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How should trans individuals be included in competitive sport?

(89 Posts)
Quodlibet Mon 27-Feb-17 17:20:39

I wonder if this has been debated already?

It's a really complex issue clearly, as no one would wish to discourage trans individuals from playing sport.

But as I can see it, if trans individuals are included in mainstream sports competition, girls/women are disadvantaged whichever way the call goes in terms of whether trans individuals are included with their birth gender or the gender they identify with.

If the former, then FTM competitors with a newly gained strength/speed advantage beat F competitors, as in this example in the US.

If the latter, then MtF trans competitors beat F competitors with their residual/inherent speed/strength advantage.

What is the answer? The only one I can think of is that competitors with modified bodies are not able to compete with non-modified competitors (the same way as Oscar Pistorius was not allowed to compete in mainstream men's events as his blades actually could have given him an advantage.) I envisage that there would be resistance to this from some in the trans community as it could be interpreted as excluding trans individuals from sports events. But I can't see how else women's sport doesn't end up massively compromised.

AndShesGone Mon 27-Feb-17 17:35:17

I think the only option is a third category so that trans people don't overtake the women's event

Maybe I'm wrong but I thought that MtF could compete in men's events but weren't as good as the men so the only reason they were successful was if they joined women's events ?

Are there any trans sportspeople taking part in their original biological sex category and being successful? If so then they ought to still be able to. The rules don't preclude them do they ?

MrsCaecilius Mon 27-Feb-17 17:43:58

Place holding. Been wondering about this thorny topic!

VestalVirgin Mon 27-Feb-17 17:44:05

I don't really see a need to include trans individuals in sports. We don't include overweight people or people with anorexia in competitive sports, either.

As a person who was born with a body that is not, technically, disabled, but inherently unsuitable for sports, I do not really think it is a fate worse than death to never be able to compete professionally.

I can deal with it, and so can trans.

OhTallulah Mon 27-Feb-17 17:49:33

I don't think they should unless it's in their own category.
No point young women competing if this is going to happen.

picklemepopcorn Mon 27-Feb-17 17:50:02

Typed my ideas out about three times, but can't make it make sense! Will wait for wiser people.

Thefitfatty Mon 27-Feb-17 17:53:28

vestalvirgin massive amounts of athletes fall in the obese to underweight categories. Look at the BMI's of weight lifters to gymnasts.

PatMullins Mon 27-Feb-17 17:55:30

Yes but a weight lifter wouldn't get far as a gymnast and vice versa

sleepyhead Mon 27-Feb-17 17:56:41

FTM should be able to compete in women's classes as long as they abide by the same doping regulations.

glenthebattleostrich Mon 27-Feb-17 17:58:52

I'm going to sound arsey here but heyho.

How about trans people solve the problems. How about we just say no to them. They can't compete against their new (or old) gender so if they want to compete they can come up with a solution. But that solution isn't women move over.

BevGoldbergsSister Mon 27-Feb-17 18:02:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Evergreen777 Mon 27-Feb-17 18:04:18

Don't they have quite strict rules already, linked to chromosomes (so you must be XX to compete in women's events)? And I presume hormones that a male to female trans would take would be on the banned list already.

I read about some cases where women athletes had been disqualified because they failed a sex test - turned out they were some form of intersex. Not as rare as you might think among top women athletes because of the physical advantages of male attributes. I don't think the women concerned that I read about were cheats, as far as anyone knew - I think they'd been unaware of being intersex until tested. But basically if they can't compete as women I would assume trans people can't either.

I'd guess that amateur teams can make their own minds up, and some sports don't discriminate between men and women so they can still do sport if they want

FriendlyPolecat Mon 27-Feb-17 18:16:05

Caster Semenya has an advantage and isn't trans but has been allowed to compete against other females anyway. I thought it was a wrong decision but, whatever

Datun Mon 27-Feb-17 18:18:04

The woman that won that wrestling match was transitioning to male and was taking testosterone. It was only allowed because there is exemption for 'medical reasons'. It was unfair on the female competitors because testosterone gave her a greater advantage.

I would be very interested to see whether she starts winning against natal born men, once her transition is complete.

In Iran, where homosexuality is illegal and there are there quite a few transwomen who would ordinarily just be gay men, at least half the women's football team is made up of transwomen.

And yes, I agree there should be a third category. How they divide that up into where they are on their transition and what drugs they have taken would be for them to decide.

Personally, I would get right behind it, but I don't think it is something that the trans community wants.

Datun Mon 27-Feb-17 18:22:06


Don't they have quite strict rules already, linked to chromosomes (so you must be XX to compete in women's events)? And I presume hormones that a male to female trans would take would be on the banned list already.

No, transwomen can compete with women and transmen can compete with men. It is all in the International Olympic Committee guidelines.

As far as I understand it if you are a man identifying as a woman and you want to compete with the women you have to have a testosterone level below a certain amount. But, I believe that maximum amount is a good deal higher than most natal born women's testosterone. Not to mention muscle mass and skeletal differences.

Annahibiscuits Mon 27-Feb-17 18:22:37

I agree with vestal and Glen

It either needs to be a mother category (which they can campaign for) or accept that it's not possible

You must realise the implications when you commit to a lifetime of artificial hormones?

ErrolTheDragon Mon 27-Feb-17 18:22:37

'What is the answer? The only one I can think of is that competitors with modified bodies are not able to compete with non-modified competitors'

That seems like the only solution to me, too. The sports bodies are going to have more cases like Pistorius where enabling technical modifications are advantageous, so they will need clarity there. Same should go for hormonal modification.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 27-Feb-17 18:24:11

It either needs to be a mother category

I assume that was a typo rather than a mum's only category... grin

FloraFox Mon 27-Feb-17 18:31:00

I agree with glen. I think the doping rules should be clarified so that women taking testosterone for any reason which puts them outside the normal range for women should not be able to compete in women's sports. MTTs should not compete in women's sports. If trans people want to organize their own sports events it's up to them how they make the rules.

joystir59 Mon 27-Feb-17 18:33:52

I agree with 'No'. I do not agree with women moving being outrun by men who claim to be women.

Mide7 Mon 27-Feb-17 18:34:18

I think a third category as well but am happy to let the IOC decide on their sports based in evidence.

Altho I think the "unfair advantage" argument is an odd one. Sport is based on unfair advantage, you wouldn't have a winner if no one had an advantage.

TrojanWhore Mon 27-Feb-17 18:35:15

Under the same rules as intersex people

(these rules already exist)

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 27-Feb-17 18:36:37

The unfair advantage is beyond that of any woman though, that's the issue. MTT have an advantage because they are not the same sex as women, rather than being an exceptionally talented/hard training woman.

Annahibiscuits Mon 27-Feb-17 18:37:55

The difference is 'unfair' surely mide

FloJo set the 100m Womens world record in 1988. In the last Olympics every man that ran, beat her time

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 27-Feb-17 18:43:00

Those who think that doping/testosterone is the only consideration for MTT competing against women - do you discount totally the skeletal, muscular and other physiological differences between MTT and women?

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