Author Topic: A random thread for sport things that don't really warrant a thread of their own  (Read 47868 times)

Steph

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The campaign of hatred against trans women ... wins another casualty in Casters Semenya.

Caster Semenya is not a "trans woman"

No, she isn't. But the campaign, which started with Navratilova  and was then picked up by Davies, Radcliffe, etc, was all about trans women, and the word repeatedly used is "cheat". The narrative has been very, very clear in its focus, and it goes "Lots of third-rate male athletes will self-define as female and fo through years of hormone therapy to become world champions..."

McKinnon won one race, in this particular narrative, against a cis woman, who then complained. They had raced against each other around a dozen times previously, and the cis woman had won every single time. The one race Rachel won, there was an immediate cry of "CHEAT!".

The IOC set out a whole range of criteria for trans women fifteen years ago. By the logic involved in the complaints going on*, the record books and medal tables should have been dominated by men pretending to be trans women who go through HRT just long enough to win everything, and then transition back to male. That hasn't happened, has it?

What HAS happened is a sustained and really vicious campaign of personal abuse and hatred against all trans women, which has intensified over the last few years. This particular "CHEAT!" narrative is just part of it. Semenya fell foul of it precisely because people like Navratilova have been shouting "Not Fair!" that some people have genetic advantages over others. Unfortunately, that is what elite sport is all about.

I could look at a swimming or running champion like Sharron Davies or Paula Radcliffe, and shout "CHEAT!" back. They are both taller by far than the average woman, so have inborn genetic advantages. How does that differ from Semenya? Should we start excluding e.g. Kenyan distance runners because their genetics makes them "CHEATS!" due to their cardiovascular system?

Citoyen, one of the side-effects of privilege is that one doesn't pick up on what happens in the lives of those without that privilege. Those with white privilege, for example, will often miss the signs of systematic racism at all levels. Cisgender people will not have picked up on the relentless campaign of transphobic hatred pouring out from everywhere in the MSM (e.g.Times: 323 hate articles against trans women in 2018. So far this year, they have peaked at five on one day). Those articles have stirred up a pile of crap that has now fallen on "Caster Semenya is not a trans woman".

The remedy offered by the TERFs is illogical. It involves treating her with drugs that they claim explicitly are evil and harmful. They take ONE natural advantage enjoyed by a tiny number of women, and blow it up as cheating (their explicit word. once more) while ignoring the other advantages some other women enjoy (height, reach, proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres).  Underneath Semenya's treatment, as I have linked, there is a real stench of racism.

Citoyen et al: privilege. Without being in my shoes, it is very unlikely you will have picked up on the continual flow of hatred towards us. It is everywhere, from Twitter through the press (including the Graun) to stickers being put up in women's toilets. Casters Semenya is indeed "not a ;trans woman' " (BTW, why the quotation marks?) but she is a casualty of organised and systematic anti-trans bigotry. Put yourself in my shoes for a few moments; start by looking at the 'women's rights' chat board on Mumsnet for a feel of where the narrative comes from.

Then those of you who may or may not support her ban can explain to me why one, and only one, natural variation in perfectly normal female human genetics should have been singled out in this way. No, Citoyen, she is not a trans woman**. She is just an extraordinary female athlete being penalised for no valid reason because of bigots who hate other women from a different group.

No trans athletes at all in the Olympics in fifteen years, much less dominating medal tables and records. Fact.

*The same people pushing the "CHEAT!" narrative are exactly the same ones who claim that 'men' have genital surgery so as to be able to enter women's spaces in order to rape little girls with the penis they no longer have. Yes, that is really what they say.

** Trans women are women. Fact. Law in this country and in others.

Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

The reason why this case is complex, and why the parallel with Phelps or Kenyan runners or whoever is not a good one is because athletics has 2 categories - an "open" category where men compete, and a protected category where only women can compete. There are no such protected categories in swimming or running where you have to be a certain size or shape (unlike boxing for example).

Once the powers that be have created the concept that there is a protected category where only women can race, then they have to draw a boundary and define what that means. And unlike weight in boxing, this definition is where things get complicated. There has to be some sort of restrictions to stop a man just declaring themselves female and then winning (the chances of this happening are pretty small, but because of the performance advantages a man has in sports like running, they wouldn't need to be a world class man to produce times that compete with world class women).

