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Sport clashes with the rights of transgender women


The exclusion of transsexual women decreed by athletics reflects the contradictions and complexity of social progress

The international athletics federation (WA), following the path paved by swimming and rugby unions, has decided to ban transsexual women who have undergone testosterone blocking therapy and hormone replacement after the age of 12 —in practice , to all transgender women—to take part in their women's competitions.

The measure, adopted on Thursday, replaces the previous rule, which set a limit for endogenous testosterone, below five millimoles per liter of blood, to allow their participation.

The norm was so impossible to jump that the WA has not registered that any trans woman has taken part in its competitions.

Exclusion —"we prefer to prioritize equality over inclusion," says the WA— supposes a contradiction with the laws of a large number of countries, which grant full rights as women to all transsexuals, inasmuch as it deprives them of the right to compete.

"The WA has made the decision not based on scientific data on the possible superiority of transsexual women as soon as they have passed all the androgenic processes of puberty, which it itself recognizes do not exist, but rather out of fear", reflects the researcher Jonathan Ospina , PhD in Sports Sciences and professor at the University of Valladolid.

“In January 2022, the triumphs of trans swimmer Lia Thomas at the United States university championships created a great scandal.

A few months later, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) was the first major Olympic federation to exclude trans women.

There are no data, only contagion effect.

There are only anecdotes.

We know about Lia Thomas, but not about others who never made it among women."

Ospina has been researching the matter for years and acknowledges his failure: “We cannot determine muscle memory and the effects of testosterone over a long period of time.

The fundamental cause is that they are a small population and have very complicated relationships with the rest of society.

Taking the plunge requires a lot of meditation and overcoming a lot of fears.

Is not easy".

About the complexity of the matter, the difficulty of linking the rules created for a game, such as sport, which is based on equal opportunities, at least on paper, knows almost more than anyone María José Martínez Patiño, international athlete that she was excluded from the competitions because due to her intersex condition her body produced more testosterone than the other athletes.

She is currently a researcher at the University of Vigo.

"There is no clear solution, but it is clear that you cannot legislate on transsexuality without taking into account that it would collide with something as important to society as sport," says Martínez Patiño, who would not speak so much muscle memory or permanent effects of testosterone that lead to benefits, but "prior acquired ability."

Sports people, for the most part, defend the decision.

The Toledo athlete Irene Sánchez Escribano explains it.

“Socially, of course, transsexuals have to have all the rights as women, rights that we all have;

but sportingly they have to understand that we will never be in equal conditions, because they will always be superior,” says Sánchez Escribano, 30, a cisgender woman and a graduate in Medicine.

“As a female athlete, it seems fundamental to me to be able to enjoy my ability to feel competitive with all my rivals.

I lose that right to transsexual women.

They are stronger, taller and faster.”

Sánchez Escribano, Spanish 3,000m hurdles champion, does not use the term "doped", but the effects on the body that are supposed to create growth directed by testosterone are similar to those sought by East German scientists by feeding their athletes with anabolic pills.

Sánchez Escribano, who defends the right of Caster Semenya, an intersex athlete who is also excluded, to run without having to take estrogen, does not believe that the possible solution is the creation of a third gender category: men, women, transsexuals.

"There are not enough trans women to create it," says the athlete.

"And I don't think they want to feel trans, just women."

Nor does Martínez Patiño believe that society is prepared for the arrival of a third gender.

Manuel Jiménez, professor of physiology and neuroendocrinology researcher at the University of La Rioja, and concerned about the wave of transphobia that is crossing the networks, however, is in favor.

”It is a serious problem.

Testosterone is not just a male issue.

Some top-tier cis competitors I've studied can achieve a testosterone percentile of 80-85 relative to a sedentary healthy male.

A trans-only competition would be the solution, and it would be no more discriminatory than allowing trans women to compete with cis women and win;

I would always point the finger at them.

It would be more exclusive than inclusive,” he says.

"Only the cases of the trans that are sweeping are made more public, and there are also those that are not successful."

“Of course”, Ospina adds, very sad about the exclusion decreed by athletics.

“The cases of trans women who do not destroy do not interest the dominant story.

They don't serve you.

And, without a doubt, after the step taken by rugby, the first international federation that excluded them, swimming and athletics, the other federations will lose their fear and also ban them.

By giving everyone freedom of action, the International Olympic Committee missed a great opportunity.”

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-03-25

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