USA Fencing will allow males who self-identify as females to fence against biological women; ACLU defends “affirmative” surgery and drugs on minors

September 29, 2023 • 11:45 am

It amazes me that, in light of the science showing that trans women who have gone through male puberty retain significant athletic advantages over biological females, even when taking therapy to reduce testosterone, people still insist that trans females should be able to compete in women’s sports against natal females. And many people maintain this even if the trans females are simply males who claim that they’re females, without having had any surgery or hormone therapy.

Various sports organizations are starting to cotton on to this brand of unfairness, banning trans women from competing in women’s sports. That’s not a perfect solution, of course, because trans women who want to do sports should have the opportunity to compete. The only two solutions that seem feasible are to allow all trans people to compete in the “male” category (which of course will disadvantage trans women and probably trans men), or to create an “other” category for people who aren’t either natal males or females.  But the previous system of using hormone titers or, in some areas, allowing self-identified or medically treated trans females to compete with biological women, is not a fair solution.

In view of this, the Olympics have bailed, throwing up their hands and saying that each sport can decide using its own criteria. (This is an impossible requirement.) But other groups, including World Rugby. FINA (the international body governing women’s swimming), and World Athletics (the body governing running and track and field) have banned transgender women from competing in elite women’s sports.

There are a few holdouts, though, and this report, from Reduxx (click to read), notes that USA Fencing, the body governing fencing with foil and saber, will continue to allow transgender women to compete against biological women—regardless of whether the former have had medical treatment. If you’re a man who self identifies as a woman, you can fence with women. And this despite the reports, documented amply in the article, that men who were mediocre fencers against members of their own sex have after identifying as women, suddenly started winning lots of medals. Fencing is not exempt from the fact that men have physical and physiological advantages (probably not effaced by hormone treatment, though we don’t know) that give them athletic advantages over biological women.

Click to read:

An excerpt:

A number of trans-identified males have been dominating women’s fencing championships despite the fact that many of them floundered in the men’s category. A source has now revealed that many women in the sport fear losing opportunities if they speak out against the inclusion of men in women’s fencing.

In November of 2022, USA Fencing adopted a Transgender and Nonbinary Athlete Policy which stated that division placement would be determined based on self-declared “gender identity” or “gender expression” rather than on biological sex.

“USA Fencing will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth, or any other form of gender expression for participation in any division,” read the policy. “As such, athletes will be permitted to participate in USA Fencing sanctioned events in a manner consistent with their gender identity/ expression, regardless of the gender associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”

The policy also stipulated that an individual’s classification will remain unaltered when transferring over to the sporting category of the opposite sex. “Transgender athletes will be permitted to keep the fencing classification that was held prior to transitioning. For example, a transgender woman who held an A classification in the men’s division will keep her A classification in the women’s division.”

But Reduxx has now learned that USA Fencing had permitted males to self-identify into the women’s category for nearly a decade prior to the adoption of the new policy, resulting in a small number of trans-identified players dominating the sport. Of the five that have been identified, most of them had performed poorly while competing in the men’s category.

Thus if you are in a high fencing subclass when you fenced as a male, you keep that subclass when you start fencing against biological women. That’s doubly unfair.

I don’t have much to say about this beyond what I’ve said before and above; the article gives examples of the unfairness.

But one thing did catch my eye: this paragraph from the article:

A vocal trans activist, Wilson has expressed disapproval over a bill in his home state that would prevent the medical transitioning of minors. Kentucky’s Senate Bill 150, which was blocked by a federal judge at the end of June at the behest of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), would prohibit health care providers in the state from administering puberty-halting drugs and performing “gender-affirming” surgeries on children.

Now this is one of those bills passed in the South that is a bit dicey because it could be construed as anti-trans; for one thing, it involves issues like pronoun usage. But the part of the law that actually was blocked by the judge was the part that prohibited “gender surgeries on children,”.  But it turns out that the ACLU was fighting for the “right” of minors to have not just gender-affirming care, but care that included drugs and surgery. On minors.

From WLKY, a CBS station in Louisville, published on June 29. Emphasis is mine:

A federal judge has blocked parts of a law that bans gender-affirming care for trans youth in Kentucky the day before it is set to take effect.

