The Onion explains trans sports

This is exactly how transphobes think trans athletes think.

Cackling as the steps of the dastardly plan crystallized in her mind, local trans teen Brie Chandler told reporters Tuesday that she had hatched a nefarious plot to undergo years of medical treatments and counseling to win at swimming. “It’s oh, so simple: several years of sweet-talking medical professionals, receiving hormone therapies, and enduring complex gender-affirming surgeries, and that swimming trophy will be mine!” said the 17-year-old high school senior, who provided a step-by-step account of her knavish conspiracy to take fourth or even third place in a high school or Division III collegiate swimming competition by transitioning to a female identity. “I don’t even want to be a woman—I just want to win at swimming. Imagine how I’ll laugh with glee up there on the winners’ podium, knowing that all I had to do was lie about my gender identity issues through months or years of psychiatry sessions, take a shitload of androgen blockers, go to speech therapy, and recover from multiple invasive surgeries! Those feelings of isolation as my family members struggle to accept my social transition, the bureaucratic headaches of having to change my legal documents to reflect my correct identity, and becoming more likely to be the target of harassment from strangers will be nothing compared to holding that trophy in my devilish little hands!” The trans teen noted that there was only one thing threatening her nefarious ploy to change her gender to beat several girls at a regional swimming competition, which is that she doesn’t know how to swim.

Maybe it’s just me and my overall lack of interest in sports, but I always wondered what was so valuable about a trophy or an entry in a record book that you would go through so much upheaval, and so much public vilification, to get a small and hypothetical edge in a competition. Is it possible that being trans doesn’t extirpate one’s interest in sports?


  1. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Yet, that’s the way conservatives think about “winning”.

    I, for one, encourage them all to enter the “Upper-Class Twit of the Year” competition, where they have a good chance of taking #1.

  2. Silentbob says

    Also the nefarious transes are supposedly doing all this knowing full well their reward will be to be villified as cheats by all the right wing media.

    Such a cunning plan.

  3. moonslicer says

    Good old Ron de Santis has just demonstrated the power of lies. In recent times it’s become standard among the anti-trans crowd that transgenderism is some sort of ideology. TERFs are especially keen on promoting this notion. As is the way with lies, just repeat them often enough and a lot of people will accept them as truth.

    So now de Santa, in line with many other Repubs, is banning gender-affirming care for minors, claiming that he’s protecting these poor children from some awful ideology or agenda. It escapes him that there’s no ideology or agenda to protect these kids from. They’re transgender and thus they want to address their medical needs. That’s all. But the lie will always prevail in circles where truth and knowledge and learning are avoided like the plague.

    So the kids will be protected. And if any parents are caught giving them gender-affirming care, de Santa will actually take their children away from them. He’ll protect them if the parents won’t.

    Hatred + Ignorance = Evil, or is that too simplistic?

  4. KG says

    Personally, I think professional sport is a very bad thing, inevitably generating lots of cheating, additional greenhouse gas emissions, toxic nationalism, kudos for tyrants, and child abuse, among other evils. Sport should be for fun and exercise, and at that level, clearly there’s no real issue of trans women and girls hogging all the trophies and team places. But professional sport seems, unfortunately, very unlikely to disappear. Let’s suppose (almost certainly contrary to fact for most sports) that going through male puberty gives such an advantage that trans women who had done so would, a couple of decades down the line, monopolise the women’s medals at the Olympics. The solution can already be seen in those sports such as boxing, wrestling and weightlifting where people compete against others of comparable size. So, find a reasonable measureable anatomical physiological marker for “the advantage of going through male puberty”, and establish classes based on it (and not on sex or gender). That would have the advantage that people at all levels of this marker would be able to compete with hopes of winning.

  5. gijoel says

    Assuming there is even an advantage.

    We’re probably going to see an uptick in cis women athletes being poked and probe a-la Caster Semenya,because they look a little mannish.

