffrog says

    Claiming to be “trans-racial” is also only something that white people can do (and to head off a counter argument, it is not the same as “passing for white”).

  159. says

    I should also note that doubles specialist have a different skill set than singles players. Power is much less important to success then in singles. All of Renee Richards top results were in doubles. This also accounts for mixed doubles where men and women compete together.
    This incidentally backs up claims above that if we design competitions that don’t require pure strength then women will compete relatively equally.

  160. connorhicks says

    It seems this sports issue is getting a lot of publicity now. Why is this getting discussed so much? It seemed to be about bathrooms for a while, and then the self-ID thing, and now it’s the sports. It seems most people were supportive up until the sports issue, looking on twitter or elsewhere there’s very few people that seem to agree with the majority on here. On twitter it seems the vast majority of people think this is wrong, and they are being supported by more and more professional or ex professional sportswomen.

    Can I just clarify, so are the people who are supportive of trans women competing against cis women assuming that the trans women has had surgery and is on hormones etc? Is that the only way you can support it? And is this in all sports? Even combat sports?

    Are you therefore saying that surgery and hormones negates all advantages that a man would have over a women? I don’t see how that is the case? Height, strength, endurance, limb length, organ size (heart, lungs), hand/feet size, bone density etc etc? All the reasons that sports are segregated based on sex. What about things like pelvis that is completely different for male and female bodies? I’ve looked at some of the papers posted here and none of them appear to say anything like that. This becomes even more of a concern in combat sports. A couple of people have said well what about a cis woman that’s really tall how is that different? Well its different because she’s a cis woman and it’s a natural advantage. A trans women reducing her testosterone while retaining some of her increased height and limb length etc has an unfair advantage over a cis women. Surely? I don’t see how pointing that out is transphobic? There was a ufc fighter who was a trans women and it was uncomfortable to watch, I don’t think she even told anyone until it was discovered and after she’d battered three woman, she also broke a womans skull.

    I also don’t take the argument that because trans women aren’t winning all the medals there can’t be an advantage, that argument doesn’t really hold water when we’re only talking about 1-2% of the population, certainly seems to be happening more regularly though. Also there’s been mention of weight classes etc being used to equal the playing field, not sure that’s the case but there’s no weight classes in team sports, as the photos on twitter illustrate.

  161. says

    connorhicks

    It seems this sports issue is getting a lot of publicity now. Why is this getting discussed so much? It seemed to be about bathrooms for a while, and then the self-ID thing, and now it’s the sports.

    I notice a pattern. Maybe it’s not so much that there are real issues with trans women (hardly ever seems to be about trans men) in those areas but a dedicated hate group constantly whipping up controversies in their attempts to deny trans women their human rights.
    As for the rest of your questions, I kindly suggest you read the thread. They have been answered already.

  162. says

    Any thread about trans-gender issues seems guaranteed to smoke out the closet bigots, who then abruptly begin typing furiously. If you’re one of those people, please learn to prioritize the rights of other human beings, and try not to find motivation in denying agency to others.

    DavidinOz, Asoricaho, Holms: goodbye. I’m sure you can find other places that don’t have expectations of civil decency towards human sexual diversity. Not here.

  163. lumipuna says

    On my part, I’m only concerned about the proposed inclusion of trans women in women’s dick jousting competitions…

  164. Grace says

    Holms @172:

    Oh, neat. Perhaps you’ll be the one to answer the question I posed in post #35:
    “However, set that aside for a moment. How do you explain Natalie [van Gogh] sweeping the field, despite being 44 in a field with an average age of ~25? If there is no advantage to developing as a male, what edge does Natalie have that she can do what not even Lance Armstrong could do without doping?”

    Well, it’s already been answered, in #35, by Hj Hornbeck. But since you asked me directly:

    I’d only barely heard of her, so I looked her up.

    https://www.procyclingstats.com/rider/natalie-van-gogh/

    I had to go back to 2015 to find any outright wins. Looks like she had a good year; there were two. Out of THIRTY-EIGHT events. Looks like the other women were doing fine, in those events, beating Van Gogh most of the time, and often quite handily. That was her best year, and sorting through her other placings, just looking for times when she placed below 50th, sometimes she came in 73rd, 53rd (twice), and 98th.

    In all of the other years, she had no first-place wins. In 2008, apparently the first time she competed after genital surgery in 2005, when surely any residual advantage she had from earlier in life would have been strongest, the highest she placed was 11th.

    So, by “sweep the field”, did you mean “won a couple of times”? Because no trans-accepting person here has said that trans women can never win; we have said that there is no competitive advantage, which means that sometimes, if we work hard enough and we’re good enough, we win, just like other top women athletes. The main difference is that we will then face the assertion, every time, that we won not because we did the work but because we have an unfair advantage.

