NPR Challenges Readers to Disregard Their Eyes and Common Sense on Trans Sports

npr challenges readers to disregard their eyes and common sense on trans sports

Lia Thomas

NPR is making a small ask of its readers: That they disregard both their sense of sight and common sense.

On Friday, NPR’s official Twitter account decried the World Athletics Council’s decision to prohibit male-to-female transgender athletes from competing in women’s track and field events, asserting that it was reached despite a dearth of evidence to support it.

“The international governing body for track and field will ban trans women athletes from elite women’s competitions, citing a priority for fairness over inclusion despite limited scientific evidence of physical advantage,” read the now deleted tweet, which linked to a story tying the decision to “dozens of more new and proposed laws that further curb transgender rights” in the United States.

It didn’t take long for Twitter to affix a contextual note to the tweet citing a British Journal of Sports Medicine study indicating that trans women remained significantly faster than their peers even after two years of hormone treatment.

Since then, NPR has issued a correction to its tweet, admitting that “existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance,” and instead submitting that the World Athletics Council reached its decision despite “limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition.”

But that too is misleading. The British Journal of Sports Medicine study was specifically geared toward evaluating the elite or Olympic level of competition and the accompanying article still holds that the Council has adopted its policy sans “strong evidence of an advantage.”

Even discounting the scientific evidence NPR is ignorant of, though, the underlying implication that transgender women boast no advantage in women’s sports strains credulity.

Hormone treatment certainly helps to level the playing field, but it can’t wipe out inherent advantages — in size, skeletal structure, and brain function — that those who are born as males, and especially those who undergo puberty, retain.

This is readily apparent to those who actually compete in and pay attention to women’s sports. It’s no accident that despite the small proportion of transgender athletes in the space, there’s no shortage of ones who have excelled in it.

Does anyone think it a coincidence that Lia Thomas, formerly a swimmer on the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s team, smashed records for the women’s team while towering over the competition? Sixteen of Thomas’s teammates, who wrote an open letter arguing that “biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” don’t.

Between 2017 and 2019, male-to-female transitioners ran away with 15 indoor track state championships in Connecticut alone, robbing numerous female competitors from numerous qualifying and podium finishes as along the way. Is it mere happenstance that former Connecticut high school indoor track star Chelsea Mitchell lost 4 state championships to transgender competitors, in some instances taking the bronze behind two such opponents?

Is it just a unhappy accident that transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, a junior champion as a male, bumped fellow New Zealander Tracey Lambrechs into a lower weight class, forcing Lambrechs to lose 40 pounds in 3 months in order to carry on in the sport?

And is it just the luck of the draw that prevents female-to-male transitioners from enjoying similar success in men’s sports?

NPR has long been on a mission to convince its audience as much, insisting that restrictions on transgender participation have “no basis” in science and characterizing such restrictions as being rooted in opposition to “transgender rights.”

But unfortunately for the activists at the head of this deceptive effort, the truth of the matter is not just buried in lengthy, jargon-filled, academic inquiries. It’s discernable to the naked eye and intuitive to the human experience.

The post NPR Challenges Readers to Disregard Their Eyes and Common Sense on Trans Sports first appeared on Mediaite.

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