Exploring the Controversy over Transgender Individuals Competing

I am addressing the recent issue of transgender individuals competing against CIS Male/Females. I had no problem remaining unbiased; what you’re about to read, I’ve documented with listed URLs at the end. I was reading and hearing girls discussing this topic, and it didn’t make sense. I attempted to incorporate websites that are diverse and opinionated while sharing the same science. At first, I thought legislators were using the wrong identification, Transgender/Transsexual, but this is much more than that and clarified in its content.

For instance, 95% of cisgender women have testosterone below 2 nanomoles per liter. And in a recent study of nearly 250 trans women, 94% of them had testosterone below 2 nanomoles per liter. It doesn’t really matter whether the limit is 5 or 10 nanomoles per liter because most trans women are going to be under two anyway, (emphasis on Trans women). No one is correctly identifying which type of developmental stage they’re in. This is prevalent in essentially every article I read. From the time we’re diagnosed with gender dysphoria till lower surgery, we are called simply Trans girls, and here is where the problem both begins and grows.

The clinical definition of a transgender person has to do with the phycological aspects of feeling like a woman with Gender Dysphoria diagnosed by a psychologist. They are mostly male having testicles that produce testosterone. This line isn’t crossed until a person changes their body towards the other gender either medically with HRT or surgically and the person then becomes a transsexual pre-op.
Transsexuals range from individuals simply on HRT to those who have undergone GRS and are anatomically correct females. This is where the confusion starts. We should separate them into Pre-op/post-op in sports due to what you’re about to read. The carry-over from Pre-op to post-op is blanketed as Transwomen so it resembles an “all for one or none for all” rollercoaster ride scenario. So, hang on. Here We Go.

En Femme Style

The controversy lies in the blood and development. Hemoglobin levels are typically higher in males. But Hemoglobin levels, which allow more oxygen to get into the muscles (often measured as hematocrit levels) is the percentage of blood that’s red blood cells. That’s the reason that endurance athletes go to altitude to train, or (those who cheat) use blood doping or EPO. Hemoglobin levels follow testosterone. Within weeks of starting testosterone suppression, testosterone levels will be within female norms, but it takes a longer time for hemoglobin to get to the female norms, probably in the 3- to the 4-month range. That’s roughly the life cycle of red blood cells, but it’s realistic to believe that advantage can be achieved in this time frame. Hemoglobin levels are the single most crucial factor for the advantage. That’s based on clinical experience from Dr. Harper of Web M.D. She states, “For this reason alone, Transgender M2F’s with testicles should never be able to compete against CIS females.”

But furthering the controversy is that a person born Male will have larger and differently shaped muscles. Males are more muscular than women. Women are just over half as strong as men in their upper bodies, and about two-thirds as strong in their lower bodies. While the male metabolism burns calories faster, the female metabolism converts more food to fat. Women store the extra fat in their breasts, hips, and buttocks, and as subcutaneous fat in the bottom layer of their skin. Our hormones play a part in this metabolism difference that we’re respectively born into and grow. But just because we physically change doesn’t mean the way or how our bodies metabolize food does. Yes, the estrogen will shrink the muscle’s as per se, but a person who has developed as a male going off the estrogen can allow this M2F athlete to redevelop the muscles. Quoting Dr. Harper, “There should be no question in anyone else’s mind either that trans women will maintain strength advantages over cis women, even after hormone therapy simply by the males’ basic developmental differences.” Bottom line is that it’s simply too easy to cheat legally.

I ask that you take a quick look at the F2M individuals. It seems no one is worried about the F2M’s beating the males because of the physical difference. This seems obvious because pound-for-pound the CIS male (conditioned the same, by the same coach) is more likely to perform better in competitions. Look what happens when CIS females compete against CIS Males. Spin that around 180 degrees and you have the reason that all the controversy is aimed at the M2Fs and is the main reason for the bans.

It should be that humans with testicles should not be competing against women. That is a medical fact. Post-op transsexuals not having testicles and who have had surgery to become a woman have lab numbers that are consistent with CIS females. It seems to work for the Olympic Commission and the masses. So, the legislators blanket their arguments. The masses conclude that will transpose into an advantage for M2Fs and will then cause doubt every time a post-op wins an event before any genuine science is considered, and this is wrong.

Progress is happening, but until testing becomes more regular and random, we’re never going to find out. Competitors can know that all the levels within the blood and urine are equal and consistent, even after surgery. If this sounds confusing, it really isn’t. But if we don’t start a dedicated program soon, our legislators may announce that we should compete within ourselves as transgender individuals. Further testing should become more strict, adamant, and random across the board for these post-op girls as well until we know more about this to be a consistent decision to allow or disallow anyone from competing. If one looks at what’s happening across the pond in Europe and the U/K, they are addressing it differently, testing and documenting every event along with levels of hormones in the body. This is where the serious science is being done. They are more advanced in their programs because transgender individuals have been competing there and in England, Canada, and Australia for years and they are already testing randomly which again, is more expensive but has led the Olympics to allow post-ops with three rules have to be followed strictly with no deviation.

