In the article “A Fair and Inclusive Solution for Transgender Women in Sports,” authors Donna Lopiano and Mariah Burton Nelson address the issue of how to include transgender women in sports while also ensuring fair competition for cisgender women. The authors argue that the traditional binary approach to this issue, which sees the inclusion of transgender women as a threat to the fairness of women’s sports, is not a sufficient solution. Instead, they propose the Women’s Sports Umbrella, a nonbinary approach that allows all people who identify as female to participate in women’s sports teams, but also includes competition within this umbrella to determine who would represent the team in official competitions.
The authors recognize that transgender women, who were born with biologically male bodies, may still possess physiological advantages over cisgender women even after hormone therapy or surgery. These advantages, which result from the physiological changes that occur during male puberty, include longer and denser bones, more muscle tissue, more strength, more speed, greater height, and greater lung capacity. These differences can give men a performance advantage of up to 50% in sports. In order to account for these differences within the Women’s Sports Umbrella, the authors suggest that physiological data be collected and used to set performance standards.
The authors also address the arguments made by those who support the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sports without conditions. These arguments include the low number of transgender women athletes, the vulnerability of transgender girls as a minority group with a higher-than-average suicide rate, and the discrimination faced by transgender people. While the authors recognize the validity of these concerns, they argue that the inclusion of performance-advantaged transgender women at the expense of cisgender women would violate the core reason for separate women’s sports competitions, which is to ensure fair competition.
Overall, the authors’ proposal for the Women’s Sports Umbrella offers a more nuanced and nonbinary approach to the issue of transgender women in sports, one that seeks to include transgender women in the team environment while also ensuring fair competition for cisgender women.
In conclusion, the issue of transgender women in sports requires a nuanced and nonbinary approach that recognizes the diversity of individuals and their experiences. Its not clear if the Women’s Sports Umbrella, proposed by Lopiano and Nelson, offers a solution. It is important that these issues are handled carefully and thoughtfully, as the future of women’s sports could be at stake. As a father with a daughter, it is important to ensure that women have the opportunity to participate in sports if they choose without being disadvantaged.