Observations of An Englishman: Transgender Issues In Sport

Transgender women In Sport. Pic by BBC

by Neil Bamforth

I caught a very entertaining debate on Breakfast TV this morning. I usually tune into the BBC Breakfast program, mainly because the constant interruptions of adverts on ITV gets on my nerves. However, as we’d switched the TV off last night after watching ITV, it was still set on that channel.

As I sat drinking my morning coffee and switched on, up popped the face of Piers Morgan – not necessarily the first thing you want to see of a morning – and he was interviewing some professor I’d never heard of regarding transgender participation in sport.

Much to my amazement, I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Piers Morgan, and thinking professor ‘whoever he was’ had to be barking mad.

I considered whether my unexpected agreement with Piers Morgan had anything to do with the strength of my coffee but, having established that my coffee was my normal brand, and didn’t contain any hallucinogens, I continued listening to the debate.

The professor insisted that, in order to ensure inclusivityβ€”I always sniff suspiciously at anyone using words like thatβ€”then it was necessary for transgender people to compete in their appropriate gender sports. To object to this would be, continued the mad professor, transphobic β€”another cause for sniffing suspiciously as soon as such words are said in my book.

Morgan pointed out, quite sensibly, that whilst men who believe they are women are quite entitled to change their gender, they were, nonetheless, born men.

Therefore, they have the physical attributes of men. As a result, it is clearly unfair on women born women to have to compete with women born men.

Makes perfect sense. As much as women and men being ‘equal’ makes perfect sense, such equality cannot be transferred into many sports.

No matter how skillful and powerful Martina Navratilova was as a tennis player, she could not, at the peak of her powers, have competed with Pete Sampras at the peak of his powers. It isn’t about equality, it’s about common sense.

As ‘equal’ as men and women should be, they cannot be entirely equal in all senses. It is, at this stage in our evolution, physically impossible.

The mad professor babbled on, and on, and on about how transgender women must be allowed to compete in sport against women born women and, eventually, Piers Morgan ended the interview by saying “You are wrong, I am right.”

And he was. I know he was because I even sniffed my coffee and still he was right.

I do understand the drive for ‘equality’ be it between men and women, gay and straight, black and white or what ever it may be. Equality is right and proper. It is also, in my book, sensible.

Equality must, however, contain ‘common sense’.

I do exactly the same job as a woman, we earn the same money. Simple.

A man born a man who should have been born a woman should also be equal to a man born a man who is quite happy being a man. Simple.

A transgender man with the physical attributes of a man is not made equal by competing against women born women. The are made unequal. They have a clear and unfair advantage. Professor whatever his name was is clearly barking mad.

The perpetual, and generally valid, drive for equality has ‘come off the rails’. In fact, I would suggest, in this instance, there weren’t any rails there in the first place.

Piers Morgan on my TV in the morning isn’t usually right either. But on this occasion, even if that was still wrong, he was right.

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Posted by on March 4, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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7 Responses to Observations of An Englishman: Transgender Issues In Sport

  1. Bill Formby Reply

    March 4, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Neil, while I agree with you about Piers Morgan, it got me to thinking about males competing against females in gymnastics. While they might have the acrobatic skills to do some of the same things the women do I just can’t picture myself giving a male more than a 1.5 in the floor routine or the balance beam. There is a grace to those two events that I just cannot see a male pulling off, not to mention that a guys butt (sorry, Gluteus Maximus) just would not look the same in those routines.

    • jess Reply

      March 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Pshaw, have you seen Adam Rippon’s butt when he skates, it’s a thing of beauty. Kit Harrington, Sam Heughan and their butts could give some female butts a run for their money.

  2. Neil Bamforth Reply

    March 4, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Precisely Bill!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Piers Morgan being right though! That has to be a first!!!

  3. Timmy Mahoney Reply

    March 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I’m with Bill on this one!

  4. Neil Bamforth Reply

    March 4, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ You’re in the team Timmy!

  5. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    March 5, 2019 at 10:06 am

    There’s some semantic chicanery here – equal does not mean identical. Equal treatment under the law is not equal treatment under the admission policies of the girl’s basketball team. The debating team? Sure.

    That confusion isn’t just sloppy language skills, it’s politics. The idea is that gender is attitude only and has nothing to do with those pesky chromosomes or their results. Hell no it’s not fair

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