Suzy Weiss on swimmer Lia Thomas, and the chilling of dissent

February 21, 2022 • 10:30 am

Suzi Weiss now and then takes a turn on her sister Bari’s Substack column “Common Sense”, and this week recounts her trip to watch transgender swimmer Lia Thomas compete in the Ivy League swimming championships at Harvard. You can read the column for free (I think) by clicking on the screenshot, but be sure to subscribe if you read regularly:

I’ve been critical of the authorities allowing Thomas, a transgender woman, compete against other women swimmers, for she clearly has a big physical and physiological advantage over biological women swimmers, having nabbed several important victories. Although Thomas has been taking testosterone-blocking hormones, she began transitioning after puberty, and apparently retains her male bits (see article). In fact, her hormone levels violate the NCAA guidelines for this year. But because the regulations were passed after Thomas began competing on the Penn’s women’s team, she’s been grandfathered in (is that the right phrase?).

But although I think that Thomas, with her inherent biological advantages—advantages that appear to be maintained for at least three years after hormone suppression—should not be able to compete on the women’s team, that doesn’t mean I lack sympathy for her. It’s a hard road she’s chosen, and for sure she’s not doing it just to win championships. She swam for the Penn’s men team before transitioning, and clearly loves to swim. Granted, she didn’t stand out as a male swimmer, but surely nobody does these things to their bodies just to win medals—medals that will surely always be questioned.  The best I can do is, while maintaining the moral and political equality of all transgender people, and also ask that their preferences (gender, pronouns and the like) be respected, also argue that it’s still unfair for trans women to compete against biological women in sport. It’s unfair and, if this continues, is likely, it will turn women’s sports into a mess, or destroy them completely. Apparently most parents of Penn women swimmers, as well as most of those swimmers themselves, feel the situation is unfair, but the swimmers have been somewhat silenced (see below).

The solution that most readers and I have hit on is to either have three categories (“men”, “women”, and “other”), which seems cruel, or keep the same two categories, with only biological women able to compete in women’s sports but anybody allowed to compete in men’s sports (a “men+ league?”). But that isn’t perfect, either, as both transgender women and men will have athletic disadvantages against biological men.

But I adamantly reject the label “transphobe” for people who think about this situation and decide that Thomas’s competing against biological women is unfair. But, as you’ll see, it’s that label, used in the same way the label “racist” is in discussions of equity, that strikes fear into people’s hearts and makes them shut up. Is it also “transphobic” to criticize the participation of medically untreated biological men in women’s sports, if those men identify as women?  That’s allowed in several places and appears to be the Biden Administration’s position, as well as that of the ACLU. But surely it’s not “fear of transsexual people” that motivates most of the people pushing back against the participation of people like Thomas.

A few quotes from Weiss (indented), which I’ve summarized into four categories:

The background:

Thomas, 22-years-old and a fifth-year senior, is the star swimmer on the Penn women’s team—and a transgender athlete who swam for her first three years on the men’s. The tallest swimmer on her team by at least a head, she has to crouch a little to get in the Quakers’ huddle.

Thomas started making headlines in early December, when, at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, she set two national records in the 500- and 200-yard freestyle events. She beat her closest competitor, another Penn swimmer, in the 1,650-yard freestyle by 38 seconds. Since then, she has continued to smash records.

Lia Thomas isn’t just a swimmer. She’s become a totem in the culture wars, making abstract debates—about the tradeoffs between inclusion and fairness, about the tension between identity versus biology, and about the complications of treating sex as a mental fact and not a chromosomal one—real and radioactive. Her presence—and dominance—in the water has been confounding observers and many of the parents gathered at the Harvard pool to watch the Ivies. They wonder whether they are witnessing the beginning of the end of women’s sports.

. . . Thomas, an economics major with a minor in classics, is from Austin and started swimming at the age of five. When she swam on the men’s team, Thomas never made it to the NCAA Championship. Now, Thomas is seeded number one in the league and is poised to give Katie Ledecky a run for her money next month at the NCAA championships.

Believe me, if Thomas beats Katie Ledecky in any event at the NCAA championships, this is going to blow up big time, for Ledecky, just 24, is regarded by many as the best woman swimmer in American history/ From her Wikipedia entry:

Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky (born March 17, 1997) is an American competitive swimmer. Having won 7 Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals, the most in history for a female swimmer, she is considered one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Ledecky is the world record holder in the women’s 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle (long course). She also holds the fastest-ever times in the women’s 500-, 1000-, 1500-, and 1650-yard freestyle events.