    “No advantage” does not mean “will never win”; that’s not how statistics work. It means “will win no more often than you would expect from all of the other variables”. Which seems to be how it’s working out.

    And now, apparently, she has won an event in 2019.

    Looks to me like you cherry-picked your data.

    Grace

  165. connorhicks says

    Giliell,

    I have read the thread, I have assumed that we are discussing post surgery and hormones, but the only advantages that are discussed is testosterone. A couple of other people have also asked for some evidence that a MTF transition equals the playing field with regards height and strength etc but none has been posted. Apologies if I’ve missed a paper being posted but I don’t think so?

    I also read Hj Hornbecks blog post but that also fails to provide any evidence and is instead a series of anecdotes that compares Semenya to a trans women (despite no evidence and the results of her test not being released) and then states that it doesn’t matter if trans women are bigger and stronger than cis women because gender dysphoria exists, which is completely irrelevant to whether it is fair.

    I really can’t see how all of the advantages can be removed by surgery and hormones? There is too big a difference between an athletic man compared with an athletic woman. I’ve had a look online and I can’t see anything regarding MTF transition that reduces size of heart or lungs etc for example, never mind height and limb length. From what I’ve read weight can change but can go up or down, similarly the bone density in MTF trans women is less than that of cis men but still higher than cis women. Again, apologies if I’ve missed a paper or some other evidence there’s nearly 200 posts but I have read through it.

  166. anat says

    To cornhicks @178:

    Can I just clarify, so are the people who are supportive of trans women competing against cis women assuming that the trans women has had surgery and is on hormones etc? Is that the only way you can support it? And is this in all sports? Even combat sports?

    Only hormonal treatment is assumed. No surgery required. (Do you really think we need to require breasts or vaginas for sports?) The review paper I linked above and am linking here again for you says other physical differences were examined and not thought to have significant impact on achievement in sports at competitive levels once testosterone levels are within typical female range.

    A couple of people have said well what about a cis woman that’s really tall how is that different? Well its different because she’s a cis woman and it’s a natural advantage.

    Then it is also a natural advantage for a trans woman. It is her natural body, the way it grew under the hormonal regime her body created.

    The facts (quoted by others in this thread) are that despite transgender women competing in women’s sports for years their performance is ‘normal’ – they win some and lose some. They don’t form some elite group that stands out beyond other women. They perform within the range of cisgender women with that level of training. You don’t seem to take that kind of evidence for some reason. So think – what kind of performance in sports events would you accept as evidence that transgender women do not have advantages once their hormone levels have been within those of cisgender women for a while? If no evidence can convince you of that then perhaps your position is not evidence-based?

  167. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I suspect that the sports issue is being brought up because the bathroom issue makes the special pleader look like too much of a perv (thank you Louie Gohmert). It allows the bigot to withhold recognition of trans women as women and claim to be doing it in the name of fairness. “Nothing personal, but…fairness!” And who can be against fairness. Why, it’s like being against Freeze Peach!

    And if the only cost is repeatedly ignoring actual scientific data,… well, that’s a small price to pay to inoculate yourself against accusations of bigotry.

  168. Onamission5 says

    @ardis:
    I join your suspicions, with an addition of “if we can keep women fighting for a sense of identity, place, and purpose amongst themselves, they will be less of a challenge to patriarchy than if they join together in sorority,” as, for example, in the OP.

  169. chrislawson says

    This thread is already too long and too derailed and PZ has already banned the most obnoxious phobes (thank you PZ!)…but one matter that has been gnawing away:

    Gillick competence is the key term for the capacity of minors to make their own medical decisions. It comes from a hugely important case in the UK where a conservative Catholic activist sued the regional health authority for advising doctors that they could prescribe oral contraceptives to people under the age of 16. Without going through all the arguments, in 1985 the final resolution in the House of Lords was that minors can consent to medical treatments against parental wishes (and without the parents being informed) if they are able to understand the consequences of the decision.

    Even though this was a British case, it has been adopted as a legal precedent in Canada, Australia and NZ due to the similarities and common origin of our common law systems. It is, of course, more complex than the very simplified story I’ve given above, but that’s the gist of it.

    Now, in reference to this thread, asoricaho has misrepresented this. The linked letter is quoted as saying “When the two conditions referred to above are met [minor understands and wants the treatment], the right to consent to treatment belongs to the child alone.” Note asoricaho’s contraction there. This is absolutely NOT what the letter said.

    What the letter actually says is “…in British Columbia, a minor like [name redacted] may give an effective consent to health care if his provider, first, is satisfied that he understands the nature, consequences, benefits, and risks of the proposed treatment, and second, concludes that the treatment is in his best interests.” It then goes on to discuss the relevant laws and even attaches a copy of the relevant section of the relevant Act.

    Even if summarised succinctly this is not “[minor understands and wants treatment]” but “[minor understands and health care providers conclude treatment is in best interests]”.

