CrossFit Bans a Trans Woman From Competing With Other Women, Is Stuck In The Medical Past

Chloie Jonsson was a personal trainer and CrossFit athlete hoping to compete in the upcoming CrossFit Games. Now, she’s suing the company for $2.5 million on grounds of “discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition” because they have refused to allow her to compete against other women due to the fact that she is transgender. CrossFit has said that it will allow her to compete in the Games, a competition of varying workouts used to determine the “Fittest on Earth,” as long as she competes in the Men’s division. This is despite the fact that Jonsson is legally designated female, has been living as a woman since she was a teenager, is undergoing hormone replacement therapy and had gender confirmation surgery eight years ago. CrossFit has taken a firm stance and says that their transmisogynistic and ignorant behavior is out of an “obligation to protect the ‘rights’ of all competitors and the competition itself.”

The 2012 CrossFit Games via cherylbrost.com

The 2012 CrossFit Games via cherylbrost.com

Crossfit’s statement to Jonsson was full of the typical outdated, simplified and factually incorrect rhetoric that you would expect to hear from TERFs, not from an organization this size.

We have simply ruled that based upon [Jönsson] being born as a male, she will need to compete in the Men’s Division. The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women. Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots — it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.

I’m not sure who their high school teacher was, but that’s not quite how biology works. Every baby assigned male at birth doesn’t also come with a set of genes that will make them a great athlete. Every baby assigned male at birth doesn’t even come close to having the same genetic makeup. Some grow up to be tall, some end up short; some have asthma, others have bone marrow that produces extra red blood cells; some have extra long achilles tendons, some have hands so small they can’t palm a football. I also don’t know what genetic advantage they’re referring to here. Are they afraid of Jonsson being taller or larger than the average woman? Are they afraid she would have higher testosterone levels? Jonsson appears to be average size for a athletic woman, and I highly doubt they would ban a cis woman who was over six feet tall. What’s more, thanks to her medication and surgical history, Jonsson would actually have lower testosterone levels than many cis women, since the ovaries do produce some testosterone.

0306-chloie-jonsson-2

Chloie Jonsson training

What this all comes down to is that CrossFit doesn’t know what they’re talking about when they talk about trans people and biology. In Brynn Tannehill‘s excellent article on this issue, she discusses how the medical community is pretty much universally on the side of trans athletes. She quotes several doctors on the issue, all of whom agree that if you were to test a trans woman athlete, any muscle mass, bone density or testosterone levels would be “remarkably similar to her counterparts.” Once a trans woman has been transitioning for as long as Jonsson has and has undergone all the steps that she has, it is just scientifically inaccurate to say that she has a physical advantage over other women just because she is trans. That is the fundamental, ineluctable fact of biology and medicine that CrossFit needs to learn.

CrossFit is also shockingly behind on trans issues compared to other sports bodies. The International Olympic Committee, which many see as the highest authority on athletic competition ruled all the way back in 2004 that trans athletes can compete as long as they undergo gender confirmation surgery and have been on hormone therapy for two years. The NCAA has an even more inclusive policy which doesn’t require surgery and only demands one year of hormone replacement therapy. Even in a sport with some very vocal opposition to trans athletes, the MMA allows Fallon Fox, a trans woman, to compete against other women. If all of these athletic organizations are with the times and up to date on trans issues, shouldn’t we expect CrossFit to match them?

Jonsson’s lawsuit also goes on to discuss how this policy would force trans athletes to disclose their trans status and effectively out themselves. Forcing trans people to out themselves like this can, and often does, put people in very dangerous situations and can lead to discrimination or violence against them. Furthermore, saying “over women” and calling her a “male competitor” in their statement is straight up ignorance and bigotry, no matter how much they say that it isn’t. They are purposefully misgendering her, they are purposefully othering her. Both of these things are aggressive acts of violence against trans women.

CrossFit is claiming to be protecting their competition, but really they’re just discriminating against trans women based on outdated and incorrect science. Plus, they need to follow the anti-discrimination laws that exist. Waukeen McCoy, Jonsson’s lawyer, said “She’s female. She’s legally female. A corporation like CrossFit, they’re doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity.” With the medical community, several other (and larger) athletic organizations and anti-discrimation laws on her side, hopefully Jonsson will get the justice she deserves and CrossFit, as well as all other athletic organizations, will allow trans athletes to compete against other members of their gender.

Profile photo of Mey

Mey is a lesbian Latina trans woman living in Idaho. Her areas of expertise include comic books, trans issues and pop culture. She has an English Degree, a cat named Sawyer, a tumblr that she uses a lot and a twitter that she only uses occasionally.

