A video showing a male sprinter blowing past a female competitor during a recent mixed relay race is being used as an example of why transgender athletes should not be allowed to compete against women.
The clip, which has already garnered more than 100,000 views, was posted to Twitter on Sunday by Wings Over Scotland, a political commentary site run by Scottish journalist Stuart Campbell.
In the footage, which was taken at Sunday’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Qatar, the United States’ Michael Cherry overtakes Polish sprinter Justyna Święty-Ersetic, who had a several seconds-long head start.
“If you think a year’s testosterone reduction would have changed that in any significant way, I’d like to sell you the Moon,” the Wings Over Scotland account said in a subsequent tweet, referencing arguments made by advocates of trans athletes in sports.
Trans activist and author Brynn Tannehill, for instance, claimed in March that clinical evidence has shown a year of testosterone removal is “sufficient to remove competitive advantage” for such athletes.
However, according to a new study – which is awaiting the peer review process – conducted by researchers with Swedish universities, trans women are likely to retain strength advantages over biological females, even after 12 months of hormone therapy.
Here's the short version of what it's like for female athletes to compete against biological males. pic.twitter.com/ll0ukegwYT
— Wings Over Scotland (@WingsScotland) September 29, 2019
“Having started the last leg around five seconds ahead, Poland eventually finished three seconds behind the winner. That’s an eight-second gain by a male against a female in a 50-second race,” Wings Over Scotland tweeted.
Several commenters and critics of allowing transgender athletes to compete alongside women in sports responded to Wings Over Scotland’s video on social media.
Fair Play For Women, an organization opposed to letting transgender women compete in female athletics, said the footage showed “male performance advantage in action.”
“This is why female sport is a protected category and why all males have to be excluded, even ones who identity as trans. Sex matters,” the group tweeted.
The activist wing of the Trans community has become bigoted in their denial of biological differences between XX and XY chromosomes. Might they be Chromosomophobic? Lol. #Chromosomophobic.
— CaryRobinBronstein (@BronsteinCary) September 30, 2019
James Lindsay, an academic and author who frequently argues that progressive ideology has infiltrated the sciences, weighed in on the controversy.
— James Lindsay, sexy Google search (@ConceptualJames) September 30, 2019
“No. Gender is a social construct and patriarchy is responsible for it. Ask any feminist,” said one commenter in an apparently tongue-in-cheek tweet.
“Men do not belong in a [women’s] sport. It gives them unfair advantage,” said another Twitter user.
The International Olympic Committee shies away from the controversy
In 2016, the International Olympic Committee ruled to adopt new guidelines that permit trans athletes to compete even if they haven’t had gender reassignment surgery, as long as their testosterone levels stay below a certain threshold for 12 months. Previously, in 2003, the International Olympic Committee guidelines stipulated transgender competitors could participate granted they had undergone reassignment surgery followed by two or more years of hormone therapy.
The Guardian reported last week that the International Olympic Committee has decided to delay the introduction of stricter guidelines for trans athletes because of concerns over the politically charged nature of the topic.