    Now, having established that asoricaho can’t even be trusted to quote a letter accurately, we get to the nub of what galls me about the overall argument.

    asoricaho argued that it is a BAD thing that trans minors can seek medical and surgical intervention against their parents’ wishes–even though this is a standard medicolegal principle throughout much of the Commonwealth. I would like to point out that this means asoricaho is arguing that trans minors should have fewer health rights than other minors.

    (Finally I’d like to back up Crip Dyke that asoricaho ought to be ashamed of linking to that letter with the child’s first name still legible; the defence that it is a “public document” is complete horseshit. This letter was a private letter from the hospital endocrinologists to the parents that was handed over to a scummy right-wing rag in hope of derailing their son’s treatment. You want to know how much the parents care about their son? Observe that the parents’ names were redacted from the letter but not the child’s.)

  170. says

    PZ @180:

    Thank you. And not in a juvenile ‘ha ha they’re gone’ kind of way, but with a deep, heartfelt I feel a lot safer around here because you said that.

  171. says

    @ChrisLawson:

    Before asoricaho was banned I had left the details of the law blank to see if asoricaho really even knew the law in question at all beyond what was available in the letter. After the banning, though, it’s perfectly appropriate to describe the state of the law, so thanks for that.

    I’d further point out that the law in question is the Infants Act § 17, which does indeed read as you stated. To wit:

    (3) A request for or consent, agreement or acquiescence to health care by an infant does not constitute consent to the health care for the purposes of subsection (2) unless the health care provider providing the health care
    (a) has explained to the infant and has been satisfied that the infant understands the nature and consequences and the reasonably foreseeable benefits and risks of the health care, and
    (b) has made reasonable efforts to determine and has concluded that the health care is in the infant’s best interests.

    An “infant” here simply means someone who has not yet reached the age of legal contract or consent and who has not been emancipated by the court. It does not mean someone less than 12 months old or something similar.

    While this law may very well have arisen as a result of the Gillick case1, the specifics of this statute would overrule prior case law in most cases (I won’t geek out on the exceptions). Please note that this law requires a finding that the medical treatment be in the child’s best interest. While determining this might be a trivial exercise in the case of providing a child a vaccine or some ibuprofen, or in the case where treatment is urgent and parents are unavailable (which would also be covered under another law regulating emergency health care anyway) not only are neither of those true in situations of trans related health care, but the standards of care for adolescents receiving trans* related treatments come very close to requiring parental consent through various means, including such things as social transition before hormonal transition which would be difficult or impossible to achieve without the consent of the custodial parent.

    The full court decision has not been officially released, and I won’t read the documents the father made public that should never have come to light, so if the full decision is available I wouldn’t know. That means I can only speculate on exactly how and why the court came to the decision to determine this child competent to consent in this case. Thinking about it from the judge’s perspective (however incompetent I might be to sit as a judge), the custody agreement between the parents might have created legal difficulties for the child and mother moving forward even if medical providers were protected from legal action by the mother’s prior consent. Making a formal determination of the child’s consent in this case would de facto nullify any stipulations in a custody agreement that one parent would consult with the other on issues of long term medical care before consenting or continuing to consent to that care on the child’s behalf. The child is a beneficial third party to that custody agreement, not a contracting party. As such, the child isn’t bound: the parents are. Finding competence for this 14 year old, then, might have been a strategy by the court to prevent difficulties with the custody agreement going forward. The father, in publicizing aspects of the case, was clearly being an asshat, and though I’m willing to stipulate that not everyone would find it so, I find his behavior clearly abusive. A judge may have thought something similar, and placing capacity to consent with the child would mean that medical providers would no longer be required to communicate with the father. Why is this important? Well, the document that asoricaho linked to was a private letter from a medical provider to the father that the father made public. If it’s not in the child’s best interest to have his medical history spread all over the fucking internet – and it’s not – then vesting capacity consent in the child also accomplishes medical privacy and negates the problem of a known asshat having access to the child’s medical history.

    There are obviously things about this case that are unknown to us, but we do know that one parent provided initial consent to treatment and we know that complicated but important reasons for vesting capacity to consent in the minor child existed in this case. We also know that authority for that determination came from a previously existing law. Right wingers have protested such laws before and will again, but nothing in this case expands the rights of a child to go against treatment.

    There is nothing special about trans-related care that has caused the legal system to further undermine parental rights. Moreover, from what little is known about this case from legitimate sources, there is every reason to believe that the very nature of trans health care (taking special note of social transition practices) will continue to contain a de facto requirement of parental consent for the foreseeable future.

    There may very well be a different case in the future, but this case provides no reason to believe that a child could effectively access trans* related medical care without parental consent. It does, however, provide a reason to believe that after treatment has started, the symptoms and specifics of a given child’s case may be willing to prevent the withdrawal of parental consent by vesting capacity in the child. From what we know, I’m not even convinced that the court would have done this without at least one consenting parent, but it could happen.