Mey has written 171 articles for us.

68 Comments

  1. Thumb up 11

    Please log in to vote

    It’s not so much the outdated opinion – people take some time to catch up. Our society doesn’t yet do a great job at getting real info about trans people out there, though the last few years have been a huge leap forward. They should’ve done their homework, but sometimes in 2014, trans people have to do some educating. It sucks, it shouldn’t be so, but it’s where we are.

    But the condescending attitude really makes me, and any sensible person, angry. It’s okay to be wrong (I don’t like it, but it happens.) But that nastiness, that’s why it’s straight to lawyers and intentional infliction of harm. And good for her. She’ll win. (Or more likely settle, which is a win.)

    • Thumb up 5

      Please log in to vote

      CrossFit will definitely run to settle out of court when they realize how much they’ll get demolished if this goes to trial. Bully for her for taking the bull by the horns on this as the precedent will send a very strong message to other similar organizations and athletic bodies re: the rights of trans athletes in participation.

  2. Thumb up 15

    Please log in to vote

    Ugh. CrossFit. Not in the least surprised to see this level of douchiness from them. Surprised by their utter ignorance, yes, but the condescending know-it-all attitude while spouting complete nonsense is pretty much what they do (Paleo my ass).

    Anyway. This is appalling, and I hope she gets her justice. They are morally and leglly wrong wrong wrong. Good luck to her when she gets to compete!

  3. Thumb up 11

    Please log in to vote

    “it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.” Ugh this makes me so enraged. It’s like not only did they want to say no, they wanted to try to make her feel stupid for asking, which is almost as bad, if not worse.

  4. Thumb up 6

    Please log in to vote

    I hate how it feels like we always have to have an upset to get policies to change. Trans rights are so off most people’s radars that they don’t even think include or address them unless a big hubbub happens. While to a big degree this whole situation majorly sucks, at least there’s the silver lining that this issue forces CrossFit and anyone following the story to look at something they would otherwise ignore.

  5. Thumb up 8

    Please log in to vote

    ~Well, it’s a legitimate concern! After all, all those professional sports organizations that don’t discriminate against trans women have been completely overrun by us, not only disproportionately competing but crowding out all cis women, who are blown out of the water entirely.~

    I mean, wait, that hasn’t happened at all. No matter that this has been policy for years and years. Gee, this slippery slope sure doesn’t seem very steep, or slick…

  6. Thumb up 7

    Please log in to vote

    “Every baby assigned male at birth doesn’t also come with a set of genes that will make them a great athlete. Every baby assigned male at birth doesn’t even come close to having the same genetic makeup. Some grow up to be tall, some end up short; some have asthma, others have bone marrow that produces extra red blood cells; some have extra long achilles tendons, some have hands so small they can’t palm a football.”

    It’s all part of that cis entitlement I say!

    Also, thank you for this statement. I was talking to someone who pretty much sided with CrossFit and confuzzled, I told them CrossFit’s stance does not make any sense. Thank you for articulating it better for me in the future.

  7. Thumb up 6

    Please log in to vote

    Once again Crossfit showing it’s reckless and uneducated side to the world. I’m not surprised, the sport based on half truths and outdated assumptions also can’t wrap it’s “mind” around the medical science behind gender assignment. Hopefully along the road of learning human anatomy enough to make the “sport” safer for those doing it they learn about gender as well.

  8. Thumb up 14

    Please log in to vote

    “it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.”

    This is becoming like the anti-trans equivalent of “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!!” although the latter at least is a bit more honest about the fact that it’s based on mythology.

  9. Thumb up 3

    Please log in to vote

    Thanks for the informative article!

    My straight friends were wondering, just the other week, whether or not trans women have an advantage in athletics. I honestly didn’t know, so I couldn’t tell them. Next time I will just send them this link!

  10. Thumb up 9

    Please log in to vote

    It’s not as though #CultFit hasn’t already been marked as exclusionary. This fitness fad is, largely, a wealthy white woman thing.
    Well, this fitness-fiending white woman is increasingly happy she didn’t fall for it. Because, you know, I support my fellow WOMEN, CrossFit.

  11. Thumb up 6

    Please log in to vote

    Amazing that given how much income is at their disposal that they couldn’t find a medical / endocrine expert or two to speak with re: this issue … either that or they were simply willfully ignorant bigots (which seems the case based on the patronizing tone of the letter). They deserve every bit of bad press that is going to ultimately come from this debacle.

