Fight club

One of the key attack strategies of the anti-trans movement is to attack the idea of trans women participating in sports. It’s quite clever, because elite athletes are very different from us “normal” people: people like Michael Phelps or Sharron Davies are basically freaks of nature. Davies has been (wrongly) tagged on the internet as trans, which is quite funny given her anti-trans views.

So if you can find an example of a trans woman competing at an elite level, you can quite easily persuade people that trans women are incredibly athletic and powerful. Rather than, like me the other day, spending three minutes trying to open a jar of garlic, hurting my wrist and bursting into tears.

That process of picking an outlier and pretending they’re everywhere is pretty much what happened with Laurel Hubbard, the first and only openly trans woman to compete in an individual Olympic event in the 18 years since the Olympics opened their arms to trans people in 2004. She placed last.

If we’re taking over sports we’re doing a pretty shit job of it.

But of course, we’re not. If you look at the stories about supposed trans domination of sports, there’s no such thing happening. In every case I’ve ever seen, the trans woman’s success was either an outlier or wasn’t even success: I’ve seen many stories featuring aggrieved athletes complaining about trans domination when they and the trans person they’ve gone to the papers about finished very far behind many other cisgender athletes. But “I lost because I’m shit” doesn’t make for quite the same clickbait as “I was robbed of my rightful win by a trans woman”.

But of course, transphobes’ feelings don’t care about facts. And I couldn’t have come up with a better example of that than the video currently doing the rounds that shows a trans woman absolutely destroying a cisgender woman in an MMA wrestling match.

Here are some of the comments. The second one is from an American politician.

“When a guy isn’t good enough to compete with the guys, it’s easier to pretend to be a woman.”

“Who is responsible when a real girl gets hurt? How is this fair for actual females? Why do we not see women posing as men and stepping on the field as a linebacker? If you support this you’re as mentally ill as they are. If you’re silent then you support it.”

“this is totally unfair to real women IMO.”

“This is so wrong on so many levels. Men do not belong in women’s sport”

There’s just one problem.

Nobody in the video is trans.

The supposed trans woman in the video is Gaby Garcia, a very successful MMA fighter from Brazil. She’s one of the most successful competitors of all time, in fact. And she’s cisgender.