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UCI world cyclocross championships under fire due to anti-trans laws in host state Arkansas

Cycling journalist Tara Seplavy has boycotted the event, saying she doesn’t “feel personally safe going to Arkansas right now as a visibly trans person”

As the world cyclocross championships come to a close this evening, the UCI’s decision to stage the event in Fayetteville, Arkansas has come under fire due to the state’s anti-trans legislation.

In April 2021, Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth. Later that month Brook Watts, a longstanding cyclocross promoter in the United States, resigned from his role as organiser of the Fayetteville world championships in protest against the new law. 

“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution,” Watts said at the time. “I have sincerely but unsuccessfully attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful”.

At the US national cyclocross championships in December, anti-trans activists representing a group called ‘Save Women’s Sport’ staged a protest, shouting and holding signs opposing transgender participation during the women’s race. 

USA Cycling was heavily criticised for not taking adequate action to prevent the protest taking place at the event in DuPage County, Illinois, with trans rights supporters saying that the governing body did not facilitate a safe and inclusive environment for all competitors and spectators.

> British Cycling launch consultation on transgender policy

Tara Seplavy, the deputy editor of Bicycling Magazine, referenced the protest in Illinois when she announced on social media yesterday that she was boycotting this weekend’s world championships.

“For several reasons I don’t feel personally safe going to Arkansas right now as a visibly trans person,” she wrote. “I also do not feel comfortable rewarding USA Cycling for its continued lack of action or follow-up for allowing a hate group to attend US national championship events to harass athletes. I am not even sure if I will tune in to watch the races online at this point to be frank.

“The ship sailed moons ago on any type of boycott or direct action of the event. Instead of attending Worlds, I urge friends and followers to donate to organizations fighting against hate legislation in the state, doing work for the queer community in the region, or advocating for the rights of trans athletes in cycling.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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Captain Badger replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:
Captain Badger wrote:

[...]Yes, even when completing in sports events. I've done a few and I've never been asked for evidence of gender.

Presumably because everyone knows attempting to sex a badger always offends?

Well that all depends on the context...

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mdavidford replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like
Captain Badger wrote:
MsG wrote:

Presumably you're fine with women being forced out of sport because biological men with demonstrable retained advantages are competing in the same category as them? That's not fair. Trying to link this to white power and black athletes, is false equivalence and designed to distract from the issue at hand.

https://savewomenssports.com/

Please define "biological men". Is it a new brand of washing powder?

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chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes

That won't wash...

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Captain Badger replied to MsG | 2 years ago
1 like
MsG wrote:

Presumably you're fine with women being forced out of sport because biological men with demonstrable retained advantages are competing in the same category as them? That's not fair. Trying to link this to white power and black athletes, is false equivalence and designed to distract from the issue at hand.

https://savewomenssports.com/

Can you demonstrate how women are being forced out of women's sports?

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MsG replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
2 likes

Can you demonstrate how biological females *don't* lose out to the inclusion of men in their category?
It reduces the opportunity for women to win - this does put them off competing.
There's also the issue of removing single sex spaces e.g. in changing rooms - this has a massive impact on women from particular religions, meaning they are deterred from taking part in sport.

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Captain Badger replied to MsG | 2 years ago
4 likes
MsG wrote:

Can you demonstrate how biological females *don't* lose out to the inclusion of men in their category? It reduces the opportunity for women to win - this does put them off competing. There's also the issue of removing single sex spaces e.g. in changing rooms - this has a massive impact on women from particular religions, meaning they are deterred from taking part in sport.

I take it from your answer that you can't demonstrate how women are being forced out of women's sport. Of course you can't. Because they're not. 

The most you can refer to is a wild assumption that (some) women might not want to participate in a given event. And why? Because another competitor might have an assumed (yet not demonstrated) advantage due to physical or genetic characteristics. Sounds like every competition ever to me...

Now for me to answer your question you'd have to define "biological females" (have already asked you to do so) but I will respond to your minor point on facilities

I've entered events with unsegregated changing facilities - individual cubicles. I've also taken part in mixed events with no facilities at all. One would have thought that it isn't beyond the wit of organisers to ensure these issues don't even surface by adequately catering for their own events.

And yes, the above is a mere logistical detail. It does not even come close to informing a debate about accepting our fellow humans fo who they are

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sparrowlegs replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
2 likes

Google Leah Thomas, Fallon Fox, Alana McLoghlin, Laurel Hubbard. 

All biological males that are or have demonstrated that if more biological males transition then there's a high possibility they will be dominant in the chosen sport.

