There is a great irony that distinguishes men’s sports from women’s sports. If a man has some kind of distinction or advantage, we celebrate it, even to the point we as a society value ”raw talent” to the detriment of training and teamwork. In women’s sports, however, it seems like we value ”playing fair” and ”an equal playing field”, to the detriment of winning.
I have spent years researching about trans men’s issues, rather than focusing on the legal, medical, and social issues facing trans women. Often, this is because I have found that ”general” discussions on trans rights focused more on trans women, to the exclusion of my brothers; if the discussion were more ”progressive” and ”inclusive”, we would include our non-binary (“enby”) siblings … but us straight, transsexual men, especially if we’re white, would still not have a seat at the table. So, I withdrew from the social debates that rage on in the culture wars.
I have an idea why we are often invisible in this battle. We ”benefit” from the current patriarchal system, rather than “suffer” from it; any remaining or perceived issues we still have fall by the wayside compared to the major issues trans women, trans people of color, and
transtrenders “enbies” still face.
I understand, but it’s still a bitterness I often taste in my mouth. But trans women and transtrenders need to wake up to reality.
Besides the “bathroom issue”, another major point of contention with “trans” women are they should be allowed in women’s sports. Because, during puberty, trans women develop physically as men—more muscle, less fat, grow taller, are physiologically larger and stronger than women. Sadly, when women develop intersexed conditions that give them a competitive advantage (especially with women of color), they are required to take a hormone regimen to bring them in line with most other women. (It’s not just trans women that these new rules are targeting; it’s just trying to make a level playing field; it’s akin to banning drugs that give men an unfair advantage.)
Being a trans man, everything’s simpler: if I can’t meet team qualifications, I’m barred from joining a team. It wouldn’t be fair to the sports team or the competition in general to lower their standards to accompany me; as I also take testosterone, it would be unfair for me to compete against cisgender women.
Lately, one of the national swim team organizations has lengthened the time required to join a women’s sports team from 12 to 36 months. Fina, the international organization overseeing swimming, now pretty much bans trans women from swimming altogether, but will create an “open” league for anyone to compete in.
Defenders of these bans have a right to be critical of including trans women. Even after a year (or several) of HRT, trans women have less muscle per pound of body weight than other women, they are still generally larger and stronger. This increases their chances of winning unfairly, denying women an equal chance to shine, obtain scholarships, advance their sports careers. “Trans” women were just average in men’s divisions could otherwise just claim they’re “trans” and improve their stats, if not more asily win, against women.
And what about male-born enbies who “identify” as “transfeminine” but not as “women”? Should they be allowed to compete against cissexual women? Definitely not.
I once argued that maybe cis women should dial up their training and playing to an 11, if women’s sports were purely about competition. However, since women’s sports seem more about fair play than winning, it only makes sense that trans women should be excluded from professional, elite sports and competition, to keep things even among everyone. You don’t have to complete professionally; you can always join, if not start, your own league, if you’re that adamant about bringing your politics into sports.