2.1 Claim by Claim
3.1 Why Males Have an Advantage
3.2 Why Trans Women Don’t
3.3 Why Any Remaining Advantage Already Exists In Cis Athletes
Note: My apologies if you’re not supposed to present arguments in the comments. I think it’s an important discussion, and this is my first debate here. Furthermore, I ask that pro avoid calling trans people ‘trannies’ or ‘men playing dress up’.
In my speech I will 1. Outline the way con intends to defeat the resolution, 2. Show why the arguments for pro are incorrect or don’t prove the resolution, and 3. I will present my own constructive arguments and analysis. It is the belief of con that after a few years of HRT, trans women participating is fair on balance.
- Gender: The identity of an individual often in relation to sex.
- Sex: The group of biological traits you most closely align with (including intersex). Usually refers to sex assigned at birth.
- Cis/Cisgender: Your gender matches your sex assigned at birth
- Trans/Transgender: Your gender does not match your sex assigned at birth
- Hormone Replacement Therapy(HRT): Medical treatment with one or more of the following:
- The use of anti-androgens to suppress testosterone. (Referred to as Testosterone Suppression or TS)
- The use of estradiol for estrogen production (Referred to as Feminizing Hormones or FHT).
Henceforth refers to both A and B
The resolution outlines that a trans female’s participation in athletics is unfair to cis females, and con will defeat this by proving that, while they could have an unfair advantage based on the point in their transition they compete, there is a more than reasonable and common point in an trans athlete's transition where any advantage they might have doesn't quantify an unfair advantage based on their sex assigned at birth most of the time. Con will do this by proving:
- Analysis of what gives cis men an advantage over cis women and why some factors aren’t actually an advantage for cis men at all
- HRT significantly diminishes or completely removes factors giving cis men an advantage over cis women and leads to a level playing field between trans and cis women
- Anything that exists beyond these arguments is consistent with advantages seen from one cis athlete to the next and barring participation based on these or similar advantages hurts cis women.
2.1 Claim by claim
1. “Men are stronger”
- 40% less body strength and 33% less lower body strength. Only applies to cis men. No evidence given to suggest the advantage exists in trans females.
On the contrary, the same source pro cites for argument 2 says: “Prior to [FHT], transwomen performed 31% more push-ups and 15% more sit-ups in 1 min… After 2 years of [FHT], the push-up and sit-up differences disappeared.” The ability of trans women, then, seems to be completely equal to cis women
Table 4 of the BJSM shows after 2.5 years, which isn't a full course of HRT, trans women occasionally underperformed ciswomen[1 (table 4)]. The same article gives reason to think trans women retain their advantage in some respects after 2.5 years in running, however, the study used as evidence didn't include TS and the only study that directly examined running times in relation to testosterone shows no advantage existed within trans women after TS.
While studies are limited in scope, most not exceeding 2-3 years, all studies show a significant drift towards the ability of a cis female. When changes from HRT take 5-10 years and most studies didn’t look at both TS and FHT simultaneously, it would require substantial evidence to prove this trend wouldn’t continue until trans women completely equalized most of the time.
- 6 more pounds of skeletal muscle. With regards to muscles, same as above.
With regards to skeletons, there is good reason to think that differences in the skeletal size by sex are a disadvantage as much as they are an advantage in trans athletes, as decreased haemoglobin from HRT lowers the amount of oxygen the body can transport while the amount of oxygen needed is the same.
“When Fallon Fox figured out he was a mediocre male fighter, he decided it would be easier to beat up women, and that’s when he literally broke the skull of an opponent.”
This claim flies in the face of basic logic. Fracturing/breaking a segment of the skull isn’t rare in MMA, Fallon Fox went undefeated as a male fighter, and during her career as a male she defeated every single one of her opponents in the first round until she came out on March 5th, 2013.
It makes even less sense when you see Fallon Fox was delivered her only loss and often took fights to the 2nd/3rd round during her career as a female. In fact, she only won in the first round once, or 75% less. This fails to prove pro’s argument and actually proves con’s argument.
2. “Men are faster”
- Speed advantage of 12% on a 1.5 mile run. The only study (as noted by) that directly looks at the relation of TS and running found that trans women had no advantage in distance running after HRT.
The same source my opponent uses would support con’s argument. The advantage of trans women in running went from 15-31% to 9-12% after 1 year of TS (not 2 years of HRT as my opponent says), and it's reasonable to expect that would decline further as changes from HRT are only finished after 5-10 years and the study didn't include FHT(data is lacking).
- Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood. A single example of 2 trans athletes ‘sweeping’ the competition, only for the one who performed better than the other to lose twice to a cis woman soon after when they haven’t undergone a full transition yet (so much for ‘domination’) does nothing to prove an inherent disadvantage.
In summary, I’ve shown there is no good reason to believe an advantage is retained by trans women after HRT in terms of their physical performance relative to cis women and why the examples given by pro don't prove the resolution. I’ve shown good evidence that shows trans females equalize in capability the longer that HRT goes on. To quote Sports Med, which holds an even more radical view than con:
“Currently, there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition”
Pro doesn’t give explanation of why some of the factors mentioned have any relation to performance. I’m no expert, and I don’t imagine my opponent is either, but simply saying bigger lungs = better endurance or even just mentioning blood pressure differences exist at all does not suffice because saying that alone is meaningless.
