Since 1896, every two years, countries from all around the world gather for the Olympics (Staff 1). The Olympics are normally divided into two groups from each country, being male or female. Different athletes from each country are put into many different events to compete against other countries’ athletes to do their best to place top three. First place receives the gold medal, second receives silver and third place receives the bronze medal. The countries who do not make it into the top tier do not place and do not obtain any of the three medals for the event.
If an athlete is caught cheating, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can strip the athlete of their medal or medals they won and the medal(s) will be given to the runner up. With people and culture progressing, some people are starting to become more comfortable and are coming out as transgender.
Being transgender is where they identify as the gender opposite of the one they were assigned at birth.
It is also becoming more common for people to come out because it is more socially acceptable especially with a former athlete who competed in the Olympics such as Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner. Some of these people happen to be athletes who currently want to compete in professional sports. With the Olympics coming up this brings about the question, should transgender people be allowed to compete in the Olympics? This argument can lie on two sides. First, that they should not be allowed to compete because it is cheating as they may have an advantage biologically and it would be easier to win with male to female transitions having the advantage of testosterone.
Another side is that it is fair because whether you see it or not, people have advantages in sports all the time so this is no different, especially with the hormone treatment they must undergo.
To answer the question at hand one must look at different impacts upon this economically, politically, and socially to determine if transgenders should be allowed to compete in the Olympics under the gender they identify as.With this question, the arguments previously mentioned are formed. The side that defends the idea that transgenders should be allowed to participate in the Olympics believe that it is fair for them to compete and their reasons are, how the hormone therapy affects these athletes, how long the hormone therapy lasts with the punishments and, how advantages in athletes are unavoidable in any professional sport. If male to female transgenders are to compete they would not simply participate in the medical checks that the average cisgender would. The athlete would also have to undergo the checks from hormone therapy. The hormone therapy rules is that in order for the male to female transgender athlete to compete their hormone levels must be below or the same as cisgender women. Cisgender means “refers to folks whose biological sex matches their gender identity, the opposite of transgender” (Petrow).
The treatment of the hormone therapy demands such low testosterone and this can lead to “ a decrease in muscle mass, bone density and other physical characteristics” (Petrow). This can add to how fair it is because of how this is detrimental to their athletic ability which can not just level the playing field, but give the cisgender women athletes and advantage over the athletes who have underwent the necessary hormone therapy to compete. The strength of this point from the side is that it not only shows it is fair but favoring the other athletes so it gives the idea of logic to support how this is fair but also uses sources in it’s argument. The weakness of this though is that it is in more of a conversational tone and this can make it seem like it is less credible.The side has information of a case in Australia. The case is about how male to female transgenders athletes should be allowed to compete if they have done the needed hormone therapy and how it must be “below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months before competing” (Transgender). Which also shows how they not only have to undergo this treatment but also for this extended amount of time to make sure that they are actually below the limit of 10 nmol/L.
This article evaluates the case and how the rules would be just and how this would also allow the athlete to not go through gender reassignment surgery but throughout the time they would be involved in professional sports it would have to stay under 10 nmol. This also goes into the logical side with stating the punishment if they violated the rules and the punishment would be that the athlete wouldn’t be able to compete for at least 12 months. In India as well there was another case that came to a said how they “didn’t have enough evidence to prove that above 10 nmol/L an unfair advantage” (Transgender). The author uses these two court cases both from different places in the world, Australia and India, to support how it is fair because it gives details on how athletes have to go through this hormone treatment and for how long. There is also another way of support for this argument others on this side take, which is that the transgender athletes should be allowed to compete because in professional sports there are ways athletes have a natural advantage over others and how this can’t be avoided (Jackson-Gibson).