    *On a side note I’ve dealt with more than a few athletes in my yoga work who were injured while involved in CrossFit workouts (not as much alignment form is emphasized so joints and spine are at elevated risk for injury over time). *

  12. Thumb up 4

    Please log in to vote

    Because there are very distinct ways in which males and females gain muscle mass and how the bodies perform in physical activities (males need only 3% of body fat to live while females need 12%. males have more blood flow to the limbs while females have most of their blood flow around the core, thus often have cold feet, males gain muscle at a faster pace and on average have 3times the upper body strength as the average female.) I wouldn’t call crossfit dictating who competes with who based on biology as much outdated as logical.

      • Thumb up 1

        Please log in to vote

        From Wikipedia and backed up by 10th grade biology. “Sex determination is associated with sex chromosomes that are different between male and female individuals.” If Crossfit decides to formally make this their classification for who competes with who they wouldn’t be way out of line and she would have to compete in the male division. Again I’m not saying I agree with the decision but they are within reason to use something like chromosomes (that you can’t change) to classify sex.

        • Thumb up 30

          Please log in to vote

          XX and XY aren’t the only chromosomal choices, though. There’s also X0, XYY, XXX, XXXX, XXXXX, XY/XXY, XX/XY and even women who are assigned female at birth, have functioning uteri and stereotypical “female” genitalia but have XY chromosomes. There’s even a study of a woman with XY chromosomes who had functioning ovaries and had children. Are you sure you know what chromosome set Jonsson has? Does CrossFit? Are they going to test every athlete and have an XY division and an XX instead of Men’s and Women’s?
          You say they made a logical decision, but in fact they made the exact opposite. A logical decision would have asked medical experts who have studied trans athletes and know what they’re talking about. If you read my article than you would know that the medical and biological fields say that a trans woman would have no advantage over cis women due to her trans status. To say anything else implies either ignorance or misunderstanding of biology and how the human body works. And when you are ignorant, you should ask the experts. And the experts agree that trans women don’t have more muscle mass, higher bone density or more testosterone than cis women. CrossFit’s stance is not logical, it is factually incorrect, scientifically unfounded and mean-spirited.

        • Thumb up 17

          Please log in to vote

          Stepping back and taking a purely objective look at this case, from the legal and medical standpoints:

          If this goes to court, CrossFit will absolutely lose. Science, medicine, and the law, are solidly on Ms. Jonsson’s side in this case and the legal precedents have been in place for nearly 37 years now.

          Jonsson has had female hormones in her body much longer than the two years established as a guideline by the professional sports committees since the issue arose in the 1970’s. Her upper body strength and muscle mass will be comparable to the other cisgender women in her competition class.

          If anything, Jonsson would be at somewhat of a disadvantage, because her testosterone would be below that of the average cisgender woman and her cisgender competitors being very athletic, likely have a testosterone level that is higher than the average non-athletic cisgender woman .

          Transsexual women have only one small source of testosterone which comes from the adrenal glands, whereas cisgender females (females whose self-perception of their gender is the same as their assigned birth sex) have testosterone production from the ovaries and adrenal glands.

          In fact studies consistently show that cisgender females have higher testosterone levels than transsexual females. After transgender individuals have undergone the typical medically accepted 2 yrs of hormone replacement therapy and/or surgery required to legally change sexes, it is HARDER for
          Transsexual Women to attain and maintain the same muscle mass as their cisgender female counterparts.

          As for the DNA argument, we know now that the “XX” and “XY” are only two of several possible combinations… That there exist “XX” men and “XY” women… and that those so-called “sex chromosomes” have much less to do with determining our sex than previously thought, compared to other events taking place in utero.

          Let’s trash the “Can’t change your chromosomes argument. It’s not common, but it’s not impossible either: http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2010/12/change-of-chromosomes.html

          Then let’s realize if you use the chromosomes as a standard and intend to karyotype Ms Jonsson, a. you have to then karyotype every single other contestant as well, and b. It may not be Ms. Jonsson who gets disqualified through that method.

          Further, the letter to Ms. Jonsson was nothing short of abject lies and pure bigotry and transphobia.

          Bottom line: CrossFit hasn’t got a leg to stand on legally, medically, scientifically, morally, or ethically.

        • Thumb up 6

          Please log in to vote

          Interesting statement regarding wikipedia citations and the tenth grade biology info. You might want to consider that the people who make the recommendations to the IOC and the NCAA cite peer-reviewed academic journals and have completed medical school… i.e., 20th-grade level biological science.

    • Thumb up 15

      Please log in to vote

      yes, to the physiology as it relates to men and to women that you have elaborated on above, but

      no, that same science does not quite address the actual physiology that the woman being discussed now possesses, nor does it summarise from that information, that she is being made an example of discrimination, that she is being excluded unfairly from competing because she isn’t cis female.

