Ethics Quiz: Is This Fair?

Just kidding!

Of course it’s not fair.

In fact, it’s ridiculous. So the real question is, why does anyone, activist or otherwise, argue with a straight face that it is fair?

That photo is from Oct. 13, 2018, when  transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon of Canada won the  UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Carson, California. The other cyclist is Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands. The other competitors were similar in stature and build to Carolien. She was born female, and unlike McKinnon, grew up female.

It makes a difference.

In fact, as Martina Navratilova wrote in a February 17 op-ed for The Sunday Times of London, “It’s insane and it’s cheating.” Well, it’s not cheating if a sport says it isn’t. It is, however, insanely unfair, and unarguably unfair. Advocates, like McKinnon herself, an educated trans woman, actually try to deny these conclusions that are as plain as that photograph. In her debate with the legendary tennis star, she argued,

 “She imagines a nonexistent cisgender man who will pretend to be a trans woman, convince a psychologist and a physician to prescribe hormone therapy, undertake the process for legal changer recognition, then wait the minimum 12 months of testosterone suppression required by the current IOC rules, compete, and then change his mind and ‘go back to making babies’? No such thing will ever happen. This is an irrational fear of trans women.”

But, significantly, she does not argue against Navratilova’s central assertion (which she garbled badly by making the lame slippery slope argument), which is that it’s unfair to allow women who have matured as men to compete against women who haven’t. Obviously. Look at the picture.

I’ve discussed the ethics of allowing trans athletes to compete against non-trans competitors, and frankly, the only interesting part of the topic is that fear of trans activists and being accused of bigotry has succeeded in so many locales in bullying officials into allowing it. It is unfair. It is obviously unfair. It destroys the integrity of the competition; it makes women’s sports a joke. Why do they allow it? Well, this is a small but revealing example of how ideology can strangle common sense and reality when those committed to the ideology find facts and ethics hostile to the world as they would like it to be. The result is that people, with nothing but good intentions, convince themselves that wrong is right and that what doesn’t work, does.

The analogies with many current policy debates are so apparent that I’ll eschew mentioning them. You know what they are, I hope.

The news media, of course, is doing all it can to make the false reality seem real. “Across the U.S. and in many places abroad, transgender athletes are breaking barriers in high school, college and pro sports.” writes the Associated Press. Well sure they are: you would break such barriers too if you started out with massive advantages over your competitors that they had no chance to overcome.

The advocacy group, Athlete Ally, that kicked Navratilova off its advisory board for speaking the truth, said,  “Trans women athletes aren’t looking to take over women’s sport. They are women and want to compete in the sport they love, just as any other athlete would.”  True enough, but, again, this avoidis the issue. It doesn’t matter that trans women athletes aren’t looking to take over women’s sport: because of their unfair advantages, they will. I have no doubt that they love their sport and want to compete. Unfortunately, they ruin the women’s sports they compete in and destroy those sports’ competitiveness and fairness. Sorry. Too bad. It isn’t easy being trans. Life is unfair, but rules must not be.

There are three alternatives. and three only. Eliminate all gender barriers in all sports. Have trans athletes compete in their own category, however sparse it may be. Ban trans athletes from competing against non-trans women.

Meanwhile, the homework assignment for progressives is to look in the mirror and practice accepting reality even if when it proves some of their woke dreams to be just that. Dreams.

30 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Is This Fair?

      • Yeah, I know. She is VERY smart, has my respect and admiration. She knows the genetics WAY better than I do, and she’s very well spoken.

      • Technically, I’m not Transgender. Technically. I’m intersex.

        I did transition though, so the difference is really only important to my endocrinologist. I have a very different HRT regime from any trans woman.

        Ok, it’s important legally too, really inconvenient as while the legal system treats trans people poorly, it mostly collapses when confronted with intersex.

        Now, about the obviousness of the issue…

        During a cycling race in Belgium, the leader of the female pack forced officials to momentarily halt the women’s race after her grueling pace caught up to the men, who started 10 minutes earlier.

        Nicole Hanselmann, 27, was forced by Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race organizers on Saturday to put on the brakes in order to create a gap between the men’s and women’s races. Despite both races starting in the same location, the organizers appeared unprepared when Hanselmann could be seen from the rear vehicles of the men’s race, according to Cyclingnews.

        “We came too close to the men’s so we had to get a neutral time gap again, so it was a bit sad for me because I was in a good mood and when the bunch sees you stopping, they just get a new motivation to catch you,” Hanselmann told Cyclingnews after finishing the race.

        The delay allowed the other female riders to catch up and her pace slowed down soon after.

        Ms Handelman is not Trans. I have no idea if she is intersex. It is very likely that some of the other female racers are, simply by the nature of things. Both psychology and physiology play a part, statistically both lesbians and intersex women are slightly over represented in some sports. Statistically.

        I think it very likely that all competitors, male or female, in this race are extremely fit and several standard deviations above the norm in athletic ability.

