Emma Hilton Profile picture
Developmental biologist. All views are my own. Manchester. Get vaccinated.
dniklasd Profile picture Steve Ellwood 🕸️ Profile picture kiddphunk Profile picture A. S. Profile picture Jeni040866 Profile picture 26 added to My Authors
19 Jan
This is an interesting read, framed by understanding sex as a system, not individuals.

‘But the male and female sexes are not two types of individuals; they actually represent two different reproductive strategies...’

‘...and in many organisms, these two strategies are distributed among individuals in a population in a variety of ways.’
‘What we tend to think of as the sexes arose from this isogamous state during the evolution of anisogamy (from Greek aniso‐ “unequal”), where the emerging male and female sexual strategies involve, by definition, the production of many small or few large gametes, respectively.’
Read 8 tweets
18 Jan
"He remembered going into the Women’s Place from when he was very small. Around about the time he was seven or eight he started to be unwelcome there. Women shoo’d him away, or stopped what they were doing.
"The Women’s Place became like the moon; he knew where it was but didn’t even think about going there.
"The Women's Place, a round bowl of a valley full of sunlight. The gardens of the women grew the things that made living enjoyable, possible and longer: spices, fruits and chewing roots. They dug up or traded plants.
Read 15 tweets
15 Jan
Our letter, The Reality of Sex, has been published today in the Irish Journal of Medical Science.

@egipam @SwipeWright @davecurtis314

‘Human sex is an observable, immutable, and important biological classification; it is a fundamental characteristic of our species, foundational to many biology disciplines, and a major differentiator in medical/health outcomes.’
‘Public discourse around sex increasingly seeks to deny basic facts of human biology.’
Read 8 tweets
5 Jan
Some Harper nuggets in here.

1. Queries lack of control for training, hormone status, test conditions. These same limitations would render her own 2015 study inconclusive.
2. Favours training difference to explain retained running advantage, yet argues that the (artefact-riddled, suboptimal) tests of muscular endurance are valid.
A reminder that transmen far surpassed male performance in these muscular endurance tests. Is she saying that transmen would be better than males at team sports?
Read 8 tweets
22 Dec 20
What is absolutely remarkable about the brief is that it is an equally good argument for protecting sports for females. One could almost regurgitate it, replacing just a few words, and submit it in *defence* of HB500.
It appeals to the value - personal, social, academic - of sports participation, the importance thereof for physical and mental well-being.

It’s always worth revisiting the benefits of sport, but HB500 is not to prevent participation. Do they realise this?
They appear to be ignorant of the premise that the wonderful benefits of sports *should be equally available to females*.

In fact, there is a federal law called Title IX to ensure that is the case.
Read 8 tweets
21 Dec 20
This is a very engaging read (and accessible, with minimal Googling of specific terms, to non-philosophers).

Well done, @runthinkwrite
Jon rejects a cost-benefit analysis - the oft-repeated ‘balance’ of safety v fairness v inclusion:

‘What amount of ‘fairness’ ought to be sacrificed for what amount of increase in ‘inclusion’?’
Instead, Jon argues that World Rugby (and other ‘combat’ sports) have a special duty to manage risk:

‘[I]t is particularly incumbent on World Rugby to be alert to increased risk, and to oppose any increased risk that is not an ineliminable part of the essence of the game.’
Read 7 tweets
8 Dec 20
I am delighted to announce that Hilton and Lundberg, 2020 is now published! @TLexercise

‘Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage’

link.springer.com/article/10.100… Image
Anyone wishing to spot changes from our pre-print:

1. We included a section on pre-pubertal differences (that is, even young boys outperform young girls, thus the performance gap is not solely down to pubertal T).
2. We extended our analysis of CV capacity changes and potential impact on endurance performance (although we had acknowledged a likely effect, we have drilled deeper into mechanism).
Read 8 tweets
8 Dec 20
Here follows my quick first thoughts of Roberts et al., 2020.

I predict this paper will generate much discussion over the coming weeks and months.
The link to the paper is here:

The authors studied 46 transwomen (TW) and 29 transmen (TM), majority in active service with the US Air Force.

Highly-active people, albeit not specifically-trained athletes. Mean age 26.6 yrs +/- 5.5 yrs.
Read 30 tweets
7 Dec 20
@MondayStory The words ‘male’ and ‘female’ have scientific definitions, and describe reproductive biology related to ones role in propagating the species (for almost all complex species on earth).
@MondayStory My husband and I, for example, have qualitatively-different roles and, correspondingly, qualitatively-different reproductive anatomy.

The word to describe my body type is ‘female’. The word to describe his is ‘male’.
@MondayStory Now, if you are going to say that both of us can be described, in some context, as ‘female’, then the word ‘female’ no longer describes my reproductive anatomy or any specific medical needs I have, and it decouples humans from standard nomenclature across evolutionary space/time.
Read 5 tweets
29 Nov 20
Here is my transcript. Actual details may vary.


