USA Swimming announces new policy for transgender swimmers

February 3, 2022 • 10:15 am

The success of transgender female swimmer Lia Thomas, who competes for the University of Pennsylvania, has caused a lot of polarization. On one hand there are those, like the state of Connecticut and the ACLU, who think that it’s okay if a biological male competes against biological females if that person simply declares themselves to have a female gender. No surgery or hormone treatement are required.

On the other hand are those who argue that no transgender woman should ever compete in woman’s sports, as they have an inherent biological advantage that makes the playing field “unlevel”.

On the third hand we have people like me who say that it’s possible that you could level the playing field, but that would be nearly impossible to do, for how do you ensure that all the advantages of bone density, physiology, and musculature that males acquire at puberty are effaced by the rules? This requires a kind of research that has been done only a little, and what research there is suggests that the solution will be complicated and probably not congenial to transgender women athletes.

We are, of course, not talking about transgender men competing against biological men, which is not much of an issue except in rugby, where World Rugby, which has completely banned transgender women from playing in women’s rugby, still allows transgender men to play men’s (and sometimes women’s) rugby under these conditions:

Transgender men may play men’s rugby having provided confirmation of physical ability. Transgender men may not play women’s rugby after the process of sex reassignment has begun, if this reassignment includes supplementation with testosterone

The International Olympic Committee used to have a rule that transgender women could compete in women’s events so long as they maintained a testosterone titer of no more than 10 nanomoles/liter of blood for 12 months before competition. (The normal ranges for cis biological men are 8.8–30.9 nanomoles/liter while female testosterone ranges from 0.4–2.0 nmol/liter. These distributions are nonoverlapping from puberty into adulthood.)

Recent research, which I’ve covered here and here, however, shows that the IOC regulations aren’t sufficient, even with three years of testosterone treatment, for biological males acquire a competitive (and performance) advantage at puberty that isn’t effaced by testosterone treatment. This led the IOC to ditch its regulation, and it hasn’t yet replaced it with a new one.

Imagine the research it would take to show what kind of treatment transgender women would need to “level the playing field”, and how would we even know when the playing field is level? The experimentation it would take to show that (testing performance of many transgender female athletes medically treated in different ways) is not only impractical, but seems unethical. Because of this, some people (including me) have suggested that, without this kind of knowledge, all transgender athletes might compete in an “open” third league, or allow all transgender athletes, of whatever gender, to compete in men’s sports (the rugby issue of injury, however, may bar this for some sports). A third solution was suggested below by a Canadian study.

The disadvantage of the first solution is that athletes in the “third” gender league would probably feel stigmatized. But I, for one, would rate the fairness issue as higher than the possibility of stigmatization.  The issue of transgender women entering women’s sports will only grow over time, and you can’t dismiss it as a “trivial issue.” It’s not trivial for biological women who feel cheated by the performance advantage of transgender women. A long report by the MacDonald-Laurier Institute in Canada, with both athletes and experts of both sexes on the advisory board, concludes this:

For this reason, it seems to us that fairness in sport can be achieved with the removal, as far as is possible, of gender identifiers in sport, and the reconceptualization of the male category as “Open” and the women’s category as “Female” where female refers to the sex recorded at birth. In this, we broadly support the policy proposals included in the Sports Councils’ Equality Group report (SCEG 2021). We urge national and international sports organizations, in Canada and beyond, to develop a similar policy.

That is one possible solution, and readers here have also suggested it. It would, of course force Lea Thomas to compete in the “open” category against biological men. But at least no hormone treatment is required if a biological woman who transitions to the male gender wants to compete with others.

None of this, of course, is to imply that transgender individuals should be treated differently from cisgender individuals in a legal or moral sense, or discriminated against or treated uncivilly in society. Sports is one of those rare areas, however, where you have to consider differential treatment of cisgender and transgender individuals. To do so is not to be “transphobic”, and I totally reject that adjective applied to discussions like this one.

In light of Lia Thomas’s success, and her lack of success when she competed as a man, USA Swimming, which has over 400,000 members, has just released a new policy about transgender swimmers, described in the NBC News and BBC articles below (click on screenshots):




The new policy, which you can find here, has this rationale:

The development of the elite policy therefore acknowledges a competitive difference in the male and female categories and the disadvantages this presents in elite head-to-head competition. This is supported by statistical data that shows that the top-ranked female in 2021, on average, would be ranked 536th across all short course yards (25 yards) male events in the country and 326th across all long course meters (50 meters) male events in the country, among USA Swimming members. The policy therefore supports the need for competitive equity at the most elite levels of competition.