The NCAA’s ruling:

Most parents in the stands lay [the controversy] at the feet of the NCAA. They had expected that the NCAA would impose some clarity. Instead, in January, the NCAA announced that when it came to transgender athletes, it would defer to the governing bodies of each and every sport. Three weeks ago, U.S.A. Swimming announced its new guidelines, which are pretty extensive. For example, a transwoman now has to have her testosterone tested, and clear the 5-nanomoles-per-liter threshold for 36 months. This apparently caught the NCAA by surprise, prompting the organization to double back and announce that it would be unfair to transgender swimmers to implement the new U.S.A. Swimming guidelines this late in the game.

All this means that Thomas will get to compete at the NCAA championships next month. And that the parents of the female swimmers she’s trouncing are very annoyed.

Pushback and debate about biological differences between men and women.

Carole Hooven, the co-director at Harvard’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and the author of the book “T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us,” is an expert on the biological differences between men and women. Hooven notes a few of the differences, on average, between those who have gone through male puberty and those who have not: taller heights and longer wingspans, larger bones, and hearts, greater lung capacity, the structure of male-adapted muscles that are easier to build and harder to lose, and lean body mass. Some of these traits can be tamped down with drugs. Others can’t.

“Men don’t have an advantage over women because of one of these factors, but all of them put together,” Hooven says.

“It is not fair for women to race against transgender Lia Thomas,” tweeted female tennis champion Martina Navratilova recently. Diana Nyad, the legendary female swimmer who is the only person to swim between Florida and Cuba unaided, wrote in The Washington Post that “no amount of analysis can erase male puberty’s advantages. Perhaps a fairer plan is to give competitions a new ‘open’ classification: Cisgender, transgender, intersex—all are welcome.”

. . . and from the women swimmers:

I’m told that the Princeton girls are “freaking out.” Sixteen Penn swimmers sent a letter to Penn and the Ivy League urging them to uphold USA Swimming’s decision, which set forth much stricter guidelines for trans athletes than the NCAA’s. Three hundred other swimmers sent another letter to the NCAA in support of Thomas. There have been a ton of statements, too, from Penn (“Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student athletes”); Michael Phelps (“sports should be played on an even playing field”); and Caitlyn Jenner (“We cannot have biological boys competing against women. It’s bad for the trans community”).

The Penn parents tell me there’s yet another letter coming down the pike, this one organized by them with the help of former Olympian Nancy Hogshead-Makar, which argues that Thomas’s participation is unfair. That one has 3,000 signatures, including from more than 100 olympians and Hall of Fame swimming coaches.

Silencing of dissenters. This to me is the most disturbing part of the issue. Certainly the participation of transgender athletes in various leagues is an issue not only worth debating, but one that must be debated, for it speaks to important principles of fairness, much less to Title IX regulations meant to give men and women parity in education, including sports. At that time the issue of transgender athletes wasn’t envisioned.  Now I can understand why the other Penn women swimmers wouldn’t want to publicly

But the Penn couple thinks that Thomas’s comfort has come at the expense of their own daughters’ who they say have received “veiled threats” from the university when it comes to speaking out. At the meet, the announcer opens with a warning against “racist, homophobic, or transphobic discrimination.”

So it is no surprise that not one of the swimmers would speak to me; nor have they spoken on the record to any other reporter. It’s not that they haven’t considered it. “One of the swimmers on their team called my daughter and asked if they were to put out a statement, if the Harvard swimmers would too,” a Harvard dad told me on Friday night.

. . . One of the Penn moms says her own daughter warned her against speaking out. “She’s worried about getting into grad school, and she doesnt want my name or hers to come up on Google attached to this.” (Her daughter is hoping to get a graduate degree in biology.)

The parents say their daughters know it’s wrong that Thomas is swimming against them but that they will not risk getting smeared with the label transphobe.

What about Mike Schnur, the Penn’s coach, who is wearing a mask with a trans flag on Saturday night, where Thomas swims in the 100 yard freestyle? “Politically, he’s as conservative as they come,” says a Penn dad. “He just loves winning and loves his job.”

It’s this kind of censorship that stifles discussion around an important issue, and it’s fear of the label “transphobe” that keeps people from giving their opinions.  What Woke people have discovered is that they can silence their opponents with simply a single word denoting bigotry. Or, in the case of Coach Schnur, a single design on a mask.

The rest of us have no such power—only reasoned arguments, which opponents are determined to ignore.

83 thoughts on “Suzy Weiss on swimmer Lia Thomas, and the chilling of dissent

  1. I’m potentially in favor of eliminating sex-based segregation in some individual, non-team sports. Create divisions based purely on performance. If a swimmer like Thomas, or a natal female athlete, performs well enough, they compete in the 1st division. Although, people would surely find it offensive that the top division would be almost completely cis gender men.

