Saturday 18 June 2022

Transgender issues in sport

are back in the news today. Apparently the swimming gurus are meeting to make a decision about how the issue should be handled.

This is an issue I have discussed with people who know far more about physiology than I do. They say that, even with "reduced testosterone levels", there will be transgender people who have an unfair advantage. 

Whether this is true or not is perhaps something that only time will show. What concerns me is that, in the process, there might be other people who do not succeed at sport when they should. There might also be people who do not participate as much as they could.

This is about being concerned for everyone, not just a few. Another issue presently under discussion is the finding being discussed in a longitudinal study. There is strong evidence that having a physically active and healthy childhood leads to not just better physical health in adulthood but also better intellectual and emotional health. 

This is surely the sort of outcome we should want for everyone? Right now we have a second type of pandemic - a pandemic of obesity and related issues brought on by less physical activity due to Covid19 issues. There are also serious issues with "long Covid". The last thing we need is a reluctance to take up a sport earlier in childhood because someone on the team is much bigger or stronger.

I know there will be people reading this who will say "but transgender people have the right..." and "transgender people must be treated equally". Yes, they do have rights, some rights. They have the right to be treated equally under the law and that law must be respected by everyone. We need to look at what that equality actually is rather than simply taking on an emotional response to it. "Equality" is not about "advantage". It's about fairness and respect for all.

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