She hurled her opponent, Tamikka Brents to the ground, and speedly made her way up. Standing straight with her fists wrapped in boxing gloves constantly bouncing in the air in front of her face, she is a head taller than her rival. Her eyes fiercely pinned on the person in front of her, before she proceeded to fling herself at her like a wild animal. She quickly grabbed her opponent’s head, making sure she can’t move before kneeing her in the face, leaving her unconscious within a second. The entire venue went wild, as the referee pushed Fallon Fox to the side and called it off.
“I’ve never felt such amount of pain caused by a woman,” said Brents. It was an MMA match that got America shaken in 2014. Although severe injuries and wounds are inevitable in Mixed Martial Arts, Fox soon became the subject of controversy, well obviously because she knocked her opponent unconscious and broke her orbital bone in the first round. But the fact that she is a male-to-female transgender person who is allowed to compete with and beat a biological woman started to make people question whether what we are fighting for hinders woman’s ability to compete.
Skipping all the lengthy human anatomy explanation, let me paint you a picture: your daughter or sister plays a contact sport, say football or basketball. She has gone from being a cute little girl to a full-grown woman, who is strong and capable of competing with other women. On the other side of the field stands a female, who was a male for most of his life. It is still undeniable that for this person’s entire life, he had the hormonal profile and capabilities of a man, though his body now resembles that of a woman. This is of course to say nothing of the ligaments, bone density and overall musculature that has been built over a lifetime of… well, being a man. Now this person can physically and legally attack your daughter or sister. This doesn’t sound so progressive, does it?
According to Healthline, healthy young men naturally have an approximate testosterone level of 240-950 ng./dl. Women, typically have that of 8-60 ng./dl. That’s a ratio of at least 10:1. Just to give you some context, that herculean female bodybuilder you catch at the gym or on Instagram very seldom enjoys that kind of a testosterone gap over their own male counterparts (with average pro bodybuilders coming in somewhere around 3500 ng.dl). In the field of sport, an athletic trans woman are more likely to preserve biological man’s traits and muscles, than say a trans female pageant contestant.
As much as one wants to recognize that trans women are like biological women, one has to admit that a line needs to be drawn somewhere for the sake of fairness to women. Nowadays, we all fight so hard in order to make the world equal. It is undeniable that women today, at least those in developing countries, have more rights than they used to back in the day. We also have more genders and different use of pronouns that more and more people are starting to recognize. But when women enter a sport competition, with all the female traits that they possess since birth and in their DNA, and ready to show the world what women are capable of doing, where is the justice for them when they are up against someone, who is physically superior. Believe it or not, biology and human anatomy are not homophobic at all.
Therefore, instead of advocating for trans women to challenge biological women, specifically in sports, we should aim to establish competitions or categories for trans women, where they are embraced for their differences and judged fairly based on their performance when competing with people with similar capacity.
Although one might say the number of competitions designated specifically for transgender is relatively small since trans people only constitute a small part of the world population, so why not put them in the same categories as biological women or men?
At the end of the day, everybody, except for those who prefer shortcuts, would rather win righteously.
Content: Uyen Nguyen | Edit: Rosie | Design: Vy Le