The theory that the IAAF came up with was that the performance advantage that athletes with DSD (or trans athletes, though that's only an aside in this case) have is down to the level of testosterone that their body produces. They have some science (which many have attacked as dodgy) to back this up, and that's what they took to CAS and allowed to win this case (after losing the Dutee Chand case). By that measure, while they fully accept that Semenya is a woman, and that to exclude her unless she artificially reduces her testosterone level is discrimination, it is necessary to ensure the integrity of the competition. Similar (I think more stringent?) requirements are also placed on male to female transgender athletes.

It is debatable if a reasonable medical professional could prescribe drugs to do this testosterone reduction to a healthy female athlete. As I understand it, it wouldn't be within the normal scope of the drug use, and so ethically it is extremely dubious.

Rachel McKinnon argues that having to reduce her level of testosterone infringes her human rights, and she shouldn't have to do this. I have less sympathy with her than I do with Semenya, because I think that there are more "integrity of competition" questions. Maybe this is just a bias and I am discriminating against her, in which case I apologise. Many TERFs (and just transphobes) are of the opinion that she shouldn't be allowed to compete at all because she has physical advantages due to growing up with a male level of hormones. I think there ought to be some science done on this to determine the level of advantage (if any) is gained, and the testosterone reduction rules as they are seem to have created a level playing field and maintained the integrity of competition.

I recognise that I'm in a massively privileged position of being a white cis male, so if I have not captured some nuance (and I'm sure there is some element of racism involved - the 2 most recent CAS cases being brought by BAME women) I would appreciate being corrected.

Steph

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A thoughtful reply. Thank you.

First, Casters is female, and within the range of development that females fall into. She no more deserves "special" treatment than Sharron Davies, who is much taller and more muscular than the typical female range. There is also Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which produces raised testosterone levels in women. The reaction of the TERFs is "Oh.... Squirrel! Look!". In essence, if one natural genetic variation is to be penalised, what others should be hit?

Second, Casters, as I explained to Citoyen, is not trans. She is collateral damage resulting from a hate campaign against trans women driven by TERFs. You have hit the nail squarely there, because an awful lot of TERFs are out-and-out racists. "Posie Parker", for example, is a Tommy Yaxley-Pseudonym supporter. Other bigotry involves misandry (look up 'political lesbian') and biphobia. The general claim is that the single most oppressed group of people on the planet are affluent, white, well-educated women living in nice areas. The hate group meetings have a demography that almost entirely maps that of the KKK.

Third, there has been a scientific experiment running for the last 15 years. It is called "The Olympics". According to the haters, every event and record in the women's field should now be dominated by trans women. The results are clear, in that there are no trans women competitors at all, never mind record-breakers. It would therefore appear that the measures put in place by the IOC not only work, but could be considered as excessively rigorous.

Finally, please avoid using DSD. It is a term with a long history, and it is not well-liked by those who fall within the category (like myself*). Originally, the first D was for 'disorder', then it stood for 'difference'. A preferred term now is "Variations in Sexual Characteristics" (VSC), and there is a frequent separation into Intersex/VSC. The idea is that intersex people have characteristics from both sides of binary sex, whereas VSC people (such as those with hypospadias) are clearly one or the other conventional binary sex.

As a matter of interest, the hate forums (who routinely claim that trans rights supporters, including Keira Knightley, are 'obvs' trans women**) are now demanding that Casters be stripped of all her medals and records. They are also targeting a selection of other athletes (ALL BAME) who they 'suspect' are trans or I/VSC.

*I have had at least three operations, starting from infancy, that were done to correct my genitalia. Among other procedures, I have had a gonad removed from my abdomen. The reasons for such procedures, the last one being at age 25, have neither been disclosed nor accurately recorded. The first operation, which produced an interesting collection of scar tissue around my scrotum, was not recorded at all.