      Yes she was born male. Yes she has used female hormones for more than 2 years of her life. Yes she has had gender reassignment surgery. Yes she legally identifies as female. So she fits the International Olympic Council conditions for competing in the sport with women. Crossfit, in ignoring International Olympic Council conditions of eligibility for transgender people for competing in sport have discriminated against a legitimate competitor. Which they have no right to, hence, uproar, lawsuit.

      You refer to men and their biological advantage in gaining muscle mass, this is true, and it is due to testosterone. Testosterone enables muscle mass in both genders, however the difference is in the volume manufactured each day by cis men, and it is 7-8 more than it is for cis women. In transitioning from male to female, she would be taking a combination of estrogen antiandrogens, progestogens, and GnRH analogues. So she is not retaining any benefits after two years minimum of hormone replacement therapy of cis male biological muscle “advantage”.

      In Brynn Tannehill‘s excellent article on this issue, she discusses how the medical community is pretty much universally on the side of trans athletes. She quotes several doctors on the issue, all of whom agree that if you were to test a trans woman athlete, any muscle mass, bone density or testosterone levels would be “remarkably similar to her counterparts.” Once a trans woman has been transitioning for as long as Jonsson has and has undergone all the steps that she has, it is just scientifically inaccurate to say that she has a physical advantage over other women just because she is trans.

    • Thumb up 14

      Please log in to vote

      Dear Sarah, your “logic” is quoting a bunch of very dubious statistics and thinking. First of all, even looking at average male vs. female body strength, males don’t even have double the average body strength of women (and remember, this is averages. There are in fact large overlaps between upper body strength and limb circulation of males vs females both by virtue of ethnicity, body type, environment and lifestyle). So, should they test all competitors and all cis women who fall into a possible overlap of male upper body strength and circulation not be permitted to compete? By your logic that would be fair. Otherwise you’re COMPLETELY pinpointing trans women for this level of scrutiny while giving everyone else a free pass… according to your logic.

      Second, what you mention about body fat is just incorrect. It’s not “survival” as you stated. The 12% figure has to do with average minimum amount of fat needed for reproductive viability. There are lots of women dancers and athletes with body fat percentages below 12% who aren’t in danger of dying and, in fact, can still menstruate and give birth (I’m not saying low body fat is healthy for women).

      But what bothers me the most about your post is how you totally ignore who this story is about. This is a trans woman who had SRS 8 years ago. Which means she’s been naturally producing less testosterone than an average cis woman does for all that time. Which also impacts your bone density (because bone density isn’t static, it varies due to a lot of issues). Basically, by omitting her history in your comparisons, you’re just saying “she’s a man.” And that’s not logical, that’s just bigotry. :(

        • Thumb up 10

          Please log in to vote

          But their “logic” is illogical. So you are understanding exactly nothing. And no, legally, they cannot “draw the line wherever they like”. They have to abide by non-discrimination laws. Right now they are ignoring those laws, which is why they are being sued, which is why they will have to reverse their stance.

          Go ahead and say “I like CrossFit and don’t think everyone should pick on them”, but don’t try to make it seem as if that opinion is backed up by anything at all resembling real facts. It isn’t.

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        Different organizations like the NCAA and the Olympics draw the line of who competes with who in these circumstances at different criteria. One has hormone therapy for one year and the other for 2 years. Crossfit has drawn the line at birth. Which may not be right but is an arbitrary line just like the other two.

        • Thumb up 17

          Please log in to vote

          The other two are not arbitrary lines, they are lines based on science, medicine and what would create the most fair playing ground for athletes. I would also argue that CrossFit’s line is also not arbitrary, it is purposefully based on willful ignorance, bad science and transmisogyny on the part of the company.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          If they weren’t arbitrary lines they would have the same criteria. No trans person is one day male and then the next female. Its a gray process. And allowing her to compete with other women isnt so cut and dry because her case is cut and dry (which it is.) bc crossfit would have to say what their criteria is for trans athletes. 1 year on hormone therapy? 2? Ten? They chose birth. Which is unfortunate but is still a line. And I would like to say I would feel differently, much, much differently, if crossfit wasn’t a private institution.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          I get why people are upset about this, but I can’t entirely demonize CF based on the information provided.
          The point about the “medical community” doesn’t really hold much value, considering that the “medical community” isn’t always in line with every individual in the fitness and nutrition community. Research often cited by the collective group of CrossFit/Paleo/Ancestral Health/etc communities is often marginalized by the “medical community,” so they aren’t going to take whatever some doctor says about hormone changes in trans people without questioning it.
          What I DO know, is that even as a cis female, certain fitness and nutrition regimens will naturally increase anyone’s testosterone, and increased testosterone leads to lower % body fat and faster muscle growth, and given the lack of research comparing the hormonal changes (caused by said fitness/nutrition regimen) in cis men vs cis women vs trans women vs trans men, I understand their hesitance/apprehension.

