We hunted the rabbit

I know it’s not as impressive as the mammoth, but it gives AMAB people an edge in rugby, therefore trans athletes should be banned. So saith Sean Ingle, chief sportswriter for the increasingly transphobic Guardian.

As he repeated many lies about trans women in sport, whether through ignorance or malice, Ingle said, And going back to the start with the science is to have a separate, exclusive, preserved category for natal females with trans women and trans men then going into an open, universal category. And those that support this approach point to the recent science that suggests that even when testosterone is reduced, strength in transgender women only goes down 5%.

Most of that advantage for male puberty is retained. They also point out, and I hear this a lot, that women are not men with lower testosterone. They point out there are thousands of physical differences between males and females, and they aren’t always obvious.

Females tend to have better peripheral vision than males. Males, in contrast, are quite as fast[sic?] at accurately detecting the trajectory of a moving object. That is, how fast it’s moving, in which direction it’s moving, and where it’s going to be 1 second from now.

That’s helpful when you’re trying to chuck a spear at a rabbit. If you’re going back to evolutionary biology times, it’s also helpful when you’re trying to intercept a rugby ball. My general view here is that The Guardian should be at the heart of all this and that we should write about the subject fearlessly.

Ah, even sportswriters have absorbed the biases of evolutionary psychology. Now men, not women, have evolved to be better at throwing spears.

These glib comparisons always make me wonder what was being compared in these studies. All women tend to have better peripheral vision than men? What if you compared men, in general, to women tennis players? Is it still true? Isn’t it quite likely that peripheral vision, and the ability to calculate trajectories, are plastic and responsive to practice?

Also, how large is the variation within men, and within women? Aren’t we really dealing with selected subsets of populations, making blanket claims about the aggregate abilities of diverse populations rather problematic?

The whole premise is flawed. It assumes that men of the paleolithic were specifically and exclusively selected for spear chucking, that women of that time had no use for that talent, and that some epigenetic factor inhibits the genetic spear-chucking complex in women. No evidence for any of that. Then we have to assume that there was no further selection for or against that complex for 100,000 years — men retained a fairly specific ability through many generations of life farming. Then we assume further that whatever epigenetic modifiers allow for enhanced spearchucking in men, they don’t include things like testosterone that might be blocked by inhibitors — these hypothetical male advantages sail through everything that affects trans women unaffected.

But sure, if you’re an evolutionary psychologist sportswriter, you can just propose that whole chain of improbabilities as a given and call it “science” or “biology,” all in the name of transphobia. I call it magical thinking.


  1. goaded says

    And only women would say “aww”, like I did. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s a hare.

  2. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    I think they were arguing in terms of sports, not “comparing men in general to women’s tennis players”. So what you need to compare is in terms of this: https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-0db7a7a17e8e8ddc6a7340d23df81260-c
    So how do trans athletes who have transitioned compare in performance to members of the same gender?
    Personally I like the idea of eliminating men’s/women’s sports and just have tiered categories like they do in weightlifting (by mass) or professional soccer.

  3. says

    The TERF trash starts at the top of the guardian, Katherine “Vile and venal” Viner.

    An infuriating part of it is that due to a severe lack of “leftist news” in the UK, many socialists and progressives will overlook the TERF fascism or even agree with it.

  4. moonslicer says

    Recently the Irish Rugby Football Association (IRFU), taking their inspiration from transphobic Britain, banned transgender women from women’s rugby. They said they had a scientific justification for doing so.

    I contacted them to ask if they had taken legal advice before taking this step. As the conversation proceeded, it became clear to me that they hadn’t because they didn’t even know what I was talking about.

    So I showed them. I showed them a clause from the Gender Recognition Act of 2015 which states that when a transperson has obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate, that person is then male/female (as the case may be) for ALL purposes. There aren’t any exceptions listed. All purposes means just that, all purposes. Which means that the IRFU had banned two women from women’s rugby.

