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Daily Telegraph article about transwomen in sport

(63 Posts)
HollowTalk Thu 23-Jul-20 17:44:35

Anyone seen this? I could only read a bit of it as I don't subscribe to the DT. It sounds like it's a very positive article by a transwoman called Diana Thomas.

OP’s posts: |
Clonakilty Thu 23-Jul-20 17:51:37

I’m transgender. I’m a fierce defender of the rights of transwomen, and a doughty opponent of anti-trans prejudice. Yet I still believe that World Rugby would be right to ban transwomen from female rugby on safety grounds.

I entirely understand why female sportswomen are furious that they have to compete against people who have grown up as males. And I think that trans campaigners who insist on the right to compete against natal women are harming the cause of trans women as a whole.

Now that I have provoked the Twittersphere into an orgy of loathing, let me explain why I am apparently being a traitor to my cause.

As transwomen, we have to own who we once were, as much as we celebrate who we are now. And anyone who has ever acquired a post-adolescent male body is at a huge advantage to anyone who hasn’t.

Just compare the current English Under-17 boys’ records for all the athletics events from 100m to 1500m to the winning times of the women at the 2016 Olympics. Our lads would have beaten the cream of the world’s female athletes at every event, except the 100m hurdles. And most races wouldn’t even have been close.

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For example, the boys’ 800m record, set in 2017 by Max Burgin, stands at 1:50.24. The 2016 Olympic women's 800m was won by Caster Semenya, who is the most controversial female athlete on the planet because she is allegedly too much like a man, in 1:55.38.

Yes, the woman who many other women want banned from athletics because she’s so much better than them was five whole seconds slower than a male schoolboy.

Not only are males faster than women, they’re bigger too. To be precise, the average British male is more than two stone (13.4kg) heavier and six inches (13.7cm) taller than the average woman.

To return to rugby, if the taller, heavier, faster male hits the smaller, lighter, slower female, there is only ever going to be one winner. And the loser may take a while getting up.

"Ah," you may say, "but any trans woman who is allowed to compete in a female sporting event has been on female hormones and, quite literally, isn’t the man they were."

Well, nor am I.

I have taken female hormones for more than two years. My oestrogen is at normal female levels and my testosterone is well within the IAAF and IOC limits for female competitors. Were I young, fit and talented, I would be available for selection as a woman for Team GB at Tokyo 2021.

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In fact, I’m a sedentary 61 year-old. But having once been male, my body-fat is much lower than the female average and my skeletal and muscle mass are much higher (they are regularly tested as part of my transition process). I’m also 6ft tall.

I’m therefore much stronger than most natal women my age. A fit, highly trained transwomen in her twenties would likewise have an unfair advantage over natal women her age.

This is where trans athletes and campaigners understandably talk about their rights. Why should they be denied the right to pursue their sporting dreams, just because their psychological gender is at odds with the bodies they were born with?

I sympathise with their longing to compete. I recognise their womanhood. But rights, like sport, are competitive. Sportswomen have their own right to fair competition. And trans women have an unfair advantage.

Sport is a zero-sum game: every medal won by a transwoman is one less won by a natal woman. A generation of female British competitors was denied Olympic and World Championship medals by Soviet Bloc competitors powered by illegally administered testosterone.

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The possibility that a new generation might lose out to transwomen is making enemies out of a lot of women who would otherwise support us. It’s not doing the trans cause any good at all.

We all have to make hard choices. If I had a child who, like the young Caitlin (Bruce) Jenner, was both trans and a brilliant athlete, I would tell them that they had a choice.

They could put their transition on hold long enough to fulfil their sporting dreams and then become the woman they have always been inside. Or they could prioritise their transition, become that woman sooner, and enjoy their sport as a recreation.

Would that give them everything they want, when they want it? No.

But just ask a woman, it’s really hard to have it all.

Diana Thomas is Magazine Columnist of the Year. Her weekly column, 'A New Woman: My Transgender Diary' is in the Telegraph Magazine every Saturday

HollowTalk Thu 23-Jul-20 17:55:53

Thanks for this!

OP’s posts: |
OneEpisode Thu 23-Jul-20 18:00:01

Diana is the DT columnist we’ve heard from before I think? The one writing about the new breasts reaction to descending stairs?

Binterested Thu 23-Jul-20 18:01:29

Cannot bear Diana Thomas but this is ok.

