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When A Transgender Athlete Breaks The Women's Slalom Record


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There has been some press recently about transgender athletes and how they are classified. Martina Navratilova has been dealing with some heat for suggesting a transgender athlete would have an unfair advantage which got me thinking about how water skiing might deal with T-Gas putting on a wig one day and smashing the womens slalom record or Ryan putting on a skirt and smashing the womens jump record - sounds crazy but the way we are heading this sort of scenario might just play out one day. Imagine how you feel as the record holder that gets broken... crazy world. I wonder if the drugs in sport rule could or should be used in some way..

 

 

Martina Navratilova, the former world number one tennis champion, has apologised for suggesting athletes who “cynically change gender” to win trophies in women’s sports would be “cheating”.

 

Navratilova, a long-term champion of equality in sport, said she was sorry for causing offence by the use of the word “cheat”, but stood by her concerns about transgender athletes in competitive sport.

 

After being accused of transphobia, she was dropped as an ambassador of an LGBT group which condemned her “deeply troubling comments” calling for further debate of the physical advantages of athletes born as men competing against women.

 

Other female sports stars including swimmer Sharron Davies have increasingly come forward to support an open debate about athletes born in male bodies competing with women, warning that in “some sports it could be truly dangerous”.

 

“To protect women’s sport, those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women’s sport,” Davies said.

 

The comments and apology have followed furious debate over the issue of transgender people in sport, with Navratilova the highest-profile athlete so far to call for rules which ensure “girls and women who were born female are competing on as level a playing field as possible within their sport”.

 

After first airing her thoughts on Twitter earlier this year, Navratilova wrote in a newspaper: "To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies.

 

“It's insane and it's cheating."

 

In a blog post, she has now described how she “certainly stumbled into a hornets’ nest”, receiving a “barrage of quite nasty personal attacks”.

 

“I know that my use of the word ‘cheat’ caused particular offence among the transgender community,” she said. “I’m sorry for that because I certainly was not suggesting that transgender athletes in general are cheats.

 

“I attached the label to a notional case in which someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage.

 

“We should not be blind to the possibility and some of these rules are making that possible and legal.”

 

She added: “What I really wanted to do was try to open up the debate about equality and fairness in relation to transgender participation in women’s sport.

 

“There were too many voices that were silenced and shamed into submission and that is not right.

 

“My aim was to encourage a more scientific, rather than emotional, conversation and to search for a solution that would work better than current arrangements.

 

“I was motivated by concern about the future of women’s sport and my worry that by trying to be fair and inclusive for one group, others can be adversely affected, that eliminating one kind of discrimination can inadvertently give rise to another.”

 

Saying it was “obvious that men have certain inherent physiological advantages over women”, Navratilova called for “fair and open discussions can be held without preconceptions or prejudice, and without people being vilified as ‘transphobic’”.

 

Sportswomen including Dame Kelly Holmes, Sally Gunnell and Paula Radcliffe have joined discussion of the issue on their social media platforms, sharing news reports and calling for further debate.

 

 

 

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Can somebody show me the rule in the rule book that prevents me from claiming to identify as a woman and skiing women's 4?

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@Bookm_dano I'm pretty sure this thread is not about time travel

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This may turn into a serious issue for women's sports. Testosterone is a pretty huge advantage in a lot of sports, to the point that I as an old man learning pole vault am fairly competitive with the best high school girls.

 

And the effects of testosterone linger on for a quite a while even if the supply is cut off. So my honest guess is that women's sports will have to have rules preventing the "use" of testosterone (broadly defined to include being male at the time) over a relatively long period prior to competing as a woman.

 

In my mind, this parallels the ban on other anabolic steroids. It's going to be delicate and at times some people are gonna be pissed, but there is also HUGE value in women's sports, and therefore they are worth preserving even with some pain along the way.

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I am sorry if this is politically incorrect but if you were born w/ boy parts you need to compete with boys. end of discussion.

 

If your parts and how you feel about stuff is mixed up that is a bummer but should not the problem for competitive sports.

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At a recent Junior Worlds, the top male tricker would have placed fourth if all scores were combined. The gender gap is shrinking!

 

Sailing, equestrian, drag racing and many other sports have no gender separation and are entertaining to watch or compete in. Maybe we are too hung up on the records and purity of the events to just enjoy them as sport and recognize exceptional performances.

 

Wait, what am I saying? Women's beach volleyball is way more fun to watch than the men. (Come on, it's the tactics and skill of the women's game that is more fun than just the power of the men's game - what did you think I meant?) Some sports need to stay segregated.

