The male physique

The New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is set to make history and headlines, plus a considerable amount of controversy, after being confirmed as the first transgender athlete to ever compete at the Olympic Games.

The 43-year-old will be a live medal contender when she competes in the
women’s super heavyweight category on 2 August.

That’s a decade and more older than most of the other competitors. Which is a useful if very rough guide to that difference in the male physique. To give competitors 10 years and still be competitive?

Gold medallists at this weight have been, since 2000 when the category started, 21, 25, 25, 24, 27.

But of course there’s no such things as sex or even biology, is there?

28 thoughts on “The male physique”

  1. I am genuinely surprised, I’d have thought that in such a sport, the lady contenders would be in their 30s.

    In other sports, eg gymnastics the girls are rarely above 20 and Rebecca Adlington was past it at 25 !

  2. Apparently, he/she ‘transitioned’ in his 30s. By which time he’d had plenty of time to build up a big strong male physique.

  3. The problem with your (gracious host) obsession with The Trans Issue is that the stuff like this gets mixed in with the nonsense about people insisting that lesbians must sleep with women with penises.

    Putting aside that there is at least one vocal nutter on Twitter for every bad opinion, approximately nobody thinks lesbians who don’t date trans men are bigots. It’s just not a thing outside of the nutters and the people who want to claim that everyone is nuts.

    How (and, indeed, if) we should accomodate trans women in sport is a very real issue that plenty of people who are entirely on board the trans-rights train recognise is a serious problem because, no matter what some believe, and other simply wish to be true, there are a lot of risks to women (trans and cis) and to the integrity of women’s sports.. and no easy answers. Science can give some pointers but what we are seeing with our eyes shows that the fears of biologically female athletes are legitimate and someone’s ‘rights’ are probably going to have to be curtailed.

    By all means use this as material for another swipe at the woke class. Your gaff etc, and it’s good for clicks. But it’s just cheap digs and straw men. Most people do recognise the complexity and if this athlete competes and wins in the olympics it won’t be universally welcome even amongst people ordinarily in favour of trans people being able to get on with being whatever gender they believe they are.

    My take.. this is for the women’s sports bodies to work out. Rather them than me, for sure.

    I know nobody cares.. but there was a time when I’d have been open to these requests for financial support of these pages. These days the host is as obsessed with trans people as any of the actual gobby trans rights advocates, and the commentariat have gone Full Trump. This place is a shadow of what it used to be.

  4. Nigel, there’s no easy answers is not the same as we should run with stupid answers.

    Why would any woman born as such bother even starting weightlifting?

    If you set out to kill women’s sports, you couldn’t find a better way.

  5. there are a lot of risks to women (trans and cis) and to the integrity of women’s sports.. and no easy answers.

    The easiest answer, and the starting point, should be those born male play in male sports and those born female play in female sports.

  6. @Nigel: Our gracious host is right to push back on this issue when the usual suspects (Guardian, BBC, Independent) report the matter without comment or criticism. For many people this is not so much a transfer issue as a question of fair play.

  7. If we have to accommodate trans athletes then surely it’s simple enough to introduce weight classes into every event. The trans women might be a bit less pleased with themselves when they find they’re the only ones competing in their event/class. But then that is still accepting that sex is a social construct.

  8. You do seem to have slightly missed the actual view put forward here by me – whether I’m gracious or not is another matter. Yes, there are sometimes squibs just to jab a point.

    But the actual, properly laid out, point has been that akin to the male and female divide itself. There are times, most of them, when the distinction doesn’t matter, even is harmful to make. As PJ O’Rourke said, perhaps when trading bonds (although there are fun things to say about single sex and mixed groups there with regards to risk appetites). There are times when the distinction, the discrimination, is essential – PJO’R, when making babies.

    This is also true of trans issues. Someone wishes to live as the other sex – or perhaps gender. Someone believes they are this other. Shrug, OK, and in vast areas of life it’s not only not necessary to discriminate about this but is positively harmful to civil liberty, politesse and perhaps even civilisation to do so. In some other areas it is vital that the distinction is made.

    The big question is, well, what are those vital areas where the discrimination must be made? What are the edge cases which illustrate this?

    I’m at one edge of this conversation. The liberal and free end of it. There are very few areas where the distinction has to be made, those are only where there is some significant third party harm resulting from not making the distinction, the discrimination. Male wedding tackle in a female prison perhaps (please note, perhaps), male physique in women’s sport – for the very reason we have women’s sport as a category is that male physique problem.

    Other than that these are other peoples’ lives, who the hell am I to tell anyone how to live it?

    I don’t, in the slightest, worry about you disagreeing with me. But I would hope that you’d bother to grasp my actual views before doing so.

  9. To cement the moment in history she’ll need a trans power salute on the podium. May i suggest -a lace gloved fist held outwards at right angles to the groin.

