X Close

New York Times: ‘trans women are not biological men’

Trangender swimmer Lia Thomas (left) and Riley Gaines. Credit: Getty

April 25, 2024 - 10:00am

It’s one of those unfathomable mysteries. Generations of athletes have been segregated by sex, with men’s times consistently faster than the women’s. Now it turns out that the whole thing was unnecessary, because a new study suggests that a bunch of unfit men don’t have much advantage over women who exercise regularly. I mean, really?

So it would seem. “New study bolsters idea of athletic differences between men and trans women,” the New York Times announced. Not between trans women and women, as one might expect, but trans women and other men. One can almost hear the palpable sigh of relief at the paper, which has otherwise gone a bit terfy since the publication of the Cass Report. The study’s most important finding, the newspaper announces, is that “trans women are not biological men.”

Cathy Devine, who was senior lecturer in sport and physical activity at the University of Cumbria for more than two decades, was caustic on X. “This study compared unfit, overweight trans women (males) to fit females,” she wrote. Sports scientist Tommy Kundberg previously explained that “the cohorts are not matched and the main comparison is between fit/trained reference women and unfit transgender women.”

The authors of the new study are certainly not shy about revealing their own preconceptions. Their use of terms such as “cisgender” women and “assigned female at birth” hardly suggests an impartial approach, while raising a fascinating question. If we are all randomly assigned a sex at birth, how are we to know that the “cisgender” women in the study were actually female, rather than boys brought up in the “wrong” gender?

The main effect of studies of this kind is to sow confusion. After years of being told that trans women are horrifically oppressed, many people are nervous about the concept of refusing them access to anything, including women’s sports. They are unsettled by references to testosterone levels and maximal oxygen consumption, which few non-scientists know anything about.

It’s all a distraction from the obvious fact that men are bigger and stronger than women. Men are on average 13 cm, or five inches, taller and their skeletons are visibly different, which is how archaeologists are able to identify the sex of people who lived thousands of years ago. The difference can’t be hidden in photographs of medal ceremonies, where six-foot-something men tower over the women they’ve just beaten in manifestly unfair competition.

At a moment when the gender ideology juggernaut is in retreat, the New York Times tuts over the number of “outright bans” on transgender athletes in the US. These “bans” do not exist, except in the fevered imaginations of trans activists who regard a return to time-honoured practice — separate sports categories for men and women — as unspeakably “transphobic”.

With the Olympic Games on the horizon in Paris, the stakes could not be higher. Mediocre male athletes realised some time ago that previously unattainable success was within their grasp, if only they could compete against women rather than the world’s fastest men. They throw tantrums when they’re not allowed to impose their delusions on the rest of us, but they have an insurmountable problem. No research can blind us to the evidence of our own eyes.


Joan Smith is a novelist and columnist. She has been Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board since 2013. Her book Homegrown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists was published in 2019.

polblonde

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

53 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 month ago

So Trans women are not women but are not men either – that won’t marginalise them at all then. The answer is obvious create a new class of competition for trans women so they can compete fairly against themselves – para Olympics has lots of different classes of athletes. As long as the prize money is related directly to the number of people who really want to watch mediocre men competing against each other and is not subsidised by proper male/female elite sport.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

It seems a good idea, but the activists will never accept it. They will say it’s discriminatory. Besides that, no one will want to watch a trans vs trans competition, even if it includes trans-men and trans-women.

carl taylor
carl taylor
1 month ago

It’s been tried and failed. This from last year’s Guardian: “World Aquatics’ plans to debut an open category for transgender athletes at the World Cup in Berlin this week have been cancelled after no entries were received.” Trans identifying males don’t want to compete against each other any more than they want to date each other. It wouldn’t supply desperately needed validation. Exceedingly transphobic of them, of course; but then they have a free pass.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  carl taylor

Or the desperate need to get access to see the women getting changed.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 month ago

Exactly. It will be just like the neutral bathroom option that was rejected by the movement. They want total surrender to their gender fiction.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel Lee

And to peep,masturbate,film themselves with erections clearly visible through skintight clothes and steal used menstrual products from the bins in the “ladies” loos.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 month ago

Letting mediocre men compete as women does not make for a great spectator sport either. Ultimately it would be a race between women giving up competing and spectators giving up watching altogether to see which killed women’s sport first. Very inclusive – neither women nor trans women have any elite sport.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I understand that ‘Drag’ racing is quite popular in certain quarters !

