It is one of the most controversial areas of current political debate and the opposing sides could not be further apart. This issue matters because at its heart is a fight between reason and unreason, fact and fantasy, scientific truth and wishful thinking. The potential consequences of the wrong side eventually triumphing are catastrophic. And, yes, there is a ’wrong’ side. The rights of women, in particular, obtained after centuries of struggle are at risk of being eroded and ideology is the weapon of choice. We all need to wake up and take a stand to combat the rise of a new false narrative. Part 1 of this blog covers some of the main issues.
When I posted part 1 I had not written this second part, mostly because I was not too sure in which direction to go next as there are so many strands. In light of what has been happening in the Ivy League swimming competition ‘across the pond’, however, the time is right to look at the impact of gender self-identification and gender ideology on women’s sport.
The problem, at its simplest, arises as a result of the conflation of sex and gender and the attempt by certain elements of the gender activist community to eradicate sex-based rights in favour of gender-based ‘rights’. Make no mistake, this conflation is deliberate. Its objective is to sow confusion as a first step before moving on to the utilisation of propaganda tactics in order to further a specific political agenda. The ultimate objective is that gender self-identification should be enshrined in law as the sole determinant of a person’s legal sex. If this were to come to pass, simply saying one is a woman would be sufficient for it to become a legal reality. The logical consequence of this would be the eradication of women’s sex-based rights at the stroke of a pen. To understand this is crucial to getting to grips with the complexities involved. The Scottish Government has recently introduced a Bill with this specific purpose at its core. The Bill refers to gender 244 times and mentions sex not at all. It enables simple gender self-identification with no limits and reduces the age when this can be done to 16.
We can see the sporting consequences of allowing any male-bodied person to claim to be a woman with the case of Lia Thomas. Lia was born male and continues to be fully male-bodied. As a male, Lia competed as a swimmer but, while talented, was not particularly successful in that environment. Having declared himself to be a woman and having taken a course of hormone treatment, Lia has spent this swimming season competing in female competitions breaking Ivy League swimming records, winning titles and, in the process, relegating other swimmers to ’also swams’.
In any version of the world where reality reigns, this would be denounced as grossly unfair. We know that by going through male puberty a man will develop into a much stronger athlete than his female counterparts. This is a permanent advantage that follows a male athlete and is not significantly impacted by hormone treatment. However, we currently live in a world where ideology is more important than reality, feelings are more important than fairness and gender is everything whilst biological sex is passé. As a consequence, not only have the Ivy League colleges and the relevant swimming organisations permitted and encouraged this travesty, they have tried to silence anyone who opposes them. The sole justification for this seems to be that because Lia has identified as a woman then she should be allowed to compete as a woman. This requires a devotion to ideology at the expense of common sense of quite staggering proportions. It also filters into why the mantra ’trans women are women and trans men are men’ is pushed so hard, because unless enough of the right people in the right places take up the chant, reality will win and that would be a significant blow to the gender ideologues. In every sense that is relevant to sporting achievement Lia Thomas is a man. with a man’s body and a history of male development into and past puberty. It is risible to believe that internal feelings are sufficient to negate all of that inbuilt male advantage. Lia Thomas can identify as whatever gender she likes, but that does not change her biological sex and it is the latter that is the mechanism for categorising sports competitions.
Naturally, Lia is not the only example. It is rife across many sports and it has been permitted because sports organisations from the International Olympic Committee downwards have taken a craven approach in the face of ideological activism. Like countless powerful groups before them, they have subjugated the rights of biological females in the face of demands from biological males. There can be no other conclusion in light of the known facts. Hormone treatment and achieving the necessary reduction in testosterone levels does have a dampening effect on performance, but only by about two percent. At the elite level, male world records are about 11 per cent better than female ones. It is obvious therefore that a simple rule about testosterone does not level the playing field. There is something else at the root of the performance difference. Could that have anything to do with male puberty, development, muscle mass, body shape etc? It is called androgenisation.
Don’t take my word for it, just look at the figures in swimming. Lia Thomas, when competing as a man in male competitions swam about 2 to 3 percent faster than when competing in the women’s competition over 200 yards. The men’s world record for 200 metres freestyle is 102 seconds compared to 113 seconds for women. That is a performance difference of approximately 11 per cent. World records merely tell us what we already know to be self-evidently true; men are, on average, bigger, faster and stronger than women. There isn’t a single sporting endeavour which relies solely on physical prowess where the best woman can get close to the best man. This is the reason why such sports are divided by biological sex and should continue to be so until such time, if ever, that the science changes. Couple that with an understanding that changing one’s gender identity does not alter one’s biological sex and we might start finding the right path.
This is not the only example, of course, because the sporting world. from the international Olympic Committee down has lost its collective marbles.