Should Transgender Athletes be able to Compete in Women’s Sports?

Photo+courtesy+of+John+Woike

Photo courtesy of John Woike

Ryan Torris

The topic of should transgenders be able to compete in women’s sports has been around for a while now, and there still is not a clear answer to it. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 25 states have proposed putting restrictions on transgender athletes. Some states, like Utah and Florida, are taking it to more of an extreme and trying to outright ban all transgender athletes from competing in sports altogether.  A bill introduced by Utah Representative Mike Lee said “[Gender] shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” This bill would make transgender athletes have to compete against their birth gender and not the gender they recognize themselves as, but would this be fair?

 

The public has not been quiet about this issue, and some people have spoken up when there was clearly a problem. In 2019, Selina Soule, a 16-year-old track and field athlete, posted a youtube video after losing to two transgender girls. In the video, Soule talks about the unfair advantage transgender females have over biologically born females. When she was asked if she and her teammates trained hard at the sport she said, “we do train very hard, but when a mediocre boy athlete can outperform the best girl out there any day because of their physical superiority, we are just losers.”  Soule and her mother have organized a petition to try to change the rules.

 

Should biologically born boys be able to compete against females? “According to healthline.com, “women’s bodies make about 1/10th to 1/20th of the amount of testosterone as men’s bodies.” This is why men have an advantage in sports because they make more testosterone than females. Although transgender women might not have as high of testosterone as a male, their testosterone might not be in the normal female testosterone range. According to Boston University School of Medicine “The majority of transgender women who follow the usual approach prescribed in the United States are unable to reliably lower their testosterone levels into the typical female physiologic range with medicine alone.” This means most that transgender females have higher testosterone levels than normal biologically born females. This could lead to them having an advantage in sports.

 

What is the solution though? Is it to ban all transgender athletes from competing in sports? Some people could argue that, but I believe everyone should have a chance to be involved in athletics in some way. A fix to this problem would be not allowing transgender athletes to compete against other females if their testosterone levels were too high above their natural limit. Transgender females should get their testosterone tested, and if their testosterone is within the normal female testosterone range, they could compete in female sports. If it was not, they would have to figure how to lower it into the normal range or compete in male sports.