• CandyCoatedCamus
    252
    I saw an article today saying that a transgender teen who is transitioning to a female won a wrestling tournament. This is obviously a problem. My solution is that we should abolish the separation between men and women sports teams. Any thoughts
  • Chany
    352


    The problem is that the bodies of those usually seen as male and the bodies of those usually seen as female are different. Men will simply have more muscle mass than women even though all athletes may be equally dedicated to their sports. Simply put, you cannot remove the separation because the genders are not equal when it comes to biology.

    Regarding transgenderism in sports, I have no idea on how to handle this: I have no idea how the body interacts with hormones at various stages in development. For example, a transgendered woman who transitioned in their mid-twenties will probably have a different body than a cisgendered woman of the same age.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Boys and girls playing games as children is not a problem. Their respective musculature and strength is quite similar. As Chany points out (as it should be obvious to a casual observer) adult men and women have divergent levels of muscle mass and strength. It is easier for males to achieve x amount of muscle mass and strength than it is for women to achieve the same. some women can, but most women can not.

    Transgendered persons present a complicated problem. They may have a lot, or little, muscle development prior to beginning hormone treatment. Females receiving testosterone will develop more muscle mass and lose fat under the skin (assuming that they exercise). Males receiving estrogen may lose muscle mass, and will generally pick up fat under the skin. Level of exercise, of course, is critically relevant. Subcutaneous fat and muscle mass has a lot to do with how "male" or "female" we look.

    At any rate, a transsexual is an adaptation of physique to mental imagery. A male body does not become a female body (and visa versa); the male body can be made to resemble a female body, and visa versa.
  • CandyCoatedCamus
    252
    Does it matter though? Just because men are biologically bigger does that mean they should be separated in sports? I'm sure there are some women that would want to compete on a men's level.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Maybe it depends on the sport. In contact sports (like American football) the mass of the body makes a difference. In a number of sports, size of muscles, length of legs and arms, and so on make a difference, and men tend to be bigger.

    Where performance times for men and women converge, maybe competition would be appropriate.

    There is another reason: can one sell more tickets to a male only competition, to a female only competition, or to a mixed male/female competition? Selling tickets is a critical piece of sport. If teams and venues can sell more tickets for mixed sex competitions, then that's what will be done.

    In amateur sport, there are certainly specific women who can out-distance specific men. A very strong female bicyclist or runner is going to beat a male competitor who is not as strong.
  • SleepingAwake
    14
    I'm not going into Transgenderism, as someone else has already touched on it (and I know only what I know about Trans people), but I'll cover the binary system of understanding, which I have first-hand experience with, and from a combat-sports angle.

    Considering the massive biological differences between men and women, my first response to the idea of removing the barrier between men and women would simply be "No." or "Have you considered the problems that could arise?" My reasoning for this position are not complex, but I'll try to explain deeper, with as few words as is feasible.

    I'm biased, but I will admit that on the surface, removing separation of the sexes sounds like a great idea, and a progressive one at that, as it would allow for equity among the sexes, but I do not believe it would create equality. Rather, it may cause more problems, such as actual sexism within the sport (on and off the field). If men and women could be trained to be absolutely devoid of our natural instincts, I might be inclined to say different, but short of a miracle in our evolutionary history-to-be, I don't think it could be so.

    I, for one, could emotionally separate myself from my actions in a single-gender combat sport situation, but I feel like I would end up going easier on a female opponent, or she may do likewise--which is an insult in any combat sport, especially when it's against guys. While I cannot claim to know what might happen, and it would certainly be interesting to have an equitable faceoff with a woman in combat, I don't think I could get into the octagon or in the ring without viewing her as someone I should be ashamed of myself for hurting, or someone I'm failing to protect by engaging in boxing, BJJ or kickboxing. It's my opinion that Men and Women need separation in the combat sports area, at the very least. If we don't do that, women like Holly Holm, Michelle Waterson ("The Karate Hottie") or the absolutely amazing Rhonda Rousey would literally be pushed aside, out of any potential spotlight--and that wouldn't be fair, even in a sport like MMA, which doesn't typically deal in special treatment to begin with, short of regimens. That would be the downside of gender integration in this sport, in my admittedly limited scope of understanding.

    I hope that was as precisely worded and coherent as I intended it to sound, and answered your question satisfactorily.

    (Equity and Equality are two separate words, meaning two separate things, and I don't mind going into that upon request)
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    Point is, they can't.

    Which professional female athlete of which sport can compete with professional male athletes in the same sport? If they could compete on that level, then they would or already are doing so.