    1. A problem there: You would destroy women’s sports in one blow.

      At the right hand end of the distributions (say the top 200 in the world), there’s no overlap. #200 in sports is a long way from the podium. I guess we’ll just be saying, “be happy with second place on the podium, ladies,” you are relegated to second class sports. And why? To cater to trans women who went through puberty as males? Just because they want that? Who gave them veto over all the women athletes?

      The points of men’s and women’s divisions are:
      1) Acknowledging that men and women perform differently in sports due to innate advantages of male bodies (basically, high testosterone levels, in development, puberty, and adulthood).
      2) Women’s divisions allow women to shine at the top of the group/state/nation/world, without having to compete against (advantaged) males. Why do young women literally devote their lives to sports competition? Not to compete and men and women in a second-class division.

      1. I agree with your points about mens and womens divisions and would even add to point number 1 that men and women on average compete differently. I don’t have a study to back me up but anecdotally speaking, after many years of playing in adult rec tennis leagues with both men and women (I’ve had 100+ doubles partners at this point) men are much more likely to get more intense and competitive during our matches. More likely to get upset and throw a tantrum and be a ball hog. Ive witnessed this also watching mens’ singles matches at my club. Not all men are like this obviously and of course I’ve played with a couple women that got very competitive, but it is different enough that I do not enjoy playing with men as much. When I play with fellow women, I don’t have to worry that my partner will be upset with me if I miss a crucial shot in a tight match. I wonder if this difference is primarily biological and/or due to surge in hormones, or through socialization of growing up as a male. Maybe some people won’t agree with me, but it has been my experience and I don’t see people bringing up this topic. And maybe it is less true at higher levels of competition, not sure.

        1. Your anecdotal evidence about men and women playing in casual leagues may be accurate. Women at elite levels want to win. That’s one reason they are world-class. I assume top ranked athletes don’t care if being fiercely competitive upsets other folks- they dedicate their lives to developing their skills and talents and they intend to win. I think the same is true for other fields.

      2. Just checked this site (https://www.usaswimming.org/times/popular-resources/event-rank-search) to see how extreme the picture is. In the 200 yard freestyle (one of Lia Thomas’s events), 457 men this year have swum faster than Missy Franklin’s American record time of 1:39.10. I’m sure more men will exceed this standard during the championship phase of this swimming season.. Meanwhile, Lia Thomas’s 200 yard time of 1:41.93 would rank as the 23rd fastest women’s time EVER. Furthermore, since many of those fastest times are from different swims by the same elite female swimmers, Lia’s time would make her the 8th fastest individual woman of all time. But she wouldn’t be in the top 500 if swimming as a man.

    2. I absolutely concur. I do not want to support athletic segregation. Individual humans have different abilities, which are tied to a constellation of factions, genetic, sexual, hormonal. I do not support a special class of elite athletes who have lower standards. Sometimes the person who is the best match for your own personal athletic ability has different genitalia and hormones than you do. Competing against that person will still help you train harder.

      1. Seriously? And how are you going to match “abilities”? You know, of course, that your suggestion will destroy women’s athletics, because they’d be down at the bottom of the heap, competing with men who don’t do very well. And that’s shameful given the difference in biological abilities between biological men and women.

        In your high-minded desire to “not support athletic segregation,” you create a. an impossible situation to implement (how many “classes” will there be in college sports and in the Olympics? 20? And of course they’ll be graded from “best” wo “worst”, so you’ve just created segregation by ability. And there goes women’s sports.

        Have you thought at all about what this would look like if put into practice? It would be absolute pandemonium, and create a hierarchy far more invidious than “men’s” and “women’s” sports.

        1. Sir, with all due respect, I don’t look at it as a matter of discrete classes, but more of a matter of comprehensive rankings, like with chess. Humans compete with each other, and their overall ranking shifts based on their wins and losses. The Elo rating system has moved beyond chess and is used in quite a number of other sports and games now. Yes, as we become less protectionist (less ‘woke’?), some protected classes will have less representation; I suspect the number of NBA basketball players of Chinese descent is demographically underrepresentative, understandable given their statistical (but not absolute) anthropometry; still I don’t hear people complaining about that.

          1. I am no “sir”. And you fail to realize that your system creates a hierarchy with all men at the top and all women below them, along with some men. And you still fail to recognize the innate biological advantage of men. This is obtuse. And it’s enough discussion of an untenable proposition.