On modern day creationism. A thread.
"In the 1920s, in concert with many other American states, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed the Butler Act, making it illegal for state public schools to: “teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible.”
In other words, this law banned schools from teaching the theory of evolution.
Read 57 tweets
27 Nov 20
Louise, you’re absolutely right.

I rarely involve myself in the extracurricular politics of those I interact with on specific issues.

I believe women’s rights and general freedoms are cross-party.
Miller is, of course, free, within the bounds of law, to associate with whom he wishes. I support, and will continue to support, that right.

But I am also free to denounce those associations. And I do. I am appalled.
There is no place in any of my politics for anyone who gets into bed with Tommy Robinson.
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov 20
Maugham states that his case against the Tavi regards the lawfulness of waiting list times for first appointment.

Take him at his word. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s any kind of political fight against other groups.
If he wins, and he may well do, I don’t think it would be a bad outcome.

Wouldn’t we all want children to see medical/psychological specialists as soon as they can?

But it’s only that (which may be a good ‘that’).
He seems happy to create the idea that a victory would be a political one, against his ‘dark money-funded hate groups’.

It is not. That’s his own personal crusade shining through.
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov 20
"The reality is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose."

"The evidence is unequivocal that starting in puberty, in every sport except sailing, shooting and riding, there will always be significant numbers of boys and men who would beat the best girls and women in head-to-head competition."
(I'm not sure I agree with those exceptions; watch sailing and tell me strength doesn't matter.... but anyway)
Read 8 tweets
19 Nov 20
Prompted by the release of USA Gymnastics @usagym trans policy.

Specifically, the implication that performance differences between children of either sex and of any gender identity are negligible, therefore inclusion of transgirls with females is fair.
Here is summary data from Catley and Tomkinson, 2012, who collated performance data from 85347 Australian schoolchildren aged 9-17 years old.
Source here (full text can be found on ResearchGate).

Read 22 tweets
7 Nov 20
‘Without a sex-based category for female athletes, women are quite simply excluded from the top levels of sport.’

Great article here from ⁦@BarbaraRKaynationalpost.com/opinion/barbar…
‘First they justified trans women competing with women because they had “always” felt they were female. Then they say the “always” female trans athlete might “be” male for certain sports or at different times.’

From the working group document:

‘Growing up male likely confers physical, hormonal, social and economic factors that contribute to this performance gap, but we cannot say that it is specifically due to testosterone in a way
that is significant and predictable.’
Read 6 tweets
3 Nov 20
On sex, balls and factories: a thread.
Let’s imagine a ball-making factory, the squishy, brightly-coloured kind of ball you kick around on the beach with a child (preferably one you own, not one stolen).
In that factory are two production lines. The first line paints balls red and the second line paints balls blue. Both machines are fed by boring beige balls.
Read 23 tweets
26 Oct 20
Jones et al., 2017 is repeatedly cited as evidence that transwomen do not have an advantage in female sports.

Here is my take.
They performed a literature search of transwomen in sport and concluded that:

“Currently, there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition.”
This conclusion is not supported by the data they analyse.

First, the review intended to examine sports policies and participation, and consists largely of qualitative/survey data examining the experiences of trans people in sport.

This is valuable insight.
Read 12 tweets
24 Oct 20
The proposal that sports be divided into ‘performance pools’ undermines the very nature of competitive sport.
Let’s say I am matched in an boxing competition with a male of the same height, strength and speed. Our ‘output’ is considered equivalent, and thus the competition is deemed fair.

It is not fair.
Male physical output is a composite of two factors - male puberty and natural talent. Female physical output lacks the contribution of male puberty.
Read 9 tweets
23 Oct 20
@PeterTatchell Let’s go with the evidence.

Males who suppress T and do no exercise lose about 5% mass/strength in the first couple of years.

Males who suppress T and exercise mitigate loss and often make significant gains in mass/strength.

Small males are stronger than far larger females.
@PeterTatchell Among elite rugby players at all postions, the slowest males are only a little slower than the fastest females. The weakest males are stronger than the strongest females.
@PeterTatchell If rugby is a game for players of all sizes, strengths and speeds, do you think that the mixed England lineup would contain about 50% females?

No you don’t.
Nobody does.

Because while rugby might accommodate different physicalities, it appears to be limited *within sex*.
Read 12 tweets
20 Oct 20
People’s Republic of Liverchester? Manpool? I’m no longer fussy.
I’ve even got a Yorkshire husband willing to pledge allegiance to the dark side of it’s against ‘The South’.
Give us a couple of weeks and I reckon we’ll have Nottingham as well.
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct 20
‘There is no scientific evidence to support World Rugby’s position in exclusion of transwomen from contact rugby’.

Here is the evidence cited by the IOC in 2003, when they first proposed that inclusion of transwomen in female sport is fair.
Here is the evidence cited by the IOC in 2015 when they adjusted their criteria for fair inclusion.
Here is the evidence cited by England Rugby @EnglandRugby in support of fair inclusion of transwomen.
Read 8 tweets