        • Thumb up 6

          Please log in to vote

          They’re based (and this happened) in California which has some of the most progressive trans supportive state statutes in the country (B 1266 – which includes criteria for trans individuals participating in gender sports activities at the high school level). If CrossFit wants to suffer on this hill attempting to justify such an odious perspective than that is their right to do so and pay for it they will.

    • Thumb up 10

      Please log in to vote

      Trans women aren’t “males,” tool.

      As I pointed out in my comment above, this scare tactic is plainly obvious bullshit. Sporting orgs that allow trans women exist and are not new. These radscum fearmongering prophecies about trans women* infiltrating and taking over and pushing out cis women have remained the utterly mythical, fraudulent excuses used to support misogynist dreck like yours.

      *(Or for the bigots who have the decency to be embarrassed about what disgusting people they are, replace “trans women” with “men pretending to be trans women”, the other common specter used in bathroom panic arguments by scumbags who want to pretend they really do care about trans women~~~)

      [Also, you should know that those physiological changes aren’t brought on by Essential True ~Maleness~ dispensed by radscum, magically applying to everyone they choose to deem ~male~.

      They’re related to hormones. I don’t like to bring this up since I feel talking about it in some way condones the hyperfocus on a particular trans woman’s medical history and whether she “counts” as “female enough”, but I do want to draw attention to the fact that that’s what you’re doing, just declaring that she’s male because physiology that you’re so quick to make assumptions about because she’s male because… and so on.

      The fact is that you’re confidently asserting this bullshit in direct contradiction to reality:
      “She quotes several doctors on the issue, all of whom agree that if you were to test a trans woman athlete, any muscle mass, bone density or testosterone levels would be ‘remarkably similar to her counterparts.'”
      But go on, you’re so clearly talking about truth and science and biology and not stale bigoted bullshit.]

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      yes, but a trans woman who has been on hormones for 2 or 3 years loses and advantages in muscle building and blood flow because many of these metabolic factors are controlled by your HORMONES and HORMONE CYCLES. Now, if crossfit wanted to ban women-identified folks who were not taking hormones and had no surgical interventions that reduced testosterone, then I might be able to have a conversation around issues of musculoskeletal advantages. But that is not the case.

    • Thumb up 8

      Please log in to vote

      I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but unless the woman in your link (who seems really badass and awesome) is trans, this comment really smacks of “psh, whatever whatever discrimination– hey y’all, check out what this cool cis woman is doing!” :/

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        No i didn’t mean it that way. Because for once someone is not there because of her cisness, she technically could have been a trans woman. That’s why i would make this case of her being inspirational to all women. Non-segregated competitive activities are a great way to keep ones dignity – and secrets.

  13. Thumb up 1

    Please log in to vote

    A couple points to consider: Crossfit may be “behind the times” but there’s hardly agreement between various sports organizations on how to handle these issues. The IOC requires gender confirmation surgery, but how relevant is that to a competitive advantage? The NCAA and IOC require different lengths of hormone therapy before eligibility. This hardly suggests an obvious medical consensus on the issue.

    Crossfit certainly handled this very badly, but I’m not sure I agree with this level of outrage. At this point it seems like organizations have three choices: absolute validity of gender self-identity regardless of transition statue; absolute adherence to a person’s gender at birth; or trying to create some criteria in the middle relating to hormone therapy, etc. I think the latter choice would be best if the data and science was available. I’m not sure if it is, and I’m not sure if I can blame organizations gravitating towards either extreme.

    • Thumb up 8

      Please log in to vote

      I get where you’re coming from here and I’m taking your comment as good faith, but I don’t think anyone has actually argued that merely identifying as female is sufficient for competing in women’s sports (there may be someone out there with that position I suppose, but I certainly don’t think that represents any consensus view in the trans community).

      Personally, I’m probably okay with the more conservative position of requiring two years of hormone therapy before allowing trans women to compete with other women. I am taller than the average woman, and I don’t have a problem with the idea of being a little more conservative to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t combine with above-average muscle mass to create a real advantage in sports like weightlifting or boxing.

      But the contrary position of basing participation on birth genitalia or chromosomes meanwhile seems both arbitrary and unrealistic. Especially since neither one has any direct bearing on one’s athletic abilities, and since some trans women could just compete without telling anyone and nobody would know the difference anyways.

