While there have been a few forum discussions about this in years past, these were very limited discussions about what seemed to be a very theoretical issue. However in light of last weekend’s results in Cincinnati, I would like to reopen this discussion. For those of you who were not there, one of the Vet women’s events was won by a woman who previously competed as a man and in fact has represented the US previously on both junior and veteran men’s teams. At the outset, I should say that as a participant in this event, I cannot pretend to be without self-interest in this matter. I am not a particularly small or weak woman, and I fence in mixed competitions regularly, but it seems to me that male to female transsexuals competing against women will, on average have both historical and physiologic advantages. The issue of female to male transsexuals competing in men’s competitions is less likely to excite the same passions because they are significantly less likely to be advantaged by competing against men. The better informed among you will know that in 2004 the IOC ruled that transsexuals who have undergone gender reassignment surgery; attained legal recognition of their new gender; and have “appropriate” hormone therapy are eligible for IOC sanctioned competition two years after gonadectomy. As someone with a medical/scientific background, I have been trying to find the data that would have supported this decision. To date, I have found little to none. More recently the vocal and politicized transgender lobby has released a report looking for more inclusive policies for transgendered athletes in high school and collegiate athletics. The recently released report states “according to medical experts on this issue, the assumption that a transgender girl or woman competing on a women’s team would have a competitive advantage outside the range of performance and competitive advantage or disadvantage that already exists among female athletes is not supported by evidence. As one survey of the existing research concludes, “the data available does not appear to suggest that transitioned athletes would compete at a advantage or disadvantage as compared with physically born men and women.”” However the quotation used in this report is incomplete. The full quote reads: “While to date the data available does not appear to suggest that transitioned athletes would compete at an advantage or disadvantage as compared with physically born men and women, there is not enough data available to fully substantiate this claim.” The same paper also states, “To date there are limited data with regards to the effects cross-sex hormone administration have on factors that influence performance. No study has been conducted in transitioned athletes and no study has performed any objective performance testing (i.e. VO2peak, time trial performance or strength). We do know the effects of testosterone and estrogen administration on body composition and muscle mass; however, these factors themselves do not necessarily dictate performance. Until specific research is conducted comparing performance measures in transitioned and physically born men and women no conclusive statement can be made with regards to competitive advantage/disadvantage” Shoddy logic – and a political agenda – have transformed the absence of any data into a false “proof” that male to female transsexuals have no competitive athletic advantage.