  6. cartomancer says

    It has been a couple of decades since I went through male puberty, and I’m still waiting for the athletic superpowers to kick in. Mostly it just made me lanky, clumsy and unable to concentrate when my friend Richard took his shirt off outside. I don’t know much about sport – are these vital skills in the endeavour?

  7. joel says

    The Onion did a good job of refuting the Lauren Boebert’s and Josh Hawley’s of the world, but are not helping us win over those who genuinely care about women’s sports and want to preserve their integrity. Why do we have separate men’s and women’s sports? It’s the same reason why we have separate weight classes in wrestling: talented wrestlers who happen to be small ought to have a chance to win something, and that won’t happen if they have to wrestle huge guys who can just twist them into pretzels. Likewise, talented athletes who happen to be female ought to have a chance to win something, and that won’t happen if they have to compete against people who have been through male puberty. Male puberty changes the body in ways that are profoundly important for athletics, most significantly in added muscle mass and cardio capacity.

    That is where I would draw the line, and where athletic sanctioning bodies seem to be arriving. The issue isn’t whether a female athlete is trans, but rather whether she transitioned before or after puberty. Those who transitioned before can compete as women; those who transitioned after cannot.

    This means, by the way, that the trend among red states, of banning gender-affirming therapy for minors, is the worst possible policy.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The cunning plan started in the uterus as gender dysphoria is caused by the embryonic development.

  9. jasonfailes says

    “talented athletes who happen to be female ought to have a chance to win something, and that won’t happen if they have to compete against people who have been through male puberty.”

    {citation needed}

    Seriously, do you have access to a new pre-publication literature review? Because the last one I checked didn’t find any advantage.
    Or are you just using, ugh, “common sense”?

  10. bigzed says

    @7 Joel, you do know that the origin of separating men’s and women’s sport came about when women started winning mixed competitions, don’t you? As far as I’m aware, it’s still very much an open question whether or not women athletes with equivalent funding and social support could compete on an equal level with men of the same weight class in MANY sports–see, for example, gymnastics, where it’s not at all clear that men are any better than women, or the somewhat decent success many women have been having in coed high school wrestling even WITHOUT the social suppor.

  11. mikehogan says

    I’m not fussy about competitive sports and I abhor the idea of giving scholarships to sports by universities. Spend the money for scholarships for academic achievement or for financial need instead.
    There may be some cismen who falsely claim to be women to get these athletic scholarships but I suspect there to be none or very few. It would require athletic skill and a commitment to carry out the subterfuge for four or more years. I say it’s more like none.

    But I do wonder about scholarships. Are scholarships (mostly in the STEM field) that were previously open to women now open to trans women (I hope so). Is there any checking to see that these scholarships are going to women (cis or trans) in these case?

    Recently my local school board set aside 25% of the seats in special magnet schools for various groups including self identifying LGBTQ+ students. I can easily imagine a student claiming they are bi-sexual to get a better chance at the admission lottery. It’s not as if the school board would or could check on that?

    Or do we just let the possibility of fraud exist because of need for equality? We probably do as the occurrence will (probably) below.

  12. microraptor says

    @7: So I’m making an assumption that you’re a cis man based on your pseudonym. From that, are you willing to play some basketball against a WNBA star? Step into the ring with a woman’s boxing or MMA fighter? Run a race against a female track star?

    Because that’s functionally what you’re saying: that being a cis man gives you an advantage that makes you a better athlete than any cis woman.

  13. joel says

    @9 jasonfailes – Please look up the men’s vs. women’s world records in, oh, any athletic event under the sun. 5k or high jump or track cycling or swimming or whatever. That’s the citation. The winner of the 2020 Olympic women’s marathon would not have qualified for the men’s event at all. This is not unusual. This is why we have separate men’s vs. women’s sports.

    @10 bigzed – “you do know that the origin of separating men’s and women’s sport came about when women started winning mixed competitions.”
    Citation needed.
    You go on to cite gymnastics, a sport whose outcome is entirely decided by the judgement of judges. Yet even in that sport the women and men don’t do exactly the same events. Why don’t female gymnasts do pommel horse?