      Since hormones do directly impact relevant body characteristics (muscle mass etc.), I think it makes the most sense to just stick with that.

  14. Thumb up 4

    Please log in to vote

    I really love Crossfit and have found an incredibly welcoming and positive community at my gym. Which is why I find it so frustrating and upsetting that Crossfit officials have taken such a backwards and offensive stance on trans* athletes. It’s really disheartening for me to see a fitness community that has offered me such a positive experience do the exact opposite to members of my own LGBT community.

    At this point, I don’t know how to reconcile my rage and disgust with Crossfit HQ with my positive fitness experience. On the one hand, I feel obligated to boycott an organization whose discriminatory practices I vehemently oppose. But on the other, I know that the individual affiliate gyms have little connection to the headquarters’ policies. The people I work out with every day aren’t the ones who are preventing Chloie from competing…

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      I feel the exact same way.. I think the reason I’m sticking with my box is just that; that it is very independent from HQ and actually NOT transphobic. I definitely won’t be buying a pass or any swag from this year’s Games though.

  15. Thumb up 2

    Please log in to vote

    something to consider, if the universe is a hypothetical place: what if the only requirement for participating in a sport labeled “female” was to identify as female? What would prevent male athletes from simply competing as female in order to win and earn more endorsements? There are many sports where, regardless of the amount of training and physical fitness, women are simply not able to achieve the same fitness levels as men.

    The racing association, for example, chose to make cyclocross racer Molly Cameron, who identifies as trans, race against men. Why? In terms of physical fitness, Molly’s physique is identical to the top male athletes. She doesn’t have breasts, doesn’t have hips, doesn’t have any physical indicators of taking hormones, and routinely places in the top — competing against men. Here’s a photo. Note the facial hair: http://www.veganpeace.com/famousvegans/profiles/molly_cameron.htm

    Women competing in the same sport, who must negotiate breasts and hips and shorter height, routinely clock scores much lower than men. In other words, if they had let Molly compete against women, she would have won every single time. Every. Single. Time. How is that a competition? How is this fair to the other athletes, if the only means of getting close to competition is to take testosterone?

    That’s not to say that these two examples are the same, or that every example is the same. What I do want to communicate is that this is not a black and white issue with any easy answers.

    • Thumb up 5

      Please log in to vote

      “What would prevent male athletes from simply competing as female in order to win and earn more endorsements?”

      lmfao yes, I’m sure men would be CLAMORING to take part in women’s sports. Because that’s where the money is. lol wow

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          In the world of professional sports, athletes routinely inject themselves with all manner of poisons to get ahead. This includes speed, steroids, testosterone, and a whole host of underground pharmaceuticals that don’t even appear on the map, unless you’re reading a tell all about Lance Armstrong. With this in mind: why is it so impossible to believe that someone falling behind in their sport would compete as a different gender, just for the sake of continuing to compete?

    • Thumb up 6

      Please log in to vote

      There is criteria that enables transgender atheletes to pick the sport that they wish to participate in as the gender they choose.

      “The International Olympic Committee, which many see as the highest authority on athletic competition ruled all the way back in 2004 that trans athletes can compete as long as they undergo gender confirmation surgery and have been on hormone therapy for two years. The NCAA has an even more inclusive policy which doesn’t require surgery and only demands one year of hormone replacement therapy”.

      Is the female transgender cycling athelete Molly Cameron fitting into this criteria? If she does, then her being made to compete against men is discriminatory and is an insult, and she should be competing with women.

      A lot of people posting in response to this act of discrimination against a transgender athelete are ignoring the evidence of the effect of human hormones on the human body, which has been cited here by Mey, Nuala, GinaPDX, Mac and myself.
      Testosterone is present in both cis men and manufactured primarily in the testes and a smaller amount produced in the adrenal gland, and in cis women is manufactured in the ovaries.

      The manufacture of testosterone in cis adult men is 7-20 times higher than it is in cis adult women. In male to female gender reassignment surgery, the testicles are removed, which then removes the major dominant producer of testosterone, in combination with antiandrogen hormone replacement therapy.

      Once the natal testicles are removed from the patient, the only other source of testosterone is from the adrenal glands in male to female transgender women. As Nuala said, the remnant adrenal gland production of testosterone in trangender females is minimal in comparison to cis female ovary origin production of testosterone, and so the transgender female will often have less testosterone produced, (which functions to maintain lean muscle mass and strength, bone density and strength), than her cis female counterparts. How is this scenario an advantage in atheletic competition?

