Neil deGrasse Tyson may have made some enemies when he got Pluto downgraded to a dwarf planet. But he may have just been getting his controversy machine warmed up for a discussion about trans athletes. Here’s what’s happening with Tyson on that front now.
He Supports Trans Athletes
Earlier in the summer, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson made some waves with a TikTok video supporting trans athletes participating in sports based on their gender identity.
It’s Just Not Fair
That sparked plenty of backlash, particularly among women athletes and their supporters, who say it’s unfair for biological males to play against women.
He Wasn’t Finished
In the aftermath of that controversy, Tyson appeared more recently on a YouTube show called TRIGGERnometry, which deals with hot-button issues and concerns around free speech.
In for a Surprise
Host Konstantin Kisin wasn’t too fond of Tyson’s earlier take on transgender athletes and asked for some clarification.
But if Kisin expected Tyson to back down, he was in for a surprise.
It Needs an Overhaul
Instead of backpedaling, Tyson got riled up and told the host that, not only should transgender athletes be allowed to compete, but that the entire sports landscape needed to be overhauled.
System Not Inclusive
Tyson said that the current system does not “ensure inclusion and fairness for all.”
They Tag Teamed Him
At one point, Kisin’s co-host, Francis Foster, jumped into the conversation and confronted Tyson with one of the most common arguments against full access for transgender athletes.
Unfair Playing Field
In particular, Foster said it’s not fair to women to be playing against biological males just because they identify as women.
Foster says that women are now facing “an unfair playing field.”
Just Fix the Field
That line of thought angered Tyson even more, and he said the real solution was to “fix the playing field.” Do that, he says, and none of the current conversations will even matter.
No Simple Definition
In his TikTok video, Tyson also took on the notion that gender, at least for sporting purposes, should be determined clearly by chromosomes.
Chromosomes Not Sufficient
“…chromosomes are insufficient because when we wake up in the morning, we exaggerate whatever feature we want to portray the gender of our choice,” Tyson said.
Swinging Gender Pendulum
The scientist says that the real problem is that people aren’t recognizing that gender exists across a spectrum and is not binary.
He says you might wake up feeling 80% female one day, but that the pendulum could swing male the next.
He Has a Solution
But when it comes to transgender sports, Tyson suggests that hormone levels could go a long way toward determining who is allowed to compete as a woman, or as a man.
Plenty of Differences
Kisin took issue with that point, stating that differences between men and women go way beyond hormones.
He cites body weight, leverages, and lung capacity, among others.
A Work in Progress
Tyson responded that figuring out the right mix is a work in progress and could evolve to include considerations such as body weight.
He Just Won’t Stop
While there may be no clear answers at the moment, it is clear that Tyson is not anywhere near ready to stop talking about transgender athletes.
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