Should trans athletes be allowed to compete in sports based on their gender identity rather than birth sex? Analyzed

Trans athlete in sports

Human biological sex differences have an effect on athletic performance. Therefore, the participation of transgender people in competitive sports, a historically sex-segregated institution, is a contentious issue, especially the inclusion of transgender women and girls in women’s sports.

Should transgender people be prohibited from competing in female categories? Over the years, it has been regarded as one of the sports’ most delicate issues. Let’s discuss trans athletes and how they compete in sports in this article.

Trans athletes in Sports:

The recent lawsuit questioning the eligibility of transgender high school athletes has raised complicated questions about equal access to sports, human rights, and athletic advantages. 

The sex given at birth is not thought to be the only biological factor that defines gender, according to scientists who have long held this view. 

So, it is important to understand why the category is important and how transgender people compete in sports. Read on to know about trans athletes in sports.

Open category for trans athletes:

Recently, a resolution urging the state to only permit biological females to compete in girls’ sports and recommending a separate league for athletes who don’t identify with their birth sex was unanimously approved by the Alaska State Board of Education. 

The resolution recommends that the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development establish the distinct divisions and was last-minutely added to the board’s agenda on Thursday.

The student advisor did not vote, whereas the other eight members did. The resolution says that board members agreed that “the integrity of middle and high school girls’ sports should be preserved.” 

Board chair James Fields told that, “We’re making a statement of keeping girls’ sports safe and competitive and fair, that’s all,”

Co-ed category in sports:

The resolution is similar to what members of Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy’s administration have previously suggested to him, according to Billy Strickland, the head of the Alaska School Activities Association. 

Strickland claimed that they intended to have three divisions: boys, girls, and a co-ed category for athletes who identify as transgender. 

However, he claimed that there aren’t enough transgender athletes in Alaska to support a third division. In the nine years he has headed the ASAA, he added, he is only aware of one. 

“If a person who was born a male but feels out of place playing a sport in a league with boys only due to their gender identity, the solution isn’t to allow them to compete against girls, but to increase co-ed opportunities,” the statement said. 

“It’s time to seriously consider coed interscholastic sports so that all students can compete at their highest level.”

Earlier this month, the governor proposed a bill asking students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their biological sex.

Parents would also need to approve any name or pronoun changes made by children while they were enrolled in school.

This measure has not yet been voted on by lawmakers. Another bill, which would establish a co-ed athletics division separate from the boys’ and girls’ leagues, has also gone unheard.

Trans athlete

Why is category important in sports?

The Logic of Categorization is important in sports because men and women are genetically different from one another. 

Sports have distinct categories for men and women because of the belief that men are naturally (biologically) better than women, which links to gender disparities and power relations. 

Trans girls and women don’t neatly fit into the female or male categories biologically because they were born with biologically male bodies. This is true even after taking hormones, having surgery, or doing both. 

These classifications are important in athletics. Consequently, neither of the policies should be binary.

Do trans athletes have an unfair advantage?

Competitive sport is ultimately a physical test in which post-puberty males have a substantial advantage (this excludes recreational sports, physical education, and intramurals). 

Boys typically grow longer, denser, and more muscle during puberty, as well as greater strength, speed, height, and lung capacity than females. 

Men have an edge in performance ranging from 8 to 50% because of these differences. For this reason, men’s and women’s tee boxes in golf, three-point arcs in basketball, net heights in volleyball, and hurdle heights in the track are distinct. 

Even after transgender women suppress their testosterone levels or undergo physical surgery to alter their bodies, they still exhibit performance benefits (including musculoskeletal characteristics and lung capacity).

Recently, Minnesota transgender powerlifter JayCee Cooper has won the discrimination case against the USA powerlifting.

Trans athlete
JayCee Cooper has won in a two year court battle against usapowerlifting.

Why should trans athletes compete based on birth sex?

According to some research, individuals who are born males still have a significant advantage in strength and muscle mass after a year of testosterone suppression. 

Trans women with the post-puberty performance edge in team sports could train, travel, and socialize with their female teammates before competing in a trans category.

However, allowing performance-advantaged trans women to compete against cisgender women (who also experience persistent discrimination) would go against the fundamental rationale behind distinct women’s competitions.

 Gender does not matter for the majority of team activities, such as practice, meetings, weightlifting, team travel, and social events, center around these activities. Gender is considered only for competition. 

So, trans athletes would be scored separately. For example, Lia Thomas, a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, would continue to compete in team competitions and postseason women’s championships while having her times recorded in a different category. 

Transgender in sports

All-district or all-conference teams could be created if there are not enough trans women to make teams. This paradigm would also protect cisgender women from being hurt by larger, denser, post-male-puberty bodies in contact sports like basketball and rugby.


The question of whether trans athletes should be permitted to participate in sports based on their gender identity rather than their birth sex is complex and contentious, with various points of view and opinions.

On the one hand, proponents of permitting trans athletes to compete based on their gender identity contend that doing so is required to guarantee fairness and equality for transgender people.

They contend that it is discriminatory and potentially harmful to trans athletes’ mental health to exclude them from sporting competitions because of their gender identification.

On the other hand, those who are opposed to trans athletes participating in sports based on their gender identity claim that doing so gives trans athletes who may have received hormone therapy or other forms of gender-affirming treatments.

They argue that this provides trans athletes a physical advantage over cisgender athletes, especially in sports that rely heavily on physical strength and speed.

In the end, the choice to allow trans athletes to compete based on their gender identity rather than birth sex will depend on a number of factors, including the particular sport in question, the rules and regulations of the applicable sports organizations, and the unique circumstances of the trans athletes themselves.

It is essential to consider the potential impact on both trans athletes and cisgender athletes, as well as the broader social and political implications of any decisions made.


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