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March 05th 2018 print

Peter Smith

‘Gender’ Warriors Drop the Ball

Heinz gets by with a mere 57 varieties, while the latest fashion in human sexuality purports to discern 112 strains of gender. What academics and activists won't acknowledge is the injustice of conventional women being bulldozed by a 6'6" ruckperson formerly known as Bruce

hirsute honeyThese days you can find ‘educated people’ correcting you if you use the word ‘sex’ to refer to either of the two categories which divide humans (and most other beings) according to their reproductive function. Do you mean “gender” they will say. Hmm? The fairer gender?

You will read John Stuart Mill’s essay on The Subjection of Women without once coming across the word gender. Plenty of “sex” no “gender.” Gender is a modern construction when applied biologically to distinguish men from women. It has caught on because it lends itself to fragmentation. Sex is binary. Gender, apparently, can be a continuum of finely divided sexual orientations.

Those in the know claim there are many complex gender variations among folk on the planet. As I am not one of those in the know I Googled. Prominently, on the first page of search results, was a site,  apath.org. It listed 63 genders broken down by physicality, personality, preference and descriptor. For example, number 57 was an “Androgyne, female-attracted hermaphromale.” Mindboggling.

Another site lifehacker.com.au was less ambitious in referring to a Queensland University survey which listed in less exotic terms 33 different genders. Even so, the meaning of descriptors such as neutrois, genderqueer, demigender, and trigender, are not immediately obvious (to me). I re-Googled with a slightly different query. Up popped Tumblr, wherein ambition knows no prosaic bounds. Tumblr is a social-network blogging site; which, I concede, heretofore, has escaped my attention. On my count, it lists 112 different gender types. Maybe it’s a spoof? I would like to think so. Take the first one on the list.

Abimegender: a gender that is profound, deep, and infinite; meant to resemble when one mirror is reflecting into another mirror creating an infinite paradox.”

This and most other of their gender types are even more mysterious to me than are cryptocurrencies and blockchains. I am out of my depth and must move on.

What I am moving onto is men’s and women’s sports, which I do understand. Or I did. Now I have a deep sense of unease about the whole business of sex-segregated sports. Even mixed doubles in tennis is open to interpretation as to how mixed it is or has to be.

To illustrate my dysphoria, I will refer to three cases recently in the news. The first concerns Hannah Mouncey. This is how one newspaper (Daily Mail, February 2018) reported her position:

Previously known as Callum before her transition, Mouncey was part of the national men’s handball side which competed to qualify for the Rio Olympics. She stood at 190cm tall and a muscular 100kg with strength and body mass test results ‘off the charts’. However, the athlete started hormone therapy to become a woman in 2015 and was previously found within the testosterone limits permitted by the International Olympic Committee, which the AFL has adopted for transgender athletes. 

She has now been cleared by the AFL to play in state leagues during the 2018 season. Let me say, I pass no judgment on Ms Mouncey. Good luck to her. But just once I played a game of Aussie Rules. It was not a happy experience for someone of my size and not the most alpha-male kid on the block. I resolved to stick to soccer. I definitely would not want to tangle with Mouncey in any full-on contact sport. And I doubt many women would either.

Notice, testosterone seems to be the principal criterion for deciding eligibility.

My second case concerns New Zealander Laurel (formerly Gavin) Hubbard. This is how one newspaper (SMH, November 2017) reported her position:

The 39-year-old was a national junior record-holder in the male 105kg class before transitioning in her mid-30s. Rival athletes complained that she had an unfair advantage after winning gold at the Australian Open this year, lifting 123 kilos in the snatch and 145 kilos in the clean and jerk…Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand said she met International Olympic Committee regulations related to acceptable testosterone levels.

The International Olympic Committee allows transgender (male to female) athletes, who have not had reassignment surgery, to compete internationally provided they keep their testosterone levels below a specified benchmark for twelve months before competing.

My last case concerns Mack (Makenzie) Beggs. This is how one newspaper (The Guardian, March 2017) reported the case.