The 2016 Womens Olympic 800m was won by 3 intersex (all have XY chromosomes and male testosterone levels) athletes. Displacing the biological female to 4th.The chances of having 3 intersex athletes is extremely rare but this just shows that it's more than likely they'll dominate.

We should accept people for who they are and who they wish to be but when it comes to sports there has to a defining line.

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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But what about counter examples - the trans wrestler who didn't win, etc?  
 

maybe define "woman" in a way that is rigorous first, then see if that gives an outcome that is desirable. Because when someone says "sex" it's unlikely they know anythung more than herp derp XX XY and that's such a "surface" level view it's useless. Ask actual biologists about sexy and be prepared for a very long conversation. 

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Captain Badger replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like

I'll highlight your last line, as this seems to get to teh crux.

sparrowlegs wrote:

We should accept people for who they are and who they wish to be but when it comes to sports there has to a defining line.

This seems to mean "I get to chose how far people who aren't like me get to participate in public life"

 

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sparrowlegs replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
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Haha! Oh how we can twists others words eh? Let's change my words to fit your narrative yeah? Maybe call me a bigot next if I don't shut up? 

As I've already stated, in normal life it doesn't matter what you are and what you do and what you want to identify as. In sports, where one physical prescence is pitted against another, not ideals or feelings but actual physical beings then it comes down to very minute differences at the elite level.

Has anyone spoken to a female that's competed at the highest level and had dreams shattered by someone who's had a clear, but unfair advantage?

How do you think the forum of a female dominated sport related website would look?

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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You keep dismissing gender identity as mere "feelings"

dont 

Seperste but equal - that's your idea? Just be honest. 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
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Believe me, I'm not dismissing gender identity as mere feelings. I have nephew that was once my niece 10 years ago and another niece that may also be my nephew in the coming years (she's 13). Both have gone through turmoil, self-harming and even attempted suicide. I would never look at my nephew and call him any less of a man than I am. The fact I've got a condition that renders me unable to produce testosterone means I can in some small way empathise (I had thoughts of many kinds while trying to get treatment and we both apply testosterone). But, after saying all that, he could never compete against biological men in most sports due to the fact he's never gone through puberty. No amount of training, will power and even PEDs can bridge the gap that puberty and prolonged exposure to testosterone gives.

 

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Captain Badger replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like
sparrowlegs wrote:

Haha! Oh how we can twists others words eh? Let's change my words to fit your narrative yeah? Maybe call me a bigot next if I don't shut up? 

No, the words were clear. No twisting no misrepresenting. 

No I don't think you are a bigot. But I do think you're wrong

sparrowlegs wrote:

As I've already stated, in normal life it doesn't matter what you are and what you do and what you want to identify as. In sports, where one physical prescence is pitted against another, not ideals or feelings but actual physical beings then it comes down to very minute differences at the elite level.

no argument there

sparrowlegs wrote:

Has anyone spoken to a female that's competed at the highest level and had dreams shattered by someone who's had a clear, but unfair advantage?

All advantages are unfair. That's how people win. And yes dreams are shattered the top level of sport - we see it played out at every top-level event.

sparrowlegs wrote:

How do you think the forum of a female dominated sport related website would look?

Not dissimilar to here I suppose - with people talking to each other and disagreeing

I must confess, I don't actually see the point of your post.... None of what you have said addresses the point of how we accept trans people in their chosen identity (the vast majority of whom do not compete in top-level competitive sport) whilst at the same time unilaterally limiting, without consultation, how they participate in public life.

 

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sparrowlegs replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm not trying to limit the public life of trans people and I haven't stated that. I've tried to be as inclusionary as possible whilst still making sure biological women have a clear, fair and level playing field.

When you say "all advantages are fair" you're right. In every sport, the biggest, fastest, strongest nearly always come through to dominate. That's not what I'm saying here. I'm stating that from a testosterone point of view, what makes boys in to men (and transitioning females to men) gives those people an unfair advantage in the sporting arena. I'm not saying just because I don't think a transitioned biological male should compete in sports against biological females they don't have the right to exist in public life. What I'm asking is where do the rights of the biological females in sports not to compete against biological males come in to play?

