Is Brett Favre right ‘males cannot compete against females’ in Olympics?


Fact Box

  • On Tuesday, June 22, 2021, retired NFL quarterback Brett Farve, said it was “unfair” for transgender athletes to complete in the Olympic games as women. He referenced the “first openly trans athlete” Laurel Hubbard in his criticism. 
  • New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard (age 43, born Gavin Hubbard) is the first transgender athelete to compete in the Olympics. Hubbard began hormone therapy for gender transition at age 36 in 2013. Hubbard had previously competed in men’s events in the past, but had not proceeded to higher rounds. Hubbard, in the female division, lifted 628 lbs to qualify for the women’s super-heavyweight division. 
  • The 2021 Olympics are taking place in Tokyo, Japan, airing from July 23-August 8. 
  • In 2015 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) relaxed the eligibility criteria for transgender females to compete in natal female sport. The requirement for genital reassignment surgery was removed and eligibility instead determined by reducing testosterone to 10 nM for at least 12 months.
  • A February 2021 Gallup poll reported that LGBTQ identification overall had risen in the US to an estimated 5.6%, with 11.3% of that percentage identifying as transgender. 
  • In the 2016 Olympics, there were about 10,000 athletes competing for about 5,000 medals.

Morgan (No)

This month, New Zealand announced that Laurel Hubbard would be competing in the women's super-heavyweight portion of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, a huge accomplishment for women everywhere. Favre's reaction to this is not only insensitive but is also totally predictable, calling the decision 'unfair.' Hubbard faced similar accusations of having unfair physical advantages by coaches when she began making headlines in the sports world. In 2017, she spoke out against the criticism, saying, 'I think it's incredibly disrespectful to the other competitors [..] I don't believe there is any fundamental difference between me and the other athletes, and to suggest there is is slightly demeaning to them.'

Hubbard sees what many like Favre do not, that men and women are equals. Allowing men and women to compete against each other in sports competitions has always been a step toward recognizing this equality, and Favre's comments sadly attempt to demean that. According to Favre, 'if you want to become the opposite sex, that's fine, I got no problem with it [. . .] But you can't compete against, males cannot compete against females'. Favre not only demeans the strength of women but manages to misgender trans women who want to compete in their divisions. Many call comments and positions like Favre's transphobic as it erases a trans individual's identity.

Favre likewise overlooks the fact that the new rules state trans women may only compete against other women if their testosterone levels are low enough. This is more than enough to recognize their true equality in this field. 

Stephanie (Yes) 

Football legend Brett Favre made a valid point when he recently expressed his disapproval about men competing against women in the Olympics, referring to transgender athletes such as Laurel Hubbard. Allowing trans women (biological males) to compete with biological women in athletic competitions is the definition of unfair. Permitting this gives them an undeniable advantage, just as how performance-enhancing drugs would, yet those are clearly banned. Imagine a woman training one's life to compete in the Olympics only to be beaten by a completely mismatched opponent, a male whose body has been shaped irrevocably by testosterone. The LGBTQ+ movement may have convinced society to accept a man identifying as a woman; however, that does not change the fact that every 'trans woman' is still biologically male. A person cannot change his or her sex. Believing this perpetuates pseudoscience and damages people irrevocably. 

Biology certainly matters in athletics when a man can easily outperform a woman due to greater strength and endurance, especially in sports such as weightlifting. And while the claim that trans women aren’t any stronger than biological women is the default response from supporters of biological men in women’s sports, facts do not affirm this. Even if it were true, any athlete who has lost by a millisecond would agree that any advantage is notable.

Approving trans athletes in the Olympic Games also dampens the competitive spirit of the entire event, which is supposed to determine who is the best in the world at a given sport. Athletes worldwide have been training for years for this. While some may consider this politically correct exception a win for the trans community, it is sure to be a devastating loss for others.

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