Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Transgender Athletes

We have been here before. Quillette has what looked like a promising article, especially as it attached the street cred of Martina Navratilova to the essay.  Yet the very title of IOC Framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination Blah, Blah, BLAH! DAMMIT! tells you the conclusion it will reach. It's sort of like "The PRC discussion of whether the Tienanmen Square Protests were legitimate," if indeed any such topic could even make it to print. Please stop wasting my time. We know where the conclusion will land. Or also "The Instapundit Independent Forum on Whether Vaccine Mandates are Soviet Tyranny, Fascist Excess, or merely Unamerican Leftist Overreach." Yawn.

I would love to regard this competition document as a legitimate discussion of competing rights, which one side of this discussion keeps trying to do.  Yet the other side of this does not.  There are some rare but legitimate exceptions to the usual binaries about who can be called what, sexually. That has nothing to do with the bulk of the discussion, which is carried on by people who would like to be fair and reasonable versus people who have clear High-Functioning Autism or some form of OCD or Borderline Personality Disorder and a need to externalise all conflict to what horrible oppressors YOU are rather than face those demons about their sexual identity in their own souls. That is the Borderline dynamic, to externalise and get you to argue about things and fight, so that they can get some distance and root for a side rather than suffer the reality of their (very painful) disorder.  I feel terrible for them that they have these disorders and think I would be even more of a societal disaster than they are if I had to face it myself.  I am smart and would make you pay emotionally, just because I can, and I wouldn't want to face truth. But that's what's happening.  There is no legitimate intellectual discussion here.

Turner's Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome people keep being included to pad the numbers, but those kids believe they are (respectively) female and male from earliest ages.  They have no doubt. They are being used against their will in the discussion, and lots of them are pissed about it.  The political dodge is to try and steer them to the idea that "No, no, no! You aren't angry at us for using you! You are angry at those other terrible people who don't accept you as 100% right! You're on our side, really.  Now shut up and sit in the back row."

But there it is.  One side of this issue wants to discuss it, and the other wants to punish people until they get their way. It is rather like the last seventy years of Palestinian- Israeli discussion. One side believes there are two sides to the issue.  The other wants to just kill them.


Grim said...

There’s something to be said for keeping an open mind, but also for being able to reach a considered judgment. At some point some questions are reasonably closed, such as whether Communism is a plausible ideology. We could debate it again, but have pragmatic grounds that show it false; it would be reasonable to move on.

Similarly here, I think there are very interesting discussions to have about the metaphysics of these trans* questions. I don’t think there’s much more to say about the physics. We have to render a judgment, given facts in evidence that won’t change. I’m not really concerned about which judgment: either eliminate gender based restrictions in sports and may the best man win, or preserve them in recognition that sport has value for all but not all can compete at the very highest levels. Maybe you do one for professional sports or Olympic ones, and the other for amateur or little leagues.

But the right would do well to consider the metaphysical questions raised. Things become interesting when you ponder what it means to say that one is a woman trapped in a man’s body, given that the physical material all points in the other direction. If the claim is true, what makes it true? What is the entity that serves as truthmaker for that claim? Not the physical body or brain. An immaterial thing? The mind? A soul?

Donna B. said...

I have wondered why it is that only certain sports and physical activities attract male to female transgender persons. Where are the ones aspiring to be the prima ballerina? Why is volleyball or golf not attracting male to female transgenders?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ooh, that's quite interesting. I will be running the lists in my head over the next few days and seeing what pops up. Good pickup.

james said...

Maybe ease of outcompeting the rest? Were that the case, there'd be fewer men trying for the team sports like volleyball, and more for team sports like basketball where one player can stand out more.

I have dark suspicions of the motives of the men who want to fight women in MMA et al.

Donna B. said...

@james - I have dark suspicions of the motives when it's either one-on-one, or one against the rest, ie, running.

Grim said...

I would wager that when you look you will find trans* ballerinas. Ballet is a community long friendly to LGBT participation, where they are well-represented; and those are highly prestigious, traditionally female positions within that community.

Donna B. said...

I think you sort of missed my point. A male to female trans would not have a chance at a role in a traditional pas de deux as the muscles, bones, and joints are a different type/size. Most females don't have a chance either because of body type. A female to male trans would actually have a better chance at some of the male roles, because they could possibly develop the strength to lift/support a female partner.

My point was that male to female trans persons seem to want to compete in sports where their previous 'maleness' gives them a distinct advantage over females. Wrestling and track/field sports are the ones where this is most obvious. There is little to none in the highly cooperative team sport of volleyball or intensely physical activity of ballet which developed around the differences in male/female bodies.

Grim said...

@Donna B

Indeed I know little enough about ballet. My sister used to practice it for a while, which did not impart much knowledge to me except as I could not always avoid being drug to her shows; and I once had a friend who proved to be gay who had been involved with it. Certainly, however, I know little about how the dances work with the biology.

Christopher B said...

Donna, in my observation wrestling is one of the few sports where declared females have competed head-to-head with males, at least at the high school level. I was never a wrestler but I suspect the weight classes make the field more even, and technique appears to be as important as sheer strength. There's probably some psychological advantage, as well, but that would be hard to pin down. I've heard of at least one male wrestler that forfeited a match rather than take the mat with a female.

Track, though, does seem to be a sport that's attracted a number of males claiming to be trans, at least going on what's been reported.

Donna B. said...

@Christopher B
I am not sure what you mean by 'declared females'. Are you referring to male to female trans? I'm not up to date on wrestling as a sport and probably shouldn't have referenced it.

Ballet is brutal. I spent several years as wardrobe mistress for a semi-professional company. It's not so much that the ballet community is friendly to LGBT as it is that they simply don't care as long as it looks good on stage.

Christopher B said...

Donna, on reflection, 'biological females' would have been a better choice.

We live in strange times.