    Now I suppose that the two transwomen who were booted out could take the IRFU to court, and it’s hard to see how they would lose their case. The law is simple and clear on this point. But there is such a thing as a Pyrrhic victory, and I believe that this one would qualify as such. The IRFU is greatly loved in this country, and I think a lot of people wouldn’t take kindly to a couple of upstart transgender people winning a case against them, especially on a controversial issue like this one.

    I could see the Irish parliament amending the Gender Recognition Act by listing certain exceptions, which could leave all of us worse off than before. In other words, we can keep quiet and lose one right or stand up for our rights and potentially lose more. And it appears that our national transgender organization agreed with this analysis because we didn’t hear a peep out of them over this issue. But the risk we’re taking by keeping quiet is that we’re allowing the IRFU to set a precedent: other people might decide they want to take rights away from us, especially if we don’t contest the case.

    So it goes. Having the law on your side doesn’t necessarily mean anything. As a friend of mine once told me long, long ago, “In this world it’s not whether you’re right or wrong that counts. It’s how big you are.”

  5. wzrd1 says

    “That’s helpful when you’re trying to chuck a spear at a rabbit…”
    I’d immediately ask a question, “Is that a white man or a black man”, then enjoy the song and dance or worse, utter blindness as to what was hinted and an immense chasm being dug.
    As for throwing a spear and Rugby ball interception, I fail to see how throwing a projectile against a hypothetically running small animal is in any way similar to intercepting a moving ball with your body. That’s much like saying that skeet shooting and bowling are entirely alike.

    moonslicer @ 4, precisely why Jim Crow laws stood the test of time.
    There is a trick though, turn the Pyrrhic victory, if any, into their victory, thereby destroying themselves. Of course, such a solicitor tends to be a lot more expensive.
    And involves a PR campaign about rights, laws and how they only matter for certain wealthy and powerful people, peons need not apply for any rights.

  6. says

    I don’t know, maybe it’s the talk about “spear chucking” that made me realize something–with just a little tweaking, one could turn these “discussions” into an argument for racially segregated sports. Hey, blacks aren’t just white people with dark skin! There’s clearly some sort of genetic advantage here. And, unlike trans women competing against ciswomen, the results of our sporting events show it. As far as I know, the last white guy to win an Olympic sprint event was that Russian guy in 1972. Which, coincidentally, was the year the University of Alabama decided they needed to start recruiting black football players. Their opponents’ black players kept integrating Alabama’s end zone.
    Although white guys do seem to be holding their own when it comes to throwing and aiming and stuff. Still plenty of white quarterbacks and baseball pitchers and the like. Maybe we’re the spearchuckers, after all. What’s that, you say? The top three quarterbacks in the NFL draft this year were black guys? The best quarterback in the world (Patrick Mahomes) is of mixed race? Well, I’ll be…
    There have been trans women playing women’s sports at least since Dr. Renee Richards was playing tennis in the mid 70s. She didn’t win jack that I recall, and neither has any advantage shown itself in all the years since. So I’m torn between thinking this is an excuse to inspect children’s genitals, a way to discourage girls from playing sports, or a stalking horse for bringing back open racism in sports. Or all three. Write fearlessly about that, jackass.
    Also, if you want to take down a rabbit, you’re probably better off throwing rocks or maybe trapping them.

  7. says

    Most of that advantage for male puberty is retained.
    Curious where he stands on puberty blockers as there seems to be a lot of overlap between people who use the “male puberty” argument and are against minimizing the effect of that puberty on trans girls.

  8. says

    I think you should have used a picture of Elmer Fudd for this post, even though he never threw a spear at Bugs Bunny. At least not that I am aware. But I think it would have been more fitting for the cartoonish argument the sports writer is making. (I suppose you could ask an AI to generate you a picture of Fudd throwing a spear at Bugs?)

  9. microraptor says

    12: I’m pretty sure Elmer threw a spear in What’s Oprah, Doc? I know he at least stabbed with a spear.

  10. mathscatherine says

    I’m hoping that this is maybe somewhere that can help me understand this one, because I hope I’m not transphobic but I do think there is a place for exceptions for some elite sports.