While recognizing the need for the aforementioned guidelines in elite competition, sport is an important vehicle for positive physical and mental health, and, for this reason, USA Swimming remains steadfast in its continued commitment to greater inclusivity at the non-elite levels.

In order to balance these two priorities, specific guidelines have been developed for both non-elite and elite athletes and elite events. At the non-elite level, an inclusive process has been established by which an athlete can elect to change their competition category in order for them to experience the sport of swimming in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression. At the elite level, a policy has been created for transgender athlete participation in the U.S. that relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level-playing field for elite cisgender women, and to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology. Elite athletes shall include any athlete who has achieved a time standard and desires to participate in elite events as defined in the policy.

I take “competitive equity” to mean “a level playing field” i.e., no average performance advantage of transgender women over biological women in elite sports. And here are the official rules (my emphasis):

The elite athlete policy will be implemented by a decision-making panel comprised of three independent medical experts and eligibility criteria will consist of:

  • Evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors.
  • Evidence that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 5 nmol/L (as measured by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) continuously for a period of at least thirty-six (36) months before the date of application.

The two news articles above basically reiterate these rules and add other material, like a letter of support for Thomas that came some women on her team. Let’s just look at the rules, though.

The first criterion—evaluation by three experts that the athlete “does not [have] a competitive advantage over cisgender female competitors”— seems to me unworkable.  How do they determine that? No criteria are given. Perhaps you can say that the transgender woman hasn’t excelled in past competition against cisgender women so she shows no “competitive advantage”. But I doubt they’ll use that as a criterion, for I suspect the women who undergo this evaluation will be those like Lia Thomas, who have already shown a competitive advantage.

This first point surely needs more explicit explanation. Or they could use measurements like muscle mass and bone density, and physiology, showing that they’re no different between elite transgender and cisgender women athletes. But this would disqualify nearly all transgender women who are examined, for those traits remain different even after several years of hormone therapy (see below).

What about the 36 months of maintaining low testosterone? That seems unworkable too, at least in terms of leveling the playing field. If you read this recent paper in British Journal of Sports Medicine by Harper et al., you’ll see their conclusion (my emphases):

Results Twenty-four studies were identified and reviewed. Transwomen experienced significant decreases in all parameters measured, with different time courses noted. After 4 months of hormone therapy, transwomen have Hgb/HCT levels equivalent to those of cisgender women. After 12 months of hormone therapy, significant decreases in measures of strength, LBM and muscle area are observed. The effects of longer duration therapy (36 months) in eliciting further decrements in these measures are unclear due to paucity of data. Notwithstanding, values for strength, LBM and muscle area in transwomen remain above those of cisgender women, even after 36 months of hormone therapy.

Conclusion In transwomen, hormone therapy rapidly reduces Hgb to levels seen in cisgender women. In contrast, hormone therapy decreases strength, LBM and muscle area, yet values remain above that observed in cisgender women, even after 36 months. These findings suggest that strength may be well preserved in transwomen during the first 3 years of hormone therapy.

In other words, the data we have so far suggest that three years of hormone treatment isn’t long enough to efface the morphological and physiological advantages of transwomen over biological women. In other words, the second criterion of American swimming somewhat contradicts the first.

So this isn’t a solution, as it’s more or less subjective and not solidly based on data.

The more I think about it, the more I’m agreeing with the Canadian solution that we need two categories: “open” and “women”, the latter containing only biological wome). That way nobody is stigmatized by being in a third category. It’s not perfect, of course, because transwomen still have to compete against biological men, and if they have had hormone treatment, they’ll be at a disadvantage.  The fact is that no solution is fair to everyone, but this seems to be the fairest one I see—until we have more data on performance of transgender athletes.

As for Lia Thomas, I don’t know how she’ll fare under the new rules, or whether she’ll even be forced to abide by them.  In the end, I think this issue is as much a philosophical as an empirical one. What is the “fairest” way to treat everyone? I haven’t seen philosophers write on this—I might have missed some—but since the area is a minefield, I doubt that they’d want to touch it. But athletic organizations must, as the issue will only become more pressing.

