DEPRESSINGLY, I have to react to Steph Paton’s Monday column (Trans panic in sport hides the real barriers that women face, Aug 14). When it comes to trans issues I am afraid Steph loses all sense of proportion.

I can hardly find a single paragraph in the piece that does not seriously misrepresent reality. The sports governing bodies have only now been persuaded to follow scientific evidence after years of pursuing “inclusion” by way of rules about testosterone reduction, which has been shown to have minimal effect in levelling the playing field. One study found that even after 14 years it reduced male advantage by about 5%!

It has nothing whatsoever to do with “anti-trans”, and everything to do with basic fairness to women in sport. There is a reason why there is a separate women’s category, and it has nothing to do with “identity” and everything to do with physiology. You do not take part in sport with an identity, you do it with your body, and Steph may not like to hear it, but a trans woman’s body is male, and no amount of repeating “trans women are women” will ever change that.

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After puberty, males are on average taller, heavier, have wider shoulders, larger hands and feet, greater muscle mass especially in the upper body, larger hearts, greater lung capacity, narrower hips, and firmer tendons. Women’s hip width results in a greater “Q angle” which means the thighs slope in towards the knees, making them more prone to knee injuries. Hormone treatment has no effect on any of these advantages, so in all these respects, trans women are male.

As for the science of what is the unfair advantage for transgender women (why on earth is “male puberty” in quotes – it absolutely is male puberty), the results of meta-analyses of peer-reviewed studies is very clear. The male advantage over women, depending on the sport, is anything from 10% to 30%, and more for powerlifting and other explosive activities. Just Google or search YouTube for Emma Hilton, a developmental biologist, who can explain very clearly what the science is. There is even a scientific study looking at weight categories against sex, and women’s disadvantage still exists, so that is not the answer either.

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The point about men playing Serena Williams at tennis is another piece of nonsense that seems to be going about. In fact a pretty low-ranked man played both Williams sisters, and comfortably beat them both.

Steph’s comment about “the sporting bodies who found it easier to ban trans women” is also dishonest. Nobody has banned trans women from sport, they are just not eligible for the female category for the simple reason that they are not female. They are entirely welcome in an appropriate category. And the bodies, far from finding it “easier”, in fact dragged their feet on the issue for years in the face of available scientific evidence, and the fact that trans “inclusion” all too often resulted in female exclusion.

The various UK sports councils held a meeting to discuss the issue of trans inclusion in sport, and came to the clear conclusion that you could have fairness, or you could have trans inclusion as “females”, but there was no way to reconcile the two.

Not to mention the safety issue. When World Rugby decided after hard discussion to exclude trans women from women’s rugby, the deciding issue was safety. They saw a clear risk of serious injury to a woman player. Do we have to wait for a woman to be badly injured, or heaven forbid killed, before the trans activists will accept reality?

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In boxing, according to Sharron Davies, it was the men boxers who refused to contemplate any blurring of the sex categories because they were afraid someone might be killed, resulting in a manslaughter charge.

Last year in North Carolina, USA, a “trans” girl (boy) was on a team for high school girls’ volleyball, and spiked the ball so hard it hit an actual girl, Payton McNabb, on the opposing team in the head at 70mph. She was concussed, out for some time, and suffered some brain damage. Even a year on, she still has impaired movement down her right side, and blurred vision. The trans movement are fond or urging us to “be kind”. What on earth is kind about that?

None of this has anything to do with being “anti-trans”. The female sport category is about being fair and safe for women and girls. If trans women are allowed in, it is no longer female sport.

Robert Moffat