  14. joel says

    @ 11 microraptor – We’re talking about athletes here, not ordinary couch potatoes like you and me and @6 cartomancer. For the record, I do NOT think I can beat Serena Williams at tennis.

  15. jasonfailes says

    “Please look up the men’s vs. women’s world records in, oh, any athletic event under the sun. 5k or high jump or track cycling or swimming or whatever. That’s the citation.”

    That literally couldn’t have less to do with trans women, dishonest fck.

  16. Big Boppa says

    The sports angle is a smoke screen for their real obsession: people go through all that trouble and expense so they can go into public restrooms to gawk at wing-wangs and hoo-hahs because dog knows there are no other options for kids under 18 to satisfy their curiosity about such things ever since porn sites started putting that magic age verification button on their home pages.

    It all makes perfect sense, just like everything else they believe.

  17. says

    @joel, do you really think the small number of trans women who want to be athletes really makes this an issue? That of that small number of women they’ll all be able to outperform their cis opponents?

  18. says

    Sadly as a trans woman who used to be the absolutely strongest person in our extended group… three years on hormones and post orchiectomy and my spouse (trans man) is much much much stronger than me and he was a tiny little girl before his transition.

    You lose your muscle, the strength comes from testosterone, and when you don’t have it, you don’t have that advantage. Now my only height advantage is to trip and fall with much more possibility of taking people out under me then my cis women sisters who hang with me. That is the extend of my “magical advantage”.

  19. StevoR says

    @12. joel : “Why don’t female gymnasts do pommel horse?”

    Tradition. Expectation. Culture and rules of a specific field of sport.

    Do you think there’s any other real reason why women couldn’t do that?

  20. billseymour says

    “Protecting girls’ sports” seems to be a tribal marker in Missouri politics.  One TV add during the last election obsessed about one trans woman swimmer who took second place in one collegiate race.  Oh, nooooo!

    My guess is that “girls’ sports” can protect themselves quite well without any help from me. 8-)

  21. StevoR says

    ^ Oh and cynicallyand realistically also money, audience desires and demands and advertising revenues and politics of sport including po9gender politics and transphobia in sports because, yeah, it has them and they ahev a real and detrimental effect on,well, thefield odf sports generally especially at the higher levels.

    For the record, I do NOT think I can beat Serena Williams at tennis.

    For the record, I do NOT think I can beat Serena Williams at tennis or any other sport currently. Including darts and even motorsport. Admittedly not at my fittest or best right now with a stuffed knee and all – but setting that aside I probly wouldn’t have been able to at my physical peak such as it was. Can’t speak for all men of course but, hey,, most men probly can’t beat most decent female athletes as a general rule of thumb. To do so takes a lot of skill, training and physical and mental effort -whether a woman or man is cis or trans.

    Plus I observed that you did NOT actually answer #11 microraptor’s question :

    From that, are you willing to play some basketball against a WNBA star? Step into the ring with a woman’s boxing or MMA fighter? Run a race against a female track star?

  22. says

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that transpeople are not dramatically outperforming in many fields. I don’t remember the reference, though.

    What the complainers neglect is that the issue is only marginally relevant, because when you get to sportsball for profit, steroids and cheating has a dominant impact. Why, by the way, aren’t they bent out of shape about the pumped-up muscles of cheaters? Lance Armstrong is far more damaging to anyone’s love of sports than some college or high school transperson – and the sporting world did this elaborate performance of denying Armstrong’s cheating until it finally became ridiculous.

  23. says

    “Some sports are naturally gender neutral”, winced Marcus, remembering the time when he was in peak physical condition at 25 and was hammered into the floor like a thumbtack by a 12-year-old Japanese girl in a kendo tournament.

  24. StevoR says

    @22. Marcus Ranum : Max Verstappen is ruining F1 at the moment*** by being ridiculously dominant* and he’s not even cheating.**

    .* Like Lewis Hamilton, Michael Shumacher and Sebastian Vettel to name a few before him whowere utterly diminant drivers in their times. Literal and metaphorical.

