Where Dr. Sin & Team Need To Repent On A Line Crossed: Women + Unfair Play = Health Crisis
Editorial – The mental wellbeing and interests of half the planet, namely women, have been, well … kicked to the curb by researchers at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, who concluded that biological males who identify as trans women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports at school and college level to protect their health.
In a stunning conclusion and headline that may shock and rock humanity to it core, assuming we all still think the Earth is flat, the researchers say that sports have many benefits, like the boost exercise gives to mental health, self-esteem, physical health, and a reduction in risk of obesity and related chronic diseases.
I don’t think they mention it but sport has also been linked with good grades at school. They don’t mention this either: no trans woman is banned from sport.
If it’s a fun run with no competitive element, for example, they can run in whatever spirit and guise they wish, without harming anyone else, while if there is a competitive element, they can and should compete in the category of their biological sex, for the sake of safety, fair play and integrity (yes, wilfully harming others by demanding unfair inclusion raises matters of integrity).
However, they used this decades-old discovery to advocate for trans people to be allowed to compete in the gender of their choice not biology at all levels of school and college, covering pre-puberty years through to adulthood.
Wherever anyone sits in the debate about the right place for trans inclusion in sport, its perfectly fair to state that the mental health and well-being of transgender people count.
The trouble is the one-wayism of the equation and argument. The same empathy, expectation and right is not extended to women in sport. In an academic exercise that concludes trans athletes from pre-puberty to adulthood should have access to sport in the category of their choice, where is the understanding that inclusion of males in female sport is unfair and apt to not only shatter the mental health of women but undermine every attempt, project and budget out there designed to get girls to take and interest in and stick with sport, in their youth and for the rest of life?
And where choice is mentioned, worth repeating as many times as required for understanding: the category chooses you in sport not the other way round. Why should it be different for trans athletes?
The researchers were good enough to add this rider: “competitive sports” are a different matter because of the specific investment required to excel in performance sport. They must have come up with that while the truth and red threads flew over their heads: all elite sports men and women were school children and many became or are now elite sports men and women while at college competing not only for their varsity at home but their country abroad.
When Sharron Davies, the first swimmer home without the ‘buoy’ of male steroids in the 400m medley at the 1980 Olympic Games, noted in a tweet on X: “Met yet another dad todays who’s 12yr old daughter has given up sport because in her words ‘why bother, it’s unfair if boys can go in our races. I get periods & my body’s different’ …”
Among replies was one that noted: “Pity she doesn’t live in France where mixed-sex PE lessons are compulsory to age 18.”
Of course, that’s neither contact nor competition sport but it is one of the things cited in research as responsible for a dramatic drop in the numbers of girls in proper sports programs from age 12 or so, a process that begins among girls from as early as seven years old.
That research issued by the UK Equalities Office with cross party cooperation at a time of coalition between Conservative and and Liberal Democrat parties, made the following observations, among many others (in pink, with a bow to Sharron, who wrote her revision marks on the manuscript of Unfair Play, the book we worked on together, in that colour):
- Gender perceptions are already emerging in relation to sport; girls think boys are ‘stupid’ and ‘their’ sports rough, the boys think girls lack skill and competence. Also, while school sports participation is roughly equal, outside school things look very different, with many more boys than girls involved in out-of-school sports clubs;
- The girls disliked playing games outside in the cold, whereas boys enjoyed the extra space associated with outside games. This difference is reflected in the sports they participate in with girls leaning towards swimming, dance, tennis, netball and gymnastics and boys more often highlighting football, cricket and rugby; and
- Girls were also beginning to notice the lack of female sporting role models available to them. Girls and boys agreed PE should be different for both sexes. Girls felt that boys can be overly competitive, cheat and play rough and boys perceived girls as ‘less sporty’ and skilled, as well as less interested in ‘rough’ and muddy outdoor sports.
So, to get more girls enjoying sport, finding out whether competition is for them and discovering how regular exercise can be a huge boost to physical and mental health throughout life, they need access to safe spaces and races and places they can call their own without the barriers cited in research that shows girls and boys agree: “PE should be different for both sexes”, a view that leads to boys sticking with it and thriving far more than girls when a mixed-one-system-fits-all approach fails to recognise sex-based differences.
Why Is It Always Women Who Are Told To Move Over For The Benefit Of A Male On A Mission?
Back to the brains at Vanderbilt University. They raise a red flag to warn that a wave of 22 ‘bans’ (there is no such thing; those involved have simply been asked to compete in the category of their biological sex) on transgender athletes at schools and colleges is harming the mental and physical health of the group and discouraging them from competing in sports.
