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The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Transgender women should not be allowed to compete in the womens division

Photo by B Mat an gelo on Unsplash
This an athlete who is swimming at a traditional swim competition. Swimming is a sport that involves endurance, which makes trans athletes like Lia Thomas have a huge advantage even after hormone therapy.

Lia Thomas is a transgender woman that competed in the men’s division during the 2019-2020 season while she went through hormone therapy. She then started competing in the women’s division at University of Pennsylvania during the 2020-2021 season. In the men’s division Thomas was ranked 554th in the 200-yard freestyle and when she competed in the women’s division she jumped to fifth place. Even after a year of hormone therapy her performance only dropped six percent; the average decrease from men to women in swimming is 10-11%, Swimming World Magazine explained. Transgender women should not be able to compete in the women’s division at any level due to the biological advantages they have.

A trans woman is a woman that was born biologically a male but identifies their gender as a female. A cis woman is a woman was born female and has a gender identity of a female. Trans women have the option to receive gender affirming hormones which takes away testosterone and adds more estrogen. Despite this, even after two years of hormone treatment studies have shown trans women still have an advantage over cis women in athletics.

Trans women are banned from competing internationally in the women’s division for track and field events. In track and field they can not compete no matter the level of testosterone. In swimming however, a trans woman can compete if they started the hormone process before they hit puberty.

When trans women compete against cis women in sports that require an intense amount of endurance they get a huge upper hand. Both of these rules are very strict which allows the competition to be as fair as it can be.

Trans women retain certain advantages even after two years of gender affirming hormones. They still have an upper body (push-ups) advantage to their cis women peers British Journal of Sports medicine explained. Trans women were able to do 10% more push-ups compared to cis women, even though they were fairly equal.

All of these women in the study were around the same physical activity level and even after two years of hormone therapy trans women can still do more. One of the many advantages they have is a stronger upper body.

“Gender, cannot trump biology,” Sebastian Coe, Olympic champion runner and head of world athletics, said in response to trans women competing in the women’s division.

Gender, cannot trump biology.”

— Sebastian Coe

Trans women also have an endurance advantage. After two years of hormone therapy, their times for running declined but they still ran 12% faster than their cis women peers. 

Another advantage trans women have is their high level of endurance. Even after having hormone therapy for the required amount of time for many sports, trans women still have an advantage. 

Since 2020, 23 states have passed some kind of law restricting transgender athletes to participate in school sports with their identity. The level of restriction runs from state to state. Some states allow no competing with their gender identity, while some make sure each trans athlete is under a certain level of testosterone.

Trans women have a higher heart and lung capacity even after having years of hormone therapy. Heart and lung capacity was lower than a cis male but higher than a cis female, even after 14 years of hormone therapy study conducted by Brazilian scientists explained. The study was conducted on adults around the age of 30 that all have similar physical activity levels.

With being on hormone therapy for 14 years the trans women still had a higher lung and heart capacity than a cis female. This shows how much advantage a trans women truly has. Allowing them to compete in the women’s division gives them a upper hand, even after hormone therapy.

Others believe that trans women should get the opportunity to compete alongside their gender identity. If they have gone through hormone therapy and transitional surgery they are a woman and deserve the right to compete in the women’s division. Many people believe trans women should compete in the women’s division because they are women too.

Transgender women that transitioned after puberty should not be able to compete in the women’s division because they have too many advantages.

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About the Contributor
Ava Biederman
Ava Biederman, Photography Editor-in-Chief
Ava Biederman is a senior and a Photography EIC. She has done gymnastics for the high school team since junior year. Ava also works at a gymnastics gym and coaches kids of all ages. She enjoys hanging out with her friends and going shopping. She looks forward to teaching students about photography and helping others.

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