    First let me say that as far as everyday sports are concerned, where the competitors are amateurs (or indeed kids), then trans women and women and trans men are men, and babbling about “advantages of male puberty” is stupid. If drug tests are not a regular part of a competition, why on Earth would we concerned about the details of someone’s birth certificate?

    Also, there are plenty of elite sports where the differences between “men” and “women” are minor and/or depend on the local conditions etc. I used to do a lot of dinghy sailing, where most of the time extra weight is an advantage but if the wind is really light then suddenly the lower weight sailors have an advantage (not that it’s all that big in the first place). So there are no problems with trans athletes competing with their gender, whatever level of transition they’ve been through.

    However, there are many elite sports for which the world record holding woman would never get anywhere in elite male competitions, because testosterone really does provide an advantage. Maybe not one that makes a lot of difference at an average people level, but elite sport is the tail of the curve where those sorts of advantages do show up. As I understand it, for many of those sports the advantages disappear once a trans woman has been on hormones for a while, but I think there are at least some sports for which male puberty does give a permanent advantage? And in that case wouldn’t it be reasonable to restrict the “women” category to “women who haven’t been through male puberty” (or “women who have been through medical transition for at least X months” as applicable)? It would need to be (a) only at the elite level, (b) with the other category as “open” rather than “men”, and (c) with research to back up the advantages of either testosterone (for requiring trans women to medically transition) or male puberty (for a permanent ban). And it is definitely an argument for making sure that trans girls get easy access to puberty blockers so they don’t go through male puberty.

    If that’s not a reasonable argument, please do let me know. I appreciate that gendered performance in elite sports is not my area of expertise. I also appreciate that transphobes can use “but what about elite cis women athletes” as an argument for banning trans girls from sports teams (etc.) – but I’m not convinced that ignoring this particular issue is really the way to go. I’m more inclined to think that talking about how elite sport is a bit of an exception and restricting that exception carefully is a better idea – but I’m very keen to hear anything I’ve not thought about.

  11. StevoR says

    @8. feralboy12 : “Also, if you want to take down a rabbit, you’re probably better off throwing rocks or maybe trapping them.”

    Rabbits and hares are reasonably small, fast and agile. Yeah, spearing isn’t the best way to get them if you want a meal.

    Anecdata but still I caught the last few episodes of a Reality TV show called Alone on Aussie telly recently (SPOILERS WARNING : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alone_Australia ) where the winner and the only contestant to catch a mammal – a wallaby – (as opposed to fish) was a woman. An older one FWIW. Admittedly, a lot of that was luck but still. There was at least one man who tried and failed to tap a bandicoot or wallaby who narrowly failed becuase the rabbit-like marsupial was quick and agile enough to just barely escape..

  12. lanir says

    I wonder how much BS you have to take in before you start to see yourself being oppressed by groups that can’t even respond to your attacks effectively? To think you’re brave by agreeing to stand with a bunch of bigots with lots of money against a handful of people who don’t have deep pockets backing them up?

    I dealt with bullying all through grade school except for a few months in 2nd or 3rd grade when we got a transfer student. The bullies told me I could help them bully this kid or they’d keep bullying me. I made the wrong choice and learned from it when the transfer kid didn’t come back the next year. Somehow this sports writer has gone his whole life presumably around sports and hasn’t learned the same lesson: bullies are cowardly liars.

  13. Silentbob says

    Imagine doing a study finding that on average women were better at sowing than men and concluding there is an innate biological difference.
    *rolls eyes*

  14. lanir says


    There are some counter arguments to the things you brought up. You seem to have a general understanding that being trans or not isn’t really important when it comes to sports. But you have a different view when about what you’re refering to as elite sports. What about those is actually special? If it’s just that you’re talking about performances that can compete with the best in the world, then what’s wrong with competing as you are? Everyone else there does. They have whatever advantages and disadvantages their physiology has given them. We don’t try to rule these things out because they’re part of who someone is. Being trans or not is also part of who someone is.

