Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has joined a few lonely voices in taking a stand against biological men competing with biological women in women’s sports, but she said a great many female athletes keep silent for fear of retribution. She also suggested that young women might want to avoid sports because they fear unfair competition.
On Monday, a Sky News anchor asked Davies about “some speculation that there are more women in sport who would like to come out and talk about this but that they’re concerned about doing so because they will possibly lose sponsorship. Have you had conversations with people who’ve said, ‘I don’t want to put my head above the parapet?'”
“Yeah, many, to be honest with you, quite a lot of people,” Davies said. “Especially, as you say, people who are competing at the moment. They’re worried that their governing bodies will frown on it; they’re worried that their sponsors will think it’s not PC.”
“That’s what I think is wrong with this debate,” said Davies, who won a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. “Why should we label someone that has a different view from you as transphobic?”
Davies herself has been branded a “transphobe” merely for pointing out the biological differences between men and women — and why it is unfair for biological men who identify as women to compete against women in sports.
“Unfortunately, if you’re a transgender woman, you would have spent a fair bit of your life and puberty as a man or as a boy and you would have the male benefits that that would give you and that makes it an unfair playing field for other women, so I think this is just about sport,” Davies said. “I’m certainly not a transphobe.”
Rather, Davies has studied the biological differences between the sexes.
“If a young boy goes through puberty, he has increased lung capacity, he has a higher red blood cell count, he has a different skeletal system, a smaller pelvis — which helps certainly on a bike,” the former Olympic swimmer explained.
Even when women’s sports require a certain threshold of testosterone among biological males who identify as women, their testosterone still remains far above that of a normal biological female.
“We don’t see transgender men competing against men because they’re at a disadvantage,” Davies quipped. “The opposite happens with women because they’re at an advantage.”
Indeed, Davies tweeted on Tuesday that there has been a “1000% increase in trans women taking part in sport recently.” She added, “I just don’t understand how anyone can say this is a level & fair playing field.”
I just don’t understand how anyone can say this is a level & fair playing field. 1000% increase in trans women taking part in sport recently. It’s a serious topic that has to be honestly dealt with for safety as much as integrity #fairplay pic.twitter.com/g2x4crSFdE
— Sharron Davies MBE (@sharrond62) March 4, 2019
In that tweet, she shared the photo of Gabrielle Ludwig, a male in his 50s who identifies as a woman and became a basketball player for San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California. Ludwig clearly has a weight and height advantage over the females he competes against.
Sharron Davies has supported the group Fair Play for Women, and she retweeted a video of Alison Heather, professor of physiology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In the video, Heather explains why males are still at an advantage in sports, even if they undergo hormone therapy to become more female.
Expert analysis by Alison Heather, Professor of Physiology at University of Otago, New Zealand. Testosterone suppression therapy does not reverse male performance at advantage (short 20 mins seminar) @sharrond62 @paulajradcliffe @damekellyholmes @Martina https://t.co/nGpTevq4VI
— FairPlayForWomen (@fairplaywomen) March 5, 2019
The former Olympic swimmer also suggested that young girls are moving away from sports because they fear unfair competition.
When the Sky News anchor asked, “Do you think there’s the potential knock-on effect of young girls not necessarily wanting to take part in some sports?” Davies said, “Yeah, yeah, certainly.”
She noted that in 17 American states, “young boys are allowed to compete if they identify as women, up to the age of 18 without any chemical intervention whatsoever … so those girls are at a massive disadvantage.”
“Scholarships in America are being lost at the moment from young girls, which makes it very difficult for them,” Sharron Davies said.
Despite the biological facts and the disturbing trends, women who criticize the transgender invasion of males into women’s sports have been demonized and ostracized. Tennis great Martina Navratilova found herself cut off from the LGBT sports group Athlete Ally for daring to question the transgender dogma. More chillingly, many transgender activists have launched into tirades against “transphobes,” and one published writer actually endorsed cannibalism. The aspiring cannibal has not been banned on Twitter, but feminists who criticize transgender activism have been.
Yet Sharron Davies has hope on the issue. “Actually, just about everyone I speak to has the same opinion and most people that think about it sensibly have the same opinion,” she said. “So I don’t think that there’s this wave of hate or rage or goodness knows what. I just think we need to be grown up about this and look at the medical facts.”
Indeed, she retweeted a few transgender women who admitted that they have an unfair advantage in sports.
I'm a transgender woman and I think no transgender women should ever compete with biological women in sports. It's not about transphobia, it's about biology and reason.
— Tamara animator (@TamaraZawada) March 4, 2019
Even if the former Olympic swimmer is correct that most women in sports agree with her but are keeping silent for fear of retribution, Sharron Davies is likely to face a great deal of backlash over her strong defense of plain scientific common sense.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.