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Lia Thomas & Trans Sports Debate


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On 2/18/2022 at 10:27 AM, Guest said:

. ..What if in someone else's mind, simply suggesting equal treatment is "pushing too hard"? ...If that's the proverbial bullet, what would the proverbial knife be as an alternative to suggesting equal treatment??? 😖


Suggesting a subtle change of perspective. For instance, in the course of conversation it may be possible to determine something that will strike a chord with the other person, and evoke their sense of empathy - a putting yourself in the other person's shoes type of realization. 


It seems to me that most people do not spend much time seeking to know themselves better. So, when they encounter someone who has, they may react with fear (of the unknown). If someone is fearful, and you confront them, they are likely to recoil or attack. What people do not realize is that not having to deeply investigate your gender (or sexuality) is a privilege. It's my hope that with skilled education, more people will gain this perspective. 


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In my opinion, opposition to Lia Thomas is less about fairness and more about protecting the benefits of Title IX for women's' sports. I am far more concerned about the children that are being impacted by these silly competition bans for children than I am for this one case.


Is fairness in competition a legitimate concern, I absolutely believe that it is a valid issue. I'll reiterate that there has been very little research done on the topic of transgender athletic performance in general; let alone of in the presence of HRT. We really don't know if there is a significant performance advantage. In lieu of that, I would expect performance levels to drop while on hrt. I have yet to see a comparison of her swim times while competing as a male and this year, which may give a clue.


In this case particular case, the NCAA abdicated responsibility and left to the various governing bodies of the sports in the US. I believe this was a positive result. The sports are much better equipped than the NCAA to create and monitor rules. The NCAA cares a bout money period. USA swimming does have a policy for transgender athletes. I believe it does have a limit on testosterone levels and a need to be under those levels for a set period. I think it was 3 years. The policy requires testing for the athlete. I don't know that cis-women are held to the same testosterone standard. Lia would not have qualified under that policy for the NCAA championships. USA Swimming chose to allow her to compete. I can empathize with the athlete who was moved  out an award position by Lia's participation, however, she was allowed to compete and performed at a high level.


I think is reasonable to expect a person who gone through puberty on a male hormones to have some strength and size advantages than a person who has not. I don't believe we can quantify that at the current time. I also don't think we can project what the difference would be for any given individual depending on the hormone set for puberty. I don't accept the argument that LIA can never compete fairly because she went through 'male' puberty because that is a perpetual advantage.


I agree that there is bigotry driving this. However, I think the need is to advocate for research to answer some these human performance questions. Transgender people should be able to compete in the sports of there choice. The real question is whether they are able to fairly compete for championships and records, at the moment we just don't know the answers.


Please let the children play!



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As some of you have mentioned above, the lines between "male" and "female" attributes are incredibly blurry. It is practically impossible to pick one trait to say "men are like this and women are like that, and therefore anyone like this should not be allowed to compete against other women". If you base it on height, there's bound to be a cis woman that is taller than the cutoff. If it's muscle mass, there's definitely cis girls out there that have more of it than most trans women. And we've seen hormone levels used to discriminate against cis athletes too, just look at what happened to Caster Semenya. 


So many of these arguments for why trans women should not be allowed to compete in women's sports uphold sexist, racist ideals of womanhood. They persecute any woman that does not fit into this incredibly limited mold.


Often times, these arguments for why trans women should not be allowed to compete come from a concern for fairness. "Women should not be forced to compete against men, it's just not fair, they have no way of winning" Well why not? These arguments against trans athletes minimize the athletic prowess of women. Rather than breaking down gender stereotypes that women are just naturally inferior to men, so many transphobes double down on this idea in an attempt to uphold their bigotry. 


I forget the name of the book, but I once read a very persuasive argument for the desegregation of sports on the basis of sex. Rather than grasping at straws to find ways to exclude trans people from sports, we should be working to create opportunities for athletes to compete with others of the same skill level. Think of how wrestling has different weight classes. If there's is a way to allow athletes regardless of gender to compete against others of similar skill (or body types if that's truly a concern), we should be working to find that. An approach like this would also help combat the pay inequality between professional athletes in men's and women's leagues as well, but that's another conversation altogether. 


Of course, I'm no athlete, so I'm sure there's more nuance to this argument than what I've given it. However, as a feminist and someone who cares about gender equality, I balk at anyone trying to define what separates a man from a woman. Radical as it may sound, if we really want a world where trans people can be accepted, arbitrary segregation based on sex or gender is not really something that we should be advocating for at all. 


