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23 Jan, 2022 10:14

‘Identities don’t play sports, bodies do’ – how trans women hijacked female sport

‘Identities don’t play sports, bodies do’ – how trans women hijacked female sport

Imagine for a moment you are an athlete – or, to be more precise, a female athlete – who has trained rigorously for many years, devoting time and endless energy to achieving success on your chosen field, or track, of dreams. But then, suddenly, the rules of the game are changed mid-play and you discover that your main competitor is no longer another woman, but a biological male. That’s the harsh reality now shaking the world of women’s sports.

Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, made history as the first transgender athlete to be selected to compete at the 2020 Olympics. Although Hubbard failed to register a lift, let alone bring home any medals from the Tokyo Games, critics said her inclusion deprived biological females from their rightful spot on the national team, and possibly even on the podium. 

To add insult to injury, at least as far as many women were concerned, Hubbard was named ‘New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year,’ despite the fact that her compatriot, the canoeist Lisa Carrington, won three gold medals in 2021, becoming the country’s most successful Olympian ever.

More recent is the story of Lia Thomas, a transgender female swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania who grabbed headlines for her success in smashing long-standing women’s collegiate records. Thomas, who underwent two years of hormone replacement therapy, met her match this month when she was defeated, ironically enough, by Iszac Henig, a transgender swimmer who is in the process of transitioning from female to male.

For the critics, however, these exceedingly rare instances when a biological female is able to dominate a transgender female in athletic competition, or when a biological female graduates successfully to the burly world of male sports (which, it should be noted, practically never happens), are mere chance occurrences that will not halt the gradual destruction of women’s sports if ‘safe spaces’ for female athletes are not created.

Beth Stelzer, an amateur powerlifter and the founder of Save Women’s Sports, told RT that it is a mistake to think that a level playing field can be created between men and women athletes by simply reducing male testosterone levels, which is currently the sole gauge for determining ‘equality’ among the sexes.

“Women are not a hormone level,” remarked Stelzer, a self-described “average mom and wife” who became involved in weightlifting to deal with a past life trauma. “To think that simply adjusting a hormone level can change a male into a female is absurd. Identities don’t play sports, bodies play sports,” she added.

The science is pretty straightforward. Athletes who’ve gone through biologically male puberty enjoy a huge physical advantage over their biologically female counterparts in terms of height, muscle mass, bone structure, bone density, and in the relative size of their organs, particularly the heart and lungs, which play a vital role during competition. These are physical advantages – which could prove extremely dangerous for female athletes, especially in combat sports, like boxing and MMA – that do not magically disappear as a result of medical intervention.

One study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that transgender women, even after the one-year period of testosterone suppression that is recommended by World Athletics for inclusion in women’s sporting events, still had a 9% faster mean run speed time. Yet, given the current political climate, when age-old terms like “mother” and “father” are becoming objectionable, people simply do not want to mention the obvious differences between the sexes for fear of being labeled ‘hateful.’

It is exactly that sort of repressive atmosphere which provided the initial incentive for the Save Women’s Sports movement. Stelzer said her advocacy group was born out of the “fear and harassment” she experienced after competing at the 2019 USA Powerlifting state championships in Minnesota. It was there she spoke out against a male who had protested that he was not able to compete with the females.

“I was called a racist, transphobic bigot for speaking out at first,” Stelzer recalled. “I’ve received death threats in the past.”

Listening to female athletes discuss the unprecedented challenges they face when competing against biological males, the lack of fair opportunity often arises, and not just on the sports field.

Selina Soule, who has been training to be a sprinter since the age of eight, had become, by her sophomore year in high school, one of the top five female high school sprinters in the state of Connecticut.

“But then, one day, I wasn’t,” she *said in a PragerU video.

So what happened? According to Soule, “[A]t the state championships that year, two people passed me passed all of us girls. Literally. They finished first and second in our races, dominating the field.”

Those new competitors, two transgender females, went on to win “15 women’s state championship titles,” she said.

What this heightened level of competition means, aside from bitter defeat on the field, is that an increasing number of females will no longer qualify for many of the attractive perks – like competing in the Olympics, for example, or winning a scholarship to attend university – that have long been part of sporting excellence.

“The reason that we have girls’ sports in the first place is to give female athletes with talent, hard work, and dedication an equal opportunity to shine and be recognized,” Soule explained. “Women fought too hard, for too long, so girls like me can have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.”

Indeed, with the arrival of transgender females in the world of women’s sports it seems only a matter of time before many of the advances women achieved through the feminist movement will be set back decades.

So is there a solution to this standoff between these two disparate groups, some common ground where transgender females and biological females may compete together in harmony? According to Stelzer the answer is no.

“This should not be a political issue; it is common sense,” she says. “Save Women’s Sports is here to say that women’s sex-based spaces, on and off the playing field, deserve protection.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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