    .** Red Bull Team Costcap breach and as always stretching the laws and car designs to thelimit asdie. But that’sthe team more than him.

    .*** Okay, right now extreme weather casued by GlobalOverheating isdoing that cancelling the F1 GP that was going to take place innorthern Italy this weekend becuase the track is underwater. Oh and people have died there too,. So ..yeah. Something likely tobe happening increasingly often as our climate continues to escalate into nightmare. (Applying to people’s deaths and cancelled race weekends alike.)

  25. StevoR says

    @1. Snarki, child of Loki : “I, for one, encourage them all to enter the “Upper-Class Twit of the Year” competition, where they have a good chance of taking #1.”


  26. wzrd1 says

    billyseymour, you hit on it without realizing it. It is all about protecting girls and women – from opportunity.

    As for the “just look at the stats” bullshit, OK, let’s look at real world, not already tilted and gamed stats, a World War.
    By the candle presented by some, those women shouldn’t be on the list – or even have survived. I guess being a sniper isn’t physically demanding (it is, don’t believe me, I’ll happily pay for that denier’s spot in a military sniper program under the proviso that DOR is not an option. Lacking Drop On Request, denied drop for medical, survival of the program becomes unlikely).
    How odd that women have repeatedly excelled in combat, when given the opportunity to learn the appropriate skills, given how weak and delicate that they are in some mindless minds! In complete opposition to well documented history.
    Must’ve been the trans lobby meeting in the ovaries, planning world conquest, tens of thousands of years ago!

  27. moonslicer says

    @ joel #7, ff.

    Joel, I don’t usually say much about the issue of sports. It is one of those endless arguments, that will go round and round all night long and the following day. Usually, the nay-sayers haven’t a clue what the difference is between a cisgender man and a transgender woman, so to them it’s axiomatic that transgender girls and women have a huge, natural advantage over cisgirls and women. They imagine a middle linebacker in a woman’s swimsuit, and horrors! we can’t have that.

    Now I don’t follow the world of sports too closely, but as someone else has already remarked, there’s no evidence of huge dominance of trans-girls and -women in the domain of girls’ and women’s sports. And there is reason to doubt that there ever will be. In other words, no need to panic just yet. Which naturally a large contingent of the cisworld has done.

    Because here is a truth: this issue has nothing to do with fairness. If it did, a transboy in Texas, e.g., would not have been forced to compete against the girls in wrestling. He was mopping the floor with the girls, but the powers that be refused to permit him to compete against the boys, which right he was demanding.

    What this is about is finding one more stick to beat transgender people with. And that’s what’s being done. What this is about is finding one more reason to ban transgender people from human society. And that effort is well underway in red states in the US.

    As you yourself noted, the powers that be quickly segued from a ban of trans people in sports to a ban on gender affirming care for minors. Knock down one pin, then knock down the other. You can argue all you like, but the real consideration here is who’s on top. In red states, it’s the opposition, and they’re making us feel it. They don’t give a damn about what’s fair.

  28. John Morales says


    Hatred + Ignorance = Evil, or is that too simplistic?

    I think (Hatred + Wilful Ignorance = Evil) works better.

  29. says

    @13 Joel – Please look up how many transwomen and transgirls get into any women’s athletics and tell us what percentage of that number actually get to first place.

    The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” Not that the TERFs even have all that many anecdotes…

  30. says

    BTW, the last anecdote I heard about a transwoman allegedly having an unfair advantage, was a case where the transwoman came in THIRD, and the parents of the cis girl who came in FOURTH were all upset because she’d been denied her rightful third place. That’s not exactly a clear instance of transwomen blowing ciswomen out of athletics forever…

  31. says

    Ah, yes… Trans Woman Superiority. I’ve heard that one before. Interestingly, TWS is amenable to being confirmed or denied by hard data.