    As far as I’m aware, the prohibitions against trans athletes are all new. So with an absence of restrictions to keep them from outperforming their peers you would expect to see them at the top of various sports where you think they have an advantage. Yet that does not seem to be the case. I can’t really see any way to interpret that except as a fatal flaw to this argument. Sure, people have feelings about what man and women can and cannot do. But there’s literally nothing to point at to justify those ideas in sports. Instead it ends up harming trans athletes on the assumption that they have an advantage they’ll use to do something which they have never done.

  15. chigau (違う) says

    Silentbob #20
    Do you not preview your posts?

    “sewing” what?
    shirts? hats? trous?
    does that include knitting? crocheting? tatting? net making? sail making? tent making?

  16. tuatara says

    Hunting with a spear is a close-quarter affair.

    Trying to hit a sleeping straw-bail 1m high and 0.5m wide at 20m with a spear is enough of a challenge for most people. To get closer than 20m to a wild rabbit or hare is incredibly difficult.
    And how large a target for your hurled spear is a rabbit at 20m? What about when it is is running away at 10m per second which it will do within about 1/4 of a second of it seeing your rapidly moving arm?
    Your next activity will be hunting a spear, not cooking a rabbit.

    Must be why we invented tools with which to hunt at a distance like, you know, high-velocity stuff such as bows and crossbows, and of course guns.

    Anyone who suggest that hunting a rabbit with a spear is a rational activity should perhaps try it first, so I am not surprised that anyone who does is not rational on other subjects.

    Chigau, snaring is not the work of women, it is the work of any sufficiently skilled hungry person whether on their own or otherwise.

  17. Silentbob says

    Three things that piss me off about anti-trans sports propaganda ( in no particular order):

    1) The sheer misogyny of the constant “weaker sex” narrative out of the 19th century where it’s taken for granted no mere girly could possibly complete with any “male”.

    2) The blatantly transphobic double standard that a trans girl who is 4 inches taller than the average woman has an unbeatable advantage, but a 7 foot cis girl is fine.

    3) The complete discounting of all social factors. If two identical twins are separated; one is wealthy and trains full-time with the world’s top trainers; one lives in a bedsit working three minimum wage jobs and only trains alone on Sunday evenings – who do you think will do better?
    But somehow shit like trans girls’ lung capacity and bone density (?) always figures in transphobic rhetoric, but never that they’re at a huge disadvantage from the psychological pressure of being jeered at and called cheats and demonized in the press wherever they go.

    The reality is that trans women are woefully underrepresented in sport. It took about 20 years for the first trans woman to make the Olympics – and she came last. Still a massive achievement to even make it that far since she faced torrents of hate every day.

  18. says

    “…And those that support this approach point to the recent science that suggests that even when testosterone is reduced, strength in transgender women only goes down 5%.”

    Down 5% from…where, exactly? Down from the level of strength of cis men? Is that the same level as trans women start from when they begin treatment?

    This article is based on the unspoken assumption (or perhaps I should say PREJUDICE) that trans women in general have the same level of strength as cis men. Not to mention the other unspoken prejudice that all AMAB people — cis men and trans women — all have roughly the same “advantages of male puberty” WRT physical strength. And anyone with a functioning pair of eyes can see this simply isn’t even close to true.

  19. chrislawson says


    Yep, as far as I know spears are a terrible way to catch a rabbit. Indigenous Australians used spears for large game, e.g. kangaroos and wallabies, and boomerangs for small game such as birds. There were no rabbits in Australia before colonisation. Yet somehow the same leporine evolutionary pressure was exerted on First Nations Australians. It must be morphic resonance! … I am coming to the conclusion that EP is an attractive field for people who can’t do basic reasoning.

  20. silvrhalide says

    Females tend to have better peripheral vision than males. Males, in contrast, are quite as fast[sic?] at accurately detecting the trajectory of a moving object. That is, how fast it’s moving, in which direction it’s moving, and where it’s going to be 1 second from now.
    That’s helpful when you’re trying to chuck a spear at a rabbit.