 

Eric

 

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As a female Pro slalom skier I would expect to be 10th to 15th in the world.

 

As an male skier I am currently #52 among men over 45. (Should be a bit higher. Not enough L scores last year.)

 

Boys and Girls are not the same.

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1. Wow, Summer needs to come earlier for some of ya.

2. @Stevie Boy it’s that way in every aspect of life everywhere in the world. People only want equality when it benefits them.

3. If you have twig and berries but want to look like Barbie and use the women’s restroom, fine by me, you “look” like a girl. But when it comes to sports that have gender categories and you want to play Barbie with twig and berries then like mentioned, make a 3rd category.

4. I’m fine with gay men and women and the whatever’s in between but I’m fricking sick and tired of the damn dumb news and Hollywood and most of society making it cool to be gay, he-she, shims and whatever.

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Changing genders is a huge step driven by immense pressures and needs. It carries lots of anguish and stigma. If a person gets comfort and fulfillment by waterskiing, that's great. Maybe even more important to someone going through a gender change. I hope we can accept and support people whatever their situation may be.

 

Eric

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have to agree with @Horton as painful as it is. Like the transgenderwhatever who fought women in the ufc and destroyed the competition. It is a genetic unfair advantage. women with women parts would have to supplement testosterone heavily to compete.
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What if Bruce decided to become caitlyn back in the 70's, or better yet do all his records he set, get to retro count as women's records?

 

@bigtex2011 Bruce was a pretty good skier what if he decided to go back into the womens 6 or 7 he might be in now. That possibility is more real than you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@matthewbrown women's 4 not woman's 5. Not yet at least

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@matthewbrown Actually biological oddities do exist. There are chromosome abnormalities causing disagreement about the eligibility of an elite runner. A little different as she was identified as female at birth and has not changed but strict biological assessments ate inconclusive. It's political now.

 

Transgender people have motivations far deeper than moving from #50 to #15 on the world rankings. They have an extraordinarily difficult path in today's world. Athletics, especially amateur athletics like waterskiing, can offer so much to them. Differences don't need to be dividing.

 

Eric

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I think it can be a sport by sport basis, which could complicate things even more, but some sports it may not matter. Archery was coed in highschool for my daughter. I'm pretty sure the 6' seasoned senior was not happy about getting his a$$ handed to him by a 5'2 100 and nothing sophomore girl archer first year in the program. Sometimes gender does not matter.
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I looked up the runner Caster Semenya. She is cleared for competition and her medals and records stand.

 

The IOC now allows transgender as long as the testosterone level is below 10 nanomoles per liter for 12 months before competition. Good enough for the Olympics, good enough for waterskiing.

 

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@Wish that is the trouble though - taking it sport by sport means that some sports are allowed to discriminate while others are not?

Is it really discrimination to just have them compete with their biological gender in sports where there are not gender divisions? @eleeski very rightly identified that there are people with biological and chromosomal abnormalities - which is a special case and could be treated as such. And no I don't think high end athletes decide to transition to change ranking. And some sports do very easily transition where average women's and men's scores can be extremely similar - archery/trap shooting are some. In the UFC example there is a sport in which you have weight classes meaning that in theory one person shouldn't be that much more physically capable than another - and of course she did lose once.

 

And for open skiing that is an example of a place where it would make a lot of sense to have "Open 34 and Open 36 mph" divisions that were not separated by Gender - it would have the effect of addressing some of the concern in which women's skiers don't have the same amount of sponsorship $/prize money as open men's. You'd just have to decide when someone would be in 34 vs. 36 mph class which could be based on a handicap system (cept for sand bagging).

 

We don't go off weight/height - but that could be an easy way in waterskiing to be inclusive.

 

 

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@eleeski look again. the IAAF has announced new requirements, mostly because of Caster Semenya, which she is challenging in court. They have lowered the amount of testosterone for female athletes in certain disiplines to 5nmol from 10.

see: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/25/iaaf-testosterone-rules-caster-semenya

 

good luck keeping women involved in sport if this is not nipped in the bud IMO... hard enough as it is to attract female athletes, especially waterskiing! As a male athlete I could give a damn and frankly with only 1 or 2 people to ski against at most comps, bring it on!

There are more than enough women who can kick my ass running buoys and do so on a regular basis!

 

for sports like running, there is little on the line, but in other sports like say MMA, lives are on the line. A biological male fighter who's transitioned could easily kill a female fighter, its not even close to being fair or safe.