    Abolishing the separation between men's and women's sports teams would amount to men dominating the existent female teams and leagues and a very few exceptional outlying female athletes breaking into men's teams and being able to remain on their own team.
  • Michael
    9k
    The problem is that the bodies of those usually seen as male and the bodies of those usually seen as female are different. Men will simply have more muscle mass than women even though all athletes may be equally dedicated to their sports. Simply put, you cannot remove the separation because the genders are not equal when it comes to biology.Chany

    What about with chess?
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    Women can compete with men in chess, but there are entirely different tournaments for women as well, as well as woman's champions, and a separate system for determining women's grandmasters than there is for men. The purpose is to foster competition, and it has nothing to do with fairness.

    For those familiar with chess and who have competed at the amateur level would know, you receive an Elo rating that pretty accurately provides your playing strength, and you can choose to compete in a section of those with similar ratings. That way, every one who enters a section has a reasonable chance to win, as opposed to signing up and just waiting to lose to the dominant player in the room every time.

    This really isn't that different from what happens in many sports, although the rating system isn't as mathematical as the Elo system. They create gender, weight, and age classifications, and in some sports actual earned levels (like different color belts). A newbie wouldn't compete against a black belt and a 60 year old wouldn't compete against an 18 year old.

    The purpose of the classifications isn't based on fairness as much as creating meaningful competition. There's nothing inherently unfair about me winning a medal in a 5k road race in the 50-55 group when my time wouldn't have been in the top 10 in the 20-25 group.
  • Michael
    9k
    Women can compete with men in chess, but there are entirely different tournaments for women as well, as well as woman's champions, and a separate system for determining women's grandmasters than there is for men. The purpose is to foster competition, and it has nothing to do with fairness.Hanover

    What I meant to question was why there are separate competitions for women in chess when chess has nothing to do with size/weight/muscle mass.
  • Chany
    352


    Yeah, I don't really get the division in that one. I've heard that the reason they want to have women's only events is to attract women into the sport. In other words, it is more about publicity and to show women in chess, not so much that women cannot compete with men. Most of the big tournaments are open to both genders.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Which professional female athlete of which sport can compete with professional male athletes in the same sport?VagabondSpectre

    the current world record for the greatest depth reached in free diving is held by a woman.
    In 1967 Beryl Burton cycled further in 12 hours than the men's record (which was set in the same event). Ronaldo's wife Milene, holds the World football keepee uppee record.
    Lynn Hill of rockclimbing. She was the first to free climb the Nose, a long and difficult route on El Capitan previously considered all but impossible. Also, very long distance running and swimming.
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    Many sports are de facto racially segregated despite not being de jure segregated, as anyone who has watched the Olympics knows. My guess is that if you let things as they are now, there would simply be an overrepresentation of trans women in these sports as compared to the general population. I don't really think this is a problem – there are already these sorts of overrepresentation (e.g. by race).
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    As far as can tell, all free-diving records are held by men. Unfortunately free diving is not much of a spectator sport so there are no leagues, although they do recognize records held by women and men separately because we want to know the female records in addition to the male ones.

    Beryl Burton was a great cyclist, that's why they invited her to compete against men in le Grand Prix des Nations... Because she could...

    Ronaldo's wife is not capable of playing professional soccer on the professional men's level. "kepee upee" isn't a sport. The women's U.S national soccer team could have a game against a high-school male soccer team, and they might lose.

    Lynn Hill may have been the first to climb El Captain's nose, but would she be able to compete with the men in whatever Olympic rock climbing setup they go with in 2020?

    The undeniable fact is that women who can compete at the top physical level of men in sports where physicality matters are incredibly rare. We need separate leagues and teams generally because it would not be fair to the vast majority of women if men started forcing them out of their top slots.

    Female boxers getting knocked out on a daily basis by men who are in their same weight-class is to painful an experience to endure while waiting for the once in 50 years exception.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    I confess sport interests me very little, and my list was the result of a 30 second google search. But it served as an answer to your rhetorical question, and brought forth a line by line repudiation which rather exposes the agenda.

    I also wondered why men in gymnastics don't use the balance beam, and google gave me this.

    A cynic like me tends to think that men don't compete in areas where they are weaker than women, but instead suggest that these are "not sports". And then it is "undeniable" that men are better at all sports.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    A cynic like me tends to think that men don't compete in areas where they are weaker than women, but instead suggest that these are "not sports". And then it is "undeniable" that men are better at all sports.unenlightened

    I don't think that is being cynical, I think it is logical and an attitude that needs to be embraced. But I think that to try and overlook the feminine and masculine in any discipline - whether sport or even research - is false and the cynic in me thinks people are trying to find a balance between the feminine and masculine by eliminating them entirely. It is more about embracing our differences without the gender-bias.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k


    When in cynical doubt, add more cynicism. (Y)

    Exploring the rhetorical question I asked really does shed light on why we have women only sports teams, but it's not universally true. Most sports are strength/endurance/speed-centric, and men have an unfair biological edge in those categories, just like how someone transitioning into a man (and receiving male hormones) continuing to compete against females would have an unfair advantage. It's the exact same dilemma as steroid use giving unfair advantages. When and where women are capable of competing with men in whatever sport, we actually already tend to support that because dominant female athletes are more epic IMHO than dominant male ones. Female NASCAR drivers are one such example. Nascar competition is about experience, intelligence, and reflexes. Many women have and are showing that they can compete on the highest level in this particular sport.

