Lola Goes to the Olympics

Women first competed in the Olympic Games in 1900 in Paris, participating in tennis, sailing, croquet, equestrianism, and golf. By 2016, 45 percent of participants were women. Men and women competitions were separate for obvious reasons of strength and speed.

Yet this summer at the Tokyo Olympic Games, these two distinct categories may be blurred with transgender athletes competing, specifically transgender biologic males competing against biologic females. Lola, who “walked like a woman but talked like a man” will be an Olympian.

New Zealander Laurel Hubbard, is a biologic male now aged 43, who competed as a male weightlifter until transitioning into a female in her mid 30s. She won a silver medal at the 2017 world championships and has a serious shot at winning a medal in Tokyo.

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Her participation is understandably controversial, not so much from a social justice or wokeness perspective, but over basic physiology and fairness. The International Olympic Committee however is focusing on being woke, like Coca Cola, Delta, United, and other American corporations. Per their new guidelines, via The Guardian:

Under IOC guidelines, issued in November 2015, athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without requiring surgery to remove their testes provided their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months – a rule followed by the IWF.

However, a number of scientific papers have recently shown people who have undergone male puberty retain significant advantages in power and strength even after taking medication to suppress their testosterone levels. Hubbard lived as a male for 35 years and did not compete in international weightlifting. But since transitioning in 2012 she has won several elite titles.

The IOC misses the important point about male puberty, which is when testosterone separates boys from girls in terms of muscle mass, strength, and power. The level of testosterone in adulthood matters little as the athletic engine has already been built during puberty. A new operating system in an old phone won’t make it a new phone, instead only crashing it. Is the high rate of suicide among transgender youth a similar crash?

Let’s look at some specific sports, first weightlifting as that’s the sport currently in the spotlight.

In the 69 kg weight class, the world record for men is 357 kg versus 275 kg for women, close to a 25 percent difference. Biologic women competing against biologic men would have no chance of getting anywhere near the medal stand.

Track is no better. Take the 200-meter race as an example. The women’s record is 21.34 seconds, set in 1988. How would men’s times in the 2016 Olympics compare in this same event?

There were 10 heats in the men’s 200-meter event at the Rio games, each heat with 7 or 8 runners. Of the 80 or so male runners, all but 5 had a time that would have broken the women’s 28-year standing women’s Olympic record.

This means that almost all the competing men, if competing as a transgender woman, would have easily won the gold medal and three of them would be standing on the medal podium. How is this fair to female athletes?

Team sports fare no better. The US women’s soccer team, 2015 World Cup winners, lost to a 15-and-under boys team from Dallas. Another example occurred in Australia when the women’s national team lost a practice match 7-0 to a teenage boys team.

Where are women’s rights advocates? Where are the so-called feminists? A few decades ago, Helen Reddy sang, “I am woman, hear me roar,” and Virginia Slims cigarettes proclaimed, “You’ve come a long way baby.” Not so much today. Helen Reddy encouraged women, “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman” but the IOC today says otherwise.

Speak up or roar and you might as well be talking about hydroxychloroquine, election fraud, or Hunter Biden’s laptop. You will be told to shut up.

Former Olympic weightlifter Tracey Lambrechs says females are being told to “be quiet” when they complain about the fairness of transgender New Zealand athlete Laurel Hubbard competing in women’s competitions.

"I've had female weightlifters come up to me and say, 'what do we do? This isn’t fair, what do we do?'. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do because every time we voice it we get told to be quiet."

Former Olympic decathlon champion and now California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner has her own opinions, reflecting being on both sides of this controversy.

She recently told a reporter,

It’s a question of fairness. That's why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls' sports in school. It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova agrees,

It's insane and it's cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.

These are not fringe opinions from right-wing fanatics. Jenner is transgendered and Navratilova is a lesbian, both strong supporters of LGBT rights but also of athletic fairness, the latter a concept lost on the woke left.

Transgender athletes certainly have the right to compete at all levels of sport, but in their own category, for the benefit of themselves and for fairness toward other athletes.  I’m sure corporate America would be tripping over themselves to support a Transgender Olympics. There is precedent for carving out a special competition for different types of athletes. The Special Olympics promote athletics for “people with intellectual disabilities” through training and competition on a fair playing field. Why not the same for transgendered athletes?

Leave the traditional Olympic Games alone, with two categories for competition, those with XX chromosomes and those with XY chromosomes, a binary option regardless of one’s identified gender or preference.

Otherwise, expect lots of Lolas on the medal stand in Tokyo.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer. He is on sabbatical from social media.

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