Flat White

Women's rights triumph (sort of)

20 June 2022

2:10 PM

20 June 2022

2:10 PM

Far from the feminist Utopia, progressive politics underpinned by radical gender activism has created a generation of women too afraid to speak.

In the world of competitive sport, women have been told to ‘put up’ and ‘shut up’ when it comes to biological men standing above them on the podium, or undressing in the change room.

On Sunday, this abuse of women’s rights started to change, with the International Swimming Federation (FINA) confirming that transgender women (biological men) will not be allowed to compete unless they have finished their gender transformation before age 12 (puberty).

‘We have to protect the rights of our athletes to compete, but we also have to protect competitive fairness at our events, especially the women’s category at FINA competitions,’ said FINA President, Husain Al-Musallam, of the decision.

Al-Musallam promised to set up an open category at various championships where transgender swimmers can compete for competitive scoring and prizes. This will include the Swimming World Cup, World Swimming Championships, and World Aquatics Championship.

‘It’s such a hard topic, no one wants to be the first one to say anything because you’re scared of cancel culture. That’s such a thing now, if you say one wrong thing you’re done,’ said Emily Seebohm, an Australian champion swimmer.

Her comments echo the sentiments of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ teammates, several of which had to speak anonymously to the press in order to expose the pressure placed on them by the sporting community to remain silent.

Cate Campbell, another Australian swimming champion, added, ‘And it pains me, that this part of my role may injure, infuriate and, potentially, alienate people from an already marginalised community. That men and women are physiologically different cannot be disputed. Women, who have fought long and hard to be included and seen as equals in sport, can only do so because of the gender category distinction. To remove that distinction would be to the detriment of female athletes everywhere.’

The decision will see an end to competitors like Lia Thomas racing in women’s sport. As for the records set by a biological man, we wait to see if they will be removed in the interest of fairness.

Despite the cheering from women’s sport and the general sigh of relief spilling through the wider community, it is not – as advertised – a firm ‘no’ against men.

Biological men – regardless of hormone courses and surgery – still maintain a physical advantage over women gifted to them at birth. Even if they are caught before puberty, they still display bigger physical features, stronger bones, bigger hearts and lungs, and a different muscle-to-fat ratio. All of which gives them an unfair advantage over women in competitive sport.

While women will no longer be forced to compete with fully developed men, they are still competing at a biological disadvantage to the remaining trans athletes.

The failure of the FINA to issue a crisp, clear ‘no’ to transgender athletes, leaves the window open for children under 12 to be pressured into permanent transition in order to compete.

Most medical professionals advise beginning hormone therapy no earlier than 16, although some will allow it as young as 14. By competitive sport asking for transition to be completed (not started) by 12, the question must be asked whether adults in a child’s life may encourage them to speed up the process of transition rather than allowing children to mature before plunging into life-altering decisions.

There are already stories of extremely young children being allowed to transition and the US Food and Drug Administration has approved puberty blockers for children when they start puberty – if this is at 11 or 12 it would be allowed.

Despite the insistence of the trans community and medical practitioners involved in gender-affirming procedures stating puberty blockers are safe and reversible, there is growing evidence they may lead to permanent and harmful repercussions. Aside from fears of worsening mental health disorders or creating early-onset osteoporosis, the consequences of delaying (or preventing) puberty are largely unknown. Puberty is not solely a physical process, it involves a large amount of mental development (which often cures feelings of gender dysphoria).

Hormonal balances are associated with psychological conditions. Manipulating hormones in young children for the purposes of delaying physical development has been observed to increase serious mental conditions such as anxiety, mood swings, mania, and self-harm tendencies.

Preventing children from undergoing the necessary biological transition into adulthood is probably not going to stand the test of time – ethically speaking.

Decisions from sporting bodies that may encourage parents and the medical community to pressure children to early transition should be looked at more closely.

A simple ‘no’ to transgender athletes would have been a safer choice for everyone involved in competitive sport.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments