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Old 05-17-2019, 01:30 PM
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(NON-political): How would/do cisgender female athletes cope against men or trans athletes?


Hoping for a non-political thread - purposefully placing this in Game Room rather than IMHO or GD:


If we set politics aside, there is very reasonable, documented evidence that athletes who are born as men and have a male body (but identify as female) have substantial physical advantages over female athletes who are cisgender female. (Again, just science - not politics.)

Much of the discussion over this issue has been all about politics - is someone transphobic by opposing this or that, what are trans rights, etc. etc. But what I wanted to ask was how female athletes are supposed to cope against such competitors. Granted, merely being born male and having a male body doesn't guarantee a gold medal or 1st place, but it sure helps. And thus far, the response to cisgender female athletes seems to have been something to the effect of........."Deal with it." Yes, you are at a physical advantage, but just deal with it.

Female athletes could always bulk up on more muscle or try to shave some more time off of their 100-meter times, but at a certain point, you hit a ceiling of performance - and while you're doing all of that, the trans athlete born with the male body can bulk up muscle and hone performance, too. How might female athletes overcome this disadvantage?

Again, no politics, just about sports and physiology.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
If we set politics aside, there is very reasonable, documented evidence that athletes who are born as men and have a male body (but identify as female) have substantial physical advantages over female athletes who are cisgender female. (Again, just science - not politics.)
Could we see that science, please?
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:49 PM
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Athletes are always trying to improve. There isn't anything else they can do to improve their performances against transgender people that they aren't already doing.

The point of having separate women's divisions vs. men's divisions is that, on average, women hit their performance ceiling at a lower level than do men. There isn't a lot that can be done about that - PEDs and suchlike are illegal.

On average, in most sports (football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, track and field, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, boxing, wrestling, all martial arts, golf, swimming) male athletes finish first and women second. The more characteristics a transgender athlete shares with cismen, the more the performance of the transgender athlete will resemble that of a male athlete.

This is only an issue for women's divisions and women's sports. FtM transgender don't have the inherent advantage over cismale athletes, on average, that MtF transgender athletes have over ciswomen. So, in theory, we could have three divisions, men/unlimited, where anyone could compete regardless of gender and cismen would usually win, transgender, where MtF would usually win, and women's, where ciswomen would win. The issue there is that there aren't that many transgender athletes, and politics.

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Old 05-17-2019, 03:10 PM
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Could we see that science, please?
https://work.chron.com/physiological...tes-20627.html

It even has some citations (though I’m sure the citations can be critiqued).

To summarize, men on average have longer and larger bones to support more muscle mass and are less likely to suffer bone injuries. That higher muscle mass translates to greater strength, which means women on average run and swim 10% slower than men and have 2/3 of the strength of men.

Women have wider pelvises than men and have a lower center of gravity, which leads to greater balance. Women also convert glycogen to energy more efficiently than men, leading to greater endurance.

Based on that, you’d expect biological men to outperform women in major sports like soccer, football, baseball, and hockey (due to greater strength and durability). They will also perform better in short races (swimming, running, skating, etc.).

Biological women will outperform men in areas like long distance running and swimming, and in sports that require balance such as figure skating and gymnastics.

Whichever sex is “better” at sports seems to depend on which sports you are talking about, and if you’re talking in general it then depends on how you weight the importance or difficulty of one sport over another. To me it is like debating whether a baseball bat or a golf club is better at sports.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
If we set politics aside, there is very reasonable, documented evidence that athletes who are born as men and have a male body (but identify as female) have substantial physical advantages over female athletes who are cisgender female. (Again, just science - not politics.)
What you seem to suggesting here is a trans athlete who has not had any surgery or treatments. i.e. they are a man, identifying as a woman and competing against women.

If that is what you mean then I don't see how a woman could compete by any metric. Men are faster, stronger with greater accuracy and skill. The data is in on that one.

That doesn't happen at the moment although it may be that cases currently under review could set a new a precedent.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:35 PM
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... Biological women will outperform men in areas like long distance running and swimming...
They don't though. For example, in the Olympics both the men and women did a long-distance "10k marathon" swim. The top men finished, on average, about 7 minutes faster than the top women.

In the next-longest swimming event, the men run a 1500m freestyle race and the women run an 800m freestyle race. The gold medalist in 2016 in Rio, Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri, swam that 1500m in 14:34.57, a pace of 1.715 m/s (if my math is right). For the women, the gold medalist, American Katie Ledecky, swam her 800m in 8:04.87, a pace of 1.650 m/s, despite swimming barely more than half the distance of the men.