    On some level we desire "fairness", or at least an "even match" because one-sided competition isn't fun to watch. Ancient olympic athletes used to get handicapped via weights tied to their wrists and ankles (IIRC) the more dominant they were so that victory would be within anyone's grasp and the competition would be closer and therefore more exciting.

    Modern olympic games have preserved our desire for fairness, but they've lost the will to sacrifice it in pursuit of an "even match". Modern sports as a whole are based on the idea of meritocracy. The philosophy of every sports coach is "work hard and earn success based on that merit". This is why the idea of putting lead in Usain Bolt's shoe's in order to prevent him from predictably sweeping the show seems unconscionable.

    To answer my own rhetorical question: "Which professional female athlete of which sport can compete with professional male athletes in the same sport?"

    Some women do compete alongside male professional athletes in some sports, but the vast majority of sports tend to involve strength/endurance/speed as primary necessary skills, and male biology has an unfair advantage in those areas, especially at the extreme peaks of male and female physical condition.

    We don't actually disallow women from invading men's leagues. They already have invaded some, and if and when a woman can make the cut for a professional team men's team in sports like soccer, football, basketball, or hockey, trust me, the franchises would relish it (my god how they would go nuts all clamoring to get her if she was prodigious). The cynical truth is that we don't disallow women from competing at the top levels alongside men. They can and do in sports where they are able. But we do disallow men from competing alongside women at the top levels of sports where they would have very clear unfair advantages.

    I'm sure Serena Williams could get into an ATP tournament if she wanted to, but she would go from the number one rank to perhaps well below rank 1000.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Men will simply have more muscle mass than women even though all athletes may be equally dedicated to their sports. Simply put, you cannot remove the separation because the genders are not equal when it comes to biology.Chany

    Here's the issue: Gender is not about muscle mass. If you want to segregate based on muscle mass, do so; stop pretending that it has to do with the dangly bits between the athlete's legs.

    Boxing is segregated based on mass.
  • Michael
    9k
    Boxing is segregated based on mass.Banno

    And sex/gender. I'm not aware of any (common) man vs woman (in the same weight class) boxing matches.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    One more time: If the issue is body mass, then segregate sport on the basis of body mass.

    Example: Boxing; it already segregates based on body mass.

    So have a range from featherweight to heavyweight for the 100 metres and marathon and football and whatever.

    That boxing is also segregated by gender makes no difference to its role as an example of mass segregation.

    If what is between your legs is irrelevant, then don't use it to classify people.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    And sex/gender. I'm not aware of any (common) man vs woman (in the same weight class) boxing matches.Michael

    Ronda Rousey. Lucia Rijker. Though they didn't win, they had some serious girl balls. (Y)
  • Banno
    8.9k
    7400430-3x2-700x467.jpg
    Kick like a girl.
  • Michael
    9k
    "Which professional female athlete of which sport can compete with professional male athletes in the same sport?"VagabondSpectre

    Apparently open water swimming.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k


    There are definitely some sports where women can keep up. I don't think there is actually such a thing as a professional open water swimmer, but I believe most biathlons and triathlons are mixed gender.

    The thing is, when and where you can find female athletes capable of competing alongside the top tier of their male counterparts, they already are competing...
  • WiseMoron
    41
    One issue I see with having females playing with males is that when the game gets sour and they start to actually fight each other. Hockey or American Football for example is a very rough sport and sometimes the players break the rules and intentionally fight or harm each other. Most people will fear that the females will get hurt worse than the men because of mainly cultural reasons and may be unfair in how to judge the fight between the woman and man. Also, due to cultural reasons, people may punish men, who hurt women during sport games, too harshly when it was actually an honest unintentional penalty. Main reason why having women play with men won't work well is because of mainly how the majority of our societies think and view both females and males.

    The main problem I see with Trangenderism isn't that if the person is more male than female or vice versa, but that people still don't accept its existence fairly. If a Transgender man (woman to man) plays American Football and people find out that he was born a woman. Do you really think people will try to ban him from playing American Football because he has some unfair advantage over the other men in the football games because of biological reasons? Of course not, in reality the way I know it, the football fans will want to ban the player because he just simply doesn't "fit" in for whatever the bullshit reason is such as he's too gay, he might hurt himself, he distracts the other fans with his feminine body, or he's more flexible than the other football players because he's a woman. Come on, those are bullshit reasons.