          2. You can’t use a mental sport such as chess as an example, that is ridiculous. This discussion isn’t about the merits of mental abilities but physical ones, as is clear from the article and frankly any discussion so far on this topic. Can you list any of the other “sports and games” which actually involve or require elite physical athleticism? You’ve handily dumped in the NBA reference to underrepresentation of Chinese players which is obviously off topic and a deliberate attempt to add some value to your misguided point. We’re not talking about the mere difference in height and you well know that. Considering NBA/WBA operates an obvious sex segregation, and rightly so, I really can’t see why you bothered to mention the NBA. Let’s hear more about these other sports and games…

      2. If that were true we wouldn’t be having this debate.
        I think you are mistaken in your assessment of factors involved in various abilities. The notion you put forward may well apply to many of the factions you mention. The big point here is that it does not and can not apply to testosterone.
        Testosterones in men, beginning at puberty and continuing thereafter the amount of testosterone in a male is at least 10 times greater than in a female. It can be much more than that.
        There is no overlap where the female high is greater than the male low, never. There is always a huge gap.
        Even suppressing T to 5 nmol/L is still way outside the highest female level and that combined with advantages derived from a body flooded with T still maintains a significant advantage.

        It is physiologically impossible for a women to outdo a man, no matter how hard she trains other things being even remotely equal.

        Suggesting that training harder may make up the difference is simply wrong.

      3. This sounds like Scott Adams’ proposal the athletes be ranked into skill classes, not based on sex, sort of analogous to heavyweights, welterweights and bantamweights in boxing. This presents difficult line drawing questions – in boxing, it’s easy, because it’s based on weight. But worse, no woman could ever be the best in the world again. She could only be the best in the 5th class.

      4. In your system, we would never have heard of Serena Williams and Martina Navratilova. It’s fine at the level where I compete in sports as a 55 year old overweight male, but at the elite end, there would be no women in most sports. Even at levels where women can compete, there would be increased chance of physical danger to them.

        We segregate men’s and women’s sports because we want to be fair to women.

      5. If this person wants to compete as a woman . Then that person should be chemically castrated no more erections in front of the women that are forced to change in front of this person as far as I know a woman cannot transition into a man grow a penis and then have sex with a woman if this person really wants to be a woman no more erections I bet that would change this person’s attitude when it comes to competing

        1. Sorry, but if you can’t produce evidence that Lia Thomas had erections in front of the female swimmers, then I’ll have to ban you. I see no evidence for that. Penis, yet, erections, no. And chemical castration won’t necessarily eliminate the biological-male advantage.

          p.s. Can you learn to write in complete sentences?

      6. Interesting perspective. Do you support age classification like a master’s category? Weight classification like boxing?

        I agree that for training, different people push you in different ways. But for competition, part of the excitement is the dynamic of a duel, facing off against a person who’s your equal in most respects. That does mean accounting for extraneous factors like weight and gender. Otherwise, it becomes a David and Goliath scenario.

    3. That is absurd. This Lia Thomas situation should have been nipped in the bud at the very beginning. If this her lifestyle choice, she should never have expected to compete against woman. Since this was her choice, it should be her to endure the consequences , not the rest of those that were actually born as women.Why make an unfair situation for all the rest to accommodate Lia’s desire to be a woman?

      1. You do understand the social pressures to accept her desire to swim against other women, right? It wasn’t nipped in the bud because people were too scared to, afraid of being called “transphobes.”

  2. I am not sure I understand why Other as a category is cruel to use for those whose identity does not conform to their sex at birth, given that identifying with one’s sex at birth is the norm. If the category were called Mixed, and anyone who wished to could compete, would that be better?

    1. The “Other” category would contain only freaks. XYs who identify as women don’t want to compete against freaks. They want to compete against women because they can beat them. And if the event is extreme fighting, they can take further pleasure in beating them up and hurting them.

      1. There are 15 “Other” categories already: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Para-swimming_classification . And a strong norm against describing the competitors as freaks. Many have touching stories… while I’m not sure Thomas would like to be compared with people who had unfortunate encounters with landmines, it’s not really that crazy. The status gained by winning cannot, of course, compete with that from beating 49% of all humanity fair and square, but it beats sitting at home watching TV.

        There’s an irresistable-force-meets-immovable-object aspect to this proposal which would be great to see play out. Would the supporters of the hormone-taking athletes dare to openly insult the otherwise valorized veterans and amputees etc, by deeming them beneath their dignity?

      2. It seems a little unfair to automatically assume that trans women gain pleasure from beating up cis women.

        “Extreme fighting” makes mixed martial arts sound like a bar brawl, not a sport with multiple Olympic athletes that takes incredible physical conditioning and technical skill.