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Perhaps they’re actually dragons.

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
1 month ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

It would work if trans identifying men actually supported this solution, but they obviously don’t want it. This idea is proposed by everyone and anyone except the trans activists.
Besides, how would you even create a fair competition when some trans athletes go through hormonal treatment and some don’t?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago

I cycle quite a bit, but I’m no way even a decent amateur. If I review my performance on Strava, I’m miles off the times posted by the best male athletes (some of whom will be pros, but most will be high standard amateurs). If it’s in the top 20% of times, I’m doing quite well.
Comparing it to the women’s times however, it’s only the very best that generally come out ahead. For example, a local Team GB triathlete comes out ahead almost all of the time. And it’s this that demonstrates the difference – I’m a fairly normal guy, who at best is in good (not great) shape putting in 150-200k of ad-hoc training a week, but only when the weather is good. Versus someone who is following training plans, coached and out in all weather.
You then look at that cyclist who never did anything in male amateur cycling, switches to competing against women and starts winning. Then claims there’s no advantage.

philip kern
philip kern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

So true. When I was in high school I would have been one of the fastest women in the world in the 1500 but wasn’t good enough to reach the state meet.
I was thinking about the issue just this morning: what happens if this takes hold and biological males are competing against post-menopausal women? If things seem inequitable now, it’s nothing like what will happen then. The women’s age-group records will become meaningless.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
29 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

If you cycle 150-200 km per week, you are in very good shape indeed. Other than that, I completely agree with you. The advantages cannot be undone, and most men with a modicum of fitness will be able to beat even very fit women. My husband is better than me at almost every sport. I am a faster swimmer (over short distances) because I have better technique (he was taught by his mother and only knows one stroke), and I am far more flexible which gives me an edge in ballroom dancing and yoga. I am trained in classical ballet, and have been dancing for decades, too. In everything else, he is far better than I could ever be. He is stronger, faster, taller, and has more endurance. I know that I cannot compete.

John Tyler
John Tyler
1 month ago

And I thought the reason I couldn’t understand why men could simultaneously be women was because I was foolish, bigoted and uneducated! Well, who knew! 🙂

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago

Compare apples with pears and ignore scientific principles to achieve desired (fantasy) outcome – sort of explains the level of intelligence required to insist sex is ‘assigned’ at birth and not dictated by biology.
For anyone who does believe that research l’ve got a bottle of snake oil they might be interested in

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Day

Or a fruit salad.

Christine Marie Janis
Christine Marie Janis
1 month ago

Ah yes, how can we know that the “female” atheletes really are women, if they were merely assigned at birth? Love it!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago

The ridiculous thing about this cr*p is that “serious” publications write about it like it needs to be explained. It doesn’t. This poisonous fad benefits medical ghouls and pharmaceutical companies. It also helps to further wreck social cohesion and nuclear families.
This is absolutely the last article I will read about trans anything, unless it is about the lawsuits and jail sentences imposed on the perpetrators of this heinous crime against women and girls.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 month ago

Feel the same. I will celebrate once the first detransition trial against teachers/ medical personal/ pharmaceutical companies/ woke parents will be won successfully and substantial fines will be dished out. Then this whole nightmare will hopefully end.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago

I think Gramsci cast a spell which deprived the vast majority of university educated humanities graduates of their common sense and backbone.
I read years ago that it was dicovered that it was easier to hypnotise graduates than non- graduates. The vast majority of tough craftsmen appear immune to this Gramscian cultural marxist codswallop.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
29 days ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

I hold several academic degrees, and I have never bought this ridiculous nonsense. It may be interesting to note that I volunteered for a hypnosis experiment at uni, which failed badly. I couldn’t be hypnotised.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
29 days ago

“This is absolutely the last article I will read about trans anything, unless it is about the lawsuits and jail sentences imposed on the perpetrators of this heinous crime against women and girls.”