    What these Sports Committees should do is develop a sincere test on whether the individual is truly a transgender or not, basically find if the individual is lying or not about his/her claim about being a transgender. If a person is honest in being a Transgender the person should be allowed to play sports in relation to the sexual group that the person feels like s/he belongs to because psychology matters more than biology when living life.

    I disagree that females and males think differently; however, apparently I'm the minority or a fool. Since the majority thinks females and males think very differently, wouldn't that be a huge factor for the sport players? A Transgender man doesn't think like a woman, but a man, thus wouldn't it make more sense for him to play with other men?

    Having a penis, bigger muscles, or masculine hormones don't impact a Transgender woman that much in a women's sport tournament in my opinion. What impacts more is the intelligence of the player and if s/he practices/trains in the sport well everyday. You can be a Transgender woman and be a fatass or be weaker than a professional woman who is a tennis player. There are so many factors to being a good player that these minor details in association to being a male has little to do with.

    Basically, I think if a transgender woman wants to play with other women and is actually a transgender person, she should be allowed to because that's how she thinks, not because of what she is. We teach our children that the inside matters more than the outside, yet we adults judge transgenders on the outside rather than the inside in sport tournaments. Some men have bigger muscles, more hormones, or a bigger penis than other men, but we don't objectively ban them for those reasons yet we do this to transgender women.

    The biggest problem in regards to accepting Transgenderism into sports is always going to be the society. The cultures of the societies needs to value transgenders equally as with females.

    Also, one thing this discussion overlooks is that intersexuals have very similar social problems as transgenders. Intersexuals have parts of both male and female, yet they psychologically adapt to either thinking male or female within their society. Just something for y'all to think about as well.

    You think it's fair for someone to take away your gold medal after you put so much effort into it and sincerely won? I wouldn't especially if I didn't cheat or use drugs.
  • sarah young
    43
    I have no idea how the body interacts with hormones at various stages in development. For example, a transgendered woman who transitioned in their mid-twenties will probably have a different body than a cisgendered woman of the same age.Chany

    well I'm here to help as a transgender woman in her mid 20's if a transgender woman started transitioning in her mid 20's she wouldn't be done until her late 30's, and estrogen causes muscle atrophy and muscle redistribution toward female proportions, as well as skeletal changes and fat redistribution to match a female body. Physically they are almost identical at the end of their transitions but during the transitions they will still retain some male characteristics.
  • sarah young
    43
    At any rate, a transsexual is an adaptation of physique to mental imagery. A male body does not become a female body (and visa versa); the male body can be made to resemble a female body, and visa versa.Bitter Crank

    at the end of the transition a trans woman, assuming pre transition they were fit and not like absolute units they would be physically be near identical to a woman who is as old and had done as much training as them
  • Virgo Avalytikh
    177
    Maybe it is because I perceive this from a non-Western perspective, but the entire issue strikes me as a storm in a teacup from the start. Why are there separate divisions for men and for women in sport? Because men (adult human males) and women (adult human females) are different physically. A women's sports division is effectively a handicap division, just as the junior divisions are. If you were to do away with such divisions, and throw everyone into a common pot, then women would find it much harder - impossible, depending on the sport - to compete at the highest level. In tennis, for instance, which is one of the few sports I follow, if you eliminated the divisions between men and women at Wimbledon, there would be no women competing at Wimbledon. So the very existence of a women's division is a one-sided concession on behalf of those who would not otherwise be able to compete at the highest level.

    The only complication - and it is only a complication because it has been allowed to be a complication - is that there appear to be some individuals who are keen to have 'man' and 'woman' designate something other than the adult males and adult females of our species, respectively. Beyond this, I don't pretend to understand the motivation. All I would say is, if one is intent on doing so, the only reasonable course of action is to do away with divisions and throw everyone into the same pot, competitively. Or else, depending on the sport, have something like body-mass divisions, as has been suggested. But these kinds of distinctions would only be applicable for certain sports (what would the tennis equivalent be?) But, in any case, you would be doing women's sport no favours, if you were so intent.

    So, either you have your AHM and AHF divisions (and then perhaps junior and wheelchair/blind/deaf divisions besides), on the understanding that everything besides the former is a handicap concession, or else you unleash everyone against everyone else, and have males dominate. The second possibility is highly unlikely to obtain, since it does not seem to make much commercial sense.
  • Hanover
    5.7k
    Physically they are almost identical at the end of their transitions but during the transitions they will still retain some male characteristics.sarah young

    One way we can distinguish how much of their maleness a transitioned female has retained is by having her compete against biologically born women. When we see, as we have, that the transitioned females are crushing the long held records of their biological female counterparts, we can rest assured that they've retained something substantial and therefore should probably not be competing against those who do not stand a fighting chance.
  • sarah young
    43
    you are right, but I don't think it would be fair to put them up against men either
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