        1. “It seems a little unfair to automatically assume that trans women gain pleasure from beating up cis_women [women].”

          You think that they might be there with a desire to lose?

          They want to win and they don’t care how they do it. Pretty obvious I would have thought.

          1. Yes, they want to win. Otherwise, everyone would be content to just be the sparring partners.

            In MMA, technical skill generally take a backseat to brawling. There is nothing technical about “ground and pound” which is how many fights end.

    2. Because trans women want to be accepted as women. Putting them in a different category to other adults human females is a denial of that. Every time we say “no you can’t enter that female only space” we are telling them that they are not real women.

      This is the fundamental problem, trans women want something that reality tells us they can’t have, but they are not willing to accept no for an answer.

      1. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

        Well, I mean it is, but it is not one that trans women activists will ever accept. The problem isn’t that trans women want to do competitive sport, it’s that they want everybody else to recognise them as women. Denying them the right to compete in sport against women, is a denial of that desire and one they won’t accept.

        1. The transwomen activists will never accept anything other than the current scheme. How on earth have we gotten ourselves to a place where they get to decide for everyone?

  3. If it was up to me I would accept what it says on their birth certificates, or better still that all athletes should take a DNA test and that would solve the problem. Unfortunately evidence, reason and logic does not seem to apply here.

    1. In some jurisdictions there are proposals to allow you to change the sex on your birth certificate. To correct the obvious assignment error your parents made when they registered your birth.

      The easiest way is just to pull down your pants for inspection in private by a female chaperone. This is obviously not fair, or accurate, for people with medical differences in sexual development but for trans nonsense it would work just fine: an XY would simply decline to appear and self-disqualify from competition as a woman.

    2. That seems sensible. I would draw the line at birth sex. Anything else , would be up to the Trans community to organize a separate organization for others of their kind.The world revolves around 2 sexes. We can change the way the planet operates for a tiny fraction of the population. How did we get here? It is all absurd.

  4. Thomas will not race against Katie Ledecky (7 Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals) since Ledecky isn’t a student athlete anymore. Though Thomas might break records that Ledecky established.
    The muzzling of dissent is par for the course. Central to the radical trans agenda is that no debate is allowed, and anybody who disagrees with radical trans activists will be hysterically called a transphobe, a white supremacist, and the like. [Former elite male athlete Catelyn Jenner is deemed the equivalent of an Oncle Tom, a house n-.] But this is a losing fight because the audience [and by extension, public opinion] will not accept this [the poll results are in] because it is so obviously unfair to biological women. Women’s and girl’s sporting leagues and events are not there to act as therapy for gender dysphoric male athletes.
    That trans athletes can compete in their biological sex category without problems is shown by the Canadian trans professional soccer player Quinn, a biological female, who plays for the Canadian national women’s soccer team (which won the Olympic Gold medal in Tokyo last year) and plays club soccer for the women’s NWSL club OL Reign (based in Seattle, WA) [NWSL = National Women’s Soccer League, the top women’s league in North America].
    The way forward is an open category and a category “biological females only”. Just because a biological male feels he’s a woman does not make this person a woman in every respect.

  5. My opinion is that your empathy to this person is misplaced. You are watching the sociopathic greed of a manipulator. The person is glad to use the hateful structure of Woke assassination as a shield. A few people (not yet afraid to speak) close to the situation have reported zero empathy in the person for the wrecking of sport, or for the crushing of hopes of deserving women swimmers.

    1. I agree with you, unless she is doing it to draw attention to the absurdity of the situation no one with an ethical bone could take any pride in these wins.

      1. The extent to which selfishness has been extended in world culture makes me angry. It no longer means, as Ayn Rand said, ‘rational self interest and no harm to others,’ and now means “whatever my whim wants, I have a right to get it even if it damages people and institutions. Oh, and I’ll seek lawsuits and protective laws to defend my whim.”

  6. … it’s fear of the label “transphobe” that keeps people from giving their opinions.

    More than that, it’s fear of being kicked off the team that keeps the women athletes schtum; it’s fear of their daughters being kicked off the team that keeps the parents schtum; it’s fear of being fired that keeps journalists schtum. Et cetera.

    Without that, people would just shrug off the “transphobe” label.

    and also ask that their preferences (gender, pronouns and the like) be respected, …

    Who was it who decided that pronouns relate to “gender” rather than to sex? And do we get a say in that?

    I’d go along with using preferred pronouns in situations where gender is more relevant, which means most social or work situations (where it generally does not matter; at work we treat men and women much the same).