U.S. District Judge David Hale granted the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky a temporary injunction blocking parts of Senate Bill 150 from going into effect on Thursday.

SB 150 was passed by the Kentucky general assembly during this year’s legislative session.

It includes many things, like blocking teachers from using a student’s preferred pronouns and requiring certain bathroom policies.

It also would ban health care providers in the state from performing gender-affirming care for transgender children. This is the part of the bill that is being blocked.

Gov. Any Beshear vetoed the bill, but it was later overridden by the general assembly.

The ACLU filed for an injunction in May, saying that lawmakers are violating the rights and freedoms of parents and their children in Kentucky.

That “gender-affirming care”, as you can see from the bill, includes drugs like puberty blockers and surgery, done on minors (defined as someone under 18). That’s what the ACLU is favoring.  Now we can quibble whether a 17-year-old has the right to get surgery or hormone treatment, but the bill says minors in general, so the ACLU is, I think, favoring kids of any age getting drugs and surgery.  And that’s bad.

But the ACLU says it’s okay because it’s the right of minors to have drugs and surgery. From the WLKY article:

The ACLU filed for an injunction in May, saying that lawmakers are violating the rights and freedoms of parents and their children in Kentucky.

“We are grateful to the Court for enjoining this egregious ban on medically necessary care, which would have caused harm for countless young Kentuckians,” said ACLU Kentucky legal director Corey Shapiro in a news release. “This is a win, but it is only the first step. We’re prepared to fight for families’ right to make their own private medical decisions in court, and to continue doing everything in our power to ensure access to medical care is permanently secured in Kentucky.”

The problem, of course, is that the safety of some gender-affirming care, like the long-term effects of puberty blockers, or even the long-term effect of genital surgery, hasn’t yet been sufficiently studied. That’s why an increasing number of countries are treating puberty-blocker administration as “clinical experimentation” instead of standard care. People are starting to realize that those drugs may have long-term harms that we don’t know about.

But this doesn’t bother the ACLU, which, under the guidance of its gender expert, the unhinged Chase Strangio, believes that it’s the “right” of any minor to get possibly risky medical treatment.  I’d say we should wait until the clinical studies are completed.

Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU has changed from a civil rights organization into a Social Justice organization.  It now preferentially defends the civil rights of “progressive” groups and people rather than all people, and we should keep an eye on it.

58 thoughts on “USA Fencing will allow males who self-identify as females to fence against biological women; ACLU defends “affirmative” surgery and drugs on minors

  1. Don’t think I’ve seen the term ‘trans females’ before, as used in the first sentence here. Why not ‘trans women’ PPC(E)?

    1. “Trans female” is becoming an increasingly common way to refer to trans-identified males, just as “trans-identified males” is becoming an increasingly common way to refer to transwomen (or “trans women”) by those on the other side of the debate. The stakes are whether gender becomes a substitute for sex, and it’s obvious that being able to distinguish between males and females gives an advantage to those who want to distinguish between women and the woman-identified.

      “Trans women aren’t male.” Expect it.

      1. Is all this confusion a deliberate tactic? Take Jerry’s use of “trans-female” (I’m quite sure he wasn’t trying to confuse!) Since female implies biological sex, this term immediately suggests to me a female who is trans, which is to say a trans-man. I’m not suggesting that central trans agenda council is setting confusion to be their policy, but I do think that tactics like this can develop organically, and each little win encourages further usage. And the end result of such an abundance of confusion is that we simplify to just men and women, and at that point we lose the ability to have single-sex spaces and sports.

        1. Yes, the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ refer to biological-sex.
          So ‘trans female’ would be a shorter version of ‘trans identified female’ i.e. a trans man, a female who identifies as a man.
          By definition ‘trans women’ are male – the ‘trans’ bit doesn’t make sense otherwise.
          Did Sastra mean “accept it” rather than “expect it”?

          Jerry – you still have three instances of ‘trans females’ in the first two paragraphs.

          1. No, I meant that I’m starting to regularly see people who support trans identities deny that transwomen are male: they’re now supposed to be considered “female.” It’s a rebuttal to arguments defending female-only spaces.

          2. This is exactly as you predicted. People of good will said, “We’re fine with respecting the rights of transwomen as long as everyone agrees that they are male, and must stay out of female-designated spaces.”