51 thoughts on “USA Swimming announces new policy for transgender swimmers

  1. As a scientific experiment, the IOC’s original regulations allowing biological male to competes against biological females was approached backwards. The null hypothesis should have been that males have an advantage. Of course they do. Then it would have been up to careful studies to prove that under some conditions they don’t.

  2. Simply recognize that sex is not gender. One can change one’s gender, but not one’s sex. Males remain males, females remain females, whatever the gender they choose. The separate women and men categories in sport are based on sex, because that is the relevant factor, performance-wise.

    1. Yes, and that’s why in the two-category approach the one besides “open” should be “female” and not
      “woman”. Using “woman” just invites more “transwomen are women” insistence.

  3. I support the Open category. Nothing new in my opinion there.

    What IS new is US Swimming’s idea of different criteria for elite and non-elite. There are probably kinks to be worked out but at first blush I really like that compromise. Letting kids compete the way they want when there’s no scholarships, Uni entry, sponsorship, state records etc. on the line seems like the “right direction” to be thinking about how we balance inclusivity and fairness. Maybe it’s not ultimately the solution we go with, but we need more creative thinking along these lines.

    One ‘con’ I can see for that approach, however, is the limited number of spots on even “non-elite” teams or in heats. The entire point of Title IX was to make institutions such as US High Schools and Unis give equal sports opportunities to (at the time, the thought was about cis) women. If we have a track or swimming intervarsity event, and the selection of athletes is such that it’s a trans woman getting the one school’s spot in every race, then are we really fulfilling the purpose of Title IX?

    1. I support this compromise too. IDK at what age or competitive level the athletes would, um, transition from recreational to elite and become subject to the elite rules wrt sex. But it’s a good idea.

      About Jerry’s comment that “The issue of transgender women entering women’s sports will only grow over time, and you can’t dismiss it as a ‘trivial issue'”, I agree. But it’s ironic that some activists do make this argument in favour of trans women competing against females. They argue that there are so few such trans women that it’s a trivial concern, and so it makes no sense to design policy to exclude them from women’s sport.

      OTOH this is also an argument in favour of the 2019 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport against Caster Semenya, where the judges agreed that excluding athletes with a DSD (specifically biological males who identify as women) was indeed discriminatory, but that the discrimination was “necessary, reasonable and appropriate” in part because so few are discriminated against relative to the many females whose class would be protected by the ruling.

      1. Well the problem can be expected to grow for three potential reasons. (1) if critics are right and there’s a social pressure/incentive component to transitioning, then incentivising it more by allowing trans women athletes to compete with cis women in events would lead to more people doing it. (2) if critics are wrong, we might still expect trans numbers to grow as stigma goes down and social acceptance goes up. This is the ‘better detection/awareness’ possibility, vs #1’s ‘increase in per capita numbers’ possibility. (3) As our population increases, the ‘tails’ of trait distribution matter more. So even if the per capita number of trans people doesn’t increase, we must recognize that the fairness and trans rights issues of deciding “county champ” is very different between the case of 10,000 county women of which 10 are trans and the case of 1,000,000 county women of which 1,000 are trans. In the former, given random distribution of physical capabilities and preferences for sports, it may not matter. In the latter case, it almost certainly will. As population increases, small per capita numbers of athletes with a significant developmental advantage are going to matter more.

        1. I’ll add 4.) as the definition of “transgender” broadens in scope, more will identify that way.”Any person whose gender expression does not conform to conventional ideas of male or female” is pretty open to interpretation and virtually precludes any sort of gatekeeping in terms of who qualifies — or doesn’t. I’ve heard that there are some high.schools where approximately 25% of the students consider themselves something other than straight “cisgender.”

          Many places now have simple policies regarding rest rooms, changing rooms, shelters, and other single-sex spaces of “Use the one you’re most comfortable with.” We may think this level of personal solicitude won’t extend itself to competitive sports. We may be wrong about that.

    2. I’m not so keen on this compromise. It might not be elite sport, but fairness still matters. Heck, fairness always matters a lot in sport. If you see a bunch of 12-year-olds playing informal football* together, they’ll swap players around if the score gets one-sided. Even in non-elite sport, having transwomen with an unfair advantage who the others could not compete against would still matter to the participants.

      There is only one clear-cut solution, only one solution that won’t lead to endless wrangling, rule changes and lawsuits, and that is that women’s sport is for biological women. The whole point of women’s sport is that it is a protected category, since they can’t be expected to compete against biological males.

      [*soccer to USAians.]

