Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Here I am Preaching What I Cannot Do, but I try...

In this post, I will preach what I can rarely do. But try this with me as a thought experiment.

Lia Thomas was born a man. She has since come to the realization that she has always been a woman, mentally, and then underwent hormone treatments to remove her testosterone and build up here estrogen so she can also be a woman physically. Which, good on you, Lia.

But Lia is also a competitive swimmer at Penn, an Ivy League University (which tends to mean the students are smart, but not so athletic). In that conference, she is winning - a lot. 

For the media the basic question is, is it fair for a trans athlete to compete with women who were born physically women? Even if Lia now has little to no testosterone now, is it still an unfair advantage? 

My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that Lia does have an advantage. Despite her transitioned body now, her musculature was developed as a young man. Seeing her, I see a woman, but a woman with male frame. I COULD BE WRONG. But that is how I see it.

But now, let's step back and look at it from a dispassionate distance. And the answer must be for me, "Who the fuck cares?" Is it an unfair advantage? Probably, but in a GAME. A University Sport should NOT be all that different that red light / green light when you are six years old. It is a game. It was not designed to bring prestige or profit (and swimming does not bring profits, even now). Most college sports were created as games between Universities. Designed to bring schools' students together for a shared experience. Not designed to be fought over in courts.

I get that we forget this motivation; particularly people like me that love college football or basketball. And these two sports have moved - rightly or wrongly - into massive monetary status and a pipeline to the professional athletes.

Most college sports are not (and should not) be more than what they are now. People PLAY games. Even college games, like women's ice hockey or men's water polo. Lia isn't going to make money from swimming.

So the question should be are the students having fun? And I get that winning is more fun than losing. But either one should be PART of the university experience, not your entire purpose.

And, if often seems that the great majority of people actually playing these sports have no problem with Lia, or the rules. A few do, and more of the parents do than the students. But it is a game, not the purpose of college.

Having said that, UCLA just beat U of A (Arizona) which was ranked 3rd in basketball. Go Bruins!


  1. Michael Phelps is double jointed which gives him an advantage in the pool. Some basketball players are taller than average and have very large hands which give them an advantage handling the ball. Their having physical advantages in their sports don't disqualify them. Lia was born with muscles that makes her stronger than the average Joe or Jill and she's no longer producing testosterone that enhances muscle development. I don't believe gender change should disqualify her.

  2. Well said and thought out. As I said, it is not something I have decided anything about. But your comment makes me think differently.


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