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Source: (consider it) Thread: Sex: Who Decides?
Kwesi
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# 10274

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I’ve started this post because although it relates to the transgender discussion regarding conservative Christian attitudes, it is somewhat tangental to that focus. The problem I want to raise is who is to decide the sex (rather than gender) of an individual- is it the subjective judgement of the individual to determine or a scientifically agreed common standard? While in most contexts it doesn’t really matter there are circumstances where it does. Physical sport is the obvious case, where the definition of male or female (sex not gender) is relevant to the promotion of fair competition. Female Soviet block athletes, for example, were pumped with testosterone to gain competitive advantage over same-sex rivals, and Caster Semenya’s case has raised a number of difficult issues. I don’t think the sport issue, at least, can be resolved without having an objective test to determine sex. What do shipmates think?
Posts: 1513 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Honest Ron Bacardi
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A problem lying at the bottom of such discussions is "what do we mean by sex"?

The scientific definition - which is foundational - is that sex is defined by which gamete you produce, (and the context being reproduction).

That's highly impractical to use for everyday purposes for reasons that should be blindingly obvious. So we have its two main proxies, phenotypic sex and genetic sex. They work most of the time, but they have their limits, and those limits are precisely where Kwesi's question is focused.

I'm not really trying to offer an answer to the question in the OP, but I think to be coherent any answer needs to bear the above in mind. If you depart from or contradict the underlying scientific definition of sex, then you will forever be in contention with that. But it's quite possible that a resolution of the question may be by defining things other than on a strictly sexual basis.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Tortuf
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If someone of a female gender wishes to compete with people of a male gender in sports I believe it should be their choice, and their choice alone. It is patronizing to suggest women cannot compete at the same level as men.

As to any other case of sex identification, it is my business about my life and none of my business about anyone else and their identification.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Female and male pertain to sex, not gender, Tortuf. That raises an entirely different issue (though related of course)

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Tortuf
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
While in most contexts it doesn’t really matter there are circumstances where it does. Physical sport is the obvious case, where the definition of male or female (sex not gender) is relevant to the promotion of fair competition.


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Kwesi
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Tortuf
quote:
If someone of a female gender wishes to compete with people of a male gender in sports I believe it should be their choice, and their choice alone. It is patronizing to suggest women cannot compete at the same level as men.
But what if someone of the male gender (sex) or a team of the same wish to compete in competitions currently reserved for the female gender (sex). Boxing? Ruby Union? Athletics? Tennis (even, Serena excepted)?
Posts: 1513 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tortuf
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I am suggesting that separation by gender/sex is not appropriate. In wrestling competitors are separated by weight. In other sports it might be by body mass, or some other measure.

By way of example, separation by gender/sex means that women's football (soccer) gets far fewer viewers than men's football. Tell me a qualitative difference between the two.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
If someone of a female gender wishes to compete with people of a male gender in sports I believe it should be their choice, and their choice alone. It is patronizing to suggest women cannot compete at the same level as men.

The "problems" occur in the other direction, precisely because women cannot compete with men in strength / speed sports.

I see no reason at all why women and men shouldn't be equally competitive at snooker, but Flo-Jo, who still holds the women's 100m world record, wouldn't rank at a decent men's high school meet. This is (one reason) why we have separate women's competitions - because women are smaller and weaker than men. Biology and Physiology are real things.

And so the "problem" is that some B-list high school male runner would wipe the floor with a field of elite women. So it would be a nonsense to allow him to compete in a women's competition.

The controversy attached to trans women, Caster Semenya, and so on is whether their particular biology makes them "more like men". It doesn't matter for the men's competition, but the women's competition is explicitly a competition for people who are biologically weaker / slower, rather than a competition for people who wear dresses.

[ 18. November 2017, 14:23: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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(Actually, women can compete with men successfully on a number of different levels of sport such as ultra-distance (>100km) etc. But I think those sports are already open to all-comers. And sports such as football are a good one - why not mixed teams? If my village juniors can manage it (which they do)...

It seems un unremarkable suggestion to make all sports open to allcomers. It's more about the Law of Unexpected Consequences. For sports where sheer strength does make a difference, the elite would be dominated by men. Women's teams would presumably vanish if men's teams did also. Or if they remained you would have elite teams and then women's teams. What would that say?

That's not really Kwesi's question though.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:

It seems un unremarkable suggestion to make all sports open to allcomers.

Mmm - not quite, I think. Aside from the question of whether women are able to compete on equal terms with men in a particular sport or game, there are questions about physical contact in sports. Having all sports be mixed is going to discourage those with a more conservative view of personal modesty from participating.

We know, for example, that there are swimming baths that operate women-only recreational swimming times because they have a community of (mostly) conservative Muslim women who don't want to swim in mixed company.

I can point you at a number of acquaintances who are significantly less conservative than that, but wouldn't be comfortable with their children playing mixed-sex physical contact sports.