    I can’t believe no one posted this yet.

    My general view here is that The Guardian should be at the heart of all this and that we should write about the subject fearlessly.

    Well you’re certainly writing about it stupidly. Too many rugby balls to the head?

  21. mathscatherine says

    Thanks for your comments. And I agree that different people have different advantages when it comes to sport, but we don’t try to restrict competitions as far as any of those are concerned. So maybe we ought to remove gendered categories for sporting competitions altogether – but a brief look at world records in at least running and swimming suggests that the only people who would win professional level competitions would be men, or possibly trans women who have socially but not medically transitioned. And maybe that’s fair? But it seems hard for many professional female athletes (both cis and trans) who have dedicated their lives to their career to suddenly find they aren’t built to be good enough any more.

    As far as “seeing evidence of advantage” is concerned, I totally agree that is a counter argument. Do you happen to know some research on performance of trans athletes you can easily link me? No worries if not, I’ll hunt. The difficulty is that the number of trans athletes competing at an international/ professional level is fairly tiny, so working out whether there is an advantage is complicated. And biology doesn’t exactly neatly divide everyone up into two genders anyway.

  22. cartomancer says

    I think it’s well past time that we just wound up sports entirely. After all, we can build machines that can do them far better than any of us can. Cars go faster than any sprinter. Cranes can lift more than any weightlifter. The internet provides far more arcane pointlessness than Cricket ever did.

    Just think of all the time we could save.

  23. jo1storm says

    We hunted rabbits?! Those are rookie numbers. “Woke” crowd hunts mammoths!

    Explanation: David Futrelle has a blog called “We hunted the mammoth” and main focus of that blog is MRA activists and eviscerating their silly arguments.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    Even Sabine Hossenfelder found there was no advantage for trans athletes (which made it much more disappointing when she made that other podcast).
    Anyway mesolithic nets did not survive so we do not know how much of the food was small prey or fish (presumanly caught by women and children, apart from the men). A reasonable assumption is that women played a big role in getting animalic protein.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    Some people could be Nexus replicants with vastly superior skills. We should subject every athlete to the Voight-Kampff test.

  26. profpedant says

    I’m willing to believe (not that I necessarily do) that there are ‘a variety of differences’ between men and women that persist after a ‘thorough gender change’ (whatever that means) – but I haven’t figured out why anyone actually cares. “This person does ‘X’ better than me” is fine information to have if you need someone to do ‘X’, but the fact that they do ‘X’ better than me doesn’t mean that my ability to do ‘X’ is something I should not bother to try to do. There are people of ‘all genders’ who do various things better than I do, but the fact that – for example – lots of people are better cooks than I am does not mean that sitting down to eat a dinner I cooked is somehow ‘not worth doing’. All this obsession over ‘better’ or ‘worse’ is just weird, far better to focus on ‘am I reasonably competent at this activity’.

  27. Allison says

    Intransitive @3

    An infuriating part of it is that due to a severe lack of “leftist news” in the UK, many socialists and progressives will overlook the TERF fascism [in The Guardian] or even agree with it.

    I’m on the other side of the Pond, but from the news coming out of the UK, my impression is that TERF fascism and other bigotries have become fashionable among the UK elite, including “socialists and progressives.”

    My impression is also that transphobia, at least, has bipartisan (=Tory and Labour) support in the UK.

  28. brightmoon says

    My late father’s favorite expression was “Girls(women) can’t do that!” . He said it so often to me that it was my name after a while [Name]-girlscan’tdothat! The day I found out that race car driver Cha Cha Muldowny was female was mental freedom day . As far as trans people are concerned, hormones have an affect on the body. Ask any women who has gone through menopause or any teen going through puberty. I’m more inclined to listen trans people about how their bodies are affected than to anyone else especially not going to listen to homophobic/ transphobic/usually misogynistic ignoramuses.

  29. birgerjohansson says

    About gender etc…
    Latvia just got the world’s first openly gay president.
    I just wanted you to know.