  10. The Meissen Bison

    Nigel: the fears of biologically female athletes are legitimate and someone’s ‘rights’ are probably going to have to be curtailed

    The difficulty I have with this even-handed approach is that it suggests a degree of equivalence between the ‘rights’ of women and trans-women whereas the demands of trans-women are an incursion upon the traditional and long-established ‘rights’ of women

  11. If anyone’s rights are to be curtailed it ought to be the rights of nutters & perverts who think wearing a dress and calling themselves Doris makes them a woman. We spend far too much time pandering to these toxic mentalists.

    I don’t even agree with Tim’s ‘people may live as they choose unless harm is done’ attitude. Pretending mad people are not mad is, well… mad.

  12. I honestly appreciate that response and I understand what you are saying. You are not wrong and there are good reasons for people to be worried about how some of these issues are getting treated in the mainstream.

    But there’s a lot of ‘trans content’ here and the crowd you’re playing to is.. mixed.. with regards to it’s enthusiasm for a good faith exploration of the complex ends of this issue. That’s why it comes across as something else.

    Just one moron’s two penneth, anyhow.

  13. I believe a considerable amount of spoofing is going on here.

    His personal bests, whether as a 20 year old bloke or competing as a woman now, are still some 15kg off the current female world records for both the snatch and the clean & jerk.

    Even allowing for the fact that only one competitor is allowed per country if by some remote chance he medals it will be by lifting over 2 stone less than the winner.

    As a result expect to hear “see, there was never anything to worry about you bigots” repeated ad nauseam.

  14. The Pedant-General

    Nigel has an extremely valid point, cogently and politely made.

    But I just can’t help having a monster coffee-over-keyboard guffaw and “the snatch and the clean & jerk” in this context….

    I’ll get my coat.

  15. I am now a woman called Doris.
    Ok, fine.
    Be sure to use the correct pronouns.
    Yes, yes, whatever.
    And I want to compete against women half my size.
    Fuck the fuck off you sad fucking nutter.

  16. Which is why Nigel’s take “this is for women’s sports bodies to sort out” is woefully inadequate when said bodies are unwilling to protect the rights of their sole constituency to engage in fair and equal competition.

  17. I love it when someone comes to the comments to say that “this place is a shadow of what it used to be”. I might even try to take his advice to go woke and stop praising that horrible orange man. But I am afraid I laughed out loud while reading his pearl-clutching homily…. Oooo it’s so difficult

  18. Those antipodeans, eh? IIRC Australia had a really great fast bowler called Lillian Thompson….

    (Tee hee)

  19. Ken I am less surprised by the male ages, early 20s are when men should be at their peak.

    I think the matter that this guy’s personal best is 15kg off the world best makes it even worse.

    It is strange about womens’ athletics, there doesn’t seem to be the progression as in the mens’ competition. I sure that there are still British records of the wonderful Kathy Smallwood unbroken, not to mention FloJo ( whatever one thinks of her use of supplements).

  20. . . . women (trans and cis) . . .

    That the vast majority of normal people are now being defined by the adopted nomenclature of a miniscule minority is an indication that this issue is all about the “culture wars”, which is to say the fight against cultural Marxism and its battle to undermine our civilisation. “Trans” and “cis” are terms of maths, science and engineering; they are not useful or appropriate self-references for a civilised, sexually dimorphic species. Male and female, men and women, boys and girls – these are just fine and have been since the dawn of language.

    To summarise the increasingly red-pilled Bill Maher, China is taking over the world and we’re arguing about whether Mr Potato Head has a dick. The “trans” issue is bullshit and will utterly fail. The West will either throw it off its back or be crushed by people who throw the “trans” off buildings. It certainly won’t be decided by pontificatingly polite Nigels and earnestly liberal Tims.

    . . . and no easy answers.

    We have an easy answer. There are male sports and female sports, exclusively. Laurel Hubbard is a male and cannot compete in female sports. His rights are not curtailed because he has no right to compete in female sports.

  21. women (trans and cis)

    Yes, this is how normal people who are keen to donate money to support the running of the blog definitely talk.

  22. I remember when we wouldn’t let Soviets compete for doing exactly this.

    Sounds like the West needs to turn over a lot of gold medals to the Eastern Bloc countries in reparations.

  23. “there’s a lot of ‘trans content’ here ” according to Nige. Nope. There isn’t. It pops up every now then, but economics and other railings against wokisms is the stuff that there is a lot of.

  24. The Meissen Bison

    PJF: “Trans” and “cis” are terms of maths, science and engineering

    Also for the un-STEM, geographic prefixes for the Romans: cis – this side of (e.g. the Alps) trans – the far side of and ultra – beyond

    So in the same vein, let’s brace ourselves for the day that Stonewall starts activisting for necrophiliacs’ freedom to associate with ultra-women.

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