You may choose to believe that those people are wrong, and are a detriment to sexual equality, but they do exist.

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Gramps49
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Up until high school, my kids played on a unisex soccer team. All little league baseball teams are unisex in my area. Around age 14 the baseball players go into same-sex clubs. That said, I know of several high school girls who have tried out for football teams and made the team. There are a few girls who also wrestle. I know when the girls first got on the wrestling team a number of boys refused the match, but more and more, that hesitance has been reduced
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Kwesi
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Gramps49
quote:
Up until high school, my kids played on a unisex soccer team. All little league baseball teams are unisex in my area. Around age 14 the baseball players go into same-sex clubs. That said, I know of several high school girls who have tried out for football teams and made the team. There are a few girls who also wrestle. I know when the girls first got on the wrestling team a number of boys refused the match, but more and more, that hesitance has been reduced
All very interesting, mais ce n'est pas la guerre. Or are you pointing out it all stops at puberty? It's when females start turning out for Real Madrid and Barcelona that one might start to take the no difference argument seriously. Until then I'm inclined to the view that a vas deferens exists between males and females in sports demanding physical strength and exertion. [Biased]
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HCH
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An interesting challenge would be to devise interesting sports in which individuals of a variety of descriptions could compete evenly. I imagine this might be easier to do with solo sports (not "can you lift N pounds" but "can you lift K times your body weight") than with team sports.

Of course, people who play card games are busy laughing. Even more so, people who are not motivated by random competitions are laughing.

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Kwesi
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HCH
quote:
An interesting challenge would be to devise interesting sports in which individuals of a variety of descriptions could compete evenly. I imagine this might be easier to do with solo sports (not "can you lift N pounds" but "can you lift K times your body weight") than with team sports.

Of course, people who play card games are busy laughing. Even more so, people who are not motivated by random competitions are laughing.

The K times body weight calculation could already be applied to weight lifting: the victor ludorum across all the weights and both (?) sexes could be so identified, though some might protest that the top canine should be the one lifting the highest weight.

I'm greatly intrigued by the notion of card players laughing. My impression is that they treat their sport far too seriously for anything like that.

As for having a more than passing interest in what I think are referred to as risible 'random competitions" I can only plead guilty to obsessive fanaticism. It might be emphasised, however, that a few of them are of such economic, cultural and political importance that their governance is willy nilly a matter for the public sphere going back to those contests on Mount Olympus. We are, indeed, a Lilliputian species.

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Net Spinster
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In the Olympics the only mixed sports now are equestrian events and some sailing events.

Shooting is single sex now in the Olympics but at one time many of the shooting events were both. In 1992 a woman, Zhang Shan of China, won gold in the skeet competition and since then all Olympic shooting events have been single sex.

Chess has competitions for all and women only competitions.

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Golden Key
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Gramps--
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Up until high school, my kids played on a unisex soccer team. All little league baseball teams are unisex in my area. Around age 14 the baseball players go into same-sex clubs. That said, I know of several high school girls who have tried out for football teams and made the team. There are a few girls who also wrestle. I know when the girls first got on the wrestling team a number of boys refused the match, but more and more, that hesitance has been reduced

If I may ask, how were locker rooms managed? I would think separately, but then there couldn't be team meetings and pep talks in the locker room. Did they meet up elsewhere?

Not sure I think co-ed wrestling (IE, girls and boys wrestling each other) is a good idea.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Gramps49
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Kwesi

Since puberty begins at around 8-13 for females and 9-14 for males the sexes do not divide into separate teams until 14, at least around here. In other words, the athletes around here compete with each other through puberty.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Kwesi

Since puberty begins at around 8-13 for females and 9-14 for males the sexes do not divide into separate teams until 14, at least around here. In other words, the athletes around here compete with each other through puberty.

Soccer teams here are unisex until 12 (most would be about to start high school at that age).

A Sydney suburb has adjoining private schools for boys and girls, both Anglican*. 20 or more years ago, the year 12 students decided that an inter-school rugby match would be a Good Thing. Once both heads had stopped laughing, the answer was a very firm no.

*Both have a fairly large boarding component and I'm told that policing the boundary ls very difficult.

[ 19. November 2017, 04:44: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Kwesi
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Gramps49
quote:
Kwesi
Since puberty begins at around 8-13 for females and 9-14 for males the sexes do not divide into separate teams until 14, at least around here. In other words, the athletes around here compete with each other through puberty.

Gramps, I don't have any problem with this, and I don't want to get hung up on the details, though I think Golden Key makes some sensible observations about changing facilities which would lead to the separation of boys and girls. The only point I'm making is that there comes a point where, it seems to me, that the difference needs to be recognised to promote and sustain the participation of females in some sports. For those who think like me then there have to be ways of discriminating between males and females. That's all. Consequently, while at a younger age sex differences are less important where do you want to take this? If you are arguing it's only a matter of time when the same approach can be taken with older teenagers and adults then I would disagree.
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