            “We’ll fix you“, said the trans activists sotto voce and verily it came to pass that they now claim to be both “women” and “female.” “What part of ‘transwomen are women’ did you not hear correctly?” they now ask. If “woman” = “adult female human”, then transwomen must be female.

            Hint: The demand for use by others of feminine pronouns on pain of punishment for mis-gendering was how they made this happen.

  2. Sometimes I think that the only response left is to document the decisions of parents and teenagers and the come at them in 10 years going: “How has that transition panned out for you? I don’t wanna say ‘I told you so’, but….”

    If the parents as legal guardians are convinced that the need to risk their child’s health, there’s little one can do but give advice. If they don’t take it, it’s on them.

    1. Yes, there has been a huge demographic shift in transitioners from older men in the past, often having already fathered children, towards teenage girls nowadays. The threat from sterilisation in the new cohort hasn’t really hit the fan yet, given that most have yet to reach the age at which they are likely to want to reproduce. The next ten or fifteen years is going to be heartbreaking when their new reality bites.

  3. As an illustration of how incoherent gender ideology is:

    USA Fencing … stated that division placement would be determined based on self-declared “gender identity” … rather than on biological sex. … “USA Fencing will not discriminate on the basis of gender identity …” read the policy.

    If division placement is determined by “gender identity” then they are discriminating (= treating differently) according to “gender identity”. Rather, it is biological sex that they are refusing to discriminate on.

    In contrast, most women want discrimination over biological sex (= single-sex sport and other single-sex spaces), but don’t care about or want to discriminate with regards to “gender identity”. Hence, USA Fencing’s statement is pretty much backwards.

  4. How inspiring that the ACLU campaigns for the right of minors to be subjected to clinical experimentation. I wonder what the ACLU thought about Portland State University, when it charged that the Sokol-squared submission of manuscripts violated NIH rules because it didn’t treat academic journal editors as if they were subjects of clinical experimentation.

    1. Did the ACLU support the Muskogee study? No it didn’t.
      They appear to think this is comparable (not giving available treatment), but it is not. Treatment for gender dysphoria, especially SOGD, is dismal and wrong headed. ‘Affirmative’ treatment has not shown to be of any clear benefit to the patients, and has shown to be detrimental the well being of patients in the long run in several cases .
      ACLU has been defending great causes in the past, but they are train-wrecking themselves here.
      They are actually advocating cheating in women’s sports.

  5. Why have women’s and men’s sports in anything? Just have one. They also could do away with title 19, no need for that now.

    1. You’ve got to be kidding me! You want to have one sport in which a woman never wins anything? What would be their motivation to train and compete.

      I have to say; this complete is really clueless. Ask any woman athlete how she feels about your suggestion.

      1. Yes I am kidding. This trans thing is allowing them to compete with women and it’s wrong. Picking through different sports and declaring this is okay, and this is not just shows hair splitting.

        1. No I don’t think it does. I think each sport’s ruling body should be allowed to make their own decisions based on the demands of the particular sport. In the vast majority of cases, of course, the only sane thing to do is to discriminate by sex but there may be some sports where you don’t have any discrimination at all.

          I do agree that, if you are going to discriminate on gender, you may as well not bother with separate categories at all. That’s the problem with the trans-activists’ argument: if biology doesn’t matter, there should be no separate women’s sport.

      2. It’s the thing that TRAs never argue for, but should be if they were to be consistent about the claim that sex doesn’t matter in sports. Of course mediocre male athletes would no longer have the advantage, as they do when competing in women’s sports.

  6. Why would requiring “transwomen” to compete with the men disadvantage those transwomen? They wouldn’t win any events but that’s the way sport is. You don’t get to win if you aren’t the fastest or the strongest or the most skilled. The “transwomen” who’ve won competitive events against women are typically down around two-to-three hundredth best in the men’s rankings. (See L. Thomas, and the fencing competitions.) OK, if the sport requires that transwomen have to be taking androgen suppression to compete with women — fewer and fewer do now — then yes, this would impose some small unknown competitive disadvantage on those taking it if they competed with men. But if they are going to compete with the men, they don’t need to be taking hormone suppression. They can compete in their natural undrugged state (which is what athletes are supposed to do anyway.)