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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So, again. Separate but equal. You're a woman, except where we have arbitrarily drawn the line. And it is arbitrary,  there is no scientific definition of "biologically female", which is why you have crazy rulings such as a dis woman being told they have to take testosterone blockers to make it "fair" on others. 
the only solution that actually respects everyone's rights is, if you're going to have a dividing line because historically you've always had one, have it based in soemthing a tad more scientific than 46xx goes one way and 46xy another. 
 

maybe - and here's a crazy thought! - DONT create a binary when it's proven that a binary doesn't actually exist in reality? Maybe have, like you have for lots of sports, some form of tiering system based on physiological traits. 
 

That's the long term solution. Enforced binary was a poor solution.  Continuing it makes no sense. 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
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I'm literally shaking my head at this. I think I've been catfished in some way, but...

So, lets disregard science. Let's disregard the fact that XX XY has been and will be the best way of drawing a defining line when it comes to SPORTS.

Lets explore your physiological tier system. How would that work? Break it down for me? What would use for the defining traits? Height? Weight? Arm length? Leg length? Lung capacity? Hematocrit levels? How many different categories would be needed?

Also, can you show me examples of the other sports where they are broken down by physiological traits?

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MsG replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like

If you've ever seen this argument play out elsewhere on social media then you should be aware that those in favour of mens' rights outweighing fairness don't agree with 99.9% of the rest of the world's view on biological sex. 
The whataboutery is strong!
If you haven't encountered this before - welcome! I suggest you seek out Emma Hilton, Jon Pike, and Ross Tucker's work. 
It's pointless continuing to argue with people who are prepared to dismiss womens rights so casually and even brand those campaigning to defend them hateful. However it does help to shed light for bystanders.

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nosferatu1001 replied to MsG | 2 years ago
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Oh what nonsense MsG. 
 

TERFs like you are only pro-their kind of women. Echoes of a 1930s ideology abound 

all TERFs manage is to show bystanders that you still have some amazingly bigoted narrow minded people that can't let other people live their life and decide about their bodies for the,selves.  A large number are forced-birthers as well, which at least is consistent with failing to respect a woman's right to choose for themselves at least...

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chrisonabike replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
2 likes
sparrowlegs wrote:

I'm literally shaking my head at this. I think I've been catfished in some way, but...

So, lets disregard science. Let's disregard the fact that XX XY has been and will be the best way of drawing a defining line when it comes to SPORTS.

Lets explore your physiological tier system. How would that work? Break it down for me? What would use for the defining traits? Height? Weight? Arm length? Leg length? Lung capacity? Hematocrit levels? How many different categories would be needed?

Also, can you show me examples of the other sports where they are broken down by physiological traits?

Isn't this about making it so people feel they are able both to compete and to compete fairly with others?

Simple principles. On the other hand this is presumably about Big Sport which then brings in complications (after all there's nothing to stop anyone riding around the park issuing challenges!)

From an outside perspective (e.g. not really big on the sports) it seems to me that your tier system would have to be the way forward.  Sports governing bodies love making rules / categories.  Said bodies already make arbitrary rules around body / technique / various hormones and other substances in your system *. In the far more varied world of the paralympics enabling and matching fairly seems to be possible.

Agree there will be difficulties about the details. The practical realities of sport involve commercial pressures, political tensions, state funding (or not), corruption, cheating and all that we're learning about the sometimes abusive relationships of members of the hierarchy with athletes. (Again - overwhelmingly men doing the abusing there...)

* In general these rules seem to be applied to women and to their disadvantacge.  I understand that like all categories this arises through history - presumably to do with what some Eastern block states were getting up to.  Plenty of examples - Caster Semenya and Maria José Martínez-Patiño may be the best-known. By this point I've no idea whether you'd say that was restoring a level playing field to lots of women at the expense of a few outliers or disadvantaging particular women.

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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I'm still waiting for your "science" definition of biology than ACTUAL biologists would agree on. Because they certainly don't agree that the totality of sex is defined by the mere existence of XX or XY. Which you'd know, if you'd bothered to read any of the links others thoughtfully found for you. 
 

it will be? There can never ever be a better system? That's quite the claim yiure making about the human races inability to get better and improve. 
 

I don't have the answer as to what the perfect system is. Just stating the obvious fact - well, not obvious to all, clearly - that there can be a better system where you don't have to tell a cis-woman that she is "too manly" to compete withiut taking hormone blockers. 
 

rifle shooting, eaquestrian, and other sports. Didn't take long. 
 

so,,how about you finally defining "biological female" ? You keep using the term but don't know what it means...

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
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JHC. Are you still going at it? You haven't come up with a better way to define the already defined biological male and  biological female catagories other than to call science and biology a fallacy.

Until something comes along that gives the simplicity of the current 2 sex categories then we'll just have to carry on using that.