  30. silvrhalide says

    @40 Germany had a lesbian Chancellor for how long? Reelected how many times?
    Oh right. Angela Markel was openly gay and ran the arguably largest (and most stable) economy for SIXTEEN YEARS.
    But I’m glad that Latvia is joining the big kids table.

  31. silvrhalide says

    How many of the asshats whining about trans athletes can throw a hammer or spear (or discus) better than this lady?

    Since we are talking about spear throwing and the like and also female athletes.
    The hammer-wielding woman in red is Anya Majors, a competitive discus thrower and model.
    The bald guys in the commercial were mostly skinheads, because they were cheaper to hire than actual actors.
    Like the transphobes in The Guardian, they made nasty remarks to Ms. Majors.
    But the fact remains that she got paid a lot more than they did, because unlike the whiners and losers, she had talent, skills and a competitive spirit, unlike the whiny skinheads–you know, the asshats who are so hung up on purity and ability.
    Ridley Scott directed the Apple commercial.
    Yeah, that Ridley Scott of Bladerunner and Aliens fame.

    And a reminder that different isn’t the same as bad.

  32. KG says

    As far as I’m aware, the prohibitions against trans athletes are all new. So with an absence of restrictions to keep them from outperforming their peers you would expect to see them at the top of various sports where you think they have an advantage. – lanir@18

    Ah! Ah! But, now being trans is so fashionable and gives a person so many extra rights and advantages, there will be lots of men having their balls cut off solely in order to win at women’s sports!!!


  33. Stuart Smith says

    The thing that gets me about the women’s sports argument is that it completely rewrites the history of how women’s sports became a thing. Everybody is acting like women’s sports were created to protect women from competing with men, but that is just not true. It was created to protect men from competing with women. The argument for women’s sports being created was that it was unfair to men, because they were all too chivalrous to go full force against a woman, and so they would end up losing unfairly. It was a cope by men who were losing to women, not a way for women to finally get a chance to win. This wasn’t even some secret plot, I remember back in the 80s people (well, men) just openly talked about how unfair it was for a man to have to compete against a woman and potentially lose his status as champion because he was too afraid of hurting her.

    Then, of course, once women’s sports were a thing they were shat on religiously until they became useful as an excuse to attack trans people, but people regularly bring up that bit of hypocrisy.

  34. tuatara says

    birgerjohansson @ 33

    Not sure why we would need to interrogate Mesolithic remains to answer the question of how much protein was gathered by women. Why not just ask an Aboriginal person?

    While I am not an Aboriginal person I have spent time with them. Traditionally more than 90% of the total food collected by many Aboriginal groups was obtained by gathering. Protein was most often supplied from insects, molluscs and other invertebrates, amphibians and small reptiles, all collected by everyone. Meat from a large mammal was a bonus. The strict social division of the carcass of a large mammal is testament to the unreliability of hunting as a food source.

    Imagine going walkabout. A man could wander off to attend a ritual that may be several weeks walk away. He may carry with him a couple of spears, spear-thrower and boomerang. Food was simply collected by him along the way. Because he will have spent his childhood helping the adults gather foods he would quite comfortably find all of his sustenance by gathering. Hunting was not easy and would be avoided if it was not required. A couple of hours gathering would be enough for a days food, so he would not be hungry. Hunting is a matter of diminishing returns because the hungrier you get the less rational you become, leading to a less successful hunt so the idea is to not try to rely on it.

    While a spear was an important tool, his boomerang offered him far more utility. A boomerang could be used as a fire saw, a digging stick, a knife for dividing a cooked carcass, and a musical instrument as well as hunting.

    I have seen a karli fly for 100m at about 1m above the ground, cutting a stealthy swathe more than 500mm wide. I have seen a karli thrown with a horizontal rotational axis so it bounced across the terrain like a rugby ball, taking down two of a flock of birds that was flushed into the direction of the throw by another person. I have made one myself that injured a fence-post at 60m. But these are non-returning boomerangs. They fly low and almost straight and I have heard of a large non-returning boomerang inflicting enough of an injury on a kangaroo at 180m range to make it easier to take down with a spear at close range (though cannot confirm if this is true). 180m seems a bit too far to me, given what I have seen myself.