    If the transwoman wants to take androgen suppression as part of her transition, well, then she has to accept that her mediocrity plus her androgen suppression will put her far out of the male medals (and probably not even qualify to compete in the first place.) Life is choices. She can do lifelong solo athletics like running, swimming, weights, calisthenics, cycling, etc., and work on personal bests, which is all that nearly all of us do anyway even if we were jocks in high school or college.

    Transmen would definitely be disadvantaged competing with men. Because they aren’t men. As long as they aren’t doping with testosterone they can compete as women, with women. Again, if their gender journey absolutely requires testosterone, sorry, they can’t compete against anybody. Doping rules trump inclusion.

  7. I quit the ACLU bc they’re so thoroughly on the trans “rights” side.
    Maybe transwomen who transitioned before puberty could fairly compete in women’s sports.

    1. But the second part of Jerry’s post today is about why probably no boy should be castrated before puberty in the absence of evidence that this is a medically sound thing to do. So what will probably eventually get sorted out is that there will be no transwomen who transitioned before puberty. (The gender surgeons don’t like puberty blockade because that gives them too little tissue to work with if the boy eventually wants his penis turned inside out to make a vagina.)

      Transition before puberty shouldn’t even be a thing. I wish you wouldn’t even go there.
      We’re trying to put the brakes on transition before the age of majority, as Europe is doing.

      1. Yes, transitioning before puberty is highly questionable. But that doesn’t answer the question of whether it would be fair for women to compete with such transwomen.
        “Prior to puberty, there is no sex difference in circulating testosterone concentrations or athletic performance”. That suggests that it would be fair.

  8. I took up fencing in college and continued in the sport for many years afterwards, Working my wat up to Class B in saber and Class C in foil and epee¹. Both in practice and in judged bouts, I frequently fenced against women, and found that size and strength gave me few advantages. What I may have had in size and strength was often offset by a female opponent’s speed and agility. One other advantage that women have in fencing – a smaller opponent has a correspondingly smaller target area. In fencing, agility and endurance outweigh strength, and I never had a coach who felt that pairing men and women in bouts was unfair. In fact, when I lived in Hartford, I dated one of the members of my fencing club, and whenever we had a disagreement, we settled the matter with swords. We were evenly matched and she won about half of the bouts. When I was in grad school and a teaching assistant, one of my students was also in my evening fencing class. One day while teaching, someone asked my about the quarter-sized bruises on my arms. Without considering my words, I said, “Oh, Suzanne did that last evening.”, after which I had to explain that we were both in a fencing class, and occasionally had to fight each other, and that I had to make a solemn promise not to hold anything against her in class if she beat me at swords. She was an absolute wildcat with a saber in her hands.

    I can’t fence any more (damn that osteoarthritis), but I still have all my gear.

    ¹ In US Fencing, Classes run from E to A, and are gained by progressing through rated matches. Class E simply means you fought in a rated match, class A means you are close to Olympic level. In my hartford club, we had five class B fencers; three were women.

    1. “The literature reviewed shows that there is a retained physiological advantage for trans women who have undergone male puberty when participating in the elite competitive female fencing category. ”
      From “The Participation of Trans Women in Competitive Fencing and Implications on Fairness: A Physiological Perspective Narrative Review”, Sports 2023

  9. Beyond your anecdotes, don’t you think the cases given in the paper–that men who were mediocre fencers in men’s leagues became medalists when they declared themselves as trans women and started fencing against biological males.

    So do you think they should not separate men’s and women’s fencing since women are at least as good as men at it?