      We are all very elastic pieces of clay and spirit until hormones, either the ones at birth, puberty, or the ones used by transgender people to transition genders later on, or women going through menopause, are added in varying ratios into the mix. And there are some fabulous diverse examples. Hormones manipulate biological gender expression either naturally as in cis people,or through choice in hormone replacement therapy as in transgender people and people with hormone deficiencies and excesses.

      and it is for this reason, science, science accepted by IOC, that Crossfit is being discriminatory.

      • Thumb up 1

        Please log in to vote

        Thank you for a thoughtful response. One of the reasons why I chose to use this example is because (again, in this example) the individual identifies as female. Biologically, and in terms of hormones, the individual is male; she does not match the Olympic requirements for choosing where to compete. This is why there was outcry when she attempted to register as a female competitor. She also dresses like a man (wears clothes tailored for men) so it truly is an example of an average guy on the street walking up to a registration desk and saying “I would like to register as female” and using a preference for the pronoun “she” and a female name as the sole basis.

        • Thumb up 3

          Please log in to vote

          That is uncool that Molly Cameron decided to take advantage of the greater native testosterone in her system, and attempt to compete with cis women when Molly herself hadn’t had hormone replacement therapy and/or gender reassignment surgery.

          It says a lot about her lack of integrity however and lack of respect for transgender people who have the courage and integrity to be transparent in who they are and live within their potentials, their limits, and the rules that society uses to govern us all, in particular IOC in atheletic competition. Molly Cameron has been absolutely insulting to genuine honest transgender people who are simply trying to live an equal and fair life.

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      “something to consider, if the universe is a hypothetical place: what if the only requirement for participating in a sport labeled “female” was to identify as female?”

      No one here has said that.

      “What would prevent male athletes from simply competing as female in order to win and earn more endorsements? There are many sports where, regardless of the amount of training and physical fitness, women are simply not able to achieve the same fitness levels as men.”

      Blatant scaremongering. As I’ve got repeatedly pointed out, scum like you consistently trot out this slippery slope, yet it is absolute fiction.

      “She doesn’t have breasts, doesn’t have hips, doesn’t have any physical indicators of taking hormones, and routinely places in the top — competing against men. Here’s a photo. Note the facial hair: ”

      Blatantly and egregiously attacking a trans woman’s appearance, for no apparent reason other than you delighting in misogyny.

      “Women competing in the same sport, who must negotiate breasts and hips and shorter height, routinely clock scores much lower than men.”

      Blatantly admitting that you see ‘women’ as meaning ‘only cis women with sufficiently feminine features according to my opinion,’ conflating trans women with men.

      “In other words, if they had let Molly compete against women, she would have won every single time. Every. Single. Time. How is that a competition? How is this fair to the other athletes, if the only means of getting close to competition is to take testosterone?”

      More scaremongering, again directly saying trans women aren’t women. Continuing to attack the straw argument you set up. Again, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, this idea that trans women will infiltrate spaces, leave cis competitors out of sports, and ultimately push cis women out of sports is a complete farce. This has never happened, not in any sports organization that admits trans women. Blatant hatemongering.

      It’s also a classic exterminationist tactic – sound familiar, the talk of trans women ~infiltrating~ and replacing cis women? Combined with the fact that Amanda has carefully avoided ever describing trans women as women in any of her posts here… this is definitely a twerf troll.

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        Yes: it’s very useful to selectively read something and respond with name calling. This is totally different from the black and white, zero debate way of thinking fostered by the radical right. Here’s to only one international opinion, and aggressively discouraging debate.

    • Thumb up 1

      Please log in to vote

      Molly Cameron has been on hormones for years.

      What you have done here is literally call a woman a man for being butch and not particularly curvy. And drawn attention to a woman’s supposed facial hair. Incredibly rude, in all cases. Ignorant/irrelevant to the argument you are making (hormones only effect facial hair in one direction, unfortunately for ladies with endocrine issues). Not supported by the picture, either.

  16. Thumb up 5

    Please log in to vote

    So CrossFit, what if a stealth trans*man who is legally designated male, has been living as a man since he was a teenager, is on T and had gender confirmation surgery eight years ago wanted to compete?

    Would you rule that he would need to compete in the Women’s division in order “to protect the ‘rights’ of all competitors and the competition itself?” Because, despite the actual medical fact that after about one year of HRT he would have the physical strength, muscle mass, bone density and testosterone levels of a cisgender man, he was assigned female at birth. And the “fundamental, ineluctable “fact” is that a (fe)male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological (dis)advantage [compared to] women.” Right?

