The news flash from the story is that male athletes are by and large stronger than female athletes. But it’s not couched quite that way.
It is described as an examination on the “effect of gender affirming hormones on athletic performance among transwomen and transmen.”
“Gender affirming” hormones—I like that locution. It’s estrogen if you want transition into a woman, and testosterone if you aspire to be a guy.
NBC News reported on the study:
A new study suggests transgender women maintain an athletic advantage over their cisgender peers even after a year on hormone therapy.
The results, published last month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, could mean the current one-year waiting period for Olympic athletes who are transitioning is inadequate.
“For the Olympic level, the elite level, I’d say probably two years is more realistic than one year,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Timothy Roberts, a pediatrician and the director of the adolescent medicine training program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “At one year, the trans women on average still have an advantage over the cis women,” he said, referring to cisgender, or nontransgender, women.
Three doctors looked at Air Force fitness records from transgender men and women, in various phases of transitioning. Here is what they found:
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. After two years, Roberts told NBC News, “they were fairly equivalent to the cisgender women.”
Their running times declined as well, but two years on, trans women were still 12 percent faster on the 1.5 mile-run than their cisgender peers.
Unsurprisingly, testosterone affected the fitness scores of the transgender men they reviewed: Prior to starting hormones, they performed fewer pushups and had slower running times than the cisgender men in the control group. A year into treatment, though, those differences disappeared.
With situps, the trans men were comparable to the cisgender men before treatment and actually exceeded them after a year on testosterone.
The longest any participant was followed was two and a half years, according to Roberts.
He said he’s not suggesting being in the military is the same as being an elite athlete, but, he added, “it’s a comparable situation, where you have someone doing whatever they can to maintain or improve their abilities.”
NBC says that the “finding raise questions about current Olympic guidelines” for trans athletes, but that the lead author cautions against using them to back bans in recreational and school sports.”
Maybe the lead doctor didn’t want to say something politically incorrect, but this study has clear and obvious implications for school and recreational sports.”
Allowing biological men to compete with girls and women in sports has the inevitable outcome of setting back some of the gains that have been made in women’s sports.
But you aren’t supposed to say that.