    Finally, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between persuasive or influential precedent and controlling precedent. This is not an appeals court case. It does not bind future courts in the way that a BCCA or SCC decision would. It does not establish any new rights – that would take an appeals court case – though it does establish that future courts are more likely to reach this outcome on similar facts than they would have been before this case.

    That’s it.

    Finally, let me just reiterate how foul it is to link to a child’s private medical history. Even if a parent is so abusive and fucked up as to post it on the internet, linking to the document and thus further publicizing it is a truly despicable act. Everyone else banned at PZ’s discretion I won’t miss, but I could understand how at least some reasonable blog proprietors might not ban them. But asoricaho? No. Just fucking no. I am so glad you’re banned and I truly hope you learn a lesson. Based on your #171 which completely minimized the amount of information available in that letter and blew off any concerns of confidentiality, I don’t expect that you have the capacity to learn this lesson any time soon. But maybe. Maybe you’ll find a shred of decency someday.

    =====================================================================
    *1: I don’t know the history of this law (though I know it dates to 1996, 11 years after Gillick), and I assume that ChrisLawson is right about that, so thanks for the history lesson! –

    What’s important to note is that

  172. says

    Also, notice the wonderful “heads I win, tails you lose” argumentation: they want to force trans children through natal puberty as if that were benign and then punish trans women for the bodies they developed.

  173. starfleetdude says

    Testosterone isn’t the only factor when it comes to physical condition though. Just lifting weights does plenty to building muscle strength by itself, and lowering testosterone levels doesn’t negate cis male advantages in height and bone density, neither of which change after a MtF transition. So when someone like say, a Hannah Mouncey, who was 6’2″ and over 220 lbs before transitioning, considering the typical weight for a cis female that height is much less at 176-186 lbs, and there is a significant difference in body mass as well as strength. So while testing for testosterone does compensate somewhat for the difference between male and female athletes, it’s not the only factor to be considered.

  174. Hj Hornbeck says

    starfleetdude @191:

    So while testing for testosterone does compensate somewhat for the difference between male and female athletes, it’s not the only factor to be considered.

    You’ve been on this thread since comment 15. Multiple people, myself included, have posted evidence after that comment which says that altering your hormone level is sufficient to remove any difference in performance.

    Are you even reading what other people are saying, or just hoping that if you repeat something often enough it’ll magically become true?

  175. says

    So when someone like say, a Hannah Mouncey, who was 6’2″ and over 220 lbs before transitioning (deliberately comparing BEFORE transition, deliberately ignoring all the ‘this is what HRT does’ information), considering the typical weight for a cis female that height (not an athlete, we’re comparing to average untrained population here) is much less at 176-186 lbs, and there is a significant difference in body mass as well as strength (citation needed – this is getting tiresome) .

  176. Rowan vet-tech says

    My weight, at 5’6″ and when I was my most fit having tons of muscle in my legs and arms and back, was 150lbs. I’m damned sure that if I was 6’2″ that I’d easily have been 220 if I was fit. So that’s a stupid argument.

  177. says

    @190 Giliell

    It’s one of the biggest tells that all the “concerns” are spurious and the “science” is post-hoc justification. Their only real position is “Stop being trans!”

  178. starfleetdude says

    Hj Hornbeck, I don’t think the science is settled on the matter simply based on testosterone level alone. There’s a lifetime of development that has to be considered given how cis male physical growth is significantly greater than that of cis females. This debate is far from settled with respect to FtM trans athletes.

    Sports stars weigh in on row over transgender athletes

  179. Rowan vet-tech says

    Sports stars… you’re go-to authority on the supposed superiority of trans women in sports is cisgender athletes who feel that there is a fundamental difference.
    In the article itself is this lovely quote though:

    “There is no debate to be had over whether trans women athletes have an unfair advantage: it’s clear that they don’t,” McKinnon wrote. “Since the Nov 2003 IOC policy openly allowing trans women to compete, not a single trans athlete has even qualified for the Olympics, let alone won a medal.”

    Did you even read the fucking thing you linked? There’s tons of “believe” in the article from the transphobes and no science backing it up at all.

  180. Rowan vet-tech says

    I swear that the only way people will be happy having trans women compete is if they always place last. Sometimes they will win, not because of some ‘legacy’ from testosterone (gods the bullshit of that idea) but because they were better than the competitors. And sometimes they will lose, because the competitors were better than them.
    But have a trans woman win even once and now it’s all ‘unfair!’

    Fuck off. Say you’re a bigot and leave.

  181. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Starfleetdude,
    OK, so we have a person whose body is changing drastically as they transition. Did it ever occur to you that that in itself might pose challenges that more than offset any putative benefits or prior morphology, etc. Christ, dude, you seem to have a lot more skin in the game than the average women’s volleyball fan.