        So we have evidence that in cycling, at least some women can give very fit, athletic men a 10 minute head start and still catch up with them. The evidence also shows this is unusual enough so that when it happens, the race is stopped to let other women catch up, and men to get further ahead.

        I won’t comment on the ethics of this stoppage, just to note that humans differ, and using statistical differences instead of individual ones leads to silliness. Sometimes what is obvious just isn’t so (though sometimes it is).

  1. The gross unfairness of this is self evident. So is the solution. If all athletes who are born female refuse to compete then those that earn their living wil quickly come back to common sense. If the natural born women still choose to compete knowing that they have no chance at winning then they will control the trajectory of female sports not men.

    • To be clearer, the people that make their living refers to coaches, organizers, publicists etc. If no biological women choose to compete in this grossly unfair arena their choice will economically sanction the people who think they are the decision makers.

      • That is better… but my head still hurts from the first post.

        Guess this is a case of ‘it feels so good when it STOPS’

        Humor aside, many females still make their living through sponsorship in professional sports. Until the shift is so pronounced that this is not the case, I suspect such a ‘principled’ stand is not forthcoming.

        And by the time it does, if I am right, it will be too late for the stand to make a difference.

    • Wim, that article was too depressing for me to read past the headline. Five pets dying in a house fire. Sorry, that’s just too sad for words. The hard think about pets dying or, worse yet, having to put them down, is not knowing whether they have any idea what’s going on, right to the end. It’s actually easier watching humans die. It’s why I’m taking a hiatus from pets after putting two down in the last year or two after having had dogs for forty years. Sigh.

      • Man do I feel that Bill – a couple years ago I had to put down three long term canine companions – it would have been four if Rider had not taken his last trip as I was walking out to the kennel to take him on his last vet visit.
        At some point, the anticipation of the pain of separation is overcome by the desire to bring another one into your life.

    • Should we now consider some of the old Soviet women’s Olympic team members as just ahead of their time?

      You know, this makes me wonder if some (all?) of those ‘women’ might have actually started life with the OEM factory-installed equipment DD may or may not have.

      A scenario:
      Upon awakening in a hospital bed one does not remember entering:
      athlete: “Wha- ? Where am I”

      -coach “Comrade Viktor, that is not the interesting question. I will explain momentarily. As you know, you have been supported by the State for many decades in the hopes of winning Olympic medals. While you have performed laudably, you just do not have the talent to compete on this level. You are consistently in the top 10 every time you compete, however, so Mother Russia does not wish to waste her investment in your training and support.

      Therefore, we have made some ‘adaptations’ that will enable you to compete and win medals.”

      -athlete “This is GREAT news, Comrade! What must I do to win these medals?”

      -coach “Take the injections you always have: the ingredients will differ somewhat, but we will let the doctors handle that. You will need new uniforms, and a side effect is you will no longer have to shave, saving the Motherland the cost on razor blades. The alterations will require you to relearn certain basic skills, and you will no longer be able to write your name in the snow. However, I think you will agree that the trade off is worth the medals. In any case, it is done.”

      Opens door and another coach enters room

      -coach “Allow me to introduce you to your new coach”

      -athlete, confused and somewhat alarmed: “The coach for olympic women?!?”

      -new coach “Welcome to the team, Comrade Viktoria”

  2. Timely. I was just enjoying reading about a bit of top-level trolling by some British bloke who “broke” several women’s weightlifting records today, claiming he was identifying as a woman while lifting:


  3. Having recently lost a pet, I understand. IMO, people who would deliberately harm a pet that way would likely do the same thing to a human child if it suited their purposes.

    If you didn’t get far enough in to tell, the relevance of the piece to the two stories (if the facts prove out as charged) is that a locally celebrated transgendered person made a bid for renewed attention by faking a crime.

  4. My take:
    A person who kills his or her harmless pets is a psychopath — regardless of gender or gender alteration, race, religion, profession, intention, national origin, income or politics.

    Russians (or others) who competed unfairly as overqualified behemoths did not have to be transwomen. Testosterone (a natural steroid) given to women will produce a similar effect – muscles, hair growth (or balding!) in unfeminine body locations, and other masculine physical attributes. It is rare for testosterone levels to be completely suppressed (down to the highest natural female levels) in transwomen.

    Where there are ingrained prejudices and only lip service has been given to correcting the negative stereotypes … And the few alternative voices of reason and education have disappeared … the old negative stereotypes and cliches are dusted off and exhibited in public once more, unaltered.

  5. A person who kills his or her harmless pets is a psychopath — regardless of gender or gender alteration, race, religion, profession, intention, national origin, income or politics.

    I know you did not mean this situation, but growing up rural meant sometimes you have to kill your pets. A dog that is hit by a car and suffering, or a cat that ingested poison and is slowly dying must be put down to end the pain. There were no vets, and no money for one had they been an option.

