There is no defence for allowing males to compete as females

There is no defence for allowing males to compete as females

Swimming World Magazine recently published an article in defence of allowing males to compete as females. It was written by Lucas Draper (LD), a female athlete who self-identifies as a man.

Linda Blade, PhD Kinesiology, is a Sport Performance Coach. She has written a comprehensive and critical response that accuses Draper of emotional gaslighting.

Firstly, there is the appeal to our common human condition: “Lia Thomas is a person first” and “deserves some basic human decency.” This statement is unconvincing. Female athletes are equally deserving of respect and decency.

Secondly, there is the presumption to interpret intent: “No transgender athlete wants to compete in their preferred gender simply because they could get an edge.” How does LD know? How does anybody know what is in the heart and mind of each competitor? It is irrelevant, in any case. We don’t select sports teams or eligibility based upon someone’s internal motivation. It is not the role of sports officials to read hearts and minds of athletes. 

Thirdly, there is implied discrimination: Lia Thomas “should be allowed to compete as who she is.” This statement is not only meaningless, but also threatens the integrity of sports. What if “who she is” happens to be a 20-year-old seeking to compete with 13-year-olds? Participation in sports necessarily involves restrictions. It can never be an open forum where competitors are allowed to join based upon subjective preference.

Blade goes on to address the appeal to victimhood, exposing it as a moot point as Lia Thomas is a male competing in a female sporting category. She also criticises the attempt to shut down debate by extremists who insist on hijacking language and pronouns.

Self-identity is not relevant in sport as biological reality determines the differences.

“The distinction between male versus female biological design is categorical; in the same way that, say, a NASCAR vehicle is distinct from an F1 car in auto racing. Different design. Different category. Different races.”

Blade also criticised the NCAA rules claiming they “were poorly conceived back in 2011 and look ridiculous now that Lia Thomas has chosen to take advantage of them.”

Contrary to what was presented to the NCAA back in 2011, all research to date indicates that medical intervention is completely inadequate in transforming a male body into the female design – anatomically or physiologically – as discussed in this review of the literature by Hilton and Lundberg.

The best solution according to Blade, and many would agree, is to “convert the men’s category into ‘open’ (for men, transwomen, and other identities) and keep the women’s category restricted to the ‘female’ athlete (and no doping allowed).”

Binary spokeswoman, Kirralie Smith, agreed.

“It is absolutely absurd to think that males can legitimately compete as females without advantage,” she said.

“Women must be protected and provided a safe and fair competitive environment. Biology matters. Either athletes compete in their biological category or a third category needs to be included.”