      1. Absolutely. If girls and women can’t compete in fair competitions they will never make it to the elite level in the first place.

    3. I like the different criteria, too, but I share your concern. Will you impact the ability of biological women to make it to the elite level? But I think that is probably dealt with by using time cutoffs to make the distinction. I.e. Once you have swam in event in a faster time that the cutoff, you graduate to elite.

      I can’t imagine that there will ever be enough transwomen swimmers to move the time substantially from where it would be if transwomen couldn’t compete.

  4. Only obstinate warfare to put over a contradiction can explain the resistance to objectivity on this issue. I will not post my conviction on the motive here. That would be psychologizing. I’ll just say it has nothing to do with justice, fairness, or moral value.

    Genus Homo, ~6 million years. Prior primates/mammals far more.

    I’m suggesting that “bone density, physiology, and musculature” are primary, but far from the only advantages reality has selected for males. What about nervous response? Edge of competitiveness? Urgency of running as survival wired in?

    Add: possibly hundreds of nuanced differences in the sexes that come to bear on athletic performance.

    All governing bodies ought to go by sex at birth alone. Period.

    1. I think elite coaching and motivation can overcome virtually all of the possible genetic effects on behavioural differences between male and female athletes like “nervous response” or “urgency”. For example, watch the Olympic women’s hockey final between the Canadian and American teams (it’s a foregone conclusion they will be the finalists, but a toss-up who will win), and compare to the relative kumbaya of the men’s hockey tournament. Both will be good, but the women’s final will be more “urgent” because those two teams really hate each other.

      1. @ Michael Hart

        Do you have a list of “all of the possible genetic effects”?

        In my post I simply dreamed up a few that seem plausible … random. However, my point was there could be thousands. Millions. Selection is ferocious, and given that there is no evidence that men and women performed the same roles for the past six million years, exquisite selection for male competence could easily have focused millions of tiny advantages — men competing with men. Meanwhile, female advantages, also exquisitely selected, have been headed in another direction. For six million years.

        [this brings into sharp focus the absurdity of only differentiating by current pumped-in testosterone level. That is sickeningly vapid.] — and by contrast trumpets the admirable goodness of holding separate athletic competitions for each sex — it honors their different paths equally.

        I contend coaching and motivation over the past few seconds will not obliterate the gap of men to women.

        Your point about the urgency of the two hockey teams … and without me challenging the kumbaya ratings of both/either … if you held a serious, meaningful, risky game between the Canadian men’s team and the Canadian women’s … you see where I’m going with that.

      2. What you said makes no sense. Are you implying that the “urgency” and hate being shown by the women’s teams toward each other would allow either of them to beat either of the more laid-back men’s teams??

        And even if that were true, I don’t want to watch a skilled motivated woman body-checked into the boards by even a laid-back man who outweighs her by six inches and 50 pounds.

        Finally, the worst abuses by trans athletes occur in the raw power sports where the elite men and many of the also-rans completely outclass even the elite women. If you have evidence that coaching can close “virtually” —a meaningless word in that context—all that gap, please show it.

      3. Easy there guys. I didn’t say the women could beat the men. Just that at this kind of elite level the women can have similar or superior behavioural traits (“nervous response”, “urgency”) compared to the men.

        1. Michael, speaking for myself, I posted at you because you made what equates to a “side comment” about one random trait I floated … when the f’n serious screaming is about men allowed into women’s sports.

  5. Seems to me the only truly fair solution is: men may compete against men and women may compete against women. Let men who think they’re women compete against women on a recreational basis, as long as the women agree, but otherwise, if they don’t like it, they can do something else with their lives.

    What’s so special about these transwomen, that they deserve this accommodation? I don’t think anyone has a “right” to be an elite athlete any more than I have a “right” to be a Top Gun pilot (at age 66 with poor eyesight).

    1. Let men who think they’re women compete against women on a recreational basis, as long as the women agree, …

      The puts too much pressure on the women to “be kind” and agree, under threat of “transphobe” taunts. That’s unfair on them.

  6. The purpose of categories in sport is to enable and ensure meaningful (and in some instances, safe) competition. If Mike Tyson self-identified as a fly-weight no-one would think that was sufficient grounds to let him compete as one. This is the reason why we have separate male and female categories for most sports and so, whilst I am generally happy to accommodate the wish of transgender people to live and be recognised as their chosen gender, I feel competitive sport is one area where this cannot really be achieved without creating unfairness for cis-gendered female athletes.