I will donate money to the victims so they can pursue court cases against these ghouls! I think it’s gaining momentum, and I wish them all lots of luck. This rubbish has to stop.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
1 month ago

A complete pile of shit is this study. The entire issue about fake women (men deluded into thinking they are women) has to do with puberty, and nothing else. If male bodies go thru puberty, multiple advantages accumulate for the male body – muscle composition, size of person, heart size, lung size. If men go thru puberty (to Tanner stage 5), they have these advantages, and future testosterone suppression does not reduce their advantages. Since this study does not clarify the point at which the deluded males began to pretend to be women, the study is garbage.
In addition, trannie men (who pretend to be women) have frequently not performed at top effort. Will Thomas (who took the name Lia) was a male who competed with female swimmers. He won race after race, but in some of the last competitions, he began to lose. It was very clear that he was “throwing” (not performing at peak level) these races. The political component of the males performing in the female category is well-known. Many of them will “throw” races by underperforming.

philip kern
philip kern
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Wait til the real women hit menopause.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
1 month ago

Why not eliminate the gender debate in sports entirely and make every sport uni-sex? You can’t get much more equal than that and think of the savings when you only have to finance and staff one team, not two, and the Olympics would be over in half the time. Sounds like a win for everyone.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

A win for everyone except XX females who will very rarely be competitive, and XY ‘women’ who won’t get the respect and attention they crave.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
1 month ago
Reply to  Terry M

Absolutely. I should say that my comment (tongue in cheek) was just a suggestion that the natural progression of subjective personal gender choice would be to eliminate the question entirely. Of course that would necessarily mean, as you correctly point out, that many XX humans (unless they adopted an East German style chemical training regimen) would be eliminated from high-level competition but ruining things for the many for the sake of the few doesn’t seem to bother the gender slacktivists these days. Clearly the NYT is OK with it.
Of course we could always stop this nonsense and get back to biological reality but I’m sure that attitude will get one written up for all sorts of phobic violations.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 month ago

It’s going to take generations to scrub this insanity out of America’s news rooms and other cultural institutions, if in fact they don’t scrub America out of existence first.

T Redd
T Redd
1 month ago

“The study’s most important finding, the newspaper announces, is that “trans women are not biological men.”,,,wow, took another study to tell them that..The bottom line we all know. You deal with the deck you are dealt. If you are some psycho that is sure you got the wrong deck than deal with it – on your time and your dollar. Deck is dealt – grow up. I refuse to shift my pronouns or any of that crap. It is a social wave that will pass and the loser will be left with their DEI and pronouns….Hey, cool Trans only village in Siberia…pass the word….

philip kern
philip kern
1 month ago
Reply to  T Redd

I think you misread that line. The point is that ‘trans women’ (i.e. a baby born with a p***s and y chromosomes who grew up to regard himself as a woman) ‘are not biological men’. They are presumably, according to the sentence you quote, a third entity.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

Since ‘trans women’ are men, what was the point of this study, which seems a bit generous of a term to use. It’s curious how we are not bogged down discussing the reverse – women aching to compete against men. Why do you suppose that is? The New York Times continues its headlong, self-inflicted plunge into irrelevance, if not laughingstock, by the day.

c hutchinson
c hutchinson
1 month ago

“If we are all randomly assigned a sex at birth, how are we to know that the “cisgender” women in the study were actually female, rather than boys brought up in the “wrong” gender?” Brilliant!