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Has one female here complained about having to compete against a transgender? It's all guys - which doesn't really make sense if fear of the competition drives the concern. Unless women have a real advantage to cross over with?

 

Regarding Ms. Semenya, that is a difficult situation. I only checked the Wikipedia page, I knew there was controversy. Sad that it's not actually resolved. I guess that means the transgender issue isn't fully settled either.

 

Regarding MMA, it is weight classes? So gender differences should be minor. The female high school wrestlers that Kirk wrestled against when he was light were formidable opponents. Some were CIF champions. No intrinsic advantage due to the weight classifications.

 

Even Martina's nemesis, Renee Richards, didn't go on to dominate pro women's tennis. She did have a decent career which could have been fulfilling if she didn't have to fight so much for her rights.

 

This issue is overblown. And quite insensitive to anybody facing a gender change. Life can be difficult, recreational sports don't have to be made more difficult.

 

Eric

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@BraceMaker that's why I said selecting things sport by sport may complicate things in my post. And a coed sport could certainly be used as an argument for the transgender athlete and things would have to be sorted out as to what makes or does not make a coed sport. But I can say that in my daughters situation, girls often out shot the boys. Best shooter against best shooter selected by each team to go head to head shot for shot. Girls were often selected to shoot as a teams single shooter.
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This might be a landmark moment: I get to disagree with Eric AND Horton at the same time.

 

1) I don't think the gender gap has closed all that much recently nor is it going to close much more. In fact, perhaps the single biggest surprise of my return to track and field after 25 years away is that the rapid closing of the gender gap that was happening back in the 80s essentially came to a stop thereafter.

 

Right now, Natick High School has one of the best female milers of a generation. She has been utterly crushing records, and often winning races with nobody else even on the final straight-away (i.e. she is beating the best competition the state has to offer by 100m or more).

 

Against boys, she wouldn't even make the top 5 at her own high school. Pause to consider how stark that contrast is.

 

Last week I had the privilege of vaulting with the top female high schooler in the state. In every meet I've seen her compete in, she won with her first jump (i.e. her opening height beats everyone). But at that very same practice, there were at least 5 "ordinary" boys who are significantly better than she is, and she's not that much better than I am.

 

I could go on. It depends greatly on the sport, but in many of them that Y chromosome is simply a huge advantage.

 

2) It's unfair to characterize all the "concerned citizens" about this topic as male, because this site is so dominantly male contributors. Almost no matter the topic, nearly all of the commentary here is going to be male. I can assure you I know of many women who are quite concerned about males participating in women's sports (not necessarily related to trans-gender, sometimes simply the school not offering the sport for boys). Our (female) varsity girls swim coach has been quite vocal about this.

 

3) I can see no reason that someone born with male parts but who fully transitioned to female 5 years ago should be barred from competing against other women in the women's division. In fact, that seems simply mean-spirited to me. At some point, the advantage is gone. We need to write rules that balance between not being aholes but also not allowing the concept of women's sports to be compromised.

 

4) This issue is not overblown. Women's sports have proven to be incredibly valuable for building confidence and skills that have tremendous value to society. That my daughters have these opportunities is an incredible thing that we must fight to preserve. In many (but not all!) sports, very, very few women can get that same experience if they must compete against men.

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I can't make myself read all that is above but....

 

Look if someone is born with messy body chemistry it sucks. And if folks want to change gender I really don't care. As a sudo libertarian I say if it does not impact my life or the lives of my family you can do whatever the hell you want.

 

If a genetic male enters female events and crushes the competition that means we are letting one special interest group change the sport for the rest of us. This kind of thing happens a lot in Western culture and it is irrational stupid.

 

It seems like this thread is sliding toward politics .... as soon as someone gets really mad I will close it. I mean it is silly.

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Cisgender must be for Cissies.

 

Bruce Jenner, arguably the most famous transgender person alive, was the Eastern Region Men’s overall Champion in or about 1970.

 

At some point around 30 years ago Jennifer Leachman at least threatened to ski 36 vs. the Pro men. I’ll have to ask her what happened.

Lpskier

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I'm sure there would be few concerns about fairness if a female that transgenders to male then wants to compete with men, main issue is whether a man that transgenders to female still has an advantage over women and whether they should be allowed to compete against women.

 

Here's a twist tho....if a female transgenders to male, should they still be allowed to compete against women, or would the testosterone give them an advantage over females? If the answer is no (they can't compete,) then how can you not allow a man that transgenders into a female to compete against women?

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