Transgender Women in Sports Have Advantages over Cisgender Women

This flag represents the transgender community.

This flag represents the transgender community.

Rachel Dearing, Staff Writer

Recently, President Joe Biden lifted many transgender bans, in effect allowing more opportunities for transgender people. One of those opportunities allows for transgender women to compete in women’s sports at both the high school and collegiate level.

There have been many instances where this has happened with cisgendered people having felt as if they could not compete against transgenders. Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith are all Connecticut track runners who were put up against two trans females, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood. Soule, Mitchell, and Smith have lost multiple times to them.

“I don’t know of a woman athlete who doesn’t want trans girls to be treated fairly. But the cost of treating her fairly should not come at the cost of discriminating against a biologically- female- at birth woman” said sports consultant Donna Lopiano as quoted in an article for the CT Mirror.

The argument could be made that trans women take hormonal therapy to reduce physical strength, therefore, making the playing field equal. However, their performance remains higher than cis women on average. In an article for NBC news, Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician and director of the adolescent medicine training program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri said, “At one year, the trans women on average still have an advantage over the cis women.” This same article explains that after two years on hormonal therapy, which is what doctors advise, these participants’ medical and fitness records reflected running times that were 12 percent faster than cis women.

If trans women do not reach the same level as cis women, then how can they compete fairly? For transgender women, they would still be stronger than cisgender women.

Joanna Harper, who was a consultant on IOC’s (International Olympic Community) current recommendations said, “It’s not necessary for all advantages to be removed. All that is necessary is for trans women to perform more like cisgender women than like cisgender men.”

Harper is wrong when she states this because without advantages removed, they cannot compete equally. Their advantages would have to be completely removed in order to make competitions fair. For example, some advantages include: on average women are  shorter than men, male bones have more bone mass than women, men have longer arms and legs, men have 40-50 percent more muscle on their bodies while women have only 30-40 percent muscle, men have 66 percent more upper-body muscle, men’s muscles are more solid, and women’s ligaments are thinner and softer than men’s.

If hormonal therapy doesn’t reduce these advantages after two years, then it is scientifically unfair for transgenders to compete against cisgenders.

Fallon Fox a transgender MMA fighter, broke Tiaka Brent, a cisgender women’s skull during a fight in 2014. It wasn’t a very long fight either, and Fox cracked her skull in the first two and a half minutes of the first round. It was a very uneasy, messy, and bloody fight. Fox did not stop fighting her until she was finally TKO’d (technically knocked out). After fighting Fox, Brent found out that her orbital bone in her skull had been fractured.

In an interview after her surgery Brent said, “I have struggled with women and I have never felt the strength I felt in a fight like that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a male or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say that I have never felt so dominated in my life and that I am an abnormally strong woman in my own right? I still disagree with Fox’s struggle. Any other job or career that I say I try, when it comes to a combat sport I don’t think it’s fair.”

Put yourself in her situation. She fought against someone who was born a man. It’s very hard considering the disadvantages in competing against transgender women. Not to say it isn’t impossible, but the transgender woman cracked her skull.

Competing is meant to test your strength and push you to the next level. How can you compete against someone who has advantages over you of which you cannot control?