There is no mention of the mental health of the likes of college swimmers Riley Gaines, Paula Scanlan and others who were forced to change with a 6ft 4/5in biological male whose self-ID transition did not change the fact that a penis made the athlete’s presence in the female changing room inappropriate, uncomfortable, unwelcome and unacceptable.
No mention of this kind of toxic environment that could and should have been avoided had the NCAA leadership shown true leadership instead of watching this unfold but, having been given the chance to call a halt by a sensible rule-tweak decision at USA Swimming designed to ring-fence ‘women’ for females, opted to discriminate against women:
Here’s Gaines summing up her feelings towards what she and many other regard as cheating:
The women swimmers of NCAA season 2022 were not only never asked whether they wanted indecent exposure laws set aside but were actually warned to keep their mouths shut on the grounds that a trans suicide would be on their count and conscience. All and any who come up with that kind of tripe from the tome of totalitarian thought, in schools, colleges, the NCAA, the realm of academic integrity or any other place of learning and development should be shown the door.
Meanwhile, lead author and sports medicine expert Dr. Alexander Sin is quoted far and wide as saying: “Does it matter who gets a medal at a third-grade competition?”
Well, if he’s prepared to listen to girls and women and read other research, yes, it does matter, it matters a great deal to the health and welfare of girls and women. And if it doesn’t matter, then why have medals in such events, why not just make them participation moments void of competition, prizes, categorisation and all that goes with a fair competition environment.
The research team was from Vanderbilt University, which is currently under fire for allegedly sharing the medical records of transgender adults with the state without redacting their identities. A federal investigation has been launched and some of those affected allege that the state had requested the information in an effort to “negatively target the transgender community.”
One researcher was also from the University of Rochester, New York, which has also sparked controversy for offering a “gender-affirming” mindfulness course for teachers who have students as young as five. He has been accused of training local school staff in “transgender ideology.”
When asked if trans women have an advantage over biological women in an interview with STAT (“Reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine”), Dr Sin said: “[Some research found that] trans women are superior to ‘cis’ women due to certain strengths and measures of speed. But the problem with this is that it doesn’t translate into sporting performance.”
Like hell it doesn’t! Dr. Sin expanded on his highly debatable train of thought with this: “It’s not that you bend over more and that translates into jumping higher, or that you can bench press heavier, so you can throw things further. There are also techniques and other aspects that influence, because otherwise the strongest person would win all the medals, and that is not true.”
Person? Dr. Sin might want to spend a season or two looking at the obvious and well-researched and documented history of sport and the sex-based differences that provide the reasons why the gateway to sport has two entrances: men and women. Biology, not feelings. Sex matters.
He might want to delve into the works of Cathy Devine, Emma Hilton, Leslie Howe, Miroslav Imbrišević, Tommy Lundberg and Jon Pike, to name a few. He could start with this paper: “When ideology trumps science: a response to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s review on transwomen athletes in the female category”.
Dr. Sin might also feel the draw of repentance if he works his way through Pike, Hilton and Howe in “Fair game – biology, fair- ness and transgender athletes in women’s sport”, published by the Canadian think tank the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in 2021.
He might also look at the rest of the 18 peer-reviewed studies (there may be more by now…) that show why any question that starts with “does it really matter…” when trying to justify male presence in female sport should be treated with a blocker designed for warped and woefully inadequate opinions from a researcher who appears rio have a penchant for providing opinions that are not backed up by the science you might expect him to reach for.
He might have cited the 2021 paper from the British Journal of Sports Medicine that found there are a whole range of male-development factors that cannot be mitigated for in terms of making male opposition in female sport fair. He might have cited the paper that showed similar outcomes in studies on 29 transgender men and 46 transgender women who completed fitness tests for the U.S. Air Force.
On the topic of mitigation, sport authorities, guided by trans lobbyists attempted to shift the language and goal posts of the discussion some while back by introducing the term “meaningful competition”. You can do no better than read Jon Pike on what he calls ‘a snare and a delusion” of a concept.
Estimates tell us that there are about 300,000 teens are transgender in the U.S. That’s about 1.7 per cent of all High-school-age children. That leaves 98.3%, around half of whom are female and being subjected to demands on their spaces and races that males are not being asked to accept.
Why? Because no female-born athlete following anti-doping rules will ever beat the best of men in sport, while very many mediocre men are capable of beating the very best of women in sport.
