Amid continued debate about the propriety of letting biological males who identify as females compete against biological females in athletic events, a new study indicates that after a year of hormone therapy, transgender women still maintain an athletic advantage over their female counterparts.
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study examined trans men and women in the Air Force between 2013 and 2018.
“The Air Force’s fitness assessment includes the number of pushups and situps performed in a minute, and the time required to run 1.5 miles,” NBC News reported, adding: “For the first two years after starting hormones, the trans women in their review were able to do 10 percent more pushups and 6 percent more situps than their cisgender female counterparts.”
Even two years after hormone therapy had been used, trans women were 12% faster on the 1.5 mile-run than women they were competing against.
The question of athletes competing against the opposite biological sex has been handled differently in different states. In Idaho, high school athletes must compete in groups consistent with their biological identity, according to the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which states:
Interscholastic,intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by a public school or any school that is a member of the Idaho high school activities association or a public institution of higher education or any higher education institution that is a member of the national collegiate athletic association (NCAA), national association of intercollegiate athletics (NAIA), or national junior college athletic association (NJCAA) shall be expressly designated as one (1) of the following based on biological sex: Males, men, or boys; Females, women, or girls; or Coed or mixed.
Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex. If disputed, a student may establish sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement that shall indicate the student’s sex based solely on: The student’s internal and external reproductive anatomy; The student’s normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone; and an analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.
After the ACLU challenged the Idaho Law, a federal district court granted the motion of two female athletes to intervene in defense of the law; those athletes were represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb stated, “Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports diminishes women’s athletic opportunities and destroys fair competition. While it’s true that athletics is about more than winning, giving girls and women extra lessons in losing isn’t right. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is good law because it seeks to protect girls and women across Idaho. Our clients have already experienced the deflating experience of losing to a male runner, and this should not be allowed to continue.”
NBC News noted:
In Congress, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., sponsored S.4649, the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” which seeks to pull federal funding from any school that allows someone assigned male at birth to compete in girls’ athletics. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, a co-sponsor, calls the measure “a simple question of fairness and physical safety.”