“I’ve never felt so overpowered in my life,” said female mixed martial arts fighter Tamikka Brents. “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor. I can only say I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female.”
The woman Brents was referring to isn’t a woman at all, but transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, who fights as a woman against women. Brent felt the full weight of what it was like to fight a man, and even with all her training and strength, she quickly fell to Fox.
Transgenderism has invaded the public consciousness, raising awareness of gender dysphoria; but not as the disorder linked to depression and suicides at an alarmingly high rate, but a celebrated identity everyone must respect—or else. The concept of transgenderism has become so pervasive that a man can step into the ring with a woman and pummel her for money, and the media will cheer for him.
What Brents reportedly experienced at Fox’s hands was a concussion and a broken orbital bone that required staples. In other words, this woman was savaged by an opponent that was genetically advantaged with a thicker bone structure, longer reach, and denser musculature—or, put more simply, was a man. Fox was able to do this despite hormone treatments that made him more feminine in certain aspects.
Reality Is No Match for Our Logic
Pitting men against women in sports very rarely ends with the woman coming out on top. Men are typically faster, stronger, and better physically built than women. In fact, studies consistently show that women tend to fall 10 percent shy of men’s records. All this to state the obvious: men generally are stronger than women.
That said, it should be common sense to not pit men against women in any serious sporting event, regardless of any hormone treatment or any genital surgery.
This has not been the opinion of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, which has been allowing transgender athletes to compete against athletes not of their sex since 2004. They had formerly allowed transgender athletes to compete if they had fully transitioned with cross-sex hormones and surgery. As Fox demonstrates, this transition makes very little difference to a fully trained athlete.
But now the IOC has recommended ending the surgery requirement. In the “IOC Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism” report, the committee recommends that a male-to-female transgender “must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition.” Female-to-male transgendered athletes may register to compete with male athletes without restriction.
Let’s Smash Olympians’ Dreams
While many Olympic sports don’t require athletes to physically come into contact with each other, the ones that do will have the female-to-male transgender athletes at a disadvantage. If the 90 percent figure is any indication, these women may have to give up their dream of having a gold.
This might not bother many male athletes, as events revolving around strength and speed will tilt in their favor. Regardless, some male athletes may feel pressure to hold back in fear of injuring a female who identifies as a male. While she may consider herself one of the guys, they might not. In a competition where giving your all is required to win, this may end up being somewhat costly.
The men transitioning to women, however, will have a major advantage in various competitions. In the Olympics, who stands on the platforms depends a lot on who is the strongest, fastest, and most able to endure. Teams in events like basketball will have major benefits if they have a transgendered player, as these athletes will be taller and likely faster. Weight-lifting competitions will not be remotely fair for women, as their transgender competition will have extra muscle mass and bone density, making them capable of lifting more.
Aside from being wholly unfair and dangerous to women, your heart has to break for these athletes. Many are very young women who have trained all their lives to compete in the Olympics, in hopes they’ll bring home gold. Imagine being one of these girls as they watch a man identifying as one of them walk away with a medal he shouldn’t have. What’s worse is that in today’s political climate these girls will have to smile and pretend it’s wonderful, or else they will become public pariahs, with all the ridicule and non-endorsements that go with it.
Newsflash: Men and Women’s Bodies Are Different
This isn’t just bad for the athletes who compete against transgendered opponents, it is bad for women’s sports as a whole. Women’s and men’s sports are categorically different for a reason. The male and female forms are different in many ways, and both have advantages and disadvantages compared to the other.
In some sports, mixing male and female may not affect the outcome, such as tennis, equestrian sports, or curling, but in many others this is not the case. Men typically outpace women when running, lifting, throwing, jumping, etc. If men can claim to be women and invade a sport that only women are allowed to compete in, then it’s a safe bet men will win. All the accolades, rewards, and recognition will be taken from the women who rightfully deserve them and given to a man who essentially cheated by putting on makeup, injecting himself with hormones, and saying he’s a woman.
All in all, this decision by the IOC is incredibly unfair to women. While the IOC bends rules around people who bend gender, the athletes who legitimately spend almost every waking hour dedicated to their sports are being given a raw deal. They take their sports very seriously, and while transgendered athletes may also love their sports, they should do the honorable thing and recognize that regardless of how they identify, their body identifies as something else.
Pop-culturally speaking, this is a very unpopular opinion to have, and a lot of social pressure is put on organizations to bend to the will of various communities and causes. But biology often ignores public opinion, and so should sporting organizations that wish to maintain the legitimacy of their sport and any records set wherein.
Now, this report is currently just a committee suggestion, and is not official yet. However, it’s very likely these positions will be adopted, and many other organizations that look to the IOC about such rulings, such as the NCAA, will follow suit. In fact, IOC Director Dr. Richard Budgett has said he hopes this decision will cause other sports to follow suit.
If this carries through, expect to see a lot more injuries, media hit pieces on dissenters, and lawsuits galore—and not just in the Olympics.