** The usual term is "TIM", standing for "Trans Identified Male". In Casters' case, the discussion has been about 'backwards countries'. As said, the KKK would love these people, and do: their allies pay for them to visit the USA.
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Apologies for using the wrong term - I was following this article which I took to be non-offensive seeing as he was part of Caster Semenyas team: https://sportsscientists.com/2019/05/on-dsds-the-theory-of-testosterone-performance-the-cas-ruling-on-caster-semenya/

While I agree with much of what you say, I don't agree that the Olympics is a scientific experiment. It is evidence of sorts, but it has so many compounding variables that it is not a well designed experiment. For example, we don't know how many athletes are suppressing their hormones in a way to allow them to compete under the IOC rules. Maybe the rules carry such a burden so as to make the rest of life too unpleasant to maintain such a treatment regime.  Maybe this is because when doing so, even the exceptionally talented are unable to hit the times to make it to the Olympics. Maybe it is because there are relatively few people who have VSC and the few that combine this with athletic talent have been hounded out of the sport by their coaches/peers. Maybe there are some who have done so and are not public about it?

As for stripping of records, she was within the rules at the time.  Even if you accept them as they are now, those medals and records stand.

Out of curiosity, do you think that Rachel McKinnon is correct, and she should be able to compete with no hormone suppression? While I appreciate it is may not be optimal for health, I find it hard to balance that concept with a protected category for women. There are many athletes who will take action damaging to their health in order to be able to compete in a particular category (eg boxers/jockeys cutting to make weight), but we accept that in order to maintain the categorisation system.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
(BTW, why the quotation marks?)

Because, for one reason, among others:

Quote
Trans women are women

The terminology around this subject is politically charged and philosophically problematic. I'll leave it at that for now.

The campaign of hatred against trans women ... wins another casualty in Casters Semenya.

Caster Semenya is not a "trans woman"


I could look at a swimming or running champion like Sharron Davies or Paula Radcliffe, and shout "CHEAT!" back. They are both taller by far than the average woman, so have inborn genetic advantages. How does that differ from Semenya? Should we start excluding e.g. Kenyan distance runners because their genetics makes them "CHEATS!" due to their cardiovascular system?


It differs for 2 reasons:
1. As DuncanM has described, the female category in sports stands opposite the 'open' category.  At some levels, it is specified as male or female, but it is often 'open' and then 'female', with the latter being a restricted category. To have a restricted category, there needs to be a delineator.  The IAAF want to include testosterone, which is a substance known to increase performance, where there is a significant difference between male and female production.
2. The limit imposed is 3 times the 95th percentile of testosterone production in all women. In your example, Davies and Radcliffe would need to be nearly 5 metres tall. If they were 5 metres tall, I'm fairly certain people would consider that to be an unfair advantage.



Second, Casters, as I explained to Citoyen, is not trans. She is collateral damage resulting from a hate campaign against trans women driven by TERFs. You have hit the nail squarely there, because an awful lot of TERFs are out-and-out racists. "Posie Parker", for example, is a Tommy Yaxley-Pseudonym supporter. Other bigotry involves misandry (look up 'political lesbian') and biphobia. The general claim is that the single most oppressed group of people on the planet are affluent, white, well-educated women living in nice areas. The hate group meetings have a demography that almost entirely maps that of the KKK.



The questions surrounding Semenya have been ongoing since 2009, when she underwent a 'sex test' (unknown to her) before a major championships. Trying to claim that this is a hate campaign and representative of a trans issue is actually quite insulting to the woman who is simply trying to argue that she should be able to run as the woman she is. She's quite right to feel aggrieved - there hasn't been a consistent rule, and she has found herself at the sharp end of a system that can now test for things, whilst needing to ask 'should we test for these things?'

Telling Citoyen to check his privilege is jarring - women of colour often remind white women (and men) that feminism needs to be inclusive feminism. Using a woman of colour as your political football is no better than what you are accusing the people you refer to as TERFs of doing. Your posts also suggest that you perhaps haven't spent as much time reflecting on your own privilege as you are asking others to do - you refer to 'Casters' in all of your posts. If you were referring to the well-known cyclist Bradley Wiggins, would you refer to him as Bradley, or would you, as most commentators would, refer to him as 'Wiggins'? The tendency to refer to female sportspeople by their first name, and male sportspeople by their surname, is a form of gender discrimination.

Steph

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Jasmine, the reason I have stressed the trans issue is something you seem to have missed from my comments, and explanation to Citoyen et al: The person we are talking about is collateral damage in a campaign that has, from the start, been about trans women. It started with Navratilova, and was then picked up by Davies and Radcliffe. The term used all along has been "cheat".