    But, when Thomas chooses to compete against women rather than against men (and no-one would object at all if he stuck to competing against men), then isn’t biological sex more pertinent than gender? And if so, in that context, isn’t it appropriate to use pronouns according to sex rather than to gender?

    1. Back when transgender people didn’t claim to actually be the opposite sex — they were people who chose to present as the opposite sex — using the pronouns they preferred wasn’t a big deal. It was courtesy, so why not? And referring to males as “women” and females as “men” in social situations was also courteous. We all knew they weren’t really, so it was possible to be flexible when it came to single-sex spaces and reserves. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, as seemed reasonable.

      But that changed. Language became Truth as the transgender WOMAN wanted HER rights. A woman is a woman is a woman. Referring to them as “male,” “male-bodied,” or the like was first rude, then violent, then inaccurate. They’re female, too. That argument is currently mainstreaming as Trans spokespeople insist discussions about Lia are Transphobic: Transphobes keep saying “male.” Sex is a social construct. As is Gender, so only rule is to include the marginalized. Nothing but irrational fear and hatred explains any exclusion opposed to the needs of the oppressed. No lines are “reasonable.”

      I stopped using Trans Woman in favor of Transwoman. I’m now considering “Trans Male.” Turns out that too many people thought words were magic — and that accuracy was a phobia. Pronoun use is pure strategy.

  7. As my daughter was growing up it was wonderful to see the effect sports had on her and her friends. They have matured into an amazing group of confident and self-defined young women who are taking the world by storm. It is now well established that participation in sports has had a tremendously positive effect on young women. Among the advantages are that they are more confident, and less vulnerable to abusive relationships. It’s a winning formula that should be nurtured.

    1. And if an XY wants in on that female nurturing and bonding, (because he wasn’t good enough to play on the boys’ teams) what do your daughter’s teammates say to him? Knowing that he’ll beat them all, of course…

    2. Yes, I have read about the confidence that sports bring to girls and teenagers. This is an important point because it brings the discussion out of the realm of only those elite setting records and back into the lives of ordinary girls, where it is at least as important if not more so. They will be badly hurt by the inclusion of boys into girls athletics.

      1. Those are the same reasons I am hearing for more segregation and over-representation of every other ‘victim’ demographic in media today. We are seeing more single-race shows, more shows not mirroring average US demographics because people are worried about boosting the confidence of certain groups, and not of others. Protectionism puts race/class interests ahead of universal interest – and it makes everyone collectively weaker in the long run. I’d rather be human first than genitalia-first or race-first. As much as most of us here tend to be anti-PC, I am surprised how much support there is here for segregated sports.

        1. I don’t want to argue about this; you stand pretty much alone on this one and are being obtuse. You have offered no solution but simply compounded the problem. HOW MANY CLASSES SHALL THERE BE, AND HOW DO WE HAVE THEM WITHOUT RANKING THEM?

        2. As I said above there is more to it than genitalia. More than hip size or limb length or height or any overlapping variable.
          I would ask, are you aware of the actual difference in testosterone between men and women.
          That there is no overlap. It is that that makes it unfair.

    3. I trust that Fortune smiled and none suffered permanent injuries (e.g., torn knee cartilage) from their participation in sports.

  8. The “other” category will not work for two reasons. First, at least at the current time, there are not enough transwomen in any particular location who play a particular sport. For example, the number of transwomen swimmers in the Ivy League is certainly a handful, at best. But secondly, and more fundamentally, transwomen would reject that as adamantly as they reject being forced to play on women’s teams. The mantra is “transwomen are women, period” and being put in the “other” category is antithetical to those words.

    1. It’s notable, though, that transmen (i.e. biological women) mostly have no problem playing sport on women’s teams, even though they are “men”.

      Methinks it is the narcissistic attraction of winning that leads to transwomen (i.e. biological men) wanting to compete against women.

    2. Last time I tried to look up numbers, being born with a condition which puts you in a wheelchair for life was roughly as probable as being sexually ambiguous. People in wheelchairs (well, a subset of them) organize quite a lot of sports; sometimes they even persuade boring bipedal people to join in on their terms.

      1. That’s absolutely not true, pure transsexual propaganda. Intersex conditions are literally one in a million.

  9. I read that several parents of students on the swim team were suing Penn because the swimmers had been threatened with regard to speaking out about this issue. Unfortunately I can’t find anything on line right now Googling to share a link. They are being silenced by threatening their professional futures by the institution, which enrages me. The enforced silencing of speech about this issue is one of the most fundamental problems it raises.