    You did what was in the animal’s best interest, which might have involved a bullet. Quick, painless, humane.

    • I know you did not mean this situation I seem to remember you found it necessary to make this comment before (to someone else) and I’m glad you made that disclaimer this time because there was no reason to assume that I would include all the possible exceptions (you know … the ones that make the rule!). Every pet or working animal owner I’ve known since who had to deal with their deaths, whether they could afford vets or not, rural or urban, has known how to do whatever was quickest and most painless.Those who have vets, if they’re good ones, should know about that from the get-go.That’s normal to me as it was and is to the people I know. That’s why I called “psycho” on the arsonist/killer.

      Since you took that time to explain your exception, I will tell you that I spent half my after-school days accompanying my dad on house calls and half my youth’s summers on a work/camp ranch in Colorado before I moved out there, with three years in the interior villages of South India in between. I put off leaving for San Francisco until one died – as well as he could’ve, and the other two were settled in their new (wilder) homes, followed by a dozen rough nursing years, so there isn’t much I haven’t seen or don’t understand of how to deal with of births and deaths, animals and people both.

      It’s the in-between births and deaths part I can’t quite get a handle on.

      Nice scenario, by the way.

      • Birth are easy: clean the little beggar up and give him (her) to mama. (If it is a person, there are more steps involved.)

        Death is tougher. Especially if a person is involved.

  6. Oh. That cyclist on the left in the photo is supposed (or, is supposed to be supposed) to be a female. Right. Jeez! This Big Lie business is becoming big business. So, TAX IT MORE! I’ll leave it to more creative governists to figure out and explain how to do that. But it’s only fair for the bigger businesses to pay more, in order to pay their fair share. [snickers]

  7. I showed my teenage son the picture without context and asked him to describe the people in it. The answer was “It looks like he is pulling her forward.”

    I’d love to do the same with a bunch of kindergartners. Emperor has no clothes indeed.

  8. Point of order, Mr Speaker.

    While a feminising HRT regime (hormone replacement therapy) can diminish body hair, it does nothing to facial hair. Shaving would still be necessary.

  9. I have a cousin who began sprouting facial hair just out of her teens at the point where she was starting her first “real” job and beginning to think about attracting Mister Right. It would have been the late 1940, in the days before the current treatments were available. She was nearly successful in killing herself when told by her doctor that the hairs would always grow back and if she plucked them, they would grow out darker and coarser. Which they did. She made a very good marriage, raised two lovely kids – and shaved her whole face (not just the three or four sprouts she could have scissored) religiously every morning.. One of her grandchildren let The Secret out when she was in her 90s. I asked her brother why she didn’t try the new ways of hair removal; he said he’d asked her she “went wild and screamed that they would come back again bigger and darker” — the doctor had told her so.

    So I asked a friend — a young man just starting to transition, anxious and a bit jumpy as usual, planning on moving to France which was ahead of the US in such things, for the French version of the whole enchilada. He was terse with his answer: “oh,it’s just done with one of those electrical gadgets” and we went on with what was called “the bottom part” and nothing more was said about the beard. She returned four years later, Knowing she’d had some cosmetic surgery as well, she wasn’t the stylish Parisian I’d expected, but a relaxed, satisfied, healthy looking matron who resembled what his twin sister might have looked like, on the arm of her new husband, a widower with two teenagers (one of each sex and happy with it) who adored her. (No fakery. They’re still living happily-ever-after across the Bay, This was the first year the whole family — plus three grands with one great on the way – didn’t get to come visit for the Covid Christmas, But I didn’t even begin to understand the process she went through – and still had some done, now and then – until I read this, and some other articles.

    And, yes, there are plenty of transitioned people I’ve gotten to know over the years. Very few have been fortunate enough to find what they dreamed of, just like he rest of us, But most of them seem content with being who they always felt like, Just like the rest of us.

    Jack, I didn’t forget you. Just thought I’d dive in at an appropriate place, considering the subject and the discussion.

    Found a site that didn’t answer your question except to note what you’d already discovered, that hormones that make organic changes in almost every other part of the body do not really affect beard growth. Not in men and not, as my cousin’s lifelong hate and possibly, as many a carny sideshow Bearded Lady attests, But it speaks simply and definitively about everything else connected with transitioning hair removal. This is a good enough place to begin.

    It covers just about everything you/we/they ever wanted to know, ranging from time (at least a year – see link) to expense (can run higher than any other part of the transitioning process, averaging around $13,000) to pain management (with. sections on painkillers, “30 Ways” besides injecting prescription drugs, and more) and yet more. It’s a complicated laser-plus-electrolysis treatment that has to go over the same area more than once.

    This is a game-changer for casual wannabes or the not-totally or merely the 99% committed. And understanding what the commitment to do the full MTF transition entails, hair-by-hair (body as well as facial), it might silence some of the ridicule and contempt in the minds of some commenters and other readers. Thanks for the opportunity.

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