Physical advantage or fair play?

Illustration by Ryan Hitt

Let me get this out of the way first and say that I am not a part of the transgender community nor do I have any ties to it. If you want to transition because you identify as a female and you’re born a guy or vice versa, go ahead. Do whatever you want.

However, when it comes to sports, I do have an opinion on the issue.

In sports, you put men against men and women against women, but what happens when a man identifies as a woman and wants to participate in sports?

There needs to be some consideration on what the individual’s transition has consisted of so far. You can’t take a man that still has high testosterone levels who identifies as a woman and put them in competition with other women.

Why? Men are biologically stronger and faster than women. This is not a sexist comment. This is just the “eye test” I have used while watching every type of sport.

In order to be considered able to compete, there needs to be some time frame where hormone replacement therapy has taken place and surgery should have taken place as well.

Testosterone is the hormone in both female and males that develops strength, muscle mass and bone mass — three very important things when it comes to athletics, but men just have more of it.

If you eliminate the testosterone from what was a male but is now a female, that process needs to have taken place for a period of time where you can start seeing the results like loss of muscle mass and strength. Only then should there be any consideration for this individual being allowed to play in their specific gender’s athletics.

Some would say going through hormone replacement therapy isn’t enough, and that there are still biological advantages for people who are born as men.

An article posted on The Stream states that hip structure and center-mass plays a role in males being different than females which cannot be changed with hormone therapy. According to the same article, “Doctors can change some things about the body. But they can’t ‘reformat’ the body to become something else completely.”

In the NCAA, in order to compete, you must have gone through a year of transitioning, which means a year of hormone replacement therapy and specific surgeries. Even then, there is an advantage that you would have over your cisgender counterparts.

There are just some things that can’t be changed when it comes to male and female anatomy. There is always going to be an advantage for the trans female due to them still having male abilities.

There are two things that could be done to give everyone a fair chance in sports. One, there is a different category implemented. Instead of just men and women events, you add a transgender division. Or two, you just don’t compete.

The second option is pretty cutthroat, but if there is an advantage you have that others don’t what is the difference between that and the use of performance-enhancing drugs? There isn’t.

If you have an unfair advantage, you should not be allowed to compete against those that couldn’t have those advantages even if they tried.

The point here is, I don’t think transgender athletes should be allowed to compete unless some serious changes have been made to them physically to get them as close as possible to their desired sexual orientation.