Should transgender athletes compete in the sex category that matches their self-identity? Or should their sex category be determined by some objective physical criterion? Or perhaps there should a third category for trans athletes?
Some have argued that transgender female athletes should at least sometimes be barred from competing in girls’ or women’s divisions, on the grounds that transgender female athletes’ physical advantages can easily crowd out genetic female athletes, and also that genetic female athletes would be put at greater risk of injury in contact sports.
But a growing majority, it seems, including the ACLU, dismiss these concerns as illegitimate or at least outweighed by the moral need to accommodate trans athletes in their chosen gender.
If you accept the latter view, I’d like to hear your reaction to this proposal. To ensure once and for all that transgender athletes are accommodated, we should eliminate all sex divisions from athletic events, full stop. In every sport, there should be exactly one category: the category of all humans, regardless of their sex or gender. If trans athletes really have no physical advantage over genetic females, then nothing would be lost by adopting this proposal. But two things would be gained. First, athletes who do not feel comfortable publicly disclosing their transgender status would not need to do so. And second, sneering suggestions that a transgender athlete performed so well because of an unfair biological advantage would disappear.
If transgender athletes have no unfair physical advantage over genetically female athletes, wouldn’t a no-gender-categories policy be the best, simplest, and most respectful?
A Simple Solution to Transgender Athletics Issues?