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Why Transgender Athletes Should Not Play Against Real Women

The US Women’s Team has made it clear that they will quit right away if Lia Thomas is allowed to try out by the Olympic Committee. The Coach said, “We don’t need an outsider.”  “We are champions made up of only women.” You guys aren’t welcome to join.” These women did a great thing by standing up for their rights.

We reran this piece by Olympic winner and women’s rights activist Nancy Hogshead-Makar because of the news that Lia Thomas is trying to overturn World Aquatics’ decision about transgender women competing in women’s sports.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar knows how to be a winner in the pool and how to fight for the rights of strong women athletes. Hogshead-Makar won four medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

She has long worked for equal rights in women’s sports and is the head of Champion Women, an organization that supports girls and women in sports. In reaction to the fuss over transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, Hogshead-Makar wrote the following editorial.

Fairness and including everyone are two very important ideals in sports.

Transgender women should be able to play sports for women as long as they can prove they haven’t gained any physical benefits from going through male puberty.

I can promise you that transgender woman Lia Thomas’s NCAA swimming for the University of Pennsylvania was not fair. I know this because I was an Olympic winner and a civil rights lawyer.

Even worse, her dominance in the “women’s sports” area hasn’t made people more understanding of how to include transgender people in everyday life.

I swam on the U.S. National Team for nine years, from 1976 to 1984. During those years, East German women swimmers cheated to win all the women’s events.

They didn’t go to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, so I was able to win three gold medals and one silver award.

Everyone knew they were lying. When the ban was announced, I felt better because I knew I had a good chance of winning.

The gold medals I won at the Olympics changed the course of my life.

Title IX is a federal rule that stops s.ex discrimination. It also allows s.ex segregation in sports, which means that mostly, men play against other men and women play against other women.

Title IX gave me a fair chance to win and set records. It also gave me access to money, praise, and chances to lead.

If Congress and the judges had banned s.x-segregated sports like they do with religious and racial segregation, I would have made my high school team, but I would never have become a Hall of Famer.

I don’t think I could have fought after high school.

Now think about what would happen if each school only had to pay for one sports team and put their best kids on it, no matter what gender they were.

How many women and girls would make it?

Without a doubt, millions of girls and women would miss out on the chance to learn that playing sports offers. An event that is also linked to making money and staying healthy for life.

Trans women should be able to compete with biological women as long as they can show that they no longer have the s.ex-linked, male-puberty advantage before they participate in the women’s category.

Lia Thomas isn’t able to make that case. Even though she seems to have been following NCAA rules about hormone therapy for more than two and a half years, she still has an unfair edge over other athletes.

How do we know that Lia Thomas’s shows aren’t fair?

The difference between the men’s and women’s “A” standard times for qualifying for the NCAA tournament is 11.41% on average. This means that the women’s times are 11% or more slower than the men’s times.

Almost all groups of swimming records or qualifying times for men and women show about the same difference. This is true for regional or USA Swimming qualifying times, American records, world records, and NCAA records.

In most sports, the gaps between men and women are bigger in sprints than in long-distance races.

So, how big is that 11% edge that men have in swimming times?

Very big.

It’s important to remember that Michael Phelps only had a.08% edge over his U.S. friend and rival Ian Crocker in the 100 butterfly at the 2004 Olympics.

But Phelps had a 12.62% edge over Petria Thomas, the Australian who won the gold medal in the women’s event.

The advantage Phelps had over women was more than 150 times greater than the edge he had over men.

If he had the same 12.62% edge over the other men, he would have won the gold medal by swimming 6.47 seconds faster, or 44.78 seconds faster.

When it came to the men’s Olympic final, there was only 1.31 seconds between first place and eighth place.

Not so for Lia Thomas, who was only 11% slower. In the 200-yard freestyle, she was only 2.6% slower than she was before the change. In the 500-yard freestyle, she was only 5.76% slower.

That’s not mitigation at all. It’s not fair.

Also, Lia is not to blame.

There’s something wrong with the NCAA rules that let Penn keep her on their women’s team.

This rule was followed by the governing body for college sports before the NCAA gave its transgender decision rules to USA Swimming.