    1. It would make the furtive attempts by the East Germans at the end of the last century look like pansy play.

    2. If that happens, we will have to disqualify trans women for massive, organized, nationally sponsored drug use at the same rate we disqualify cis women for massive, organized, nationally sponsored drug use!

  7. “But many women such as Semenya and fellow 2016 medallists, Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba and Kenyan Margaret Wambui, refuse to use drugs or surgery to alter the makeup of their bodies.”
    By Rachel Savage, Thomson Reuters Foundation
    It’s not going to be easy sorting this. All sports have been fighting drug cheats… well forever. Now they want athletes to use drugs to do the same thing, keep a level playing field in the name of fairness. One against the rules the other for the rules.
    Quit any mention of drugs etc and have an “open” category.
    I’m not particularly keen on “open” and “women” does this mean “women’s open” and “men’s open” categories? If this is how they would describe the categories then perhaps this allows trans individuals to be classed as women or men, which as the above quote from the Savage report seemed to suggest is important … some of the angst from trans athletes is to be classed in their preferred gender, keeping it clean, fair and healthy, as in all mainstream sports. IMO trans athletes need to recognize this.

    1. Ask yourself: Why are the separate divisions in sports for men and women? Why not a single group?

      Why are trans-men in men’s sport a non-issue?

      The answers to these questions tell the whole story. Biological sex is real. Men have significant advantages in sports.

      Want to kill the whole progress made in women’s sports over that last half-century? Let biological men compete in women’s divisions.

  8. I favor the Open and Female categorization. If we grant that transgender folks have a right to compete in elite-level sports, that seems the fairest approach. The right to compete doesn’t imply a right to be competitive in the field.

    1. A further thought: we talk mostly about trans women, because they have physiological advantages over cis women. But what about trans men? Where would they compete?

      If they competed in an Open category, they would be completely uncompetitive, dangerously so in contact sports. If they were on testosterone they’d be disqualified from competing in the female category, despite qualifying as biological women. And no doubt they’d be appalled to have to compete as a woman when they identify as a man.

      So does this now require a third category, just for them?

      1. Trans men could compete in the open category, obviously.
        The open category is by definition open to everyone: cis men, cis women, trans men, trans women, intersex people (like Semenya), etc.

  9. Count me in the second group: no compromise. There are but very few sports in which males, transitioned or not, have not a statistical edge over women (equestrian sports come to mind, but there the horse is the real athlete)and these sports already have no separate women’s events.
    Even sex ‘assigned at birth’ doesn’t cut it, that would allow male pseudo-hermaphrodites (male ‘intersex’ persons) to compete in women’s sports which they should not. I’m sorry for Wambui and Semenya, they are -contrary to trans ‘women’- no cheats, but they should not be allowed to compete in the women’s events.
    The simplest criterion would be the presence of a Y chromosome, or rather the presence of the SRY gene, if present: no competing in women’s sports. Simple and clear.
    If that is ‘transphobe’, so be it. Any ‘compromise’ is ‘gynaecophobe’.

    1. Now we are getting into a realm that is not really trans-gender at all. But an XY, Sry+ person who has complete androgen insensitivity is phenotypically female in every way except not having ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or a uterus. She can certainly compete as female because she has never had male puberty and never will, even if given testosterone. The sporting world recognizes this and will grant a waiver provided the diagnosis is clear. Partial insensitivity requires investigation as to whether any virilization gives an edge and she might have to be disqualified, remembering that normal post-pubescent women are of course not totally devoid of androgenic hormones for a number of physiologic reasons related to normal sexual development.

    2. Perhaps it would be best to define the “unopened category” as that established for athletes “born without male gonads.” Some intersex people go through a horrible childhood because they are assigned female at birth but over the years their apparent clitoris turns into a penis and their whole body takes on a completely masculine look with huge muscles.

  10. The new US Swimming policy seems to be a real mess, though also a small significant step in the right direction. It’s finally acknowledged that the inclusion of biological males in women’s sports raises a fairness issue. What a world we live in!
    Lia Thomas went from a mediocre elite-level male swimmer to an elite-level swimmer dominating her competitions against biological females. Under the first prong of the new US Swimming policy that should make her ineligible for competing in the female category. There is no other way than referencing the advantages of her biological maleness to explain this change in relative performance. Under any other circumstances, there would be only one explanation for such a change in relative performance – doping.
    The way ahead is an open category and an exclusion of biological males from female sports.

