Was formerly a standout female competitor
A transgender male swimmer at Yale University has proven what people with a grasp of basic science already know — that men have certain biological advantages over women in the realm of sports.
Iszak Henig (pictured), who last year as a female held All-American status, finished 79th as a man out of 83 overall competitors at a meet in November, Fox News reports.
The only swimmers Henig beat were those who specialize in other events — and a guy who is missing an arm.
A few days before that at a meet against Columbia University, Henig finished 10th out of 11 (200 yd. freestyle) and 11th out of 12 (100 yd. freestyle).
Henig’s results stand in contrast to those of the University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas, who’s transitioning from male to female. Thomas’ performances as a male were pretty good; as a female, however, she ended up smashing records.
But Henig wrote in The New York Times he doesn’t much care about being competitive.
“Instead, I’m trying to connect with my teammates in new ways, to cheer loudly, to focus more on the excitement of the sport,” Henig wrote. “Competing and being challenged is the best part. It’s a different kind of fulfillment. And it’s pretty great to feel comfortable in the locker room every day.”
Henig said trans athletes “deserve to be celebrated just as cis athletes are” and that they are “not cheating by pursuing [their] true selves.” He added there is “so much more to a great athlete than hormones or height” as evidenced by his besting of cis men in competitions.
Henig’s comments are reminiscent of what Michela Musto of the University of British Columbia wrote back in September — that sports themselves are responsible for the “belief” that men are inherently stronger than women … and the “belief” that gender is binary.
The “strict sex segregation” at all levels of sport “gives the impression that men and women have completely different capabilities,” Musto wrote.
Earlier last year Purdue University Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Professor Cheryl Cooky said efforts to keep trans athletes competing among those of their biological gender are “not based on science.”
Besides basic biology, Cooky said there are “hormones […] coaching and training, [the] psychological makeup of an athlete, [and] access to resources and equipment.”
IMAGE: Grizzly Joe / Twitter screencap