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Sun Nov 29, 2020, 08:20 AM

Gender games: The complex issue of sport categories

and why they matter
article by Ross Tucker (sports scientist)

The gap between the respective champions in most track and field disciplines is 10% to 12%, and thousands of biological males fit into that space. As a result, if women’s sport did not exist as a category, women would vanish entirely from elite track and field. Consider next that a 10% to 12% difference is actually relatively small. In weightlifting, the difference is 30% to 40%. For tasks like serving in tennis, it is 20% and for punching power, the male advantage has been measured at 160%. These differences are enormous and within a relevant comparison group (like Olympic athletes, or high school athletes competing for scholarships), they are insurmountable.

[Does lowering testosterone 'work'?

He writes:
......a retained advantage [that] makes the testosterone suppression policy ineffective at achieving its objective of fairness.

A dozen such studies have found that strength, muscle mass, and muscle volume decrease by between 5% and 10% when testosterone is lowered. Given that the original male vs female difference is between 30% and 50%, the implication is that a significant part of the original advantage remains when trans women are compared to a matched group of biological females.

There is one study suggesting that male endurance advantages in distance runners are removed entirely, which might allow some sports to balance inclusion and fairness, but for sports where mass, size, strength, power and speed matter, the evidence all points one way, in the direction of retained advantage and the necessity of a prioritisation of those imperatives.

It's good to read the science about this and I hope that science continues to be privileged in our discussions about fairness. Well worth reading if you care about women's sports.

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Reply Gender games: The complex issue of sport categories (Original post)
janterry Nov 29 OP
Loki Liesmith Nov 29 #1

Response to janterry (Original post)

Sun Nov 29, 2020, 08:47 AM

1. This is a very complex problem

There is not really a solution that is fair to everyone.

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