Do trans girl athletes have an advantage? [Moderated title for clarity]

I’m only aware of one instance where such a complaint made the news, the 2019 Connecticut track girls, which I cited upthread.


Please provide a cite for this claim. Thanks!

Like I said, this stuff doesn’t seem to be tracked anywhere. The HS sport organization UIL doesn’t track trans athletes, much less which trans athletes are undergoing hormone treatment versus not. Any “cites” will be anecdotal or news stories like this one:

One way to look at this is that they are dedicated athletes who try harder and succeed on an even field, but another way is that they have a significant advantage due to their genetics that the cisgirls have a very difficult time overcoming. Even if they occasionally get beat, it may take a cisgirl athlete at the top 1% or .1% of ability in that district to beat them. That is not unexpected. Not every cisboy will be faster than every cisgirl. If these trans girl athletes are mid-level competitors in the boy’s field, I would expect some cisgirls to be able to beat them.

Articles about trans athletes frequently discuss their effect at the macro level, in terms of the small number of trans girl athletes compared to cisgirls. But there doesn’t seem to be articles which look at how trans athletes rank in their teams and how trans girls undergoing hormone treatment compare to those who aren’t.

At the macro level this isn’t a problem because the number of trans athletes are so small. Even if the trans athletes were #1 in their sport at their school, they participate in so few sports that it’s not noticeable. But that doesn’t mean that the other athletes in that sport are unaffected.

That is the same Connecticut situation that was mentioned several times already. You said that the availability of top spots on athletic teams is “greatly reduced” by the allowing trans athletes to compete. Greatly reduced. That’s a lot of running around for those two trans sprinters from Connecticut.

If you have no cites, and only the same anecdote that has already been mentioned multiple times in this thread, I don’t see how you can say that the opportunities for cisgirls has been greatly reduced.

I understand that no one is keeping the stats, but I guarantee that if there were other transgirls causing problems anywhere, it would be all over the right wing media. In this case, absence of evidence really is evidence of absence, given the desire for right wingers to beat up on trans teens. They have already passed laws that require trans teens to compete with their gender assigned at birth in several states.

It just depends on the scope of how you look at the problem. A drop of water is a huge problem for an ant, but irrelevant to the ocean. The cisgirls on that team were affected. The cisgirls in that district and state were affected. Even if this was the only time it happened, it’s still a significant issue to the cisgirls competing against them. The concerns of the cisgirls who were at a huge disadvantage are still relevant.

Would you care if this was the typical situation? If a trans girl won the girl’s state championship X% of the time when there was a trans athlete, what is the value of X where you see it being a problem?

X=16.365% At 16.364999…%, I’m fine, but once you get to 16.365%, I’ll get all protesty.

What I do know is that it’s not a problem now.

In terms of sports, well, no, we didn’t; they were divided based on sex. “Gender” as we are using it in this thread wasn’t really a thing at all; when people talked about girls and boys, they meant sex. The concept of a gender identity unconnected to sex wasn’t a thing. Sports were sex segregated.

There were no biological tests for children’s sports when I was a kid. No DNA tests, no genital checks, etc. It’s likely that most people assumed that all the girls were biological females, and all the boys were biological males, and that intersex people were so incredibly rare that they could only appear in sci-fi novels (and never appeared in such mundane places as elementary or junior high schools!), but there was no verification of any of this taking place that I’m aware of.

ISTM that children’s sports divisions in the 80s were much more about outward expressions of gender identity (even if this wasn’t commonly understood or discussed) than about biology.

I never suggested there were. The separation was still based on sex, though, even if no one was conducting a DNA test to verify it, a step everyone back in the day would have thought pointless for scholastic athletics.

It was based on gender identity just as much (or more) as biological sex, ISTM. A kid presenting as a girl was assumed to be a girl. Most people just didn’t understand the difference between them at the time.

They didn’t have male and female sports separated out because of gender identity, because gender identity has nothing to do with athletic performance. They had male and female sports because of SEX, because biological sex has an enormous impact on athletic performance.

In theory, perhaps. In practice, it was more about gender identity. Someone who presented as a girl was probably going to play on the girl’s team.

I didn’t read all 700+ Posts so please forgive me if this has been addressed but I wonder.

For sports that don’t require physical contact the only difference between men’s and women’s is the number. Minutes faster, feet higher, numbers scored. There’s no real reason for separation except to have a separate score board. Which could be displayed separately regardless of event segregation. So if the top speed woman only places at 10th over all she’s still the fastest woman.

Maybe in motorcross most women won’t ever be competitive past A, B or C class or whatever class the top women are competitive in, but are tiered open gender classes really any different? Is first place “open B class” any different than first place womens? (Example only. I have no idea how women of any description place in these events)

I suppose the psychological aspect could come into play, ie “I want first not tenth” but that’s still workable becuase you can still recognize the top finishers in any class. I also suppose in some events that the difference between male and female placing would be wide enough to effectively exclude any female contenders from visible participation, which I expect would be very discouraging. I would expect transwomen to place somewhere in between as well, but without having to argue about hormone cut off limits for anyone, which I would expect to be applied equally. Even if that meant most of the women were doping you couldn’t really call it doping for an unfair advantage becuase everyone met the same cutoffs.

