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Ah, now, but yes, there’s a problem

At the first stress test of his promise, Coe’s rhetoric has come unstuck. Far from defending fair competition for women, his organisation has formulated a proposal that would debase the very notion. If it is approved in March – and the official line is that this is not a fait accompli – it would not simply be a betrayal of female athletes. It would, quite frankly, be gutless leadership.

Yes, trans and sports. Obviously, birth sex, your gender doesn’t matter a damn – gender being that social construct.

According to consultation documents revealed by Telegraph Sport, the governing body’s preferred option is to allow transgender athletes and those with differences in sexual development (DSDs) to compete in female events, so long as their testosterone is reduced below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for two years.

Now, whether that’s the right number or not isn’t my point. But the rules are going to have to be of that order. Because “differences in sexual development”.

Can’t recall what Caster Semenya’s thing is but absolutely no one is claiming that she’s gone off and had tackle removed etc. Rather – I think, without looking it up – she’s androgen insensitive or summat? And if she isn’t then there are others who are. XY, but the insensitivity means the testosterone produces no reaction and so the default human development happens, to female. Testes in place of ovaries – and in the place of ovaries – and development of vagina, subcutaneous fat on the hips and all the rest.

OK, so we’re trying to be fair here. Identified as female at birth – identified, not allocated – and often, until puberty and the absence of menarche no one knows any different.


So how do we build our category then? “Women” who are here, non-women who are there?

There is in fact no answer here. Sure, tackle slicing can be dealt with easily enough. But there really are edge cases. And we’re going to be unfair to some on either side of that edge whatever we do. So, which set of edge people are we going to be unfair to? Testosterone levels might be the least bad method. Maybe.

The real point here being that we need some distinction to be made because that’s the whole point of having women’s sport, a distinction is being made. And merely “no tackle slicers” isn’t good enough as a distinction. So, what is?

16 thoughts on “Ah, now, but yes, there’s a problem”

  1. And we’re going to be unfair to some on either side of that edge whatever we do.

    Sorry but life is unfair and sports governing bodies have a duty not put the wishes of a teeny tiny number of clinically unfortunate individuals before those of 50% of the human race seeking to compete against their peers.

    Incidentally many of the same people who rightly despise what are now proved to have been hideously harmful medical treatments which produced hefty biological but chemically enhanced Eastern European ladies in the 1960s and 70s, ladies whose records have now rightly been expunged from the record books (although the unfeasible achievements of other ladies “coached” by Bob Kersee have been allowed to stand), are insistent that just the right level of chemicals will now make it fine and dandy for biological dudes to be treated as dudettes and thereby dominate events intended for the XX brigade. In those days making an athlete infertile due to chemical intervention was viewed as an abomination, nowadays it’s an aspiration.

  2. I’ve probably commented this here before, but the transgenders have been seized by the “progressives” as a minority only they care for, while all you horrible people are cruel to them. Because Lefties find it so much easier to make themselves GOOD by pointing out how evil YOU are.
    This has trapped so much of 21st century society, because who wants to look evil?

    Lefties are so used to believing 983 different, mutually exclusive things at once, that they really don’t see a problem calling that bloke over there, with a lunch box like Linford Christie, a woman.
    And if she’s a woman, only you evil bastards would stop her competing against other women.

    Of course, this means sport among persons with a cervix is a bit boring, but hey man, I can read Marx without dozing off!

  3. How about going the boxing route? Classes by T production, you only compete in your own class, regardless of what you dress up as. So, East German Brunhilda can compete against that chap in Cornton Vale, but not against Frank Bruno or Twiggy.

  4. I wonder if there’s a bit of a gravy train of retired dentists, pharmacists and GPs travelling the world to sporting events and taking and analysing blood samples while there for hormones and drugs. So Seb is providing more work for them, and then they can see a prostitute.

  5. I think – though recognise that edge cases are difficult – that it all depends on the sex development pathway people are on. Caster Semenya is someone who has testes, no womb or uterus and so is male so should be racing in that category.

  6. At this rate women’s sport is in danger of paralympicised. 10 people progressing down a track each one of them with a different handicap – as in an actual handicap and a sporting handicap. So much so its really not that interesting as a spectacle however well it embodies the sporting ethos.

    How about taking a leaf out of horseracing? An actual handicapper trying to even things up as much as possible aiming to get everyone at the finish line simultaneously… e.g. exceed the T level? ok carry this weight, or wear these shoes, or start here not there?

  7. According to consultation documents revealed by Telegraph Sport, the governing body’s preferred option is to allow transgender athletes and those with differences in sexual development (DSDs) to compete in female events, so long as their testosterone is reduced below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for two years.

    It matters not one jot what the “lady’s” testosterone levels are at the present time. What matters is whether said “lady” actually exited puberty with the M&2V intact… If “yes”, then “she” will have developed the skeletal and muscular properties of a man – which will grant an unfair advantage thereafter – even if “she” has subsequently been castrated/remodelled the bone density and muscle-mass will continue to be essentially male. Which ain’t fair to the genuine sheilas.

  8. All that any sport needs is a “Female” category = XX chromosomes and a sufficiently low level of testosterone; and “Open” = everyone else. If that’s unfair to the one in a million case, such as Caster Semenya, I’m afraid that’s just tough luck.

    Many sports are (at the very top level) the preserve of genetic freaks. You might be the world’s most skilful basketball player, but if you’re not 7 ft tall, you’ll never make it as a professional.

  9. There are lots of short NBA basketballers.

    Muggsy Bogues was 5’3″ !

    And loads under 6 foot still playing.

    But they are real athletic freaks. Far better players than their tall counterparts.

  10. I would expect that the average height of NBA players is increasing and it’s getting harder for smaller players to make it.
    Just look at the size of wingers in rugby these days, some of them are big as well as fast

  11. This is silly.

    Have two divisions: women and open. Anyone can compete in the open division. Women restricted to born as female. If someone is later found to be not quite right, they can’t compete in women’s and any records are struck.

    Sorted. But I suppose this is far too simple and fair – no opportunity for contention (and graft).

  12. I mean it’s by analogy with the “Master’s” and “Junior’s” divisions you get in some sports. My knowledge is weightlifting. For Master’s I you have to be at least 40 years old in the year you compete. You can’t “identify” as being older than you have actually lived on Earth in order to compete. Likewise the last year you can compete in Junior’s is the year you turn 26.

    You can still compete in Open if you want, but you’re not likely to do well.

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