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I would have to say that I am in favor of universal sports.  Girls already participate in wrestling successfully.  There are girls (not many) playing American football.  If you ever watch girls playing elite level softball you have to realize they are perfectly capable of playing baseball.  They don’t because the teams won’t allow them, not because the can’t.  They have had baseball players try to hit a fast pitch ball and they can’t.  It because the fast pitch comes across the plate at over 100mph.


Given the opportunity girls trans or cis, could all be competitive.  But something I feel strongly about is kids should be allowed to get the medical care they need, especially puberty blockers.  Then women sports would have transgender girls then no one could complain because they wouldn’t have an advantage.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Such a controversial conversation.  I am mtf and a basketball coach at a high level. I am torn on what is right or what should be the rules involved. I do believe all should have opportunity to compete. There is some advantage, especially short term but that advantage definately diminishes over time the longer a person is on hormones.  I think is a mtf has bottom surgery then 100% should eligible immediately. If they haven't had surgery then the question arises how long on hormones is mandated to allow that athlete to compete. Complicated and I am not a doctor so won't take a stab at that one. I just want all to have opportunity regardless of gender and identity. Thanks! Marka


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Physiologically, there are average differences between an individual who was AMAB, and a someone who was AFAB. There is a greater muscle mass in most AMABs. The thoracic cavity is usually larger. The lung capacity is increased. This allows for increased endurance. Where things split is in the issue of which puberty you go through. There is no reason at all why AMAB who transition at the time of puberty to be female to be barred from competing on the girls team. The differences are negligible other than not having a uterus or ovaries. 


What makes the Lia Thomas issue unique is that you have someone who very likely would have been very competitive even if they had transitioned at the age of puberty as she is tall, and lean. She had the advantage that she had been competing for at least 10 years as a male, and then had the combined effect of testosterone with her previously developed musculature and endurance. It is very tough call to sit her down and explain this to her, and get her to realize this prior to competing. 


Right, wrong, or indifferent, her wins increased a level of anti-trans sentiment in every sector for us who do not have visions of suddenly competing in women's sports. Then again, watching many of the female golfers, I believe most of them could clean our clocks on any course.


Now we are combatting a tidal wave of anti-trans sentiment lead by the propaganda machine at Fox News and a number of ill-informed news pundits, politicians, and influencers who have no idea about anything related to being transgender, other than they do not like it. There was already a number of anti-trans sentiment drummed up in the last few years. I just looked at one of my insurance policies last night. The one company(United Health Care) as of 4/1/22) has pared back their coverage to only cover the gender affirmation surgery. They consider any other procedures on your face, breasts, or body, cosmetic. It harkens back to the days about 30 years ago when everything was considered cosmetic. These idiots think we must be playing dress-up. I am fortunate that I have another insurer that covers the other procedures. I am dropping the UHC policy as soon as I can. They make me sick with their attitude.


I am not sure what the answers are. Other than the anti-trans groups that I have already mentioned, I have had tremendous support from colleagues, my employers, students, and friends. I had one small group on my mother's side of the family that likes to wear their MAGA hats and attitudes on their sleeve. Given their acceptance, they may as well be the Taliban to me.


There was recently a really good article in the Golf Digest called The Wrong Tees about a young transgender male name Luc who wanted to play high school golf, but is being barred by the anti-trans laws in Tennessee. It was a great article that talked about the very thing a I have stated above. Luc does not have any physical advantages, however, he is an excellent golfer because he practices all the time. Barring him from playing sickens me. Lia Thomas may have won some trophies, but at what cost to the transgender children who are growing up? 


Sadder yet, is that in the mid-term elections, we are likely to see a tsunami of anti-trans legislation that will likely overrun any vetoes. I am scared about the future. I cannot go back to who I was. Unfortunately, we do not have enough people listening nationally right now that can tilt this thing around. Look at what DeSantis is doing to Disney after they came out against the "Do not say gay law". DeSantis and his henchmen are going to make an example out of Disney without any regard to the consequences. The only thing missing is the secret police wearing armbands. Look at Abbott in Texas, who declared that providing your child with transgender care was child abuse. Where does this insane stuff end? 





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The minute the symbols for money or money valued items such as scholarships or commercial "sports" entertainment contracts pop up we get every beer can popping, arm chair jockey or wanna-be athlete parents screaming about unfair competition. If their money is involved, if you win, it is great, if you lose, the game was rigged unfairly against you.  In places where the money is not the goal, even remotely, we have a much better chance of the activity benefiting the person and all their team mates for social reasons. 


I have lived down the street from a Little League (Plague) Baseball Field and have seen and heard parents berating their children primarily for being growing kids who shamed the parents by being a gracious non-winner.

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