    It is, of course, unfair that a trans woman should have to give up their athletic career if they have experienced puberty. It is a greater problem for biological males to compete against women and destroy women’s sports. Athletics being for the young, they can always choose to physically transition after they have completed their sports career, and continue to compete against their biological sex. After all, many trans women don’t choose to physically transition, or do so at many varying levels/ means, and physical transitioning is not a requirement to be transgender. If that is too painful for the athlete, then they must make a difficult choice. I do not understand why the difficult choice is taken away from the trans woman and placed on all biological women athletes instead. Everyone must make difficult choices in our lives. Policy is currently choosing the rights of individual trans women over all biological female athletes and the future of women’s sports.

    A third category for competition does not sound viable as long as a simple declaration of intent is sufficient to be whatever “gender” one chooses and biological sex does not exist. It only sounds fair to the ears of those who acknowledge biological sex differences.

    1. Transgender females generally give up competitive sports, since they tend to be one of the worst players on the Men’s Team, assuming they even qualify. They play instead on more casual, social teams. It’s a price they have to pay. They accept the sacrifice.

      Apparently, then, it’s possible for transpeople to do that. At least, it’s possible for over half of them to do it.

  10. I sometimes have to explain to people that the corporeal self I was assigned at birth, that of Jon Gallant, is actually a cosmic accident of some sort. That is because, in my inmost soul, I feel that I am really a direct descendent of Tsar Ivan the Terrible; and therefore, as a member of the Terrible family, I expect to be treated at all times as Императорское Величество Tsar of Russia. Those who fail to do as I demand will be denounced as Russophobes and Terribleophobes.

  11. What Caitlyn Jenner said, “We cannot have biological boys competing against women. It’s bad for the trans community”, is extremely important. The unfairness of allowing transwomen to compete with biological women can only make the problem of prejudice toward trans persons worse. The Woke have never been trying to eliminate transphobia, they have been using the trans issue to subjugate dissenters.

  12. ‘And for sure she isn’t doing it just to win championships’ . I think you are giving him/,her too much benefit of the doubt there. I don’t think that is sure at all.
    Of course one can never be sure, but I suspect it is exactly for that reason.
    I consider Lia Thomas a cheat., if she had even the slightest affinity for women, she/he would not compete in women’s events.
    Now if that opinion makes me a ‘transphobe’, I’ll carry that label with pride.

    1. Yes. Remember Bruce Jenner who didn’t become a trans until he took the decathlon as a male. But even she says girls and womens sports must be protected

      1. Please note that the word “trans” is regarded as a slur. It’s not a noun, and to many it’s as offensive as “trannie”. Out of respect we should, as I said, use the terms that transsexual people prefer.

          1. I don’t know where you live, but I’ve found several places on the internet (one below) where it says that “trans” is an adjective, not a noun. I myself prefer to use the term that trans people use, which is “trans people” or “trans woman” and so on. To each their own.

            http://meloukhia.net/2016/04/trans_is_an_adjective/

            Here are some ways not to use them*.

            As a noun. Trans is really seriously not a noun. Not sure what I mean? Here are some examples: ‘He’s a transgender.’ ‘She’s a trans.’ ‘There were a lot of transgenders at Pride this year.’ These uses are dehumanising and deeply transphobic. Here’s some context to help out: ‘Female’ and ‘male’ are adjectives — thus, saying things like ‘she’s a female’ and ‘he’s a male’ feels clunky and wrong, because it is. What you want to say is ‘she’s a female sculptor’ (though why you can’t just say that she’s a sculptor is beyond me, because you’ve already established that she’s a she and reiterating her gender makes it sound like this is somehow something that needs to be stressed, as though it’s unimaginable that a wo

            1. Blaire White uses trans as a noun and as an adjective. Blaire is one of the most rational members of the community on the web.

              I don’t think there is a consensus on all the terms within the community.

              1. I’m not sure why we’re arguing about this. People can use what word they want, and I will not use “trans” under the possibility that it will offend someone. But this isn’t the n-word, after all; to each their own.

  13. It’s an issue I’m sure more will think themselves qualified to come up with the solution because it’s seen through the lens of moral reasoning rather than anything related to what it means in terms of sports. Partly because it’s easier to think in terms of our moral norms than it is to calculate fairness, but I think partly because it’s how we have conversations around rights and discrimination.

    So I don’t think any rules proposed by experts in any given case could satisfy the population because whatever decision they make is going to run afoul of our moral feelings. It’s going to be a case of discrimination in some way or another, with the main question being who rather than why. The why matters in the case of fairness, but not in the case of rights, so if we focus on the latter we’ll never be satisfied with the former.

  14. “For example, a transwoman now has to have her testosterone tested, and clear the 5-nanomoles-per-liter threshold for 36 months.”

