Boston Globe health offshoot spreads misinformation about trans athletes

September 21, 2023

By Tim Worstall

That different people have different views on trans issues is fine, of course it is. But we still have to start with the same facts, which is where this from Stat News is so disturbing. 

Stat News is an offshoot of the Boston Globe and aims to be a primary reporting source on health care. They’ve some 3 million site visits a month – high for that sector. So, when they claim something untrue, we need to take note.

 They think that male and female musculature and physique do not matter in sports:

“Our medical community is still learning. I would say this is still an early stage, but there is conflicting evidence. [Some research has found that] trans women are superior to cis women because of certain strength and speed measures.

“But the problem with this is that it doesn’t translate to sports performance. It’s not like you squat more and that translates to you jumping higher, or you can do a heavier bench press, so you can throw things further.”

The problem with this is that yes, it does — it means exactly that. And this is from someone who has just authored a paper on the subject in JAMA Pediatrics. The argument there is that kids who play sports have fun and also do well, which no one doubts in the slightest.

The argument is actually about who plays which sport with whom. No one worries about trans kids playing sports with others of their birth sex. But there are problems with people then using that male musculature – especially post-puberty – to play sports against natal females.

That’s what the whole argument is about: That kids enjoy and do well from playing sport, sure, we all agree. But that who, which, whom thing.

The claim that these physical differences make no difference is not even misinformation; it’s just flat-out wrong. Depending upon the sport, they’re grossly dangerous, too. Natal males playing football or rugby against natal females will kill people.

This is why we have class and sex distinctions in these games. Because musculature, hormones and physique matter. This has been so amusingly shown when the American women’s soccer team plays a team of boys or third-rate males.  

We also have sports where that sex physique difference does not matter – equestrianism has been sex equal for decades. As is horserace riding (i.e., jockeys) becoming so.

We, as a society, have already considered this question. We’ve also come to a number of conclusions. There are several sports where sex-based physique matters, so we discriminate. There are others where it does not, so it does not. The discrimination is also based on sex-based physique, not gender. This is tried and tested, road worked out in the real world.

Trying to tell us differently now is not just misinformation. It is flat-out wrong, even if it can get published in the scientific journals and the newspapers.  


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