New research is confirming what many Americans have suspected for some time as a matter of instinct: That despite so-called “hormone suppression” therapy, trans-women athletes (those born as biological males) still retain competitive edges.
“Transgender women athletes who went through a typical male puberty during adolescence still hold a competitive edge over their biologically female competitors, and one year of testosterone suppression therapy as required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) isn’t enough to ensure fairness in women’s sports, some scientists argue,” Fox News reported on Monday.
The report added:
The scientific community is conflicted over the issue of fairness in women’s sports as trans athletes like University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas make headlines for dominating on women’s teams. Women’s sports advocates and parents at Penn have recently spoken out against the NCAA and its rules on transgender student-athlete participation, which require trans women athletes to undergo at least a year of testosterone suppression treatment before competing on a women’s team.
Thomas, who competed on the men’s team for three years before switching to the women’s team in 2020, has been receiving the treatment for nearly three years. She will compete at next month’s Ivy League championships and has already qualified for the NCAA championships in March.
UPenn and the Ivy League have both issued statements supporting Thomas who, by the way, was beaten last week by another trans male athlete (born a biological female), but the NCAA has yet to formally weigh in on the issue; Fox News Digital reported that the organization’s board of governors is expected to meet soon to review the NCAA’s policy.
Several studies in recent years have found that only requiring a year of testosterone suppression therapy for a man transitioning to a woman is not sufficient to ensure there is fairness in women’s sports.
For instance, a study that the Macdonald–Laurier Institute, a Canadian think tank, released last month argued that “there is neither a medical intervention nor a clever philosophical argument that can make it fair for trans women to compete in women’s sport.” The study recommended finding other ways to include transgender women in sports competitions.
“For trans women who have successfully suppressed testosterone for 12 months, the extent of muscle/strength loss is only an approximately (and modest) -5% after 12 months,” the authors noted. “Testosterone suppression does not remove the athletic advantage acquired under high testosterone conditions at puberty, while the male musculoskeletal advantage is retained.”
The authors conclude that fairness can be ensured with the “reconceptualization” of the male category as “Open” and the women’s category as “Female,” referring to the person’s gender at birth.
Some are already predicting that if nothing is done, then women’s sports as we have come to know them will become extinct.
“My message this evening is a call to action, and it is that what you see right now in women’s athletics is going to be the extinction of women’s sports in general,” said Jeri Shanteau, a former collegiate swimmer and an 11-time All-American, told Fox News in late December.
“We need people to understand what is going on in athletics. We need people to understand this is a complete discrimination of women, and what is happening that we do not have our institutions and our universities and our governing bodies standing by watching this unfold is complete neglect,” Shanteau added. “This is a women’s issue, if you care about women, you should care about this cause.”
“How do we not understand that if we do not use sex as our identifier we are going to make women obsolete in general, and not just in athletics,” Shanteau added, in response to a new federal Title IX interpretation. “Male bodies competing against women does not uphold what we believe in fairness of sport, and it will trickle down to everything else in life.”