    Is there an equivalent estrogen requirement for transmen seeking to participate in men’s sports?

    1. Be logical. Men won’t mind competing against a trans man because the BIOLOGICAL advantage will still be theirs. If taking the testosterone test for trans men will end this madness of biological men competing against women si they can finally feel like a winner, by all means TEST AWAY!

  15. Unbelievably, there is even a push to have men who identify as women fight real women in boxing. The risk of death would be real.

    1. It’s already happened in MMA. The result was unclear to me. The transwoman fighter was Fallon Fox and she had 6 professional bouts and a 5 – 1 record. There was a lot of criticism about allowing her to fight. There was, and still is, a lot of outrage about how she completely dominated her opponents and fractured the skulls of 2 of them.

      However, to be fair, she didn’t fracture 2 skulls. That’s misinformation. She did fracture the orbital of one of her opponents. This is not an uncommon injury in MMA. Other born-female fighters have inflicted this type of injury on opponents. In 2 of Foxes matches her opponents took her to the 3rd (final) round and she lost once by TKO.

      I have no idea what Foxes T level was during her short career or the few years prior, though I’ve read that she had transition surgery about 6 years before her first fight. At least one of her opponents has commented on how abnormally strong Fox was compared to any other fighters she had fought against.

      One thing I am sure of is that allowing transwomen that retain any significant degree of advantage due to their male physiology should not be allowed to compete against women in fighting sports, and that in any physical sport it would be unfair to women. I can see the obvious difficulty in trying to quantify the degree of advantage and we should err on the side of caution, meaning I don’t think transwomen should be allowed to fight other women.

  16. All this and no ERA. Everyone has rights except females. You cannot wear blackface but if you dress up and declare yourself a female that is ok. Just another example of how women lose out. Poor pay, poor reproductive rights poor opportunities, frequent sexual victimization and now this. There is no safe place.

  17. Colin Wright retweeted an Eva Kurilova that summed this absurdity up perfectly:

    “I’m honestly so tired of people hedging their position that it’s unfair for Thomas to compete with women by going to great lengths to talk about how they aren’t anti trans. There’s a man smashing women’s records in the pool. It’s wrong. It’s crazy. That’s all you need to say.”

    I do understand that people don’t speak up about this out of fear for a backlash (a very real and usually pretty nasty one at that). However, I think the only way to stop the current development is for enough elite female athletes to speak up and clearly tell the world that enough is enough.

    Because otherwise the end result seems to be that they end up getting cancelled for fear of getting cancelled, so to speak.

  18. How can any woman be genuinely happy to compete against someone they have virtually no chance of beating? Perhaps the best way to end this nonsense would be for all women to refuse to compete against trans women; then the organisers will have to re-think.

    1. That will happen when the fans stop buying tickets for women’s events that are won by men. Concerted action by female athletes, who can be intimidated into silence, is not necessary. No power on earth can make people pay to watch a travesty; they can only be taxed. It will work out by itself. The market is always right.

      The vulnerability that undermines concerted action in college is that, Yes, the Dean can refuse to write reference letters for every last one of you women who turned your backs on your male teammate or competitor. It’s a good life lesson for privileged women graduating from college going out into the world. The same Woke forces that spawned #MeToo and #Time’sUp bite back with equal force and depth.

  19. So many words when the obvious solution is right in front of us: stop catering to the mental illness of trannies. There should be no discussion of “Lia” Thomas, no arguing over what “she” did or “her” winning streak, because they’re is no “Lia” Thomas. There is Will Thomas. He is a male, he always has been, and he always will be. The only question that needs to be asked is “should men be able to compete in women’s sports?”

    Once you introduce a little gray area, you have to let all the grey in. Talk of hormone suppression, testosterone levels etc. is just muddying the issue and deflecting from the real issue. Should men be allowed in women’s sports?

    I, a washed up old beer league hockey player, could be the captain of the women’s national hockey team in one season at the only cost of calling myself a woman. Should that be allowed? No? Then why does Will Thomas get away with it? Because he’s mentally ill, so he gets a pass? The world has gone cuckoo.

    1. I agree with each of your points, although I would have put it more delicately.

      If sports is entirely about winning at any cost, then this situation was entirely predictable, and it will be repeated and amplified. If sports has anything to do with sportsmanship, then this is a disgrace. It has already hurt sports, and it’s diminishing our sympathy for trans people.

      1. Athletics is about winning, but also about sportsmanship. If it were just about sportsmanship, then letting men play with women would be less of an issue. I am tired of responding to the “it’s only a game argument.” People participate in competitive sports because they like to compete. That’s why we need a level playing field.

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