Citoyen:
"The terminology around this subject is politically charged and philosophically problematic. I'll leave it at that for now."

No. Not acceptable, and false equivalence, unless you also think that discussions about race and sexuality should also be treated as "politically etc".

For example:
Gay "marriage".
Black "people".

Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Cudzoziemiec

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In a parallel universe, someone has just mentioned their own private parallel universe in which Forest Green Rovers are Premier League champions. And this person was not Jaded!
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Liverpool v Barcelona...  :o
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

mcshroom

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That last goal!
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Her name is Caster Semenya. Not Casters.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
That last goal!

I'm not going to get tired of watching that in a hurry.

For anyone who missed it:
https://twitter.com/GaryLineker/status/1125888430511132675

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
That last goal!
... and again! This time just how late it was.
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Steph

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Quote from: fimm on Yesterday at 12:12:07 pm
Her name is Caster Semenya. Not Casters.


My error. Now, I note that the regulations that have come in for "DSD" athletes [an abbreviation abhorred by I/VSC people like me, whichever of the words the first 'D' is meant to stand for) ONLY apply to those with XY conditions. In other words, the shouting and yelling about cheating and unfair advantage of extra testosterone only applies to intersex people with XY chromosomes. Not I/VSC or endosex people with XX genotypes.

In other words, endosex women with e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome (one symptom: excess T) or XX intersex people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (main symptom: excess T) are not being targeted.

Jasmine, as you can see, your explanation about T-levels is correct only in as far as the new regs will apply to a specific group of intersex women, and only them. In short, a perfectly normal genetic variation, as normal as hair colour, is being singled out for control.

As for this idea of "open" versus "women's" categories. that is not correct. The division has always been male or female. This "open" nonsense is an artefact of the anti-trans lobby, whose hatred of one tiny group of women has led directly to the ruin of another woman's sporting career. But then the bigots don't actually give a shit who gets hurt, as long as they can shout "PENIS!" at trans women and call it "reasonable, evidence-based debate"

Sharron Davies, just to confirm my suspicions of "Oh, her skin's a bit dark, isn't it?"-ism, is now retweeting posts from Nick Griffin. That was followed by her comments about Africa being a bit backward.
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Jaded

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In a parallel universe, someone has just mentioned their own private parallel universe in which Forest Green Rovers are Premier League champions. And this person was not Jaded!

A couple more years yet, I think!

Play-off semi final tomorrow, with Tranmere up for revenge for the play-off final two years ago.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
In a parallel universe, someone has just mentioned their own private parallel universe in which Forest Green Rovers are Premier League champions. And this person was not Jaded!

A couple more years yet, I think!

Play-off semi final tomorrow, with Tranmere up for revenge for the play-off final two years ago.
My prediction: Rovers for the win! But which Rovers?
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
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    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary

Play-off semi final tomorrow, with Tranmere up for revenge for the play-off final two years ago.


This could lead to ructions among the members of Half Man Half Biscuit, since Nigel Blackwell and bassist Neil Crossley are rabid Tranmere supporters while drummer Carl Henry has been spotted wearing an FGR shirt during gigs.
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Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Well done Billy Monger!  :thumbsup:
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Wowbagger

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https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2019/may/26/charlton-athletic-v-sunderland-league-one-play-off-final-live

I don't know if the people in charge of the graphics have given that page any thought at all.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Mr Larrington

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Come on you Reds ;D  Professor Larrington anf lifelong Charlton supporter Dr Davis were there.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Steph

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A fair and balanced evidence-based debate.

https://twitter.com/mimmymum/status/1135605424336572416
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

fd3

I rarely purchase a jersey from my#localteam.  I should stick with this policy, as they have lost 4 matches in a row since I bought it.
[/I could be wrong]

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
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    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Someone left a Liverpool FC beanie hat on a fence post next to today's obligatory standing stone.  May well be the most northerly Liverpool FC beanie hat in BRITAIN.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

fd3

I rarely purchase a jersey from my#localteam.  I should stick with this policy, as they have lost 4 matches in a row since I bought it.
Since it has been in the wash and hiding in the closet my#localteam have won all their games.  I would be tempted to burn it if it would continue our unbeaten run.
[/I could be wrong]

Cudzoziemiec

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You should post it to a random address in the town of your#local team's biggest rivals.
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.