“Separating Sports by Sex Doesn’t Make Sense” is the new hot take from The Atlantic. You see, some states have been passing laws that prevent biological males from competing on girls’ sports teams. We’ve been assured that science tells us that boys have no physical advantage over women, especially if they’re on a regimen of female hormones. But what’s with the whole gender binary in the first place? Megan Daum looks at the issue.

Mertens writes:

Decades of research have shown that sex is far more complex than we may think. And though sex differences in sports show advantages for men, researchers today still don’t know how much of this to attribute to biological difference versus the lack of support provided to women athletes to reach their highest potential. “Science is increasingly showing how sex is dynamic; it has multiple aspects and also shifts; for example, social experiences can actually change levels of sex-related hormones like testosterone in our bodies in a second-to-second and month-to-month way!” Sari van Anders, the research chair in social neuroendocrinology at Queen’s University, in Ontario, told me by email. She said that this complexity means it doesn’t make sense to separate sports by sex in order to protect women athletes from getting hurt. “If safety was a concern, and there was evidence to select certain bodily characteristics to base safety cut-offs on, then you would see, say, shorter men excluded from competing with taller men, or lighter women from competing with heavier women, across sports.”

Come to think of it, you don’t see a lot of shorter men playing professional basketball. That needs to change.

The University of Pennsylvania decided that the girls on the swim team had no choice but to deny reality and share a locker room with a biological male. If they had a problem with that, there was always the school’s psychology and counseling services to get their minds right.


Editor’s Note:


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