With the Trump Administration having recently made controversial adjustments to title IX, and with question 3 in Massachusetts midterms, transgender rights are in the forefront of people’s minds.
Early this October, Rachel McKinnon became the first transgender female to win the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) women’s Master Track Cycling World Championships. This victory sparked much controversy after the third place rider, Jen Wagner-Assali tweeted “I was the third place rider. It’s definitely NOT fair.”
Though McKinnon was racing within the rules which state that you must compete with the gender on your identification, but many people, including myself, think that the rules should change.
I think that transgender people should be respected, and recognized by their gender not their sex. In purely physical sporting events however, high level competitions should be segregated by sex, not gender.
Gender is a social construct, and doctors have found that sex does not determine gender, but it is a scientific fact that men and women are physiologically different. Elite male athletes on average have higher Oxygen carrying capacity, larger bones, higher muscle mass along with less fragile ligaments and tendons. The most often cited reason that transgender women should not be allowed to compete in high level competitions is their high levels of testosterone. Testosterone promotes muscle and bone growth. This essentially makes testosterone a performance enhancing chemical, giving trans women who still possess male genitalia an unfair edge in most sports. It is for this reason that many organizations, including the UCI, have banned competitors from using any substances that increase an athletes testosterone levels.
Due to this scientific distinction, I feel that high level sport competitions should be segregated by sex. I do not think that this is a social justice or human rights argument, transgender people should be represented in our country. Gender is all about how you identify yourself. In low level sports like those in high school, I think that feeling comfortable and being part of a team with which you identify is important, but in high level sports competitions, how you identify does not matter, how you perform matters.
To argue that transgender women should be able to compete against biological females in high level competitions, is to disregard the reason for segregated sports in the first place. Men and women compete in different leagues because men and women compete at different levels. Feminism is a very important issue, and woman are equal to men in every way except one, on a physical level it is simply an irrefutable fact that biological men and women are different.
I believe that in order to ensure a level playing field, biological women must only compete against biological women, and biological men should only compete against biological men. If we find ourselves disregarding sex as a factor in athletic ability and put all people one one playing field, we risk reducing athletic opportunity for women, and could quickly find our female sports dominated by transgender women.
By Henry Dupont