On the Transgender Sports Debate

Henry Ng, MD

The Ohio Legislature is considering House Bill 61 and Senate Bill 132 that would ban transgender girls and women from participation in girls’ and women’s sports. These bills are based on the commonly-held belief expressed by Representative Jena Powell. She said, “Biological males possess many physiological advantages over females, including greater lung capacity, larger hearts, higher red blood cell counts, stronger tendons and ligaments, greater muscle strength, and increased bone density.”

It’s a logical “common sense” conclusion, frankly. But “common sense” isn’t always correct. As Albert Einstein supposedly put it, “…common sense is actually nothing more than a deposit of prejudices laid down in the mind prior to the age of eighteen.” Subjects as complex as physiology need to be examined scientifically and supported by empirical evidence. So-called “common sense” doesn’t cut it.

Dr. Henry Ng, a Facebook Friend of mine, was interviewed on WRUW-FM’s Gaywaves program this week. He is the Director of the Transgender Surgery & Medicine Program at Cleveland Clinic. In the interview he explains in detail why this “common sense” belief isn’t correct. He says there’s no evidence showing transgender girls have physical advantage, and in fact there are conceivable instances where transgender girls might actually have a disadvantage. For those interested, you can listen to the interview here. It runs about 55 minutes.

All comments are welcome. I only ask that we remain civil and respectful of one another. If you clicked over from Facebook, please comment here rather than back there.

2 thoughts on “On the Transgender Sports Debate

  1. I notice the blurb above reads differently than what Dr. Ng states in the interview. He does not say there is no advantage. He equivocates for the lack of evidence either way. This reveals a clear, though unstated, bias that ignores the science as it stands today.

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  2. I accept your criticism, up to a point. I wrote that Dr. Ng “says there’s no evidence showing transgender girls have physical advantage.” I should have written “there isn’t necessarily evidence showing …” He explained in detail why it’s possible there actually is no advantage, but he also refused to be pinned down to an absolute assertion. My introduction sounds like he did. It should be noted that he also said in some cases transgender girls might actually have a disadvantage.

    I don’t accept the charge that I am ignoring science. The people ignoring science are those who assert unequivocally that transgender girls and women have by “common sense logic” unfair advantage . After all, this line reasoning goes, they are really male in every respect. No allowance is made for all the factors Dr. Ng addressed.

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