Rifle shooting? Equestrian? Where are the competitors physical traits used to create catagories?

https://olympics.com/en/featured-news/olympic-shooting-air-rifle-3-posit...

I couldn't find anything there that mentions specific physical traits of the shooters. So I'll await your link that proves otherwise.

Same with equestrian, another popular sport played up and down the country on school fields. I couldn't find any evidence that the riders are separated by physical traits. So again, I await your link.

I gave you the textbook definition of a biological female earlier, did you miss that one? You're muddying the waters because you know there's more evidence that biological markers give a better indicator to the persons sex than anything else. Not gender, sex. You're conflating scientific facts with thoughts and feelings so as to try and disprove something that's obvious to 99% of the population so that biological men can beat biological women in sports. Simple as that in this context. Anybody that's opposed your view has been called names to try and shut them up (sounds a bit like hate speech doesn't it?).

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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Mostly because I don't need to, you genital obsessed individual. All I can do is point out the blindingly obvious - that when you have cis female athletes being told to take hormone blockers  that your simplified view of how to arbitrarily split sport may have one or two problems, don't you think?  
 

Which textbook definition is that? A high school / gcse level one that only thinks a single chromosomal pair is the be all and end all? How is that meant to be convincing when actual biologists - those people say better at this than you or I - don't agree on how to universally define sex ? Never mind gender, which isn't the same as sex despite your repeated conflation of the two!

 

not calling you names to shut you up. Pointing out your anti trans, separate but equal viewpoint is abhorrent. You're taking a marginalised group, based on some stats widely considered to be the most discriminated against group in modern society, and deciding that rather than actually reform sport along anything other than a guess as to a dividing line, you'd rather exclude them further. 
 

so, once you've found a none naive, laughably bad definition of "biological female", share it. As I've said, you'd make bank in the papers you'd be able to write, as people have been looking for this for literal decades now and can't agree. You'd be a wonder, a marvel for all ages. So, go on them.  Any time you're ready. Dazzle us. 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
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Can you define cis-female? It's something you've used but not really given a definition of.

Can you define a trans athlete too please?

Have I mentioned genitals in any post?

Can you provide the story to the cis-female that was forced to reduce her testosterone levels?

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
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So that's "no", you can't define biological female in a non-trivial way.  Thanks for confirming. 

Cis-gender would be someone who identifies that their gender is congruent with the sex assigned (usually) at birth from that quick glance you're given.  Notice how this still doesn't involve XX and XY....a trans athlete would also be fairly s8mple as a combination , usually considered to be an athlete whose gender identity does not match the sex they were assigned at birth  Because gender isn't biology alone.

You keep going on about characteristics not based in chromosomes as your dividing line, so yes. 
 

https://www.aljazeera.com/sports/2021/2/28/caster-semenyas-fight-is-for-...

hardly tricky. Quite well known. Notice how it's apparently not fair for this cis-woman to compete withiut taking hormone blockers to reduce her natural testosterone levels ? My word, is that a sport deciding that the arbitrary dividing line isn't enough and a Physiological difference is suddenly used to decide whether she can compete with men or women? 

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brooksby replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
1 like
sparrowlegs wrote:

Can you define cis-female? It's something you've used but not really given a definition of.

Can you define a trans athlete too please?

Have I mentioned genitals in any post?

Can you provide the story to the cis-female that was forced to reduce her testosterone levels?

You know, these things aren't hard to google...

Cis-female

"Cis, short for cisgender (pronounced sis-gender, or just sis), is a term that means whatever gender you are now is the same as what was presumed for you at birth. This simply means that when a parent or doctor called you a boy or a girl when you were born, they got it right."

https://www.transhub.org.au/101/cis

Trans athlete

I'm presuming that Count Orlok means an athlete who is trans (ie. presumed male at birth but identifies as female, or vice versa)

Cis-female athletes and testosterone levels

(1) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57748135

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/sep/08/caster-semenya-loses-appea...

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Captain Badger replied to sparrowlegs | 2 years ago
4 likes
sparrowlegs wrote:

I'm not trying to limit the public life of trans people and I haven't stated that. I've tried to be as inclusionary as possible whilst still making sure biological women have a clear, fair and level playing field.

I think that is what is happening. You asked for a dividing line when it comes to sports

I still would like a definition of "biological female".

It seems (and I'm really not trying to put words into your mouth) that what is meant is a genetic test to ensure that the individual has the desired genotype, in this case XX.