    The returning boomerang fly high so were often used to startle waterfowl in such as way as they would fly into strategically placed nets. Men, women and children would all be involved because, while most indigenous Australians were independent in their food gathering abilities, gathering and eating food is normally socially satisfying.

    Other environments will have other food-gathering requirements for humans.

    NZ Maori had different strategies due to the dearth of endemic plant foods in Aotearoa. The diet there was more protein centred, coming from birds, eels, molluscs and crustaceans, and scale fish.

    In the Western Pacific such as on Tarawa where I grew up, fishing was the source of protein. There were few endemic plant foods and very poor soils, but we ate a lot of breadfruit and much coconut. I don’t remember ever seeing a spear for hunting there, though they had some nasty fighting implements.

    Sorry for the derail.

  35. wzrd1 says

    I look on it this way. My last participatory sport was fencing.
    The only equipment I cared about was what was about to touch a Point or not.
    I dealt with men roaring, literally, as they charged. Didn’t end well in most cases, I don’t quail on noise.
    Many women and possibly trans women, they blend in, some faster and some slower. Fast thinking wins the game. There’s a reason it’s called chess with muscles.

    But, the real argument remains what it is, an issue as old as the species.
    Who has the balls to lead us into confrontation.
    That is the actual root.
    Balls, being somewhat self-explanitory, but not. Not literal, but figurative, humanity has grown enough to occasionally recognize that distinction.
    As one former military, didn’t give a shit about what someone possessed between legs or armpits or whatever, who could get us home was what mattered.
    But then, I’m weird.

  36. tuatara says

    ^ wzrd1
    You are not weird at all, just perhaps a less common POV than it should be.
    But I for one share your sentiment that it doesn’t matter what is or is not at the base of a pelvis. What is between the ears is far more important. After all, if life has taught me anything, it is that while anyone can be a fuckwit, there are a lot of good people about too.

    BTW, the wife of a good friend once proudly described her breasts as being like balls, only more macho. She was a woman it was foolish to mess with.

  37. jo1storm says

    @45 tuatara

    Thank you for that. It wasn’t a detour at all but a relevant point and quite enjoyable to read.

  38. robro says

    Intransitive @ #3 — I received an email from Katherine “Vile and venal” Viner…we’re old friends (not)…this morning asking me to donate to The Guardian with the intro line, “Forest defenders should not be killed for exposing crimes. Journalists should not be killed for reporting facts.” No argument about that but perhaps I should reply to her (reply address gnm.no.reply@theguardian.com) that trans people shouldn’t be vilified in the media?

  39. erik333 says

    @44 Stuart Smith
    If womens tennis wasn’t a thing, Serena might have reached the top one thousand list in the world at times, but its not a sure thing.

    There are sports that could be unisex, but there are many that couldnt. Instead of womens divisions in many sports you would get some unisex sports. The drop in women who could make a living from sports would drop a lot from the already low comparative level we see today.

    In all of track and field, who could even qualify for a championship? Is there anyone?

  40. DanDare says

    Any competition has a winner. That winner could be categorised into many different buckets that have a bearing on performance.
    In the whole world at any one time there will be one best performer. Groups they don’t represent have missed out being represented.
    If you want more winners you split the sport into multiple groups with room for one winner per group. The grouping could be arbitrary but if there is a desire to have some category represented then group about that.
    This whole problem is about wanting to have men and women as sepetate categories and trans blurs what people think they mean by the distinction. Same if you categorise by black and white, excluding people who are yellow or red.
    Any individual will be good due to who they are, what they were born with and have developed. Making blanket assertions that all people in one chategory are better than those in another is an apriori bias. It may be statistically true from time to time but unlikely to be universally true.
    So why do we create this tension and create suppressive exclusions? Commerce, social biases and bad memes.