  10. I don’t know much about this subject, just speculating: 1) you are assuming that trans women will deluge women’s sports, maybe there will be too few to seriously upset women’s winning at sports, especially when it is statistically obvious that only the top few dozen or hundred in the entire world are going to win anything at all at a major marathon, EPL team, Olympics? If simply local, then it’s just a competition among locals with no serious repercussions, since trans people are so few to appear at every event; 2) you are assuming that fair play in winning only exists by dividing sexes into teams; from what I know personally of competitive sports having trained for 6 years to qualify for 50K walking in Olympics but failing, shoes, diet, training, motivation, years of sacrifice, also come into play, it’s not just men being stronger than women on average; also shouldn’t fair play act symbolically to an audience that no game is fair unless there is no exclusion and the fairness also exists on a social level? Otherwise you’re defining fairness only among those accepted in the competition. Trans people are supposed to be challenging gender (even if failing to challenge biological sex scientifically) so you can’t then make an argument against them competing with their chosen gender on the basis of the prior gender conceptualization now being challenged as unfair? As I say, I don’t know much about this, but just speculating, but I can see your positions too. In Jim Crow, with Separate but Equal, they did the same thing until the population refused to accept race as a criteria, but that didn’t stop the white males from dominating as CEOs. Today a woman can join a national women’s soccer team, if a superb athlete, and make 1% of what her male colleagues make, “separate but equal,” so your definitions of fair seem flawed?

    1. It’s palpably clear that you don’t know much about the subject, but that hasn’t stopped you from writing a largely incoherent post, and I won’t waste my time trying to answer claims that I can’t even make sense of.

      I’ll just take the first one. The number of trans women who want to compete in women’s sports is irrelevant to whether their participation is fair, but note that their number is growing to the point that rules have to be made, and also that they win a disproportionate share of medals.

      The stuff on fairness is incoherent, but yes, it’s about men being stronger, and physically and physiologically different from women that gives them a competitive advantage in nearly every sport.

    2. Jerry doesn’t have time to waste on this garbage but I do.

      “Too few trans to matter.” Every time a mediocre bloke competes against women and girls and doesn’t finish dead last, some female(s) will finish farther down the rankings than they should have. Doesn’t matter how many times that happens – it’s always wrong.

      “Diet, training, shoes.” This is straight-up victim blaming. Girls who are beaten by some mediocre bloke didn’t try hard enough.

      “It’s not fair play if there is exclusion.” The women’s category only exists in the first place via exclusion of males. Don’t be daft.

      “Trans people are supposed to be challenging gender (even if failing to challenge biological sex scientifically) so you can’t then make an argument against them competing with their chosen gender on the basis of the prior gender conceptualization now being challenged as unfair?” Sorry I can’t paraphrase this one – I barely understand it. The women’s category is not a gender category, it’s a sex category reserved for females. A mediocre bloke can’t identify as a woman to get into that category because he’s male.

      “Jim Crow, separate-but-equal, & CEOs.” [sounds like a “Young
      Sheldon” episode] The resolution of Jim Crow was to unify society to eliminate separation. If we resolved “trans women” in sport in the same way, there would be no women’s category for mediocre blokes to identify into. Again don’t be daft.

      “1%.” This is comparing apples to oranges. Or apples to collateralized debt obligations. I can make both of these arguments at the same time, and one does not cancel out the other: “Transwomen” are not female. Females and males should be paid the same money for doing the same work.

      1. “Diet, training, shoes.” This is straight-up victim blaming.
        No, what Dan was saying is something like “Sports isn’t fair anyway. Lots of people try as hard as they can, and don’t succeed. So what’s the problem if transwomen who’ve gone through male puberty have an advantage?”
        The ways in which sports competitions are subdivided tend to be socially relevant categories, such as sex and age. If 10-year old children were competing with adults in running, they would just never win. If women were competing with men, in most sports they would never win. Women are already discriminated against in other ways, and this would add to the burden of discrimination.
        So one could ask: since transwomen are in the social category “women”, what’s wrong with letting them compete as women?
        In reply to that:
        – Transwomen mostly *aren’t* actually in the social category “women”. It’s generally obvious that they aren’t women. Lia Thomas for example, looks like a man, just somewhat feminized.
        And they shouldn’t be considered to be women, because in so many ways a man can never become a woman. It would be more fair to consider them a novel kind of intersex, artificially created by drugs and surgery – if they have medically/surgically transitioned.
        – Transwomen also don’t necessarily actually identify as women, not in the strict sense of “identify” – that is, experiencing the social norms that apply to women, as applying to them.
        – Transwomen have highly significant athletic advantages over women, if they’ve gone through male puberty. If a transwoman transitioned before puberty, then likely it would be fair for them to compete with women.

        1. >If a transwoman transitioned before puberty, then likely it would be fair for them to compete with women.