  11. I’d like to put a stick in the spokes of the “kumbaya until it comes to elite sports” disclaimer that we all say to deflect charges of general transphobia. Hardly any of us cares much about elite women’s athletics beyond saying we aren’t going to buy tickets to watch a man in a suitably tailored women’s Speedo wipe out the field, and that’s that. And sponsors know that, so it will all work out. If it spells the end of women’s athletics, what is that to me? If the women care, let them duke it out with the trans activists. I can’t fight their battles for them. If they’re only doing college athletics, the least costly path might be to just suck it up for four years and then find a job.

    Instead I want to elaborate on what Eric alludes to in #3 with Title IX. What should I do as a manager if my corporate board’s status-of-women committee tells the CEO to develop a plan to mentor promising women for the career track to the C-suite instead of the mommy track. No quotas mind you, but both the women and the men on the Board do want to see women get ahead. So all the department heads are to let it be known that suitably driven women should step forward for consideration. One such candidate is Caitlyn, formerly living as Bruce. Does she get put forward for the same consideration as Fiona, who has always been Fiona? We’re not asking either of them to bench press their weight. It’s just that there’s a nagging doubt in my mind that we are advancing women in our company if we leave Fiona behind.

    Or perhaps the Board is up to date and has a full-blown DEI Committee that wants sexual minorities advanced, too. Here Caitlyn ticks two boxes, while Fiona ticks only one. It’s obvious now that the mentoring goes to Caitlyn, verifying again the MacPherson effect.

    Kumbaya doesn’t play nicely with zero-sum. Elite sport brings this out because sport just is zero-sum. But so is a lot of life, especially where DEI has made inroads. But then, I’m a white guy. Even if I was gay, today I wouldn’t tick any boxes so they aren’t going to hire me anyway if they can help it. I’ll just let the box-tickers fight that one out, too.

    1. Open: why would even one woman swim the 100 meter with men on either side of her? “Open” would end up just being men.

      1. Did you miss the entire point here? Trans women would have to compete in the Open category, as the women’s category would be limited to biological females.

        So the Open category would be mostly biological males, with a few trans women, and depending on the sport, maybe some biological women, too. (Lindsay Vonn famously expressed a desire to race against men in alpine skiing.)

      2. Indeed, why would they? If they are actually biological women, they enter the Women’s division. And if they aren’t, then WTF are they doing trying to elbow out women in the Women’s division?

        And why would a biological woman spend her entire youth preparing to be relegated to second class status in competition against biological men (who claim to be women)?

  12. Either
    1.) Transwomen are women, and should be allowed to compete with their natural hormones.

    2.) Transwomen are men, and should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports regardless of hormone levels.

    3.) Well, let’s not parse this too fine. They’re kinda women, but kinda men, too, so we can draw an arbitrary line somewhere with hormones and drugs so that transwomen on women’s teams can win, but not win too much. And not too many on a team, right? We can fix a percentage. That shouldn’t be too hard. And changing rooms and showers? Let’s make it all cubicles and individual stalls — or at least put a curtain up somewhere, at least occasionally, to be used by whomever. This can all be adjusted, as needed. It’s kinda fair, kinda not fair, nobody too happy — compromise.

    1. Answer # 2 since I use the following definitions of those words:
      man: adult human male
      woman: adult human female

    2. Sort of hard to compromise when the top woman is #544 or #267 (or whatever — let’s just call it what it is: Completely out of the picture — there’s no overlap in the righthand tails of the distribution) when competing against the men.

      Why should we doing triple twisting quadruple back-flips on this?

      1. That sound bite is the ad baculum argument. (I think. It’s always hard to tell if a sound bite contains any argument at all.). Believe this or I will beat you up or otherwise punish you. It is typically listed with the logical fallacies, but since the law in many jurisdictions says exactly that…or even worse that trans women are women, then it is clearly not a fallacy at all.
        It is still false, though.

        1. Do you also believe that gay marriages are not marriages?

          All illiberals believe that same-sex marriages are not marriages and that trans women are not women.

            1. The assimilation of progress does not occur with the same ease in all people, not even among people who consider themselves liberal. For example, in the 19th century some anti-slavery advocates defended women’s right to vote, while the latter cause was rejected by other anti-slavery advocates. Today, however, all liberals condemn slavery as much as they defend women’s suffrage.

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