Appalling arguments from Vilain here.

"We know that men have, on average, an advantage in performance in athletics of about 10% to 12% over women"

This cited advantage is the low end (running). The difference gets much larger in other disciplines. In weightlifting, the gap is 30-40%.
"which the sports authorities have attributed to differences in levels of a male hormone called testosterone"

"But the question is whether there is in real life, during actual competitions, an advantage of performance linked to this male hormone"

This follow up immediately assumes - or deliberately places - the only role of testosterone in male advantage as a matter of current levels.
We know that adding testosterone boosts performance; that's why its a banned substance in athletics.
"higher levels of the male hormone testosterone are associated with better performance only in a very small number of athletic disciplines"

As @Scienceofsport explains very nicely, once high testosterone has been selected for (as in male sports)...
...there is no reason to assume it has finer effects at sorting winners from losers. It's intuitive, but not necessarily true.

Once you're in the game, the winners and losers are separated by factors like skill, hand speed, a better eye, a superior strategy.
Differences in those factors can, and clearly do, overcome differences in testosterone level *once both players are in the game*.

High testosterone is your entry pass, not your winning ticket.
In this sense, we can look at a "survival of the fittest" model.

The above is a misnomer. It's not survival of the fittest, it's survival (and assumed reproduction) of the *fit enough*.
Once the *not fit enough* have been lost from the population, all those who "passed the test" are then sorted for reproductive success by other characteristics.
"a very small number of athletic disciplines: 400 meters, 800 meters, hammer throw, pole vault"

This is an IAAF study that has been pretty much discarded as bad science. It detracts from his credibility.
"and it [testosterone] certainly does not explain the whole 10% difference"

This is where Vilain goes badly wrong, and it's a mistake made by a particular cycling advocate too.
They are, I believe, saying that differences in *current testosterone* within the male category or within the female category do not deliver a 10% difference in performance between male or female athletes.
I have no idea why they think that means it's not relevant for inter-category differences, that is, those between males and females.
Even if we grant the argument, he is left with a massive hole to fill.

If it's not *current testosterone*, what is his proposed explanation for the male performance advantage?
All he has demonstrated, again if we accept his logic, is that *current testosterone* is a really bad marker for performance.

So there must be something else underpinning the gap.
Of course, I and many others argue that it is not necessarily *current testosterone* that underpins male advantage, but the effect of testosterone during the development of that male, particularly at puberty.
By arguing that *current testosterone fails to discriminate performance within sex categories*, Vilain is hoping we won't notice that *developmental testosterone has lifelong effects on a male body*.

Maybe Vilain himself hasn't processed that?
"every sport requires different talents and anatomies for success...For example, the body of a marathon runner is extremely different from the body of a shot put champion"

But the marathon runner isn't winning shot put, nor vice versa.
This is just handwaving filler. We know there are different sports that advantage different body types.

We're not cross-comparing different sports. We are comparing male and female performance within a sport.
Unless Vilain wants athletic selection at the discipline level, so all the females do (female) gymnastics and all the males do, well, pretty much everything else.
Oh I'm bored now. I might pick up again later, but don't count on it.

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More from @FondOfBeetles

19 Mar
Here is a basketball analogy.

Shaun the Shortie/5’5.
He’s not tall enough to reasonably be a competitive basketballer.

Mitch the Middler/6’5. He is tall enough to be a competitive basketballer.

Tall Tony/7’5.
He was nailed on for basketball since he was born.
No amount of skill can make Shaun competitive. There’s only so far it can take you.

Tony? He doesn’t need to rely on skill, because you get it to him and he’s got a free shot every time.
Mitch is where it’s happening. There are quite a few 6’5 basketballers. It’s ‘tall enough’.

In fact, average NBA basketballer height has plateaued at about 6’7 (forgive my analogy a couple of inches). Image
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12 Mar
Last night, I left work in darkness (because some of our jobs go that way, and I can’t afford security).

On the path, a man was walking towards me. I gave him a wide berth, and glanced over my shoulder as I passed him.

He’d stopped.

And then he turned to walk behind me.
He had probably remembered he needed to buy something at the shop, or he’d forgotten something at his own building.

But my own response was:

Head up. Where are the lights? Where are the doors? Which buildings are still open? How many cars are passing in the road?
I crossed the road, and slowed right down so he was ahead of me.

Nothing happened. The most likely outcome.
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12 Mar
@LaurenOxleyx If you are going to present ‘basic research’, at least do it.

1.7% of the world is not intersex. The vast majority of this figure are unambiguous females - adults, mothers, etc - with high testosterone. Do you think such females are intersex?
@LaurenOxleyx Your use of redheads as a reference value is thus inaccurate. And ironically, some of the biggest clusters of DSDs happen in populations where red hair would be unheard of.....
@LaurenOxleyx People with DSDs are not different sexes, they are males or females who, owing to genetic mutations or environmental insult, don’t follow typical development. They don’t represent a third sex.
Read 8 tweets
11 Mar
Many of these Bills are trying to impose symmetry on an inherently asymmetric situation.

Anyone should be allowed, safety assured, to ‘punch up’ a category. This is especially important when they do not have a category of their own.
There should not be barrier to a female playing in a male team (if she is safe to do so). Reframing all ‘male’ categories as ‘open’ (as many technically are) will underline this concept.
Regulating transgirls/transwomen in female sport is not mirrored by exactly the same set of concerns as regulating transboys/transmen in open-but-practically-male sport.
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Full contact ‘collision’ sports are those where deliberate, forceful contact against an opponent are an integral part of gameplay.

The aim of contact play may be to defend or retrieve possession of, say, a ball (e.g. rugby) or to win by disabling your opponent (e.g. boxing).
Sports federations regulating full contact sports, where contact cannot be eliminated without changing the face of the sport, have a *special duty* to minimise the potential for injury during gameplay.

See Jon Pike @runthinkwrite on this.…
This is evident in policies to, for example, limit contact to specific moves or regions of the body, to regulate how contact is enacted, and the wearing of protective gear to minimise injury potential during contact.
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6 Mar
There have been two academic reviews of musculoskeletal changes in transwomen suppressing testosterone.

Both conclude that loss of muscle mass and strength is small, and that strength advantage over females is retained.

Citations to follow.
The first review is Hilton and Lundberg, 2020, published in Sports Medicine.

The second review is Harper et al., 2021, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.…
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