          You don’t know that. There is physiological reason to doubt it. The onus is on you to prove it before allowing it. And to prove it you would have to castrate a bunch of pre-pubertal boys and test them. Which we are not going to let anyone do, if justice prevails.

          1. The host doesn’t like to and fro, so I won’t say anything after this. A prepubescent boy is not the same as a gelded man. At puberty there are many hormonally and neurologically mediated changes that involve more than just testosterone from the testes, growth hormone particularly. The epiphyseal growth plates fuse earlier in girls (estrogen) and so boys gain a height (and bone-density) advantage that is independent of testosterone. You need to learn more about the changes during puberty in both sexes before you assume that a boy who “transitions” before puberty gains no subsequent advantage over a girl or woman. This is an assertion that would have to be tested….if there ever was a sample to be tested.

            Besides, even gender-care enthusiasts don’t medically transition prepubertal children. They have to be in puberty. If boys are being allowed to compete with girls until they reach Tanner 2 puberty, (as an older guideline had it), that means the coach of the girls’ team (who is likely a woman herself) has to inspect the boy’s pubic hair and measure his penis before every practice to determine if today is the day he can no longer compete. And of course the other teams would have to trust her that she isn’t keeping a Tanner 3 boy on her team because he scores a lot of goals. State laws that say no boy can compete on a girls’ team ever are a reasonable way to avoid this ordeal for both parties and prevent cheating.

          2. It’s definitely not a given that prepubertal boys and girls being athletically equal –> (implies that) transwomen who transition before puberty have no athletic advantage over women. I didn’t say that it was.
            Also, transwomen who transition before puberty have often taken a puberty-blocking drug for awhile, so that also changes their development vis a vis girls.
            You said,

            The epiphyseal growth plates fuse earlier in girls (estrogen) and so boys gain a height (and bone-density) advantage that is independent of testosterone.

            But those boys would also be receiving estrogen, so they should end up with the height and bone density that females have. Not growing to a more male-typical height is said to be an advantage of transitioning before puberty.
            So, what *are* the good reasons to think that transwomen who transition before puberty have an advantage over women?
            FINA (swimming organization) adopted a policy that only transwomen who transitioned before age 12 could compete in women’s events. This is quite strict, and should be enough to eliminate any significant unfair competition. The problems with transwomen in women’s sports are because the gates have been thrown wide open, to people who transitioned as adult males, and not even very completely transitioned.

          3. Looking at the evidence – if transwomen go on puberty blockers to avoid puberty, they aren’t as tall as they would be as men, but they still often end up taller than the average woman in their demographic group. If they take puberty blockers for shorter time and start getting estrogen, they end up looking more convincing as women, because they aren’t as tall.
            So even transwomen who transition without experiencing male puberty would often have a height advantage. They’d also have the disadvantages of puberty blockers, like reduced bone density.
            We’ll see what the effects of allowing transwomen who haven’t experienced male puberty at all to compete as women are for swimming, since FINA implemented that policy.

          4. Some researchers measured performance on various tests of athletic ability in various age and sex groups. “Reference values for developing responsive functional outcome measures across the lifespan” Neurology 2017

            Normative reference values for each functional
            outcome measure according to age per decade and
            sex are presented in table e-1 at, per
            age group in table 2, and 95th and 99th percentiles in
            table e-2. There were no significant differences for
            any measure between boys and girls aged 3–9 years.

            So according to that, both the mean and the standard deviation were similar for boys and girls before puberty.
            That also suggests that transwomen who transitioned before puberty wouldn’t have an average advantage over women. The standard deviation is also important for fairness, since in high-level competitions, the athletes are far better than average for their sex & age.

        2. Laura, I think you’re giving Dan way too much credit. He’s arguing that some women lose to other women anyway because of advantages that seem unfair: they didn’t try hard enough or have the right shoes or training. Dan is claiming that it doesn’t matter if even more women lose to a male because all of those competitive advantages (money, motivation, manhood) are the same. But as you say, they’re not all the same.