In running, the top men ran the marathon in Rio (2016) in 2:08, 2:09, & 2:10. The top women ran it in 2:24.

Here are the 2019 Boston marathon results. They are similar, the men are faster.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 05-17-2019 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble View Post
What you seem to suggesting here is a trans athlete who has not had any surgery or treatments. i.e. they are a man, identifying as a woman and competing against women.

If that is what you mean then I don't see how a woman could compete by any metric. Men are faster, stronger with greater accuracy and skill. The data is in on that one.

That doesn't happen at the moment although it may be that cases currently under review could set a new a precedent.
It's happened a bit at lower levels of competition, such as the Connecticut high school track example, with the result one would expect. Not at an international elite / professional level that I am aware of.

It is not clear to me what the OP means, though.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:39 PM
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Not to nitpick, but -
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Biological women will outperform men in areas like long distance running and swimming, and in sports that require balance such as figure skating and gymnastics.
It depends on the distance. The world record for men in the marathon is faster than for women, the records for the 1500 meters in swimming for men is faster than for women, and the times for men crossing the English Channel are faster than for women. The same for ultramarathons. And men's vs. women's gymnastics are rather different sports from each other, and are judged on different criteria. Certainly a cismale who competed under the rules for women's gymnastics would be at a disadvantage for various reasons.

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Old 05-17-2019, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Atamasama View Post
Biological women will outperform men in areas like long distance running and swimming, and in sports that require balance such as figure skating and gymnastics.
Depending on how you define long distance running or swimming. The women's world record in the 1500 M is 3:50.07 which would have her placed second at the latest Olympics but she would be 20 seconds behind the 25th fastest male 1500 M of all time. To go a little farther at the 10,000 M distance the world record was set at 29:17.45 in 2016. That same time would have won her 32nd place if she'd been running on the Men's side. For swimming the women's world record in the 1500 M is 25:06.6 which would have he slower than every man that swam at the Olympics in 2016 where the slowest time I can find is 16:02.44. That seems like such a large difference I may have screwed it up. Any way you slice it Men are much faster than women and long distance doesn't really flip that balance.

My knowledge of figure skating is basically zero but I know with gymnastics they are really different sports where they don't even compete in the same events. I'd be curious to see how they compared doing the same events. I know gymnast women are typically tiny but so are the males so maybe it would be interesting.

I think even in those events where women might have some genetic benefit unless the sport was specifically built for them a world class male athlete would be ranked number one.

Last edited by Oredigger77; 05-17-2019 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:46 PM
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Not to nitpick, but - It depends on the distance. ...
Just a curiosity, are you aware of any distance at which women regularly outperform men in swimming or running events?

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 05-17-2019 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:57 AM
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Just a curiosity, are you aware of any distance at which women regularly outperform men in swimming or running events?
I can't think of any, but since women survive longer in cold water, I would expect they would out-perform men somewhere in a related event.

Again, it depends on the rules. When they swim the English Channel, I think they coat themselves in grease to insulate them from the cold water, which would offset to some extent the better insulation the average woman has. If they didn't allow that, maybe women would out-perform men. Is "extreme swimming" a thing?

Running is different. The female pelvis is, on average, wider, and thus the running stride of women is less efficient. Maybe walking events over very long distances would give them an advantage.

The only sports I can think of, where women have the advantage, are sports where the rules are set up for women rather than for men. Gymnastics, and perhaps figure skating, are examples. The other advantage is that men are more competitive and aggressive, which is nearly always an advantage, and some sports are offshoots of things like hunting and throwing and war, where men always predominate.

Regards,
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:13 AM
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Gymnastics, and perhaps figure skating, are examples.
Are they though? are there any gymnastic or skating moves that women are objectively better at than men? I know those two examples are often given but I've yet to see any hard evidence to back it up.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:04 PM
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Gymnastics and figure skating aren't judged objectively, which is part of what makes men's and women's gymnastics/figure skating almost different sports. Thus the criteria are different. In a foot race, the competitors go from point A to point B and whoever gets there first wins. Men gymnasts don't do the horizontal bar and women don't do the rings.

Pretty much by definition, the "artistic" part can't be said to have been done "better" by women than by men - it is a judgment.

