Do Trans atheletes have an advantage?

The first argument against trans atheletes participating in sport is usually about how testosterone levels give an unfair advantage for trans women competing in women's sports. However, testosterone levels are strictly regulated for trans athletes who compete in elite-level sports.

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The Inclusion of Transgender Athletes - schuylerbailar - pinkmantaray

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Double standards in sports

Michael Phelps, the winningest Olympian of all time, has a genetic advantage which causes him to produce only half the lactic acid levels (which causes muscle fatigue) of the typical athlete.

Caster Semenya, an Olympic runner, is believed to have intersex traits.

Both athletes have biological differences that could impact their performance in sport. However, Michael Phelps was praised while Caster Semenya was defamed & barred from competition.

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Biological diversity in sports

The reality is that both cisgender and transgender athletes have biological differences (and even potential advantages).

But these advantages are only strictly regulated in trans athletes, and sometimes even used as an argument to exclude them from sports.

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Trans children do NOT need to be tested to participate in sports

There are no differences in circulating testosterone between those assigned male at birth and those assigned female before Tanner stage II of puberty. The only significant difference is the presence/absence of a penis which has no impact on or relevance to one’s athletic abilities.

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Policing trans bodies in sports affects women

Genital exams, genotyping, and hormone evaluations are used as methods of verifying if someone is transgender or not to exclude them from participating in sports.

These methods are enforced by:

  1. Checking every single athlete who participates (logistically & financially impossible, problem of consent)
  2. Accusation based testing (anyone accused of being transgender is subject to testing). Not only is this incredibly invasive, but such practices are degrading to women.

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Let's talk about fairness

Many people don’t care about sports or fairness until a transgender person wants to participate. If people truly want to bring fairness to the forefront, then they’d talk about barriers to the access to sports: socioeconomic disparity, often intertwined with systemic oppression such as racism. If they truly cared about equity and justice in sports, they’d focus on uplifting marginalized groups, not on attacking them.

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