This 9-minute BBC show on testosterone, sport, and transwomen athletes (below), won’t tell you much more than the posts I’ve put up on this topic, but the show does have the cachet of an expert weighing in. And he says what I’ve also extracted from the published research: once a biological male has gone through puberty, and then transitions to the female gender, even the use of testosterone antagonists for up to three years can’t produce a “level playing field”. That’s because puberty, with its surge of testosterone, helps give biological males the skeletal, muscular, and physiological differences from women that confer a performance advantage in sports.
Moreover, research shows that these morphological and physiological differences remain even after three years (the former Olympic regulations mandates low testosterone for only a year), and translate into performance advantages, though there isn’t yet much research on the performance part. What research there is shows the athletic advantages mirror the remaining biological differences.
The narrator concludes, properly, that it will take years to sort out the biology and performance issues that can possibly create a “level playing field.” In my view, we either wait for those data, which may never be forthcoming given how hard it is to collect them, or create a two-category sports system: “biological women” and “everybody else”. (The latter sounds a bit crass and insensitive, but I don’t know what to call it.)
The program ends with the narrator adding, correctly, that some say that trans athletes of any sort “should be able to compete in whatever category they choose.” Those groups who so far seem to favor medically untreated trans women being able to compete against cis women (or “biological women”) include the ACLU, the Biden administration, and several states that specify gender as “what one identifies as”, with no medical intervention needed. (In Connecticut, for example, if you say you identify as a woman, you can compete in women’s sports, period.)These groups, while motivated by an admirable desire to support the marginalized, are creating a greater unfairness to athletes of an entire biological sex
I will do the usual throat-clearing: in all other ways that I can imagine, trans women (or trans men) should have the legal and moral rights of everybody else. But I reject the notion that my view (the one advanced here and by the BBC expert) is “transphobic.”
Click below, and then on the right-pointing arrow to hear the segment. But do it quickly, as I think the Beeb takes down its shows quickly.