This would be the only sphere of public life ( of which I am aware) where it would be required. 

Every person (trans or not) would be required to take a genetic test to enter a woman's event.

Alternatively, you would only test people who fell "under suspicion..."

Unless of course, a passport or birth certificate would suffice. these are both pretty onerous requirements to apply for a sporting event, especially as it is unlikely to be required in the men's.

And passports and birth records don't have a genetic test either - the sex of a child is determined by a cursory glance from medical staff on arrival. So this is not a test for genotype, it is a test for phenotype of primary sexual characteristics. There is a strong correlation, and a causative one, it is true, however it is not universal, and mistakes are made. Add to that there are only two legal options for sex on teh birth certificate, and it becomes perfectly possible that there are many none-XX already participating in women's sport, unknown even to themselves. Following the logic that XX confers a disadvantage in sport (perhaps, although it does feed into the patriarchal view that women are weaker and categorically different from men), they may well already be presenting at a higher percentage than in the background population, and at the higher levels.

So much for at birth. Lets face it, after puberty we start to get suspicious that someone might have an unfair advantage in sport due to how they appear. They're tall, heavily built, a bit hairy, flat chested, deep voiced. All of these are secondary sexual characteristics, and not a direct phenotype. In short they are not directly controlled by genes - there are no monohybrid inheritance traits at this stage. So when "suspicion" is raised the individual come under close scrutiny, with prurient interest garnered about what is in their pants or genome. Cheat, freak etc are bandied around freely, which when intersex or trans I can imagine would be yet more persecution to what they already suffer.

And this is only considering the top level competitve game, a tiny percentage  of participants relatively. How we start to apply this to the game that most women participate in clubs or at school I find difficult to fathom - especially at school where trans people I think would need most support and acceptance

sparrowlegs wrote:

When you say "all advantages are fair" you're right. In every sport, the biggest, fastest, strongest nearly always come through to dominate. That's not what I'm saying here. I'm stating that from a testosterone point of view, what makes boys in to men (and transitioning females to men) gives those people an unfair advantage in the sporting arena.

possibly, although the production of testosterone (and oestrogen) occurs in both men and women, has no gender identifying levels, rather trends cross the population, and even then fluctuates in the individual according to many factors. it also is less important than people think (Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine is a really fascinating read - it's a science book primarily)

But let's imagine now testosterone is the be-all and end-all. Now we move away from scrutiny of a strict genotype, and turn our gimlet stare to a variable phenotype that is influenced by a myriad of genes, not the XX/XY (false) dichotomy. Does this mean that if a woman has too high a level she can only participate in the men's events? and I with my below-average levels (a guess, however half of men have below average), in spite of my stature, and muscle mass, may now compete with the women, or at least with the women that have higher levels than me?

sparrowlegs wrote:

I'm not saying just because I don't think a transitioned biological male should compete in sports against biological females they don't have the right to exist in public life. What I'm asking is where do the rights of the biological females in sports not to compete against biological males come in to play?

Now the terms biological male/female have sprung up on a number of occasions, however folk are still reluctant to say what they mean. In reality, the terms have no basis scientifically, unless we take a very narrow genetic view of genotype presented by 1 chromosome pair out of 23 and define male and female on that basis, to exclusion of all others. Only we don't in society, it would be a conceit. Perhaps there is desire for changing the names of events from men's and women (cultural constructs) to XY and XX events, requiring anyone who wants to enter to undergo a invasive lab test, but I think not - and it too would be exclusionary.

The fair play I get, but we also, really, understand it is an illusion - all winners are better than the people they beat on the day. Some are better so consistently in their time in the light, that no one else gets a look in. That has never deterred me from participating. A friend was shocked that I, when going up against the then British number one of my chosen sport in an Open competition (who I unfortunately drew in the first round, grrrr), stated my intention to win. The fact that I was not going to was neither here nor there.

Sport is a massive cultural phenomenon and is public. Ultimately the reluctance to accept trans people at this level still is a projection, at a subconscious level granted, of that nagging thought "but they aren't really women". 

 

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nosferatu1001 replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

Another excellent post there. 
I do so love it when you have people trying to reduce a complex topic down to gcse level biology and expect to just have that view accepted. Sex and gender are way more complicated than that, something we would have more data on if it hadn't been for a certain governement in the 1930s.  Dropped us back decades. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes

Passports in the US wouldn't help either - you can. Now have the X marker for NB / GF et al.  

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Captain Badger replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

...And when, in a democracy, did authorities incur censure for allowing protest?

I can think of several examples

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