  182. Hj Hornbeck says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @174:

    Or it may have been that having competed on the men’s circuit, she benefitted from the better coaching, facilities, etc. It has long been established that women athletes are much more poorly resourced than their male counterparts–hence Title IX.

    Additional datapoint: The best female chess player to date is Judit Polgar, who in her prime was the eighth-best player in the entire world, regardless of gender.

    “I always say that women should have the self-confidence that they are as good as male players, but only if they are willing to work and take it seriously as much as male players,” says Grandmaster Judit Polgar who is regarded by many as the greatest female player in chess history. “If they would have a higher goal, they would also reach higher.”

    Polgar is the only woman to ever beat Garry Kasparov and the only woman to reach the top 10 on the mixed gender list. She could easily be Women’s World Champion, but she never plays in women’s events.

    She retired in 2014. The current best woman is Hou Yifan, who managed to reach 55th-best in 2015. Her relationship with women’s chess is complicated; FIDE, the relevant governing body, has different rules for women’s tournaments than men’s, rules Hou disagrees with. But (emphasis mine):

    If the system could be improved in a reasonable way I think I would not entirely quit women’s chess, at least not right now. But as long as the winner of the World Championship match automatically loses her title, without a match, I unfortunately have no other choice than to stop participating in the cycle. However, thinking positively, this may not be that bad. It would allow me to focus on the top level, on the “men’s” field. I could try to become stronger, to be more efficient, as there would be no obligation to play the women’s tournaments anymore.

    Hou and Polgar are only two of three women to earn a top-100 player spot. Here’s the third, Maya Chiburdanidze.

    For one thing, Maya is not particularly impressed with “women’s” chess. In a recent interview appearing in “New in Chess” she stated, “I am convinced that a time will come when there will be no distinctions made between men’s and women’s chess any longer.”

    The strongest women’s chess players seem to think they get better when playing against men, yet don’t buy into a gender difference. Better coaching and support for men is the most obvious way to explain this.

  183. says

    Okay, say we force MtF trans* women to compete in men’s divisions where there is a sport with separate men’s/women’s competitions.

    Are the MtF athletes at an unfair disadvantage compared to the non-trans* men?

    If yes, and it could hardly be otherwise for those arguing from the viewpoint of StarFleetDude, Holms, and certain others n this thread, then the answer is simple:

    In order to compete in any primary, secondary, or university sports program, all non-trans* boys & men over the age of 10 must submit to voluntary castration or a strict regime of testosterone-blockers (e.g. spironolactone) and testing to make sure that the blockers are being taken and are effective.

    Because the only value in play is sporting fairness, we should all be able to agree on this solution.

  184. Hj Hornbeck says

    starfleetdude @196:

    Hj Hornbeck, I don’t think the science is settled on the matter simply based on testosterone level alone. There’s a lifetime of development that has to be considered given how cis male physical growth is significantly greater than that of cis females.

    Ok, that confirms you haven’t read the thread you’re participating in. Here, let me regurgitate key parts of it for you. My comment, number 32 on the list:

    Having said that, it doesn’t matter if transgender people do perform better, as per my prior blog post.

    lumipuna contributed a Twitter thread immediately after, which I quoted in part:

    2. Quick test: name a transgender Olympian off the top of your head. You can’t, because since the IOC started allowing transgender people to compete in 2004 there hasn’t been one.

    3. The NCAA has allowed transgender people to compete without surgery since 2011, and there has not been a single dominant transgender athlete anywhere in college sports.

    4. These constitute large scale, longitudinal tests of the system with millions of athletes as a sample, and the IOC and NCAA rules for transgender athletes are clearly sufficient to preserve the integrity of sports at this time.

    5. 15+ years and millions of test subjects is bigger, and longer, than any clinical trial of a drug that I can think of. The development and deployment of the F-22A, the world’s most advanced stealth fighter, lasted roughly as long.

    6. The clinical evidence and subject matter opinion aligns with the observed results: removal of testosterone for a year is sufficient to remove competitive advantage. In terms of testing this hypothesis, there is literally no disagreement between various results.

    That’s hard data that’s existed in this thread after you joined. Why didn’t you see it?

  185. Hj Hornbeck says

    Whoops, I forgot to mention anat’s contribution from comment 102. Quoting from the paper:

    This wide, bimodal sex difference in circulating testosterone concentrations and the clear dose-response relationships between circulating testosterone and muscle mass and strength, as well as the hemoglobin level, largely account for the sex differences in athletic performance.

    That’s three studies, one informal. Why are your opinion pieces more credible than this hard evidence?

  186. connorhicks says

    @anat 184

    I did skim through that earlier but have read it on the train home from work.

    I can agree with the intro, after puberty men have typically circulating testosterone concentrations 15 times higher than women. This makes men bigger and stronger etc and so they have a big advantage in sports. No shock there.

