The controversy of transgender biological males competing against biological women has regained momentum, as a women’s rights group has insisted action be taken following a New Zealand weightlifter’s dominating performance at the Pacific Games in Samoa this month.
Laurel Hubbard, who had competed for New Zealand in men’s weightlifting before transitioning following the age of 30, won two gold medals and a silver in three women’s heavyweight categories at the games.
The wins qualify Hubbard to compete in next year’s Olympic games in Tokyo.
“Speak Up For Women” (SUFW), a feminist New Zealand lobbying group, is calling on the “country’s Olympic committee and sports minister to ‘defend women’s sport.'”
“Julie Anne Genter, our so-called Minister for Women, and sports Minister Grant Robertson need to show some leadership on this issue,” SUFW spokeswoman Ani O’Brien said. “They both know as well as we do that it is not right for males who have transitioned to take the place of female athletes in our competitions.
“The majority of Kiwis can see that this is blatantly unfair to women athletes,” said O’Brien. “As a nation we pride ourselves on being good sports, and going into the Olympics next year, this is not a good look.”
A British group called “Fair Play for Women” also weighed in recently urging sports authorities to “wake up.”
Reuters has reported that, in 2015, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued rules allowing transgender athletes to compete in women’s category as long as their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months prior to their first competition.
At a July 10 Fair Play for Women conference in London, Dr. Emma Watson provided a great deal of insight and data into the differences between men and women, as well as how transgenders factor into the equation.
“Males can run faster, jump longer, throw further, and lift heavier than females. They outperform females by 10% on the running track to 30% when throwing various balls,” Dr. Watson said. “So big is the gap, there are 9000 males between 100m world record holders Usain Bolt and FloJo.”
Watson stated that male testosterone levels surge during puberty and reach a level at around 20 times higher than females. She indicated this is what shapes a boy into a man and an athlete that is superior to a woman.
“Males are five inches taller than females,” she said. “Longer arms give a greater reach and can generate more speed on a cricket ball. Bigger hand spans can more easily palm basketballs. Longer legs and narrower pelvises lead to better running gaits. Males need fewer strides to cross a distance and the strides they take are more efficient.”
“Males have around 40% more muscle mass,” the doctor continued, “even when height is taken into account, and 40% less body fat. The muscle they have is denser, more fibres, larger fibres.”
As for transwomen, Watson said that they are “physically healthy males who experience a feminine gender identity and who may take social and medical steps to be perceived as female.”
The doctor referenced studies done over the past 10 to 15 years that have delivered data showing transwomen retain a great deal of physical strength and athletic superiority over women.
Dr. Nicola Williams, Research director for the UK’s Fair Play for Women, called for all transgender athletes to be banned from women’s sport until new scientific studies have been completed. “In the meantime there have to be other arrangements for transgender people so that they can compete fairly and females can compete fairly.”
The issue is clearly contentious and cannot be resolved with merely a politically correct approach.
“Pretending that this isn’t something we have known as a species since the beginning of our collective consciousness is ridiculous,” O’Brien said.
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