    Wrong. Not only is your logic outdated and flawed, the tone you used to spew it was aggressively transmisogynistic and just downright nasty.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      I’m not a fan of instances where debate devolves into name calling, as a means to discourage debate. There was nothing in my post that suggested a trans individual or one with sex reassignment should automatically be forced to compete against individuals who were (in the biological sense) born similarly. What I suggested is that it’s not a black and white, cut and dried issue. It’s not “aggressively transmisogynistic” to consider the complexities of an issue; it is, however, increasingly disappointing how often those who consider themselves liberal use the same name calling tactics as the far right as a means of avoiding discussion.

      • Thumb up 3

        Please log in to vote

        AmandaSz, I’m sorry if you misinterpreted my post or if I accidentally attached it to something you said (that was my first post here). The “you” I was addressing is CrossFit, not any specific commenter here. My intention was not to insult you or discourage debate, but simply to look at this situation from a different angle.

        I took direct quotes from CrossFit and medical professionals found in this article and the article linked above from Brynn Tannehill, and simply flipped the script. The ruling CrossFit made in Jönsson’s case is to automatically force trans* folks to compete in the division of their arbitrarily assigned birth gender.

        My point is that they have taken a complex issue and enforced a cut and dried, black and white policy over it. That policy, as well as their delivery, defense, and explanation of it, are aggressively transmisogynistic, as Mey illustrates so well in this article.

        I really apologize if it came across like I was attacking you or your contribution to the conversation, I was referring to the statement CrossFit sent to Jonsson. I agree with you that it’s disheartening when anyone sinks to name calling in a conversation, especially if the intention is to shut down the debate. I can understand how you might interpret the last line as name calling if you thought it was directed at you personally, so again I apologize.

        But I disagree that calling a transmisoginistic policy transmisogynistic is name-calling. Likewise outdated and flawed logic is not an insult, but an accurate analysis.

        CrossFit says: “The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.” <– This is untrue and inaccurate, especially in Jonsson's or anyone's case who has undergone HRT for a year or more. Misgendering her as "a male competitor" is legally untrue and hurtful. So is comparing her to "women" rather than "cis-women".

        Ok, so maybe saying the statement was "downright nasty" is a bit of name calling, but I'm not sure of a nicer way of putting it. I mean when they say:
        "Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots – it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school." my only reaction is "ugh, that makes me feel icky."

  17. Thumb up 9

    Please log in to vote

    Hi from a new signup. :o)

    I’d have to agree with Kate Kirby. For me it’s not so much the company’s position as their approach.

    I’m trans, and have (perhaps somewhat regrettably) come to dealing with it quite late in life. I am invariably identified by others as male, and I don’t honestly blame them. And the truth is, I don’t think that that’s ever going to change.

    I’m also an archer, and I’ve explained my situation to my club, who have been fantastically supportive. They have a trans policy, though to my knowledge they’ve never had to deploy it before.

    The UK archery policy draws a distinction between those transitioning before puberty – who are regarded as being their acquired gender with no constraints or extra considerations – and those transitioning after puberty. Falling heavily into the latter category, I find I can participate in ‘domestic’ competitions without issue; but for bigger stuff I need to meet certain conditions: I must be two years post-surgery and have been on hormones long enough to ‘minimise gender-related advantages’, and so on.

    These don’t seem unreasonable to me. It’s a question of balancing the ideal of unquestioning acceptance of someone’s sense of self with the practicalities of balancing the field in a gender-segregated sport. Personally, I think there must be a better way than gender segregation in most sports – archery already has a handicap system to minimise advantage between individuals within gender classifications. But that’s for better brains than mine to figure out, if the will is there. The point is, if I don’t feel satisfied with that policy (I pretty much am), I feel confident I could have an adult discussion about it.

    But the attitude this company took towards its employee/competitor is nothing more than childish:

    “Our decision has nothing to do with ‘ignorance’ or being bigots – it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school.”

    This is precisely the quality of debate I’d expect on Usenet, or some discussion forum where people spend more time talking about each other’s ‘reading comprehension’ than saying anything relevant. It’s downright inexcusable for a major company, no matter what the issue under discussion might be.

    • Thumb up 2

      Please log in to vote

      Genital surgery shouldn’t have any impact on classification, though. That’s completely superfluous, there’s no point in it other than cis people freaking out abt our bodies and/or throwing up a barrier to keep out trans people who can’t afford it.

      Reqs of 1-2 years on hormones or at least t-blockers makes sense to me; there’s a clear reason for that. I’m no expert on physiology and so I’m not sure what exactly would be fair. But any more stringent reqs than that have no basis whatsoever and are very clearly rooted in animus.

      See eg the radscum up thread deriding a woman for her facial hair. ~Because that’s totally about athletic performance, and not simply misogynist attacks and attempting to vilify a woman for her personal appearance / nonconformity to gender roles!~

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.