    I do not see where it says anything along the lines of:

    other physical differences were examined and not thought to have significant impact on achievement in sports at competitive levels once testosterone levels are within typical female range

    It says the evidence is incomplete but it is likely that the sex difference in circulating testosterone of adults explains most, if not all, the sex differences in sporting performance. OK I can accept that, if its the testosterone that is responsible for being bigger, stronger and better endurance etc. What it doesn’t say anywhere in the paper (or anywhere else as far as I can tell) is that after going through puberty and then transitioning a trans women loses all of the advantages of the 15 times higher levels of testosterone?

    It seems like you’re not actually disagreeing with that though, you classify a boy going through puberty and developing all the male characteristics associated with the androgen testosterone as “her body”. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that part in general (I do classify a trans women as a women), however that still seems unfair to me – even if after taking HRT to transition some of the advantages are reduced.

    As I said in previous post, given we’re only talking about 1-2% of the population that are trans, and an even smaller number of those will transition and then take part in womens competitive sports it really isn’t surprising they are not dominating. That doesn’t mean the average trans women will not have an advantage over the average cis women does it? Slightly unrelated but it seems fairly barbaric that they are going to force cis women with high testosterone to take meds to reduce it, as does forcing Semenya to take a sex test. I can acknowledge it is not a straightforward situation to resolve.

    To answer your last question:

    what kind of performance in sports events would you accept as evidence that transgender women do not have advantages once their hormone levels have been within those of cisgender women

    I can refer you back to the very paper you posted, where in the conclusion it states that some of the differences/advantages are unchanged following transition:

    some of which is fixed and irreversible

    I do not see the relevance of a lot of the comparisons made in the conclusions as it is comparing levels to cis men with prostate cancer, not cis women.

    It also states that as an example, “taller height is advantageous in some sports (basketball, some football codes, combat sports)” so since, for example, trans women are on average taller than cis women they may have that advantage. Which is basically all I was saying in the first place, that there are advantages that aren’t affected by transition. It seems kind of important given cis men are on average around half a foot taller than cis women. It is hard to argue that a trans women athlete has not retained some of the advantages and that is obviously what people are concerned about, including high level female athletes.

  187. says

    @204 connorhicks

    (I do classify a trans women as a women)

    Do you?

    you classify a boy going through puberty and developing all the male characteristics associated with the androgen testosterone as “her body”.

    Oh. No you don’t.

  188. connorhicks says

    @205 abbeycadabra

    The order is important, were you reading it backwards? The reason it is unfair is also included – this thead has contended that testosterone is responsible for the difference in men and womens ability in sports, and the paper we were discussing stated that not all of these advantages (from testosterone) are negated during transition – this is important, especially when this is the main reason for segregating sports.

  189. jefrir says

    starfleetdude,

    So when someone like say, a Hannah Mouncey, who was 6’2″ and over 220 lbs before transitioning, considering the typical weight for a cis female that height is much less at 176-186 lbs, and there is a significant difference in body mass as well as strength.

    Okay, I want you to look at these photos of Olympic athletes: https://www.boredpanda.com/athlete-body-types-comparison-howard-schatz/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
    Notice that
    1. Top-level athletes are often physically unusual in various ways, often due in part to quirks in genetics, and comparisons to a “typical” person aren’t particularly relevant
    2. What sort of unusual body shape or proportions is advantageous varies hugely between disciplines; this isn’t a simple thing of taller automatically being better

  190. says

    Yep, and nobody demands that those damn long legged bastards get banned from running because their damn biology gives them a damn advantage.

  191. lochaber says

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/25/transgender-wrestler-mack-beggs-wins-texas-girls-title

    I mentioned this in #53, but neglected to google it or include a link
    Crip Dyke referenced it and added some info in #156

    If bone density, build, pelvis shape, and whatever other nitpicky details you people are yammering on about matter so much, then why did this trans man repeatedly dominate in his competitive sport? He’s been pushing to compete in the men’s competitions, but been repeatedly denied because whatever regulating authority insists on going by what’s listed on the birth certificate.

    There is so much variance amongst individual humans, in myriad ways including genetics, chromosomal, hormonal, developmental, etc., that it’s just ridiculous to pick out one to five instances, and insist that they alone grant an unfair advantage. And despite all this insistence of unfair advantages, their seems to be very little in the way of evidence to support your claims.

    They haven’t outright said it in this thread (at least recently…), but they’ve certainly been tiptoing around the same argument tranphobes use against letting trans folk use the bathroom of their choice. These people speaking out against letting trans women compete, seem to be worried that cis men will claim to identify as a trans woman for a season or two, ala Bender in Futurama. Like the argument against letting trans people use the bathroom of their choice, it’s absurd, both because it completely ignores trans men, and it’s a bunch of hand-wringing over a non existent problem.

