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Making Room For Trans-Women In Sports

(Image: Trans-women in raceSource: The CT mirror)

Over the past few years, there has been a large amount of controversy surrounding the topic of trans women competing in numerous female sports events such as The Olympics. There has also been a continuous division in views surrounding this topic with one side claiming that it is unfair to allow those who have experienced male puberty to compete in women's division. Whilst others argue that any individuals who identify as female should be allowed to compete in women's sport.

According to the guardian ‘new studies on transgender athletes have found that trans women retain 12% more advantage even after taking hormones to suppress testosterone over two years.' The results, researchers have found indicate that the present International committee guidelines could potentially be giving trans women an "unfair advantage" over biological women.

Last year World Rugby became the first sports organisation to ban trans women from women’s rugby, Highlighting that there were worries and concerns about the safety and fairness of the game. According to ‘', they also stated that based on their studies conducted they had discovered that there is a '20% to 30% greater risk of injury when a female player is tackled by someone who has gone through male puberty.

Of course, this led to a mass amount of backlash with large organizations such as ‘Athlete Ally’ expressing their disgust at World Rugby’s decision to proceed with this ruling. In response, directly tweeting that ‘World Rugby’s decision to ban continues to dehumanize trans woman.

Most recently, according to ‘The Grassroots Journals’, retired tennis star Martina Navratilova commented that allowing transgender women to compete in women’s categories is “insane and cheating”. She was quickly condemned for being transphobic, but her opinion is not uncommon as this remains the main perspective of many individuals involved in these conversations and debates.

The argument against trans athletes is simply this: Men and Women are placed into separate categories within sports because of inherent physical difference which is obtained genetically between them. Testosterone increases muscle mass, strength and allows the blood to carry much more oxygen which are factors that may lead to great advantage within sporting events. These advantages despite the contrary cannot be overlooked. And are important to acknowledge in order to ensure fairness and accuracy within sporting competitions/events.

Whilst the discussions on how gender should be combined into sports and how to distinguish lines in sporting categories continue, we are often swiveled by overt transphobia. Trans athletes are continuing to be booed at podiums, their accomplishments diminished and Their identities are too often invalidated when critics call them “not real” women/men.

In 2019 ‘The Daily Signal’ headlined Rachel McKinnon win at the women’s world championship as;' Biological Male Wins Women's Cycling World Championship.’ This is just another example of how we as a society desperately need to grow.

Our acceptance of the transgender community is mainly challenged and contradicted by our responses to trans athlete inclusion. Whilst many organisation are beginning to become more trans-inclusive; we must remember that trans athletes are just like any other athlete and have dedicated their bodies by enduring challenges, intense training/workouts, and by pushing themselves through limits to achieve

excellence in their chosen sport, And those actions alone should be worthy of acknowledgment and rewarded.

Lord Coe, the chancellor of Loughborough University, told the Guardian, that transgender athletic research is among the most important research areas of the next 20 years.

With the steady growth of data, within the next years we should eventually have more sport-specific rules for trans athletes but until then perhaps imposing a limit of 5nmol/L of testosterone on trans women could possibly be the best condition we have to allow equitable competition for all athletes specifically trans women.

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