Debunking Myths About Trans Athletes – The Jim Jefferies Show

– I recently sat down with
transgender scientist and runner, Joanna Harper, to learn
more about her research, and what it says about
the transgender community in sports and beyond. Take a look. [Jim] Meet Joanna Harper. She’s a scientist who authored the very first study on
transgender athletes. She even advises the
International Olympic Committee. So if anyone knows her stuff, it’s Joanna. – First of all, look, I don’t
know what to think about this. This is something that I haven’t
really had an opinion on. I’m sorry if I use any outdated, um, words in this whole thing. I’m trying me best, and
I wanna learn. Okay? – Okay. Yeah. – The argument that people make is that when someone has a sex change, and mostly this is from male to female, that if they go to compete
in a female sport after that, they have an unfair advantage. Is this true? – Well, first of all, it’s complicated. But the hormone therapy
that trans women undergo makes many changes in
the biological qualities that are important for sport. Trans women have bigger frames, which are now being powered
by reduced muscle mass, and reduced aerobic capacity, so it’s like a big car
with a small engine, – Right, right. – Competing against a small
car with a small engine. So trans women have– – Right, it’s like a Buick. – Yeah, yeah. (audience laughing) – Not a Tesla. – Yeah, not a Tesla, no. (audience laughing) [Jim] And this isn’t just
Joanna’s gut feeling, for her study, she collected data from eight transgender runners, people who are transitioning
from male to female. The results? Before hormone therapy, they competed at the
same level as other men. After hormone therapy, they competed at the same
level as other women. – So, after hormonal transition, trans women are no
longer biologically male. Trans women are not taking
over women’s sports. The best evidence of that
so far is NCAA sports. The NCAA has allowed
trans women to compete after a year of hormone
therapy since 2011. That’s eight years ago, and trans women are NOT
taking over NCAA sports, and probably won’t in other sports. – Here’s an argument that
people would say against, um, a female that wants to become a male, or start taking testosterone. – Correct. – What’s the difference between that and Alex Rodriguez taking steroids? – They take testosterone
to become more like men, but they start from a female
point of disadvantage. And if they work really hard, and take their testosterone, they can get up to pretty
close to typical male. – Right. There’s a professional
boxer, Patricio Manuel, there’s a swimmer, Schuyler Bailar– – So wait, there’s a, there’s a person who was born a female who is boxing against men? – Yes! He wasn’t always a professional, so he beat a dude. – Wow. (audience laughing) – That’s, uh, that’s tough. – Uh-huh. (Jim laughing) – What you’re saying to me
sounds very reasonable. Right? But is there a risk of dick
heads (bleep)-ing this up? Like with everything? – Well– – Right, you get some dick
head, right, who goes, “I’m a woman now, I’d like to
compete in the 100 meters.” And doesn’t really wanna be a woman, just wants to cause a fuss. – It could, in theory, happen. But there are so many
downsides to being transgender that, you know, it’s not like
it’s the cool club to join. You know, when I told my mother
that I was really a woman, her reaction was, you know, “I never wanna see you again.” So maybe I can win a district track medal, but it means that my family
boots me out and I’m homeless. You know, um, yes it’s possible– – You could have my mother. My mother desperately
wanted me to be a girl. (audience laughing) – I’m not kidding, my mother
used to sit me down into bed and go, “If you’re gay,
that’s okay with me.” She really wanted a daughter. And she would’ve been over the moon, we should swap families. (Joanna laughing) [Jim] So trans athletes might
get grief from their families, they get grief from the far-right, but for taking a scientific approach and saying that trans athletes should get their hormone levels checked, Joanna gets grief from one other group. – Do liberals ever get mad at you? Do you ever get heat that
you’re not progressive enough? – Absolutely. I’ve been called a traitor
to transgender people. – Trans- Transgender traitor?! That’s hard to say. – Yes, yes it is. (audience laughing) – It’s harder to be one, too. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Joanna laughing) – But I’m a scientist first of all, and that’s how I see the world. I see it through a scientific lens. – It’s very hard to be a
moderate in this world. You can’t find a lot of
friends when you’re moderate, and that’s where you think you should. – Yeah. – Here’s one. Should a female be able to compete in RuPaul’s Drag Race? (audience laughing) – Um– – Because I feel that show’s
a little bit heterophobic. (Joanna laughing) – I’ve tried to be a
judge on that show for (bleep)-ing seven years, I tweet about it, I know every drag queen
who’s been on the show, I would be an excellent
judge on Ru Paul’s drag race. Ball’s in your court, Ru. (audience clapping) – So even Joanna Harper
isn’t sure how we can achieve equal and meaningful competition. In my mind, if you’re the best at your sport, I don’t care what group you fit into. Let’s not split athletes up into gender or hormone levels or weight class, everyone just plays together. And we let natural abilities sort it out. There’s no NBA, there’s no WNBA, there’s just BA. If you’re good at B, congratulations, you’re in the A! (audience cheering) Now that’s for professional athletes, and for everyone else, I’m starting my own league. But it’s only sports I can play, like pinball or cornhole, or burning my own chest
hairs with a lighter. (audience laughing) – In my league, drugs are encouraged. (audience laughing) – Bring drugs. (audience laughing) And in the true spirit of competition, I’m accepting everyone. All sexual orientations,
body types, races, and ages. I call it the Jefferies Association of Professional Sportspeople. (audience laughing and clapping) It’s completely inclusive and not offensive in any way. (Rock music)