3.1 Why men have an advantage
Data is either limited or hard to come by as to why cis men develop greater physicality than cis women, data is limited/ hard to come by, but studies suggest that greater physical ability is related to distribution/ratio of muscle/fat and the length of muscle fibers. This argument will show why men retain that advantage, the relationship between testosterone levels and said advantage and why other factors are irrelevant.
Pro fails to establish reasons cis men have an advantage beyond the size of the lungs between a man and a woman, saying it makes them better endurance athletes. I will show how fat metabolism/energy production mitigates this impact.. I will examine the role that bone structure/bone-mineral density(BMD), fat metabolism, and testosterone play.
While it is true that men have a BMD, it is also true that race plays a similar role in BMD. Whole body BMD was 0.7g/cm^2 lower in white men than Asian men, 0.8g/cm^2 lower in Asian women than white men. Lumbar spine BMD was 0.13g/cm^2 lower in white men than black men, 0.25g/cm^2 higher in black women than Asian men)[13 (table 4)].
Bone structure/characteristics of the skeletons of black men differ greatly from white men. What we can deduce from this is if BMD/bone structure was the deciding factor, sports would have to both black and trans participation as any advantage from BMD or bone structure is equally seen by race as by sex. Such an idea is ridiculous.
Energy in the body is made largely by releasing free fatty acid (FFA) from adipose tissue, breaking down triglyceride (TGC), then combining it with cholesterol and protein to form chylomicrons. These are then mixed with the blood stream and accessed alongside FFA as a source of energy.
The breakdown of TGC into FFA/the mobilization of FFA to be used as energy happens due to hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), and studies have shown that testosterone is a HSL inhibitor and estrogen increases HSL activity.
We can conclude that estrogen, among other complex factors, enable women to mobilize FFA faster than men and produce more energy, thus making them more capable in terms of endurance (not including strength or speed).
As said in my rebuttals, the effect of HRT on physical ability is immense, and HRT shows the ability to take trans women to the same level as cis women. To reiterate:
- Trans women stopped having an advantage in strength exercises after 2 years of FHT.
- The only study on TS and running showed trans women don’t have an advantage after 1 year of TS.
- Trans women, at times, performed worse than cis women after HRT/FHT[1 (table 4)].
3.2 Why trans women don’t have those advantages
Boston University in the “Practical Guidelines for Transgender Hormone Treatment” says
“A practical target for hormone therapy for transgender women (MTF) is to decrease testosterone levels to the normal female range (30–100 ng/dl)...” What this means is that it is reasonable to expect that testosterone levels in trans females reduce to the level seen in cis females usually. We’ve already established how the strength difference between sexes is due to testosterone.
Con has also shown the advantage in fat metabolism with regards to energy production cis women have over cis men due to testosterone’s inhibitory effects on HSL. We also see that, depending on the point in one’s menstrual cycle, trans women may have less estrogen than cis women, thus putting them at a disadvantage.
Finally, it seems evident that any advantage that trans women receive from their BMD or bone structure is mitigated by the fact that the difference is negligible and or the difference is similar between races as between sex.
3.3 Why any remaining advantage is already seen between cis athletes
Regulations designed to ensure fair competition between cis and trans women harm cis women. Take the examples of Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, both cis Nigerian running athletes who were disqualified from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics because of their testosterone levels. These athletes, by virtue of their own biological ability, have a testosterone level that’s ‘too high’, and were disqualified for it due to the regulations meant to prevent the ‘advantage’ that trans people have.
Imagine if Dean Karnazes, a male runner who seems to never reach his lactate threshold, was forbidden from running. The situations are no different, and in both cases, the internal biology of the runner gives them an advantage, but in one case, the fear of “trans people dominating the sport” prevents women from rightfully participating.
All of the factors that have been looked at have definitively shown that trans women are capable of reaching a level equal to that of cis people or that, where they are not capable, the difference is not enough to qualify an unfair advantage sufficient for disqualification as said difference can already be seen between two cis athletes.
In my speech I’ve shown how research shows trans women are completely capable of reaching the same point as cis women when it comes to running and strength exercises.
I’ve presented constructive arguments/analysis that give compelling evidence that the resolution is false, those arguments/analysis being 1. The factors that give or do not give men an advantage 2. Using argument #1 to prove transgender women do not have an advantage 3. Building upon arguments #1 and #2 to show why any still existing advantage is not an unfair advantage. Even if these arguments don’t stand, it’s not logical to say that trans women have an unfair advantage if there is no good reason to believe they do, as established by my rebuttals.
For these reasons, con sees no reason for the resolution to stand, but rather sees good reason that it is, like most efforts aimed at ‘protecting’ cis women from trans women, misunderstood at best. And just like every other time restrictions are put on trans women to protect cis women, these efforts go on to harm cis women as well.
If you want to talk about trans women ‘stealing’ cis women’s trophies, then take one look at Christine Mbomba and ask her how she feels about being barred from even competing for the trophy because her participation is 'unfair'.
For these reasons, so proud to oppose.