I haven’t really looked into the issue at any depth, so I expect there to be flaws and unworkable circumstances, but it sounded good in my head and I’m open to correction.

Hidden as Off-Topic specifically ignored Modnote

There are potential solutions, such as teams being handicapped by overall team weight or some other handicap around strength or speed. That would allow smaller cis-people to compete as well. Or we could change the focus of high school sports to something which minimizes the advantages of males vs females, such as archery or bowling or whatever.

But denial of the differences is just going to get kids hurt, and also could hurt the trans movement if enough kids go through high school resenting trans-girls’ ability to play sports with an advantage.

There is a trans-woman MMA fighter named Fallon Fox. Even though she was 45 years old at the time, she fought Tamikka Brents and beat her very badly. In two minutes before the fight was called she gave Tamikka a broken skull, a concussion, seven staples to her head and multiple fractures to her orbital bone. She could easily have killed her.

Joe Rogan, who was at the event, has said that when ‘justice’ requires that we watch someone with the physical attributes of a man beat a woman half to death in the ring, something is terribly wrong. We will see lesser versions of that in high school contact sports if we aren’t careful.

I don’t think there are any easy solutions. If the problem exists and persists, we will either see blowback against transwomen in sports, or high school sports will evolve into something that works for everyone.

When? When will this happen? Because, as noted above, many states have allowed trans girls to compete with cis girls for years now.

This is utterly off-topic for this thread, since the mod instructions are to keep this thread about high school sports. At professional and Olympic levels, other factors come into play. Unless you’re claiming that MMA is a high school sport?

Also, when I was in college, one of my (male) friends had been on the high school wrestling team, and he said there was a girl on his school’s team, because there was no girl’s wrestling team. He said she won a lot of matches by default, because boys didn’t want to wrestle with her, but that she did pretty well when she actually competed. While boys are, on average, stronger than girls, there’s a decent overlap. Especially if you are just pulling from a random high school’s population, and not gathering the best of the best, as can happen beyond high school.

If high school athletes are injuring each other to the point of potentially killing each other, we have a much more serious problem than “what to do with trans kids”. I know there are accidental injuries in football and similar sports where disparate size might lead to serious injuries, (and sometimes do, even with all boys on the team) but what you describe is intentional violence, of a type that isn’t allowed in high school sports. Nor should it be allowed. For any kids in school-sponsored events.

You state this as a fact, when it is clearly not. Or most of the top spots in all the current trans-allowing states would be taken by trans athletes, and they’re just not.

My daughter’s prep school judo is all co-ed. As far as I’m aware, that continues into the high school. Of course, judo has weight and belt grades.

Speaking of the overlap in size and strength between the sexes… In college i knew a girl who had had a summer job, in high school, as a lumber jack. Before i met her, my (now) husband described her as “a very large girl”. I assumed that was a euphemism for “fat” until i met her. Nope. More than 6 feet tall and heavily muscled. She lifted cars over logs on that job.

Was she an exceptional outlier? Sure. But i don’t think a handful of exceptional outliers ruins high school sports for girls. And i don’t think letting trans girls play will add more than a handful of exceptional outliers.

The top spots are not just the spots at the very top, like winning state. For something like a track event, the top spots are things like:

  • Making it to the finals (top 16)
  • Being in the top heat of the finals (top 8)
  • Making the podium (top 3 of the top heat)
  • District meet (top X athletes)
  • Region meet (top X athletes from district meets)
  • State meet (top X athletes from region meets)

A normal meet will typically have prelim events where everyone competes and something like the top 16 make it to the finals meet later that day. Making it to the finals is a goal. Getting a top-8 time to be in the top heat is a goal. Those are the kinds of things that stronger athletes will be more likely to be able to achieve. A trans girl (non hormone) will likely have a much easier time being in these top spots in track events and they will likely make it in more events due to their genetic athletic advantage.

Winning state is going to be very hard. The region and state meets have the most accomplished athletes and they are all going to be very competitive and close in ability. Miller and Andraya are certainly top and would likely be top athletes in the boy’s events and may have made it to the state finals in boy’s track.

Just from a statistical standpoint, it should be very unusual to see trans girls in the championship meets (district and above) since they make up such a tiny percentage of the athletes overall. If they are making it into these top levels at a rate much greater than their relative percentage in total, then that’s very likely the benefit they have from their genetics. I don’t know how many total track athletes there are in Connecticut, but I would guess that the number of trans girl track athletes in Connecticut is a very tiny percentage of that total. The fact that a trans girl made it to the top from that large pool of athletes is not just from random variation. It’s almost certainly from the athletic advantage of XY genetics.

I see it as a minor problem that trans girls will likely have an easier time making to the finals than cisgirls. But it’s a pretty small problem and doesn’t need to be addressed. The really big problem I see that needs to be addressed is trans girls in the championship meet series. That’s where the elite cisgirls typically come together for competing at that .1% level of what has traditionally been exclusively for cisgirls. I think it’s unfair if non-medically transitioned trans girls compete in the district meets and above. I think that should be reserved for athletes at the cisgirl athletic level, and I would group medically-transitioned trans girls in that group. So I would make the compromise that any trans girl can compete in regular meets, but district meets and above are only for cisgirls and trans girls on hormones therapy.