  192. says

    @ 206 connorhicks

    No. Because the order of those opinions is not important. Anyone you consider a boy is by definition not someone you consider a woman and vice versa, regardless of which thing you say first. It’s just the spot where you tipped your hand to the underlying transmisogyny in your purported “concerns”.

  193. says

    Oh no, not again!

    Can we please just boot Holms, starfleetdude, and asoricaho? Nevermind, I see it’s been taken care of!

    I don’t comment a whole lot these days, but I do read the comments. I always end up learning something new — thank you all!

    So, uh, literally EVERY locker room I’ve been in has had a handful of individual showers and changing stalls for those who’d like more privacy. Failing that, there’s the toilet area, which, surprise, has stalls. So there goes that argument. (Plus, there are little boys in the women’s locker rooms and toilets, so it’s obviously not about the dreaded presence of a penis.)

  194. says

    You’d think people would learn from my demonstrated willingness to ban people for their obtuse insistence on arguing bigoted points…but no, they just keep pounding that keyboard.

  195. anat says

    connorhicks @204

    It seems like you’re not actually disagreeing with that though, you classify a boy going through puberty and developing all the male characteristics associated with the androgen testosterone as “her body”. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that part in general (I do classify a trans women as a women), however that still seems unfair to me – even if after taking HRT to transition some of the advantages are reduced.

    As abbeycadabra already said, if someone is a transgender woman then she was a girl growing up, regardless of what she looked like then or how she identified back then. She was a girl who underwent puberty under a naturally-occurring high-testosterone regime, no different from a hypothetical case of a cisgender girl who develops a medical condition resulting in extremely high testosterone levels (and later undergoes treatment for this condition resulting in lowering testosterone levels). Both should be treated the same.

    As others in this thread mentioned, in various sports body shape that deviates from typical can be an advantage – which body shape varies with the sport – some sports deal with that by having different classes for competitors (for instance based on weight), others do not. Perhaps more sports should classify, perhaps fewer should, perhaps other methods of classification should be used. What is important, if you care about fairness, is that the classification be based on a relevant trait and be applied consistently. So if you think height is an issue in certain women’s sports, place all tall women who compete in that sport in a separate class, regardless of etiology of their height.

    As I said in previous post, given we’re only talking about 1-2% of the population that are trans, and an even smaller number of those will transition and then take part in womens competitive sports it really isn’t surprising they are not dominating.

    So maybe it is not a problem after all? How many cisgender women are missing anything they wouldn’t have otherwise? Someone who placed 10th that might have placed 9th is an issue?

  196. says

    What I don’t get is this idea that men are intentionally taking hormones that reduce muscle mass so that they can compete against women in women’s sports, which are immensely less lucrative than men’s sports, where they will face this kind of public ridicule and dismissal of their athletic abilities because they’re just beating a bunch of girls. It’s as if, maybe, they have some other driving motivation in their lives than winning at sports.

  197. Aoife_b says

    My favorite so far (lol) is the argument Bigot: “testosterone increases muscle mass!”
    Response: “yep. Trans women on HRT have their T reduced. Here’s the evidence that testosterone’s effects on muscle tissue IS TEMPORARY”
    Bigot: “Yabbut, testosterone increases muscle mass.”

  198. John Morales says

    PZ, it is a stupid idea — superior but not elite athlete transitions and takes at least a year off so as to compete and win — but as noted above, it’s become the last straw for ‘objective’ objections from true transphobes, even if only with an extremely limited domain of applicability.

    It’s been in the news a fair bit recently, though.

    The narrative is generally couched in terms of “I have no problem with transpeople, other than I think transwomen should not be allowed to compete with ciswomen, because it’s always unfair”. Or: “I have a problem with them”, without the filigree.

    Still, I see it as a big concession. The argument, by its very nature, does not deny the existence of trans people — in fact, it’s predicated upon it. Thing is, it’s only persuasive if one doesn’t think transwomen are women. FWTW.

    (In passing, I’ve noticed CD’s use of ‘trans*’, but I think it’s a bit too jargony for most casual readers, so I avoid it)

    Regarding that, I entirely concur with anat above:

    As others in this thread mentioned, in various sports body shape that deviates from typical can be an advantage – which body shape varies with the sport – some sports deal with that by having different classes for competitors (for instance based on weight), others do not. Perhaps more sports should classify, perhaps fewer should, perhaps other methods of classification should be used. What is important, if you care about fairness, is that the classification be based on a relevant trait and be applied consistently. So if you think height is an issue in certain women’s sports, place all tall women who compete in that sport in a separate class, regardless of etiology of their height.

  199. deepak shetty says

    @John Morales

    The argument, by its very nature, does not deny the existence of trans people — in fact, it’s predicated upon it.

    I disagree. if Trans women are women then the unfairness question would not arise (as such no one would say black women have an unfair advantage over other women in sports). This argument only arises because some other category is having an unfair advantage over women

  200. John Morales says

    deepak, you should have quoted the following sentence, and thus spared yourself your disagreement.