    Specifically: Over the past few decades, there have athletic venues which allow trans women to compete against cis women. If Trans Women Superiority actually is a real thing, then trans women should have won a disproportionately high percentage of top honors (1st thru 3rd place) in all women’s sports events which have occurred at those venues.

    Thus far, I have never yet encountered anyone who makes noise about TWS who can supply the hard data re: top honors at nondiscriminating athletic venues. And judging by the comments they’ve posted here, Joel is as one with all the other data-free TWS-pushers.

  32. Silentbob says

    @ 29 moonslicer

    They don’t give a damn about what’s fair.

    There’s an even more obvious illustration of this, in that if you ask them if they want to ban trans women from sport they’ll say, “No – they can play against the men”.

    But wait a second – that undermines the whole “fairness” argument!

    By what possible logic is a cis person having to compete against a field of competitors, one of which may have some minor advantage from having been forced through the wrong puberty, unacceptably unfair…

    While at the same time, one competitor having to compete against an entire field all of whom have a massive advantage, is hunky dory?

    And if you ask them they’ll just shrug and be like, “Oh well, too bad. Not everyone can be good at sport”. So in other words – FAIRNESS WAS NEVER A CONSIDERATION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  33. says

    There’s also a pretty common motte-and-bailey in the sports “debate” that Joel provided a nice example of. In @9, jasonfailes asked for a citation that cis female athletes couldn’t have a chance at beating trans female athletes who transitioned after puberty. Joel instead responded

    @9 jasonfailes – Please look up the men’s vs. women’s world records in, oh, any athletic event under the sun. 5k or high jump or track cycling or swimming or whatever. That’s the citation.

    Putting aside the fact that Joel didn’t actually provide a citation, Joel’s initial claim was about banning trans women from competitive sports. But when asked to defend their position, Joel immediately shifted to argue for separating cis women from cis men.

    We could instead compare world records in sports by trans women with those of cis women. Trans women were allowed in the women’s Olympics every two years from 2004 to 2021. Exactly one qualified, and she didn’t win. Some people argued that that one trans woman “could” have won if only she’d competed at a younger age, but there are a lot of younger openly trans women and none of them were good enough to even qualify for the women’s olympics. No elite women’s sporting records are held by trans women.

    Joel seemingly realizes they don’t have any data to argue for trans women at the elite level of sports having an advantage over cis women, so instead when asked to defend their stance they shift to another position they think is easier to defend.

    Of course, it turned out they couldn’t defend that position either, as when @10 bigzed gave gymnastics as an example of a sport where elite cis women perform comparably to elite cis men in spite of getting much less funding and support, Joel moved the goalposts to say gymnastics doesn’t count (but does that mean they’d be okay with trans women playing in the same gymnastics league as cis women?)

  34. wzrd1 says

    183231bcb, welcome to the only game these people can play. The game of shifting the goalposts in mid-play.
    And laughably, still losing points every time.

  35. lotharloo says

    The rules ans regulations regarding professional sports are very complicated and they should be left to the professionals but the overall stated policy goal should be to ensure both diversity, inclusion as well as fairness as much as possible.

    These goals are obviously contradictory to each other and the question of “fairness” in sports is not even well-defined. This is because professional sports is inherently unfair, e.g., how is fair that a 5 foot guy has 0 chance of making it to NBA regardless of how much passion and hardwork they put into it? Well it’s not fair. It’s also not fair if you are from an under-developed country where you have to work for you day job and train at the side under shitty coaches whereas in other countries the athletes can get a training program with supplements, food and training plans, top of the line equipments and so on handed to them. So ultimately, at some point people have to make some kind of value judgement and try to strike a magical arbitrary balance between all these contradictory goals and probably some people will always be unhappy.

  36. says

    talented athletes who happen to be female ought to have a chance to win something

    They do, dumbass.

    and that won’t happen if they have to compete against people who have been through male puberty.

    Lying dumbass.

  37. says

    Please look up the men’s vs. women’s world records in, oh, any athletic event under the sun. 5k or high jump or track cycling or swimming or whatever. That’s the citation.

    Not for the claim you made, asshole.