Home Feminism Gender Discrimination In Sports Is Rational And Thus Something That Should Be...

Gender Discrimination In Sports Is Rational And Thus Something That Should Be Done



Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports violates the civil rights of athletes who have always identified as female, the US Education Department has determined in a decision that could force the state to change course to keep federal funding and influence others to do the same.

A letter from the department’s civil rights office, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by the Associated Press, came in response to a complaint filed last year by several cisgender female track athletes who argued that two transgender female runners had an unfair physical advantage.

The office said in the 45-page letter that it may seek to withhold federal funding over the policy, which allows athletes to participate under the gender with which they identify. The policy is a violation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that guarantees equal education opportunities for women, including in athletics, the office said.

We’re back to the old thing about rational and taste discrimination. Sometimes differences don’t matter – as with gender and trading bonds – and sometimes they do – when making babies. Rational discrimination is discriminating when it is rational to discriminate because the differences are relevant to this decision.

So, why do we have a separate category of sport for women? Because the usual and general physical differences between men and women make it rational to do so.

There are sports where this is not so. Equestrianism for example, and that’s one of the sports where men and women compete on entirely equal grounds. I’ve played mixed (field) hockey and there’s a good reason for it being both teams that have to be mixed in equal proportion. The men hit harder, run faster and can generally monster the women players. It’s the team mixture that allows it to be a sport. Anyone who thinks that men and women can or should box or play rugby on entirely equal terms is insane.

We have good examples of how things would play out if we didn’t have the gender discrimination:

Karsten Braasch (born 14 July 1967) is a German former professional tennis player. His highest ATP singles ranking was World No. 38, which he reached in June 1994. His career-high in doubles was World No. 36, achieved in November 1997. He was well-noted for his service motion and his habit of smoking during changeovers.

Braasch competed in a “Battle of the Sexes” contest against the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) at the 1998 Australian Open when he was ranked 203. Braasch was described by one journalist as “a man whose training regime centred around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager”. He nonetheless defeated both sisters, playing a single set against each, beating Serena 6–1 and Venus 6–2. Braasch was thirty years old at the time, while Venus and Serena were seventeen and sixteen, respectively.

Or perhaps:

In preparation for two upcoming friendlies against Russia, the U.S. women’s national team played the FC Dallas U-15 boys academy team on Sunday and fell 5-2, according to FC Dallas’ official website.


Australia’s national women’s soccer team have suffered a devastating defeat in the lead up to the Rio Olympics – going down 7-0 to the Newcastle Jets under-15 boys side.

What is particularly concerning for the Matildas is that despite resting some regulars, they were still able to field experienced international stars including former AFC player of the year Katrina Gorry.

Despite the embarrassing defeat on Wednesday night at Valentine Sports Park in Newcastle, the Australian team will travel to Brazil as one of the gold medal favourites.

The reason we discriminate concerning gender in sport is because without that discrimination there would be no women’s sport. Or at best very, very, little that any women would win. Simply on the grounds of how human musculature works.

Or, to go back to our economic definitions of rational and taste, to ban women from a tiddleywinks competition would be taste discrimination, to prevent a female boxer from getting into a ring with Mike Tyson – even at his current age – is rational.

Which brings us to the current situation. Two youngsters think they’re birds – or, to use more modern politesse, self-identify as female. How excellent, that’s really cool and there are vast areas of life where you can do whatever the hell you damn well want to laddies – or ladies. Dress as you wish, preferences on pronouns, grades in exams and all sorts of things are entirely open to you as you wish. But where physical reality means that you screw up one of the distinctions we make for good reason then you don’t get to do so. We limit women’s sport to women because the physical effects of sex hormones make a damn big difference. So big that without the limitation there would be no high level women’s sport. So, sorry, you’re outa luck here.

All of which brings us to another economic observation, there are no solutions only trade offs. Someone’s rights are going to get trampled upon here. Whose?



  1. The world is truly gone mad when ” athletes who have always identified as female” is written rather than ” athletes who are women”

    • It does seem to be strangely worded. Does it mean that male people claiming to have always identified as female get to compete with women? Not hugely helpful, if so.

  2. To me, my rights are being trampled on. I have to try and remember if some bloke is calling himself a woman, and remember to call him her, and other garbage. As you say, I don’t care if the bloke dresses as a bint, and prances around in the woman’s toilets (although the birds might) but I don’t want to have to think about him or exert myself in any way to facilitate his idiocy.

    I simply don’t want his preferences to be any sort of nuisance to me.


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