1) the person must have had SRS/GRS with an orchiectomy/gonadal removal done.
2) The person must have documentation of both name and gender change done,
3) and finally, they must have documented tests done that prove the individual has been on HRT for a period of no less than 2 years before competing to remove the Hemoglobin advantage in M2Fs and even the playing field. As for F2M’s, all are the same and testosterone levels must dictate safe levels and consistent usage throughout the period of no less than two years as well.

So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It simply sounds like they need to categorize us better and allow better testing, and that should clear up more of their arguments and confusion. But that’s too easy. I hope it allows all girls to follow their dreams wherever they may take them.

Huggz Tia



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    Mx. Margaux 5 days ago

    A close friend, with whom I ran track and Cross-Country in high school, had an interesting take on the subject. His challenge was that he doesn’t have an issue with transgenderism but he sees any kind of hormone usage by any athlete, CIS or Trans, as being unfair. I’m not sure if I agree with him but he makes a strong case – if we make an exception for trans folks, then we have to make exceptions for everyone. I can see that being a potential ‘Pandora’s Box’ for sports organizations.

    The challenge, as you state in your article, is that the debate in the media and legislatures doesn’t have anything to do with the real issues surrounding transgender participation, but focuses on the same tired and untrue prototypes…

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      Ms. Tia Tracy 5 days ago

      You’re so right Hun.! But we also need a way to better define us and our progress in our transformation, # Trans-woman = post-op, Transgender = pre-op with Testis, etc. (This is just an example) It’s going to be a while before this dust settles Margaux. Thanks for sharing sis.!! Huggz Tia

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    SophieFR 3 weeks ago

    Hi Tia,
    Well done for being courageous enough to write this piece.
    I’m sure you anticipated getting mixed views, and you got them – LOL!
    Lines have to be drawn somewhere on these issues, and there will always be those on either side, right on it, or blinded to it. No matter where that line is drawn in our perception!
    I know clearly and without doubt where I stand on these issues, and agree generally with your article, that you have clearly take a great deal of time to put together. No doubt to avoid unnecessary and unsubstantiated criticism!

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      Ms. Tia Tracy 3 weeks ago

      Thankz Sophie, I really appreciate the kudos. Yes, I have had mixed views, but all so far are from individuals not reading through the lines. There will always be cheaters and it would be so easy for anyone to win if they cycled their HRT. I am looking for the masses to make us start our own class of competition, but then again, I don’t think that would settle them down either. Thankz again Tia

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    Corrinenow Smithly 4 weeks ago

    In my MUCH younger years, I was a world class swimmer (think Olympics, Pan American games, World Championships, Mark ‘wins everything’ Spitz) I would probably beat any woman who competed against me, simply because I had stronger, and more, muscle mass. However, if I had my testicles gone (I don’t) and wasn’t producing testosterone, (or started the demise of producing it) then it would be a different story. Now of course, athletics has changed a great deal, and they know more about the body than ever before, training is much more based on science than what I did. Swim! Pace yourself!, I think trans women should not be allowed until the testosterone is gone, and the muscles start to change. if I was a fully trans-woman, I probably would have been be beat in a many a race, just like it was before. It’s like the “all things being equal” thing. I can’t compare my day against any athlete of today. There simply is too much difference, Trans or not.

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      Ms. Tia Tracy 4 weeks ago

      I agree with you completely Ms. Smithly. Our bodies developed differently and no matter how much “E” you toss at a body, the athlete can still develop the muscle. Thanks so much for sharing, Hun. Huggz Tia

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    DeeAnn Hopings 4 weeks ago

    You didn’t address what I said about what will happen for high schoolers. It is highly unlikely that school budgets can tolerate a parallel set of competitions. It is also highly unlikely that high schoolers will have gender affirmation surgery while they are in high school. As I said, for those M>F young people, it is either as an AMAB person or not at all.

    Personally, I suspect that it will be a LONG time before any of this is reasonably sorted. In the meantime, perhaps a generation of trans athletes will be sacrificed…

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      Ms. Tia Tracy 4 weeks ago

      Sorry DeeAnn, I have not heard anything as to what they are doing or going to do about the younger ones. But you know as well as I do that if the TG girls don’t win, things will remain quiet. If they start winning the (U know what) will hit the fan. So, it’s actually a moot point for those poor girls. It’s just to early in the game as of this day in time but I do have my ear to the ground and will elaborate if I hear anything, Hun. Thanks, and once again, sorry. Finals were very tedious. Huggz Tia

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        DeeAnn Hopings 4 weeks ago

        Finals? Geez, that is ancient history. I graduated from college 50 years ago!?!?

        Anyway, one additional point. No one ever really factors in being intersex except when Caster Semenya was in the news. Potentially, that throws a wrench into everything.

        By the way, if folks think that testing and inspecting is OK for trans people, then I would suggest that EVERYONE be tested and inspected…

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          Airlane1979 4 weeks ago

          Why should testing be only regarding gender? There are many other inequalities in sports, as there are in every other field of human activity. I propose measuring runners’ inside legs and lung capacities, and then allowing only those competitors with equal results to run in the same races. I also propose segregating student athletes between those with the benefits of private tuition and those who attended the far less well-funded state schools. Or else we could give state students a significant head start, thus publicly humiliating them.