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Old 05-18-2019, 02:14 PM
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Running is different. The female pelvis is, on average, wider, and thus the running stride of women is less efficient. Maybe walking events over very long distances would give them an advantage.
How long a distance? If the women who went gold-silver-bronze in 20k racewalking at the latest Olympics were each five minutes faster, they’d still have been too slow to crack the Top 25 in the men’s event; and the women’s world-record time would’ve likewise missed the Top 25 by minutes that day; and even over a 50k distance, the world-record time for a female racewalker would’ve been minutes too slow to get into the Top 25, let alone to get near bronze or silver.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:46 PM
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I think this issue tends to be overstated. All the really top-ranked athletes are basically physical freaks, who have bodies that aren't "normal". And they also practice their sport a huge amount of time. Very few people, cis or trans, have the interest or potential to be top athletes.

And there aren't all that many transwomen. And if they physically transition, and suppress their testosterone, and take estrogen, they lose a lot of the benefit that men have over women. No, not all, but a lot.

If the rules allow transwomen to compete alongside ciswomen, we will no doubt see a handful of successful trans athletes. But they are unlikely to take over any sport, because the intersection of "transwomen" and "people who Excel at sport x" is going to be tiny. For every sport.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:39 AM
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Just a curiosity, are you aware of any distance at which women regularly outperform men in swimming or running events?
When you really up the distance to multi-day endurance running then the M/F gap narrows significantly. Jasmin Paris won the Montane Spine race at the start of this year - 286 miles over the pennine hills in the UK, took 83 hours - knocked 12 hrs off the course record and beat 125 men [also expressed milk for her newborn at home when she was resting, which wasn't often as she slept for 3 hrs total - ie she is granite hard.]

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...e-ultrarunning

That's just a single data point, so doesn't mean women do outperform men at ultra distances as some sort of general principle, but you'd never see that sort of competitive balance at shorter events.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:32 AM
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How about transmen vs. ciswomen? If we posit an environment where transmen are allowed to take hormone therapy, but where the governing body of a sport still considers them women, would the therapy hormones (which are very similar to banned performance-enhancing drugs) give the transmen an edge?
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:10 PM
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Are they though? are there any gymnastic or skating moves that women are objectively better at than men? I know those two examples are often given but I've yet to see any hard evidence to back it up.
Something like uneven bars, I would expect women to do better than men, mainly because it rewards "flexibility" more than strength.

This whole debate may end up coming down to replacing "men's" and "women's" events with a split based on testosterone levels, similar to how combat sports are broken up by weight classes. The problem, of course, is that pretty much every woman that wants to be an athlete would have to be tested, whereas very few men would be, and I can hear the claims of sexual discrimination already.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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It might work to split most sports by weight, rather than by sex.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:41 PM
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It might work to split most sports by weight, rather than by sex.
Not a bad idea. A male athlete with low muscle mass is going to not weigh much (muscle is very dense) and might be physically comparable to female athletes of a similar weight.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:15 PM
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How about transmen vs. ciswomen? If we posit an environment where transmen are allowed to take hormone therapy, but where the governing body of a sport still considers them women, would the therapy hormones (which are very similar to banned performance-enhancing drugs) give the transmen an edge?
https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/hig...-new-uil-drama

A two time girls wrestling champ in Texas is a trans man, though he was on very low testosterone dosage.

At the college level, he will wrestle with men (and in national events he has been doing so).
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:38 AM
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Not a bad idea. A male athlete with low muscle mass is going to not weigh much (muscle is very dense) and might be physically comparable to female athletes of a similar weight.
Men and women of equal weight are not of comparable athletic ability. A 140-pound male athlete is faster and stronger than a 140-pound female athlete; equal weights even the field a little, but not enough.

Dividing a sport into weight classifications is really quite necessary in, say, boxing, where a substantial weight disadvantage is such a huge gulf that it would make the sport pointless and unfair. If you had no weight classes in boxing, heavyweight would be the only weight class. It would not be good for the sport. In most sports, though, weight and size is not AS relevant. Elite sprinters weight anywhere from 150 to 200+ pounds. It just wouldn't be practical to have weight classes in most sports.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:50 AM
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Men and women of equal weight are not of comparable athletic ability. A 140-pound male athlete is faster and stronger than a 140-pound female athlete; equal weights even the field a little, but not enough.
I guess looking over some stats, even top female athletes rarely go below 14% body fat percentage, while males often go as low as 6%. Even accounting for a heavier skeletal structure, a male of equivalent weight is still going to have more muscle mass.
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