          1. Who cares really what Dan was trying to say – the argument I discussed is a standard one that people give to justify transwomen in women’s sports.
            It goes something like, Sports isn’t fair anyway, some women have better natural abilities than others, some women are better trained than others. Transwomen are women, so it’s OK if they have better natural abilities than other women, on average.
            There might be some sense to that, if the average advantage that transwomen have paled beside the advantage that some group of women has, who are allowed to compete in women’s sports. But it doesn’t, so far as I know.

          2. It helps to make the most amount of sense out of the arguments of someone who disagrees with you, in order to avoid becoming biased.

  11. “Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the bill, but it was later overridden by the general assembly.”

    And the Kentucky governor is up for reelection this fall. I have received three mass mail pieces in the last week or two from Republican affiliated organizations that hammer Beshear on that veto.

    “It includes many things, like blocking teachers from using a student’s preferred pronouns and requiring certain bathroom policies.”

    Uh, no. The law prohibits school districts from requiring that staff and students use pronouns other than the English ones we have used for hundreds of years in predictable ways. It also prohibits the KY Board of Education and the KY Department of Education from establishing any policies or procedures regarding pronoun use. As far as “certain bathroom policies,” it accommodates trans students with use of single stall or “controlled use of faculty bathrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms” but no use of student facilities designated for the opposite sex. This tendency to lie, distort, or otherwise leave vague is par for much reporting on these issues.

    The law does define “biological sex” in terms of being male or female, “which is determined by a person’s chromosomes, and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” I’ll set aside my definitional quibble there, and I do feel it was ridiculous to ban any study of “sexual orientation” at any grade level, but you will get that type of overreach when the Republicans get involved. But if my choice is between that and the chemical castration and surgical mutilation of children, then ban away.

    We need better choices.

  12. We can see the dialectic :

    Male and female are the same in kind but merely different in degree. The fencing uniform shows this well.

    Critical consciousness of gnostic-hermetic alchemy on ESPN will reify the as ascension of the Ideal to Material, showing the path to liberation of the Ideal in all, to ascend further to Spirit, and The One.

    (This is largely Hegelian).

  13. In August, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) banned transwomen from competing in women-only competitions (there were already no men-only ones) pending research into why women are so underrepresented at the top level.

    On the face of it, as a board game there shouldn’t be a male advantage. And yet the female competitions were set up precisely because, for whatever reason, the top echelons of chess have always been male dominated. (Judit Polgár is the only woman ever to be in the top 10 players, and her own background is extremely atypical given the nature of her parents’ experiment on their offspring.)

    It is a similar situation to, say, politics or boardrooms: women are underrepresented despite having the same capabilities as men. The FIDE position is no different to having a female-only shortlist or a prize intended to redress the balance in any other male-dominated field. Although the female category is, of course, disappearing from various acting and music awards ceremonies…

    1. Just addressing the politics/boardrooms career it is not capabilities but opportunity that causes the underrepresented. I would just pick one example in politics today, Katie Porter, a single mother with 3 kids, currently a house of representative member from California and running for Senate. The handicaps verses a male politician hardly need mention. Women could not vote until 1920. Boardrooms are even tougher climbing that ladder. I just read somewhere that they are attempting to hire many more women in the police department and reducing some of the physical requirements to get there. It seems women are making much better police officers, making better decisions, creating better conditions with the public they service and shooting fewer persons.

    2. “women are underrepresented despite having the same capabilities as men”

      On average, that might be true. At the elite level it is not true.

      You are missing two (three) rather important factors (this is from L. Summers). Roughly stated, women spend years taking care of their children. This will be true in any society with an even marginally stable population. The second factor is that the standard deviation of male talent (however measured) is greater than the standard deviation of female talent. Darwin observed this fact, but did not explain it. This fact (greater male standard deviation) can be found in many species including humans. To state this somewhat simplistically, there are more male geniuses and more male imbeciles. Note that Ted Hill wrote a deeply theoretical paper explaining this in evolutionary terms. Somewhat predictably, the feminists responded hysterically and twice suppressed his paper. For fun, I typed ‘best programmers of all time’ into Google. I got back 51 names, 48 were male, 3 were female. Another list of the 11 ‘most influential programmers of all time’ was all male. A list of ‘most famous doctors’ was 15:4 male/female. A list of ‘most famous lawyers was 41:10 male/female.

      Another factor is male aggressiveness. Men are (on average) more aggressive than women.