The maths and stats and history and current result sheets are all very clear. The canvas is drawn very effectively by Jake Teater‘s fine work at Boys Vs Women: you don’t even need to go as high as global, just take US Junior Boys Champs in swimming, track, field and other sports and overlay the results on the Olympic finals for women in the same events and it is truly rare for a woman to make a final, let alone the podium, even when the ‘junior’ event is restricted to 15-16 year-olds.
T counts, as in testosterone – and anyone who doubts it should pick up a copy of Dr. Carole Hooven’s epic on the topic “T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us”. Sports organisations have suggested that T reduction is the answer and that mitigation follows to a point where biological male vs female can be fair competition. Ross Tucker has rips that argument to shreds:
The Living, Racing Proof In Swimming’s Trans Voyage
Swimming, of course, had Lia Thomas, an NCAA champion among females in 2022, a mediocre male swimmer called Will below the grade it takes to get to NCAA finals for three years prior to transition.
In the 500 yards freestyle, Thomas beat three American Olympic silver medallists for the gold. Among men, Will Thomas got nowhere remotely close to making the Olympic trials many, many heats deep, in any event, let alone a national final, let alone an NCAA title. There was just one overriding and overwhelming reason: transition of gender feeling holding hands with no change in biological sex because that’s not possible.
Swimming’s regulator, World Aquatics, had already gathered a cohort of global experts in developmental biology, physiology, law and human rights, alongside athletes, before we’d ever heard of Will or Lia Thomas. The group recommended what was then adopted in June 2022 after we had all heard of Lia Thomas, giving the impression that the NCAA outcome drove the decision to ring-fence the women’s category for athletes that had never experienced Tanner Stage 2 male puberty. Thomas’ case simply proved the point in practice but the vote stemmed from the science that told us the truth that year and every year back to the earliest studies of sex differences and sports results that scream the overwhelming reason why males compete as and with men and females compete as and with women.
We can have as many opinions as we like, either way, but there’s no denying the facts about the Lia Thomas case: living, racing proof that males have no place in female competition in a wide range of sport, swimming at the low end of massive differentials that cannot be mitigated to the point of fair play between males ands females.
It’s why 22 American states have brought in legislation that insists on transgender athletes competing in the category of their biological sex.
Against that backdrop, the Vanderbilt researchers advocate transgender youth participation in categories of their choice, including the ability to compete. Primary care sports medicine physicians, pediatricians and families should, they opine, take an “active role” in promoting this.
It’s fair to note that the researchers do not work at establishments that have been seen to be on the same side of the debate over trans rights vs women’s rights. Vanderbilt University is currently under fire for allegedly sharing the health records of transgender adults with the state without removing their identities. A federal investigation has been launched, with some of those affected alleging that the state had requested the information in an effort to ‘negatively target the transgender community’. More on that story at Time:
At the same time, one of the research team is from the University of Rochester, New York, which has been accused of training local school staff in what critics describe as “transgender ideology”.
- Champion Women (advocacy by Nancy Hogshead-Makar and team)
- Fair Play for Women
- Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS)
- International Bill of Human Rights
- International Consortium on Female Sport (ICFS):
- Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023
- The Real Science of Sport Podcast (with Professor RossTucker and Mike Finch):
- Save Women’s Sports
- Save Women’s Sport Australasia
- Sex Matters (including resources for parents)
- Sporting Integrity (founded by Michele Verroken):
- UK Equality Act 2010
- United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW; see Article 10 (g)
Related SOS coverage:
- How Do We Define Fair Play In The Debate Over Trans Inclusion In Women’s Sport?
- Time To Drop Testosterone Nostalgia, Tucker tells Coe, In Debate About Transgender Inclusion In Women’s Sport
- Nancy Hogshead-Makar On Trans Inclusion, Part 1: ‘Fight Or Resign Yourself To Sexism & How That Plays Out In Women’s Sport’
- Trans Inclusion Part 2: Will Women Have All Lanes That Life & Rights Promise Them By The Time Regulators Are Done Deciding
- Emma Weyant Gets Virginia Sorority Of Success Started As 1st Woman Home In NCAA 500y Free Before Cuomo, Douglass, Walsh & Walsh MaKe It A Cavaliers Riot
- Sex Matters In Sport: 3,000 Athletes Among More Than 5k Who Signed Petitions Calling On Fair Play For Women In Transgender Inclusion Debate
- IWD2022 – How The Meaning Of Inclusion Has Been Manipulated To Turn Women’s Sport From Fair To Foul Play
- Fond Of Women’s Sport: Dr. Emma Hilton & The Science That Shows Why Biological Sex Not Gender Choice Says Who Swims As Man Or Woman
- A waking nightmare for women’s sport