Mack Beggs, the 17-year-old transgender athlete…was jeered by some spectators after winning the Texas girl’s wresting competition…Beggs, who identifies as male and is transitioning from female to male, drew the ire of some, who believed his testosterone supplements make him too strong to compete against girls; he went undefeated for the entire season.

And, by the way, Beggs won the title again as an 18-year-old in February this year and against the same unfortunate non-transitioning girl in the final. To be fair to Beggs, he says he wants to compete against males but isn’t allowed to in old-fashioned Texas, where a person’s sex is fixed by whatever is recorded on their birth certificate. On the other hand, what’s the self-identifying-male Beggs doing wrestling against girls? It ain’t gentlemanly, some man in his life might care to inform him.

Testosterone is again in the frame. But this time in the opposite direction. In this case, boosting testosterone gives Beggs an advantage, just as reducing it allows Mouncey and Hubbard their advantage.

To where will all this messing around with hormones lead? I don’t know. It is confusing to those of us more comfortable in a less-fluid sexual world. And now comes WA Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds (SMH, February 2018) to pile bewilderment on confusion.

We no longer segregate women solely on their gender. Women now have the opportunity to compete on merit in the military, maybe it’s time to rethink the segregation of women in sport simply based on their gender and not on the talent.

Based on their gender, she says. Does she mean sex? Or does she really mean gender? If indeed males and females are in reality a differential mish-mash of a host of gender characteristics, it no longer makes sense to have sexually-divided sports at all. So, yes, let’s simply have non-gender, non-sex specific sports. There go women’s sports as we knew them.

After all, in this brave new world of gender fluidity, Margaret Court and Billie Jean would have struggled against Rocket Rod if he’d decided to transition half-way through his career. No tennis hall of fame for them. Alternatively, Mesdames Court and King might have won even more grand slams with a judicious regimen of testosterone injections.

What a pickle we’re in. And it’s our own work. At least part of it is.

Those of us who still have our common sense, have not pushed back hard enough against the postmodernist, Marxist, leftist, radical feminist, LGBTQI claptrap that would doom our society to androgyny. Best to shout from the rooftops that the future of mankind (sorry, ‘people-kind’) depends on mums, dads and kids who respectively fall, without ambiguity, into one or other of the two binary sexual categories.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [24]

  1. Adellad says:

    When you begin to identify as Peta, your credibility in this important issue shall peter out.

  2. Jody says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Dropped the Balls”?

  3. Tony Tea says:

    We now know what Lady MacBeth meant:

    “Come, you spirits, that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.”

    “Ungender me” doesn’t scan.

  4. IainC of The Ponds says:

    So our lame joke at University back in the seventies about being trisexual (try anything) was uncannily prescient. That I more recently thought “gender fluid” was something you had to wash out afterwards, not so much.

  5. Doubting Thomas says:

    If they persist in using “gender” instead of “sex”, I’m going to insist that they include “neuter”. But, looking on the bright side, the present system is an excellent rough filter of those whose opinion on anything at whatsoever can be safely ignored.

  6. padraic says:

    I thought gender was an aspect of French grammar. Changing that should keep them gainfully employed using study grants for the next century.

  7. MattP says:

    Peter writes: “What a pickle we’re in…”
    Using a lhallic symbol like that is very heterosexist of you, Peter.

  8. en passant says:

    Peter,
    There are women who can compete with men on equal terms, but they are a rarity. Not one female woul Evaaa have won the Oz Tennis Open, which is why they need their own competition to make a living.

    Heather MacKay was (from memory) the 9th best Squash player in the world. She totally dominated the Women’s game for years, but would only have made the Quarter Final of an Open Competition.

    Grandmaster Judit Polgar (and her sister, Susan) are rated in the top 30 Chessplayers. Judit refuses to play in female only events.

    The real question is: how did the apathetic 98.773452% of the population allow the rabid scum have so much power to dictate crap ideas to the rest of us?

    It is this same sub-human ‘elite’that we vote into office in our Councils, State & Federal governments and promote to positions of power to rule over us.

