President Biden's executive order on gender identity may seem like a noble aim, but biology says otherwise. In some cases being too accommodating can have disastrous consequences, says Noel Yaxley.

Joe Biden didn't waste much time repealing many Trump policies. In Biden's first three days, the new president signed 30 executive orders.  One of these was titled 'Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation'. The hair-sniffing septuagenarian may be hurtling towards senescence at an alarming rate, but he seems pretty wide awake (woke, you might say) when it comes to championing trans-rights. The irony being he risks doing more damage to women's sex-based rights than any Republican ever has.

The order cites a prior Supreme Court case ruling: Bostock v Clayton county, which centred around a man identifying as a woman who wanted to wear women's clothes at work. He was subsequently fired from his job for being transgender. This was seen as equivalent to sex discrimination. The case was unambiguous in stating that the court's ruling didn't apply to single-sex bathrooms or to title IX (a 1972 statute prohibiting sex-based discrimination in federal schools). Biden clearly didn't understand the ruling, or he chose to mis-read the case.

The executive order impacts any organisation receiving federal funding, such as the workplace or educational institution. Federal agencies must now interpret and read the category of 'sex' as including both gender identity and sexual orientation. One paragraph reads:

"Children should learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room or school sports."

My main argument here is the impact this order will have on sport.

By allowing trans-women to compete in male sports you are giving an extremely small tranche demographic an unfair advantage. I believe in equality – as much as it is possible – but equality of opportunity. Equality of outcome in the name of 'trans-inclusivity' is just grossly unfair.

Some U.S states already allow boys self-identifying as girls to take part in female sports. In 2017, Kate Hall, a state champion sprinter at Stonington high school, Connecticut, lost to a transgender individual called Andrea Yearwood. This impact on competition, not to mention the possibility high school girls may lose potentially life-changing scholarships, is worrying.

From what I can remember from high school biology is that men are bigger than women. Due to more muscle mass, men are stronger. Men have far more fast-twitch muscle fibre, generating greater power and strength. They have larger hearts, allowing more oxygenated blood to pump around the body and reach the muscles quicker, leading men to have a greater peak oxygen uptake than women. In short, men are bigger, stronger and faster than women. There is a reason the sexes are segregated in sport. I'm not being sexist, it is just a biological fact.

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But it would appear biology is beginning to take a back seat to gender.

Until 2016, in order to compete among female athletes, the Olympics required males to undergo reassignment surgery. Now all it takes is self-declaration and a low-level of testosterone. Lower testosterone doesn't alter the biological advantage males have when it comes to organs or body-size. Men will always be stronger.

In the U.K, almost 5,000 gender certificates have been issued. Whilst in Ireland, the Gender Recognition Act, has, since 2015, given Irish people power to change gender without medical intervention.

If self-identification is all it takes to become the opposite sex, then this leaves sport in a perilous position.

Women should be defined by sex, not gender. Gender is subjective – based upon emotion and behaviour. Biology is fixed and immutable. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, playing a salient role in development of male reproductive organs like the testes responsible for gametes (sperm cells) with either X or Y chromosome.  At two months in-utero, the male fetus is flooded with testosterone, turning the brain into a 'male brain'. When it comes to gametes, women produce larger ones (ova) that carries only X chromosomes. By measuring hip bones, the biological sex of an adult skeleton can be determined with 95% accuracy.

So, is it possible to square this socially constructed circle?

Perhaps a separate Olympics for professional athletes, and different events just for transgender athletes? But we've already reached a hurdle.

The amount of people in the U.S identifying as transgender is 0.6% With 99.4% born either male or female, such a small number of transgender people means the correlation coefficient is 0.94. I am aware correlation does not equal causation, but that is pretty conclusive. A separate competition for such a small demographic may prove both difficult and extremely expensive.

Biden clearly doesn't understand biology or sport.

Everyone should have the opportunity to compete in sports. But it must be as fair as possible. I don't care what you identify as. I will happily address an individual the way they wish to be. But when it infringes upon the rights of others, I do care.

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