Also this:

We all have to make hard choices. If I had a child who, like the young Caitlin (Bruce) Jenner, was both trans and a brilliant athlete, I would tell them that they had a choice. They could put their transition on hold long enough to fulfil their sporting dreams and then become the woman they have always been inside. Or they could prioritise their transition, become that woman sooner, and enjoy their sport as a recreation

Funny how the notional child is a boy who wants to become a girl. So has sporting prowess. No one would ever have to play this game with a girl who wanted to become a boy - because girls never have and never could get an unfair advantage over boys when it comes to physicality - either sporting or reproductive.

Men and boys have physical strength and power and don't have the reproductive organs that will slow them down, hurt them, involve them in pregnancies, miscarriages, abortions, breastfeeding, mastitis, menopause, endometriosis and on and on and on.

Women's physicality is what makes us women. After that we are just people. Funny how you partly get that Diana. But basically really don't.

WinterIsGone Thu 23-Jul-20 18:07:09

Diana Thomas is Magazine Columnist of the Year. Her weekly column, 'A New Woman: My Transgender Diary' is in the Telegraph Magazine every Saturday
Not the subject of the thread, but when was DT awarded Magazine Columnist of the Year, and which awards association? Is that a pending award? It looks like it appears in the original article, but I can't see it now.

WinterIsGone Thu 23-Jul-20 18:08:00

(Or perhaps it's because I'm not a subscriber)

OhHolyJesus Thu 23-Jul-20 18:11:40

DT is the resident trans columnist at the Telegraph who once wrote a book called "A case in defence of men" or something.

DT may well consider Thomaself trans but DT is no expect in sport, much less women's sport. The Telegraph is just getting their money's worth.

PumbaasCucumbas Thu 23-Jul-20 18:14:07

Do you think this is a “no skin in the game” opinion, a realisation that the sports issue is “saying the quiet bits loud” or just common sense?

The bit that jumped out at me is the advice to delay transitioning into the “woman you were always meant to be” until after you’ve achieved greatness in a particular field as a man... It slightly contradicts the twaw, most oppressed narrative doesn’t it?

Almost like saying “go to Eaton then Oxford, then an old boys club internship at an investment bank. marry a model, let her birth and raise 2 kids for you, buy a Ferrari.... and then “become the woman you were always meant to be”.

WeeBisom Thu 23-Jul-20 18:17:44

I'm really worried that no trans women in female sports will be a hard won concession that is granted to women, while all the other madness remains in place. Thanks for this, Diana, but we also really need trans women out of all female only spaces. Diana is a massive sports fan so probably has a real sense of the unfairness, but they don't seem to care too much about going into women's bathrooms and women's spaces in general.

ScrimpshawTheSecond Thu 23-Jul-20 18:55:16

Seems to be from the PPA, that award. 'Professional Publishers Association'

This is lifted from the blurb (verbatim): 'PPA Managing Director, Owen Meredith, who hosted the virtual show with assistance from ‘Red Carpet Corespondent’ Lucie Cave, commented:

“Congratulations to all our winners and everyone shortlisted. This year saw nearly 400 entries for these converted awards which truly set the benchmark for excellence in our industry. '

What is a converted award?

OldCrone Thu 23-Jul-20 19:05:36

The bit that jumped out at me is the advice to delay transitioning into the “woman you were always meant to be” until after you’ve achieved greatness in a particular field as a man

I think that's good advice if it helps to stop children from being drugged as soon as they hit puberty.

And it's also showing transition as an adult 'choice', rather than something that people have to do otherwise they'll kill themselves. Nobody should be trying to make anyone else give up their rights to help people who are simply making a lifestyle choice.

Bufferingkisses Thu 23-Jul-20 19:07:02

Funny how the notional child is a boy who wants to become a girl. So has sporting prowess. No one would ever have to play this game with a girl who wanted to become a boy - because girls never have and never could get an unfair advantage over boys when it comes to physicality - either sporting or reproductive.

This doesn't make sense, the same argument works the other way round. For a ftm transition the female would also have to put off the transition to pursue their sporting dream before becoming "the man they always were" to be able to achieve their potential - or accept pursuing their sport as a hobby. Surely it's the same result?

Datun Thu 23-Jul-20 19:09:44

Do you think this is a “no skin in the game” opinion

My opinion is, yes.

Late transitioning man who will never play sport doesn't mind segregation of sport.

