Chloie Jonsson vs. CrossFit: Biology Goes to Trial on the Planet California

April 3rd, 2014 By Steven Knope, MD

During the last installment of The Pearl, I wrote about the great social discovery of our time – the realization that you can change your gender like a pair of Nikes. We need no longer feel bound by our X or Y chromosomes. The double-helix is dead and DNA is irrelevant. In their place is Governor Moonbeam, broadcasting new-age wisdom from his intellectual death star on the planet California. In this new era of pick-your-own-gender, Moonbeam has been waging war on biology and science. Like other members of the intelligentsia, he has determined that feelings are the true measure of a person’s gender. If you have a Y chromosome and a pair of testicles, but feel that you are a woman trapped inside of a man’s body, so it is. And California has now defined men and women accordingly.

To put this fabricated concept of “gender identity” into context, it is necessary to understand that American society has dramatically changed over the past two generations. Critical analysis and rigorous thought have been replaced with drama and feelings. We no longer demand academic rigor of students. Only one in three Americans can even name the three branches of government, and a third cannot name one. A person’s EQ, his emotional quotient, is now more important than his IQ. Everyone is expected to be fluent in politically correct speech and to be ultra-sensitive to others. In short, we have transformed our society from a meritocracy to a feelocracy.

chloieThe Case of Chloie Jonsson

The day after my last blog post, CNN reported that “A transgender woman prohibited from competing in a strength competition as a female is suing the fitness company sponsoring the competition, seeking $2.5 million in damages.” “Chloie Jonsson, a personal trainer, charges the CrossFit company with discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition in a lawsuit filed in Santa Cruz, California.” If you are squeamish, you need not read this story. However, please look carefully at the picture of Chloie to the right. Looking at her body structure will be important in understanding my discussion.

Primary Sexual Characteristics

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane and revisit our high school sex education classes. If you didn’t have sex education, you probably had at least a brief exposure to embryology. Embryology teaches us that one must have a Y chromosome to become a male; Period. Without the Y chromosome, a fertilized egg will become a female. Early in utero, the Y chromosome results in the development of fetal testicles, which produce the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone results in the further development of male genitals. Hence, little boys are born with a penis and testicles, whereas little girls are born with a uterus, ovaries and a vagina. This concrete biological truth has nothing to do with feelings. These anatomical differences that define boys and girls are what we call primary sexual characteristics.

Secondary Sexual Characteristics

It is important to realize that the influence of the Y chromosome and the presence of testosterone reach far beyond the creation of male genitals. Testosterone continues to change the entire body of a developing boy throughout puberty and well into adulthood. Before puberty, the bodies of young boys and young girls look pretty much the same (with the exception of their sex organs.) But when their hormones start to surge during puberty, the bodies of boys and girls change dramatically; boys develop muscles and grow facial hair; girls develop breasts and wider hips, and so on.

Muscular Development

Under the influence of testosterone, boys develop about 50% more muscle mass than girls, which is why the U.S. Marines had to recently drop their requirement that women be able to do at least 3 pull-ups after completion of boot camp. Most women simply don’t have the upper body strength. If we did not separate the sexes in baseball, soccer or track, boys would have an unfair competitive advantage over girls. This is not sexist or misogynistic. It is biology. And you do not need to be a biologist to see these differences.

Sex and Bone Structure

Testosterone also has a dramatic impact on the shape of the developing male pelvis, which is critical to athletic ability. The male pelvis narrows and elongates in puberty under the influence of testosterone; the female pelvis widens under the influence of estrogen so that women can bear children. Both distinctions are equally important to the survival of the species. However, from an athletic perspective, narrower hips allow for the development of stronger legs. When young women stress their bodies in competitive sports, such as soccer or basketball, they are 5 times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than men. This is just an orthopedic reality.

Drama vs. Biology

Despite all of the scientific and medical knowledge we’ve accumulated regarding the physiological and biological differences between men and women, politically-driven people ignore these facts and actually deny that they exist. And much of the public is now so uneducated, and so keyed into how they are supposed to react to the feelings of others, that people don’t stand up and call this ignorance what it is. It is stupidity. As I wrote in my last blog, for decades some feminists have been promoting the delusion that there are no biological differences between men and women. And the transgender crowd has adopted this mantra. Hence we are now seeing lawsuits from men-turned-women, who claim that they are no different than any other woman. This is untrue.

Because of our lack of respect for science and objectivity, feelings and emotion are increasingly forming the basis of law. And if the law of the land in California were the gold standard for truth, the case of Chloie Jonsson vs. Crossfit would be open and shut: Chloie would win. According to Chloie’s attorney, the issue is a legal one: “She’s female,” he said. “She’s legally female. A corporation like CrossFit, they’re doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity.” There you have it, from a Doctor of Jurisprudence.

However, when we look at Chloie’s picture, her lawyer’s arguments don’t pass the eyeball test. Chloie’s secondary sex characteristics are unmistakably masculine. She has the upper body development of a man, despite the fact that she no longer has testicles and now takes estrogen. It doesn’t matter what the law says, we cannot betray the truth of what we see. And the attorneys for Crossfit cite this reality in their public position: “The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women.” Anyone care to dispute this?

Is Crossfit Medically Correct?

Chloie’s male secondary sexual characteristics – her increased muscle mass, her narrow masculine pelvis, the difference in her body mechanics, her upper body strength and body fat – are all still male. She is not like other women, because biologically speaking, she is not a woman.

Where are the Data?

In my preparation for this blog, I did an extensive literature search to determine whether there was any data to show a benefit of surgery in people with so-called gender disorders: There are no such data. To the contrary, I found data showing that many transgenders do not do well after gender reassignment surgery. In one of the largest papers published from Sweden, which followed 324 transgender persons after surgery over many years, mortality from suicide was strikingly high. The suicide risk was 19 times higher than controls following surgery. Suicide attempts were 5 times higher and psychiatric hospitalizations were 3 times higher. In my opinion, the psychiatrists and surgeons who are engaged in this process are no smarter than those “doctors” who performed hundreds of frontal lobotomies on returning soldiers after WWII. Both used a scalpel to irrevocably alter human beings with psychiatric illnesses, which are poorly understood, without any hard data that this was either effective or safe.

To say that there are good data to justify sex reassignment surgery in those with gender identity issues is untrue. This conclusion was reached 10 years ago by the former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, Dr. McHugh, who urged in 2004 that the surgical sex reassignment program at Johns Hopkins be shut down. Dr. McHugh said performing surgery on people with gender identity issues was like “performing liposuction on an anorexic child.”

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