The article is about how some people do see the other side of the argument but does present how this can be seen as how even after the hormone treatment people still see it as unfair because of other things such as height even but also refutes this with how advantages are there in almost every sport which creates competition in them. The argument does contain weaknesses such as the fact it can support both sides. This can take away credibility because of how their is a lack of choosing one definitive side which can show how they might not be sure how they feel about the argument. There is an opposition to this argument that opposes this view that it is fair for the athletes to compete. They believe that it is not a fair advantage for the athletes who are of male to female transition while they compete against the cisgender opponents. The people who take this side are able to use the support of how genetically it can be unfair. In a volleyball tournament in Hawaii, many people which includes the players and the parents who said how if they allow the transgenders to participate in the tournament then it “creates an unrealistic level of competition” (Jackson-Gibson). The article also talks briefly about what testosterone is which is “a ‘male hormone’ — a sex hormone produced by the testes that encourages the development of male sexual characteristics…the most potent of the naturally occurring androgens…they also strengthen muscle tone and bone mass” (Medical).
They use this in their argument to show how the accusers see it as if transgender male to females are allowed to compete this gives them the advantages of more than just talent. The author, Adele Jackson-Gibson, also specifically mentions how it is see how it is the men’s primary sex hormone, not the women’s. This does support the claims of the other players in the female volleyball tournament at how this makes it unfair for them. The author does present the information with scientific information to support the points they make about why there is controversy about the topic. While presenting the the argument Jackson-Gibson avoids using their opinion and making it highly unbiased by only using opinions when others mention it by quoting them. In the article she does not clearly state that she supports either side of this argument.
There is more information in this argument than just testosterone, there is evidence about how there is a difference in the muscle fibers of men than women (Haizlip). This is presenting information about certain biological differences between men and women, and does not focus on the argument on whether transgenders should be allowed to participate in sporting events like the Olympics. The article about “Sex-Based Differences in Skeletal Muscle Kinetics and Fiber-Type Composition” says how there has been over 3,000 genes that are different between men and women when dealing with the skeletal muscles. This can be used for this side of the argument which believes that it is unfair for transgenders to participate in sports because of how genetically men and women are very different. This supports the claim made that it makes it “unrealistically unfair” because of how many differences there are between the two genders.
The article from the American Psychological Society is presented as information only and does not make any assumptions or any opinion based statements, it only goes over multiple studies and the data they have come up with. The origin of the source and the and the lack of bias does add to the credibility of this source and it’s evidence they provide. An author Heather Zeiger makes the argument that even though the athletes do go through hormone therapy and surgery the athletes are not able to change every part of their body to make it equivalent to that of another gender and “become something else completely” (Zeiger). There is examples like some of the most notable differences such as “hip width and femur length” (Zeiger) and this makes the center of masses different. There is a weakness in the article of how there is definitely a bias towards not allowing transgender athletes to compete. There is valid evidence from each side of the argument but to come to a decision I side with the argument that transgender athletes should not be allowed to participate in the Olympics.
I think that even with hormone therapy the athletes still are not able to change their genetics and will still have the differences in their muscle fibers especially since there are “studies have identified over 3,000 genes that are differentially expressed in male and female skeletal muscle” (Haizlip). With the help of this evidence from the American Psychological Society I have reached the belief that the athletes have such different muscle composition and this could lead to the transgender athletes’ advantage. I have reached the decision with biology not only from a moral standpoint. The argument that there are always advantages in sports and someone being transgender may have advantages is not so valid. Though the athletes may be like a volleyball player in Hawaii, Tia Thompson, even though she went through the hormone therapy she still has “still has unfair advantages over biological women” (Jackson-Gibson).
This advantage like height could prove to be different and more extreme with other transgender athletes that want to compete in the sports which would be overall unfair in my opinion. I do believe though that there are some advantages in sports, but I do not believe that they are as extreme as the ones that could be faced with transgenders competing. My opinion on this topic is not in full support of one side of the argument, if more research were to be done into this topic by a professional who perhaps has the equipment and funding to look at the differences between men and women and documented their findings, and they found evidence my opinion could be swayed to the opposition. The impact created by the future decision of this topic could lead to an extreme effect. More people feel more comfortable in today’s society to come out as transgender and the fate of the athletes who do maybe changed. Which way the decision is made about transgenders competing in the Olympics could determine whether or not a transgender athlete would go to the Olympics to compete, earn a medal or possibly a record for their country, and if they make their mark on history.