    3. … women are underrepresented despite having the same capabilities as men.

      How do you know they have the same capabilities? As you say, the evidence is against this suggestion (only one woman ever in the top 10; only 3 ever in the top 50, highest ranked woman currently ranked 130th; there’s currently a 13-yr-old boy who is ranked higher than all but one adult woman).

      We should drop the default assumption that groups all have equal abiliities and would be equally represented were it not for some *-ism, sucxh as sexism or racism.

      [This, of course, is on average, the dispersion within each sex is much greater than any difference between the means.]

    4. Thanks, all good points. Whatever the reason that women do less well than men in chess, it seems a reasonable decision to give them separate sex-based competitions – and since transwomen are male (or they wouldn’t be trans) then they should be excluded from them along with all other men.

      1. There is actually a funny example of this. The Putnam exam (very elite math) is actually given to men and women separately. Two factors are at work here. First, PISA shows that men are somewhat better at math than women (by a few points). Second, the male standard deviation of talent is somewhat greater (a common number is 7%).

    5. Given that the kind of chess players that compete at FIDE level are characterised by one common trait—high intelligence—isn’t the ‘underepresentation’ of women exactly what we would expect from the greater spread of male IQ (more geniuses and more drooling idiots, which some term the male variability hypothesis)?

  14. It doesn’t surprise me that fencing would be one of the last sports where cheating (by transwomen) is allowed. Fencing is more elite than say swimming and gender ideology is definitely an elite phenomena. I would actually go a bit further an claim that gender ideology is the apex of identity politics. Lenin said “Imperialism was the highest (and last) stage of Capitalism”. I would argue that gender ideology is the “highest stage of identity politics’.

    1. Imperialism – The Highest Stage of Capitalism – A Popular Outline
      V. I. Lenin
      Pamphlet written in Zurich, 1916

      See also reprints:
      International Publishers Co., Inc.

  15. With regard to the issue of “affirming” a child’s “gender identity” in school, it is worth bearing in mind that the Cass Review’s interim report found that this is not a neutral act – it can lock in the identity, making it harder for the child to change their mind. The UK government has been promising to produce guidance for schools on the issue for years – it was “definitely” going to be published before the summer holidays this year, but was then delayed again.

    It is also important to note that requiring other children to go along with the “affirmation” is unreasonable, too. Stephanie Davies-Arai (founder of Transgender Trend) recently wrote:

    In this particular context it is not only the child who identifies as trans who may be placed outside normal safeguarding frameworks: it is a safeguarding risk for every other child in the school to be confused about sex and related language; and for girls in particular to be trained to suppress their intuitive recognition that a person is male. Nor should any child be given the responsibility of actively intervening in another child’s treatment; children are not developmentally capable of making informed decisions about an experimental approach towards other children.

    1. “… the issue of “affirming” a child’s “gender identity” in school …”

      One new GENERAL thing occurred to me : this view then makes wide open the social power of “K-12 (no higher ed) schools to determine any student’s sex for them.

      Is that clear? The student body is given power to make its students whatever the students want generally, sex, sexuality or sexual orientation, or anything else in principle.

      There is a term for that : thought reform.

    2. It doesn’t seem like schools should be regulating a child’s transition at all.
      If a child decides they want teachers to use some other pronouns, that could be between the student and the teacher.
      If a child wants to wear things that typically only are worn by the other sex, let them.

  16. I just had a new thought in general on this topic:

    The most popular “video games” in modernity are generally not “games” at all, but magical virtual multiplayer networked worlds the user inhabits indefinitely, and is shocked by return to the material world – feature the ability to change “skins”. This is a new formulation of choosing a player (like elf, dwarf, or such likes).

    I think this is worth pointing out. Computer virtual worlds (“video games”) in which the user “changes” their “skin”. A world where they are only happiest when in that world. Return to the material world is dissatisfying. I find that significant, and worth paying attention to.

    Ok, thanks.

    1. Being on the internet is also a way of being disconnected from physical reality, and people spend a lot of time on it. So that may allow people to accept extraordinary claims.
      We’re all exposed to sufficiently advanced technology that’s indistinguishable from magic, and that tends to make people’s sense of truth a bit shaky.

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