We wanted to talk about the data regarding transathletes performance in sports, with a particular focus on transwomen who were born as a biological male but identified as a woman.
It goes without saying that discussing the data around their athletic performance is not transphobic. You aren’t sexist for talking about the sports performance of women, you aren’t fatphobic for talking about the health risks of obesity, and you aren’t age-phobic for talking about the health effects of aging.
So, with that out of the way, let’s talk. Transwomen retain a performance advantage for at least 2 years after undergoing gender-affirming therapy. While there is zero data looking at actual sports performance, there is data on surrogates, and transwomen appear to remain faster and stronger than their biological female counterparts. This would certainly give them an unfair performance advantage.
While it is possible that these differences disappear over a longer period of time, we don’t have any data reporting on that. As such, it is premature to allow transwomen to compete in women’s sports. That may change with time as we build a better understanding of the timeline of changes that transwomen undergo, but until then, we can’t discriminate against one group to satisfy another.
There also needs to be more research looking at how sports performance is affected when the transgendered individual began their transition before or shortly after puberty. It’s likely that preventing many of the masculine changes brought about by puberty would negate these performance advantages.
For those interested in the scientific literature on this topic, please refer to Alex’s latest blog.
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