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
1 month ago

I’d like to hope — but do not believe — this “reporting” on a new “study” is part of gender ideology’s death throes at The New York Times. As the writer of this article notes, the very language of the study’s authors, in addition to the sloppy methodology — I hesitate to even use that word — invalidate the whole enterprise.
I especially appreciate Smith’s reminder that no bans on trans athletes exist, only protections of fair play for girls and women. If these males want to keep participating for the inherent value of athletic competition, they may continue to do so, as males. Insisting on competing as females expresses not the spirit and integrity of sport, but a narcissistic desire to win at any cost.

F J
F J
1 month ago

These thought-gymnastics are convincing me we are on the way to a bit of Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron / 2081 – where the handicapper general MAKES everyone equal – intelligence, beauty, strength… all leveled.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

‘Transwomen’ know they are not women. The whole purpose of this ideology is to procure sex and sympathy from weak-minded women by pretending to be an oppressed group.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Some trans women are homosexual, so they would procure sex and sympathy from weak-minded men. Right?

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Yes. Some gay men transition to make their sex lives easier. They usually know that they are not really women.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago

Yawn…

Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
1 month ago

The study comparing out of shape trans-men to fit females was entirely performative. In other words, it’s the scientific analogue of “conceptual art”– an activity that isn’t art but is given that title as a courtesy. So it is with this example of “conceptual science.”

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Transgender women are for the most part cross dressing men who get a sexual kick out of putting on women’s underwear. There is of course the <1% who actually remove their genitals, but even they aren’t women – they’re just men without genitals.
Everyone knows this is true except for a few % of ultra left wing undergrads who may have lost touch with reality.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
29 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Exactly. The chromosomes that determine whether we are female or male (and there is nothing that’s assigned at birth—that phrasing is utter nonsense as sex is decided at the very moment when an egg and a sperm come together) are in virtually every cell of our bodies. Apart from a few individuals where chromosomal irregularities exist, all of us are either XX (female) or XY (male).

John Pade
John Pade
1 month ago

Which are the trans-men? The men born as women or the women born as men? Or the men who decide they want to be women or the women who decide they want to be men?
But there are over a hundred but there are over 100 xy high school athletes in California alone who run the 100 meter dash faster than the xx record holder. (Assuming an xx person still is the record holder.)

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  John Pade

Trans men are women who transition to men. Trans women are men who transition to women. Only it’s only in their fantasies.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Just replace ‘trans’ with ‘fake’. All confusion disappears.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 month ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

That’s actually a very useful heuristic.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  John Pade

You don’t hear much about trans men, they are not violent and pushy and are not generally in the grip of paraphilias and they just want to live their lives quietly without attracting attention. – in other words they are not male though they tend to “pass” better than trans-identified males.

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Like gay men who dress as women, they usually know they are not really men.

Chris J
Chris J
1 month ago
Reply to  Kayla Marx

Not so. Most not only insist they are men but also many insist they are gay men.

Chris J
Chris J
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You obviously don’t spend much time on X.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

The amount of testosterone in a trans women’s body is almost irrelevant. These men can have levels at 5ppm but that only affects their bodies 1-3 percent, and they already have a 10 to 167 (punching power) percent advantage. The real issue is puberty. If a man goes through puberty, he has a larger heard and lungs. He has more hemoglobin in his blood, so more oxygen is processed in his body. He is taller and has longer arms. . He has more twitch muscles for explosive starts. And more. Women just can’t compete. There is a female soccer team in Australia called the Flying Bats with five male players who call themselves women. Google them. They are unbeatable.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

As I see it, we can either hold to the necessarily tautological principle that ‘transwomen are transwomen’ or go by Melonie Mac’s somewhat more aggressive edict on X and Rumble…!

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
1 month ago

Why is this craziness happening? It is as if a mental virus had leaked from a lab where dangerous experiments were performed with thoughts, like some Wuhan Institute of Social Studies, and at some point a deliberately spiked and highly contagious idea emerged, totally coincidentally of course, in a nearby wet marketplace of ideas, from where it unleashed itself on an unsuspecting population without preexisting defenses.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

We are in the Age of Internet Manias.