“A transgender woman who is taking medicine to lower her testosterone level can keep competing on the men’s team, but she can’t compete on the women’s team until she has been on testosterone-lowering medication for a year.”

But “one year of testosterone suppression treatment” wasn’t enough to make things fair between Thomas and her female rivals.

It would be fair if Caeleb Dressel, a seven-time U.S. Olympic champion in swimming, transitioned and found a way to undo the advantage he got during male puberty, including any old advantage, and then broke records in women’s swimming events.

Dressel is an athlete who only comes around once every age.

There was never a time when Thomas stood out as an athlete when she raced as a man.

Thomas showed that the people who told the NCAA and its member schools that hormone treatment could stop male puberty in one year were not telling the truth.

The rules should be based on facts, and this time it’s clear that Thomas shouldn’t have been competing against real females.

Following Emma Hilton and Tommy Lundberg’s 2020 study on transgender women athletes, they found that: “The biological advantage, most notably in terms of muscle mass and strength, conferred by male puberty and thus enjoyed by most transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed as per current sporting guidelines for transgender athletes.”

Thomas met the requirements and could have participated in the men’s category. She could also have run in an exhibition race, but her results would not have been counted, until science and evidence catch up with sports practices.

During all the years I competed with heavily doped East German women, they were only slightly better than the best natural women. None of them could beat men.

Also, if I had tested positive for testosterone, I would have probably been banned from world competition for four years.

However, what if I tested yes twice? I would be banned forever.

For the reason that the World Anti-Doping Agency knows that using testosterone for a long time has affects that last longer than the time it is used.

People who disagree with me will probably ask, “What are the goals of including transgender people in sports?”

Transgender kids are bullied and end their lives at high rates, which we know.

Some people say that transgender athletes should be allowed to participate in “girls’” and “women’s” sports instead of girls and women because they are clearly being discriminated against.

No, I say.

It is not fair for girls and women to give up the sports chances they have worked hard for, even if transgender athletes are really being hurt.

It doesn’t make sense to let transgender women change what it means to be a woman. It would be like letting 180-pound athletes compete in the 120-pound weight class, because bigger athletes were being bullied and harassed.

For example, letting adults fight against kids or only letting poor countries compete in the Olympics.

Males and females have been set up as opposites in sports. Instead of getting rid of the meaning of “girls’” and “women’s” categories, sports need to change by adding new events and groups.

Transgender players shouldn’t be forced into one of two categories: male or female. Instead, sports should change to accommodate them.

This is how I’ve felt about Title IX, the federal law that says schools can’t discriminate based on gender, ever since I won my titles at the 1984 Olympics.

As a civil rights lawyer, I run Champion Women, a non-profit that helps girls and women in sports get legal help. We make information for athletes, families, graduates, and donors that shows how badly 90% of colleges and universities treat women unfairly.

Women are denied more than 183,000 chances to play sports in college, more than a billion dollars in athletic scholarships, and hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment. This means that women aren’t getting the same facilities, locker rooms, medical care, publicity, travel, and other things.

Any female athlete I’ve talked to could tell me how they feel like they’re not getting the same care as their male football or basketball teammates.

In those 38 years, I have never heard a guy say, “Oh, you women face such overwhelming s.ex discrimination in society, especially in the form of s.exual harassment and violence.” Please take our sports equipment and scholarships.

In fact, the opposite.

There is an unwritten rule that says women can play sports as long as they don’t hurt any guys.

On the other hand, notice how women are supposed to be polite and let transgender athletes change what “women’s sports” means.

It’s unfair to women; we would never let the NCAA redefine “men’s sports” so that present NFL and NBA teams could be included.

Men aged 25 would never be allowed to compete in high school games for boys. We also wouldn’t tell those boys to “work harder” if they wanted to win.

I’m ready to hear how angry guys are. For women’s sports to be equal, guys need to step up and do their part.

Lia Thomas showed us all that the rules as they are now are not fair, and putting her in the women’s group only makes people angry.

That doesn’t mean, though, that transgender players shouldn’t be able to enjoy all the good things about sports.

To help the women’s area, sports should change in creative ways that don’t hurt them.

I and the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group agree with this. Please sign and share if you agree!

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