    Fortunately, you worry too much as it will all be swept away when Sharia is the law of Ozland … or the Chinese buy us out …

    • LBLoveday says:

      Many women can compete on level terms in ultra-distance swimming, where their extra body fat (breasts..) enable them to float higher and so have less resistance from the water to overcome than the more muscular men, whose lesser buoyancy does not stop their strength from letting them thrash women in the shorter races.

    • LBLoveday says:

      I am unsure that it will be necessary that “the Chinese buy us out”. I can envisage China declaring in the UN that Australia is wasting its vast land and saying it will colonise it and properly utilise its resources for the betterment of the world.
      And who would stop China? Australia’s armed forces could not, Obama would not have, England won’t, Putin may propose a spit-up, so Australia would be dependent on Trump.

      • en passant says:

        LB,
        You are right. The ADF is trying to drive out warriors by making all ADF officers and NCO’s with an official email add the ‘rainbow flag’ to their signature block to ‘show support for transgenders and the LGBTIQWERTY whatevers’

        • Doubting Thomas says:

          I didn’t pay any attention to this year’s Gay Mardi Gras so I’ve no idea if there was an ADF contingent or who led it. Last year, the ADF was “led” by the chief Warrant Officers of the three Services who, I’m sure, would not have been enthusiastic volunteers. So, I gave this considerable thought and concluded that the Service Chiefs ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Someone at, or close to, the pinnacle of the ADF hierarchy must believe, or wants to be seen to believe, that it is important and in the best interests of the ADF that the Alphabetical Contingent be given special recognition worthy of official military leadership. If so, why is it that none of the generals had sufficient courage of their convictions to lead the contingent themselves? That they would delegate such an important leadership duty to the warrant officers is nothing short of shameful. Even the former police chief, Christine Nixon, was smart enough to practise what she preached.

        • Lawrie Ayres says:

          You are joking, right? What BS is that?

  9. whitelaughter says:

    The clobbering of women by chemically enhanced men – amuses me. The double standards of ‘equality’ were made very clear to me at school when girls a solid foot taller than me were held to a lower standard of physical ability. Hopefully this will end the squeals of female athletes demanding ‘equal pay’ as they see what it means to compete on an almost equal footing. An actual equal footing, with men and women competing freely against each other, would be the logical next step.

    However, given how sports mad Australia is, this should result in a backlash against the trendy set’s lunacies, which is even better.

    • LBLoveday says:

      When I was 30ish, a nobody, I could bench press more than Bev Francis, similar weight to me, the poster child for female might at the time. The media reckoned she could play centre half forward in the VFL; she’d have been struggling in my parkland’s club u/17s, let alone standing a nobody like me.

  10. Salome says:

    Excellent article, which brings me back to my point: There are three kinds of people, male (XY), female (XX) and People Who Have Something Wrong With Them. This latter category is a teensy weensy minority of humanity, and these people deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. They have achieved that in previous generations (so far as one can tell) by presenting themselves as male or female and otherwise minding their own business. The rest of the population hasn’t had to turn itself inside out to accommodate them, and neither should it. Compassion and respect are easier to muster when ‘difference’ isn’t being shoved down your throat (or up anywhere else).

  11. Sully says:

    I was thinking about giving wrestling a go in the next Olympics but I’m not sure who I will be up against and that seems a little unfair to me. You see, I had/have Prostate Cancer and the Medico’s put me on 3-Monthly injections of a drug that kills off your testosterone. The Surgeon removed my Prostate, so, with no Prostate and no Testosterone I should qualify as a female, but I don’t fancy blokes – never have to be honest – and I have no intention of having my old-fella removed so I am in a bit of a quandy. Any advice would be appreciated. Unfortunately I may have left my run a little late as I am almost 75, but there is still some life in this old dog.

  12. Bwana Neusi says:

    “Best to shout from the rooftops that the future of mankind (sorry, ‘people-kind’) depends on mums, dads and kids who respectively fall, without ambiguity, into one or other of the two binary sexual categories.”
    Maybe we will have to refer to sperm and ova donors and Kids will become DNA composites.