Binterested Thu 23-Jul-20 19:30:02

Sorry I didn’t explain what I meant. I just meant the conflict would not exist. Because the girl would not be able to outperform by transitioning. Because they gain access to no new spaces and win no new prizes. MTF potentially gain all sorts. So DT is right to tell men not to transition because they get an unfair advantage. Girls get no such unfair advantage.

It just reinforces to me how much this is about using might to get what you want and all DT is really saying is get your male stuff first and then go and get the female stuff. Don’t get the female stuff first or you’ll make us look bad. But get all the stuff.

highame Thu 23-Jul-20 19:35:55

I do not believe any transwoman should be competing against any woman in sport. Nice piece but I'll decide for myself thanks

StandUpStraight Thu 23-Jul-20 20:19:59

That columnist is very much “TWAW and look at my beautiful dress”. My own view is that they realise that no reasonable person would countenance male bodies in women’s rugby, and so make this concession in the name of staying on The Right Side of History, in the hope of being able to keep all the other bits of “womanhood”. However, effectively conceding that you’re a man in a rugby game but not anywhere else is pretty fatal to the rest of the house of cards.

PumbaasCucumbas Thu 23-Jul-20 20:23:11

Old Crone, i think most of us would agree with that for the reasons you said, though I don’t think this is DTs reasoning.

I suppose in a climate of almost entirely affirmative culture for kids/teens who believe themselves to be trans, choosing sport over transitioning at that age may save some from something they’ll later regret.

Mumsnut Thu 23-Jul-20 20:38:06

The message is definitely ‘lose the battle to win the war’

Though in DT’s latest column , they look forward to having their penis removed ASAP which made me warm to DP a bit more

OldCrone Thu 23-Jul-20 20:39:52

I'm sure it's not DT's reasoning. But I still think any transgender person who says (a) children should be encouraged to grow to adulthood before considering medical transition and (b) transition is a lifestyle choice so can be put off until such time as it is convenient/gives the best advantage should be encouraged in these views. So well done to DT for this article. DT should now be prepared to be considered transphobic by the most extreme TRAs.

Musto Thu 23-Jul-20 20:43:08

Datun

*Do you think this is a “no skin in the game” opinion*

My opinion is, yes.

Late transitioning man who will never play sport doesn't mind segregation of sport.

The possibility that a new generation might lose out to transwomen is making enemies out of a lot of women who would otherwise support us. It’s not doing the trans cause any good at all.

Late transitioning man who will never play sports only thinks women could have this concession made because it serves their cause, not women.

talesofginza Thu 23-Jul-20 21:02:17

@WeeBisom I think it could also go the other way. General acknowledgement and recognition in policy that the average transwoman can easily physically overpower a woman in sports--also after hormones-- could also increase appreciation that this capacity to physically overpower women also justifies other female-only spaces. I have yet to speak to a man who doesn't find the notion of transwomen in women's sports indefensible and ridiculous -- so I'm not sure it will be such a hard concession to win with respect to the majority.

YouUnlockedTheGateAnd Thu 23-Jul-20 21:51:11

Almost like saying “go to Eaton then Oxford, then an old boys club internship at an investment bank. marry a model, let her birth and raise 2 kids for you, buy a Ferrari.... and then “become the woman you were always meant to be

Makes me think of the quote on here about running yourself a nice warm bath of someone else’s oppression and settling in for a long slow wank.

SerenadeOfTheSchoolRun Thu 23-Jul-20 22:10:59

Almost like saying “go to Eaton then Oxford, then an old boys club internship at an investment bank. marry a model, let her birth and raise 2 kids for you, buy a Ferrari.... and then “become the woman you were always meant to be

No it isn’t- For those things you are better off being a man. In men’s sport everyone is a man so it is a level playing field. The advantage would be if a trans woman was in women’s sport. Unless you are saying that sport generally is better for men. Maybe it is. Certainly more lucrative.

What would your advice be to a trans woman who was good at sport? Is the answer to transition and stick with the men’s team? Would you allow a trans man on testosterone to be in women’s sport?

Lots of people seem to be so black and white on all sorts of issues at the moment. There are always two sides to things. It would be frustrating to be a trans sports person - no easy answers.

SerenadeOfTheSchoolRun Thu 23-Jul-20 22:16:44

You can’t argue that people can’t change sex and then say that they shouldn’t compete as a man if they are thinking of transitioning in the future because they would be taking advantage of male privilege.

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