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            DeeAnn Hopings 4 weeks ago

            That wasn’t the point. Conservatives want to physically inspect trans kids. My point is if you want to inspect trans kids, EVERYONE should be subject to that.

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    Ms. Tia Tracy 4 weeks ago

    I have awaited a response like yours Airlane. I stand by my personal, medical, and researched summary, that anyone that has testicles should be nowhere close to CIS-gender females in competition. First off, it’s so easy to cheat (going off of the HRT to train and returning to it for lab testing), especially where testing isn’t prevalent like in high schools and some college sports. Secondly, a male develops differently when they go through puberty and their muscles develop larger and differently. I have written three articles on breasts/bras here at TGH, and in all three I
    I stipulated certain adjustments to bras due to the male chest muscle developing to under the arm and ending AFTER the armpit. A female’s chest muscle is teardrop shaped and ends BEFORE the armpit. This alone has to tell all that Males develop differently with more muscle. Airlane, that is just two muscles in their bodies. Its a scientific fact males are twice as strong as females in upper body strength, and 1/3 stronger in the lower region. Yes, estrogen causes muscles to shrink but once again going off the HRT will allow them to re-develop those muscles. This alone is why the testing you are so against is so important if they wish to compete alongside females. Thanks for sharing, Airlane. Huggz Tia

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      Airlane1979 4 weeks ago

      Okay. But you didn’t even try to address any of the points I made. Sure, I agree: male bodies are on average stronger than female bodies. A logical extension of that is that stronger females should not compete against weaker females. Do you agree with that?

      Do you also support the socialist case for ending private education, as I do?

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        Ms. Tia Tracy 4 weeks ago

        Not at all Airlane. Sports, from the beginning, have been made up of the fastest, strongest, and even smartest. Take the “World’s Strongest Man” contest. You and I wouldn’t enter such a contest as it requires strength beyond our abilities. Sports are not unfair in the least. They are free for you and me to participate in no matter our body mass, weight, or sex. The rules are there to keep all within a certain realm, assuring the event equality for all, and remembering it is our own decision to enter, should read and understand these rules put forth so we can train within these boundaries. Without rules and regulations, there would be no sports or sportsmanship and it would resemble a fight. This was started by the Greeks way back in history to keep the cities from fighting each other calling it the Olympics and has bloomed into what we have today. I took for granted that this is common sense and that is why I didn’t address it Airlane. Tia

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        DeeAnn Hopings 4 weeks ago

        No, because it would also end the possibility of scholarships for kids of non-wealthy parents…

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    Airlane1979 4 weeks ago

    “humans with testicles should not be competing against women” can be justified only if we refuse to accept the inherent unfairness of all competitive sports. Every human is physically, psychologically and emotionally unique; we have all had unique childhoods and educations. If we are to eliminate transgender women from competing against cis women if those trans women don’t pass an arbitrary measure, why stop there? Taller people must not compete against shorter people. There must be inside leg measurements before every race, with races only between those of exactly the same length. Lung capacity amongst competitors in marathon races must be measured, with similar outcomes, surely.

    As for unfairness, I note that the people campaigning to remove trans women from women’s sport have no wish to eliminate that source of massive inequality amongst young people: private education. Fortunate children of well-off parents can enjoy the enormously superior sporting facilities of private schools, giving them an almost unassailable head start, perhaps equivalent in a 100m race of 10m or more. Yet the socialist goal I share of good-quality education for all – as for health care, housing and every other necessity in life – is derided by transphobes as hopelessly unrealistic.

    Sport is unfair. It has always been so.

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    Ms. Tia Tracy 4 weeks ago

    Thankz DeeAnn, I was going for just that.!! I also wanted to stress to others that those transgender individuals with testicles shouldn’t be anywhere near CIS females during competitive sports. This alone is promoting most of the controversy which is why I included a paragraph on definitions of us. Post-op/pre-op makes a big difference. Thankz you for sharing sweetie. Huggz Tia

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    DeeAnn Hopings 4 weeks ago

    I think there are some issues with the IOC requirements that will cause problems.

    There are still a few states that do not allow gender change on birth certificates under any circumstances. If you were born in those states, there doesn’t seem to be any way to meet that requirement.

    There are many states that will allow gender change on birth certificates, but affirmation surgery is a requirement. Right now it is very unlikely that a young person under the age of 18 will have the surgery. During high school, that would mean that they could only compete under their assigned sex at birth or not at all. The former would put the young person in a difficult situation psychologically and the latter would also be difficult psychologically as well as missing out on coaching and skills development.

    While I understand the checks and balances put in place by the IOC, it seems to only be aimed at those over the age of consent. From what I can determine, the age cut off for the Olympics is 16, so those under the age of consent are eligible.

    Anyway, I do agree that much more research is needed and less shooting from the hip by the various sanctioning bodies.

    More science and less knee jerk by conservatives!

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