  201. bryanfeir says

    @PZ:

    What I don’t get is this idea that men are intentionally taking hormones that reduce muscle mass so that they can compete against women in women’s sports, which are immensely less lucrative than men’s sports…

    As a concrete example of this, something mentioned on the Toronto Metro Morning radio show this morning… despite the scandals that plagued FIFA, they still seem to have no problems with finances. They gave away a $38M prize to the champions of the Men’s World Cup out of a $400M total prize fund last year. This year, for the Women’s World Cup, the prize was doubled after complaints from the last tournament… doubled to a $4M prize out of a $30M prize pool. So the women’s World Cup gets one tenth the money of the men’s, and that’s after doubling the prizes.

    Everybody on the Metro Morning show said it would be a good idea if FIFA were to make use of some of the money they seem to not want to talk about to equalize this a bit.

  202. starfleetdude says

    @215, I imagine you remember back in the 1970s when retired professional tennis player Bobby Riggs challenged women decades younger than him to beat him at tennis. This battle of the sexes took place in the early years of women’s liberation and the point of the challenge was to show women they weren’t very good at sports. So when Riggs beat Margaret Court, it was a put down of women in general. Then the best women’s player at that time, Billie Jean King, agreed to play Riggs. And beat him. This did do something to let women know that their participation in professional sport, as well as sports in general, wasn’t something that women were any good at and so shouldn’t bother doing. I wouldn’t say that this alone was the reason why women started taking more to sports rather than being timid about participating in them, but I think it helped.

    So when trans women compete in women’s sports and win, I think it does send the signal that women just aren’t good enough, and I do think this is a problem when it comes to the self-worth of women in general. So it’s not just about trans women, but all women. And that matters.

  203. anat says

    Starfleetdude @222:

    So when trans women compete in women’s sports and win, I think it does send the signal that women just aren’t good enough, and I do think this is a problem when it comes to the self-worth of women in general.

    Are you a woman? If not, how about you stop trying to imagine what women think and how we women come up with our self-worth and speaking for imaginary women based only on your speculations? A transgender woman winning a women’s championship is only a problem for those women who are transphobic. A transgender woman winning a contest against cisgender women is nothing like a man winning against women.

  204. says

    @starfleetdude who said:
    “So when trans women compete in women’s sports and win, I think it does send the signal that women just aren’t good enough, and I do think this is a problem when it comes to the self-worth of women in general. So it’s not just about trans women, but all women. And that matters.”

    Implication being that trans women are not in fact in part of women in general. Change trans women to other women with competitive advantages – tall women, women with high testosterone, women with better coaching, women with longer legs, women in countries with better athletics programs etc. and you see the absurdity and bigotry. This is assuming (which is not a given if you read the information presented to you above) that trans women actually have an advantage at all.

  205. cartomancer says

    I discovered something interesting this week.

    I am currently teaching at an all-girls school, and I now have four classes of year 7 Latinists starting out with the language (that’s 11-12 year olds). This week they have been doing verb tenses, so I set them an exercise involving changing sentences from one tense into another. One question involved them changing the very straightforward “puella sum” from the present tense (I am a girl) to the perfect tense (I was a girl).

    Surprisingly, all four groups responded the same way to this sentence: “oh, like a trans man”. They didn’t think “oh, like a grown-up woman” – the notion of gender switching came to their minds first. Now, admittedly, most or at least many trans men would not have considered themselves to have been girls at all, but it still struck me that my students’ first instinct was to explain the sentence this way. To them gender is a more naturally mutable characteristic than age. Which fills me with some hope for the future.

  206. Rowan vet-tech says

    @starfleetdude

    I literally addressed your very concern in 198, immediately after mocking your ‘article’ in 197.

    Here, I’ll quote myself.

    I swear that the only way people will be happy having trans women compete is if they always place last. Sometimes they will win, not because of some ‘legacy’ from testosterone (gods the bullshit of that idea) but because they were better than the competitors. And sometimes they will lose, because the competitors were better than them.
    But have a trans woman win even once and now it’s all ‘unfair!’

    Fuck off. Say you’re a bigot and leave.

    I’m a cisgender woman. Before my asthma and loose joints took their toll I was faster in the sprint than any of the boys my age, even though they were taller and thus had longer legs. And being faster than any of the boys meant I was also far faster than any of the girls. What I had was natural muscle mass from the fact that I grew up walking on the balls of my feet, and this led to better sprinting speed.
    Was my advantage unfair? Should I have not run because me being so much faster was demoralizing to everyone? I got made fun of for being so muscular in my legs. Seeing me beat the boys did nothing to encourage those girls.
    Being beaten by another woman would not make me despair about my abilities. Stop trying to say we are going to react a certain way because your feefees think it’s going to be that way.

    Just say you’re a bigot and go away.

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