Doctors say transgender women should be allowed to compete in female sports because it boosts ‘their mental health and self-esteem’
Transgender young people should be allowed to participate in women’s sports competitions at school and university level to protect their health, doctors say.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee said there are many benefits to playing sports, including improving mental health, self-esteem and reducing the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.
They advocated for trans people to be allowed to compete in the gender category of their choice in elementary, middle, high school and university. But they admitted that competitive sports were a different matter because participants had invested their entire careers in the sport.
They warned that a wave of 22 bans targeting transgender athletes in schools and colleges was harming the group’s mental and physical health and discouraging them from participating in sporting competitions.
In an interview, lead author and sports medicine expert Dr. Alexander Sin said: “Does it matter who gets a medal at a third-year competition?
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee said there are many benefits to playing sports, including improving mental health, self-esteem and reducing the risk of chronic diseases ( stock image). Pictured above are Lia Thomas, center, Iszak Henig, left, and Nikki Venema after Ms. Thomas won the 100-yard freestyle at the Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in February of last year.
Tara Seplavy, center, pictured on the podium after winning a bicycle race in Pennsylvania. Maya Brothers, who came in second, was not embarrassed to lose to a trans woman. But third-place competitor Jaqueline Paull, right, appears to have been offended.
In the United States, approximately 300,000 young people aged 13 to 17 are estimated to be transgender, which equates to 1.7% of the high school population. Of these, about half are biological males who identify as female.
Write in an opinion article for JAMA PediatricsResearchers emphasized transgender youth’s participation in sports as well as the ability to compete.
They said sports medicine doctors, pediatricians and primary care families should take an “active role” in promoting this.
The research team came from Vanderbilt University, which is currently under fire for allegedly sharing medical records of transgender adults with the state without removing their identities. A federal investigation has been launched, with some of those affected claiming that the state had requested this information in an effort to “negatively target the transgender community.”
Also from the University of Rochester in New York was a researcher, who also sparked controversy for offering a “gender-affirming” care course to teachers with students as young as five. He was accused of training local school staff in “transgender ideology.”
When asked if trans women have an advantage over biological women during an interview with STAT NewsDr Sin said: “(Some research has shown that) trans women are superior to cis women due to certain strengths and speed measures.
“But the problem is that it doesn’t translate into athletic performance.
“It’s not like you squat more and that translates into jumping higher, or you can bench press heavier so you can throw things further.”
“There are also techniques and other elements that come into play, because otherwise the strongest person would win all the medals, and that’s not true.”
Society is divided over whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in women’s sports.
However, when Lia Thomas became the first openly transgender athlete to win the women’s 500 meter freestyle in March 2022, the question was thrown wide open. She was 1.75 seconds faster than Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant.
Some people – including some doctors – suggest that transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the spirit of group support, adding that any advantage they have is removed or minimized by hormone therapies.
This also applies to children aged eight to thirteen, who will have reached puberty when their bodies have acquired the characteristics of their biological sex.
It’s unclear whether children who start treatment before or during puberty retain the same benefits.
But studies are now beginning to mount, suggesting that even a decade after starting hormone therapy, transgender female athletes maintain an advantage.
A 2021 article from British Journal of Sports Medicine found that transgender women were still 12 percent faster than their biological counterparts two years after starting feminizing hormone therapy.
They also found that transgender men were 15 percent slower and were able to do 43 percent fewer push-ups than their biological rivals.
The article involved 29 transgender men and 46 transgender women who took fitness tests for the Air Force.
Another study published late last year found they were still stronger than biological women, even after a decade on hormones.
The map above shows states that have adopted policies prohibiting transgender women from participating in women’s sports at the school level.
A goodbye published in August 2022 also suggests that transgender women had a biological advantage over their peers.
He concludes: “Given that sports are currently separated into men’s and women’s divisions due to superior male athletic performance, and estrogen therapy will not reverse most parameters of athletic performance, it follows that women Transgenders will enter the female division with an inherent advantage due to their prior male physiology.
Many states are beginning to restrict access to girls’ sports for transgender youth.
A total of 22 states have now passed legislation banning transgender youth from participating in sports.
At the state athletic association level, seven statewide athletic associations have also banned transgender sports participation, either by limiting participation based on sex assigned at birth or by mandating surgery of sex reassignment in states where surgery is not available for minors.
Sports participation offers many benefits to young people to improve their physical health while helping them build friendships with their peers.