Headline RoundupMarch 28th, 2023

Is There 'Limited Scientific Evidence on Elite Trans Athletes'?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

NPR issued a correction to a tweet saying there's "limited scientific research involving elite trans athletes." What's true and false about this statement?

What Studies Say: Studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggest that trans athletes retain higher muscle mass, strength, speed, and other athletic advantages over cisgender women. Other studies suggest little difference in performance between trans and cisgender athletes.

What Others Say: The NPR article linked from the tweet also says there's limited research on elite trans athletes, and focuses on opponents of a recent World Athletics Council (WAC) decision to ban trans women from competing in elite events, who say the move is discriminatory and lacks compelling evidence. A May 2022 Washington Post (Lean Left bias) poll suggests that 28% of Americans support allowing transgender female athletes to compete on women’s and girls’ sports teams, while 58% oppose.

A Corrected Tweet: NPR's correction states that "Existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance. But there’s limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition." Under both the correction and the original tweet, Twitter displays links to studies that suggest the contrary.

Media Criticism: Many right-rated sources criticized NPR for purportedly spreading misinformation about trans athletes. A Lean Right-rated columnist for Mediaite (Lean Left bias) said NPR had asked readers to "disregard their sense of sight and common sense." Some right-rated outlets highlighted cisgender female athletes who praised the WAC decision.

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