A record number of biological males who self-identify as female may be competing in the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, forcing a public debate over the fairness of transgender women competing against biological women in sporting events.
As the International Olympic Committee (IOC) looks to prepare for the upcoming games in Tokyo, Japan, the world is poised to confront the seemingly divisive issue on what constitutes a female athlete, according to an article published on Tuesday by The American Thinker.
The IOC sought to introduce stricter guidelines for transgender competitors, as more biological males have been smashing women’s records and sweeping titles at the high school and collegiate levels. However, the IOC’s panel of scientists have failed to reach a consensus due to the “politically charged and sensitive” nature of the debate, reported The Guardian in September.
Guidelines established by the IOC in 2015 allow some biologically male athletes to compete in female events, depending on testosterone levels. Accordingly, those athletes are required to maintain testosterone levels below 10 nanomoles per liter (nm/l) for no less than 12 months. The American Thinker notes that biological males generally have between 7.7 and 29.4 nm/l of testosterone, while women have between 0.12 and 1.77 nm/l. This means that biological male athletes can conceivably have a 500% hormonal advantage over their biological women counterparts.
Regardless, crafting guidelines based on testosterone levels alone may be irrelevant as to whether or not transgender women have a significant advantage over the competition. A study compiled by the Karolinska Institutet, a leading Swedish medical and research university, determined that transgender women benefit primarily from their masculine bone structure and upper body strength. Current testosterone levels might actually be relatively insignificant.
“Not every male advantage dissipates when testosterone drops,” said Alison Heather, a New Zealand researcher and physiologist at the University of Otago. “Some advantages, such as their bigger bone structure, greater lung capacity, and larger heart size remain. Testosterone also promotes muscle memory. Transgender women have a heightened ability to build strength even after they transition.”
The debate of where transgender individuals fit into competitive athletics, however, is likely to be pushed onto the front lines as more than one billion people watch the Olympic Games in 2020 — many of whom have never been fully exposed to the issue.
The news media has notably promoted the politically correct narrative benefitting transgender athletes over their biologically female counterparts and has been suppressing further dissent, according to The American Thinker. However, as more than 25 million Americans are tuned into the international games at any one point in time, many people will be confronted with the striking disadvantage that biological women would face.
The feminist movement, which has sought to highlight and resolve the seemingly unfair treatment of women in a society that allegedly prioritizes males, has, at times, been shut out of the transgender athletics debate in its entirety. But traditional progressive feminists who seek to advance women’s equality will be pitted against other progressives who feel that the rights of roughly 0.3% of the population should be held at a higher value than the rights of more than half of the population.