What did Neil deGrasse Tyson say? Trans debate controversy explored as astrophysicist has meltdown
Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, best known for moving Pluto from the classification of a planet to that of a dwarf planet, recently found himself amidst controversy when he suggested during an interview that trans women should be allowed to compete in women’s sporting events.
Tyson appeared on the latest episode of free speech YouTube show TRIGGERnometry, run by Russian-British satirist, podcaster, author, and political commentator Konstantin Kisin.
The duo discussed transgenderism when the host criticized Neil deGrasse Tyson for previously positing the idea that biological males who identify as transgender should be allowed to play in women’s teams. At this point, the astrophysicist raised his tone and said that, in his opinion, the entire sports infrastructure should be reformed “to ensure inclusion and fairness for all.”
However, the longer the conversation continued, the more Neil deGrasse Tyson seemed agitated. In fact, Kisin’s co-host Francis Foster explained how Tyson’s gender-inclusive idea may be problematic for some people.
“I think a lot of people would have an issue with what you're saying now because they see women being denied opportunities, they see an unfair playing field, metaphorically and literally speaking,” Foster said.
This is when Tyson appeared to have a meltdown and responded in an elevated tone.
“So, fix the playing field, d*mn it! … And you know something? The day you fix that playing field, this conversation will look completely ridiculous. That's what I'm trying to tell you,” he said.
Neil deGrasse Tyson believes that fixing the playing field would enable trans women and women to compete in sports together
Recently, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke on TikTok about how he believed that gender prevails on a spectrum.
“The XX, XY chromosomes are insufficient because when we wake up in the morning, we exaggerate whatever feature we want to portray the gender of our choice,” he said.
Tyson continued by saying that despite the chromosomes present in a human body if an individual woke up and felt 80 percent female and 20 percent male, they should be able to put on make-up. Likewise, if the same individual woke up the next day and felt the opposite, they should be able to remove the make-up and wear a “muscle shirt.”
“What business is it of yours to require that I fulfill your inability to think of gender on a spectrum?” he said.
In the wake of the TikTok video, Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on the YouTube show TRIGGERnometry, where the host, Konstantin Kisin, asked him whether he would like to elaborate on his TikTok comments.
Tyson seemed to move past it and said how trans women should be allowed to participate in women’s sports. He also said that the biological differences between males and females in sports are “a solvable problem” and can help in trans inclusion. Additionally, the astrophysicist said that, according to him, excluding trans women from women’s sports teams was a backdated viewpoint.
“What the trans conversation is foisting upon us is the need to find ways to slice the athletic universe such that we still have interesting, fair matches,” he said.
Neil deGrasse Tyson then suggested that instead of denying opportunities to trans women, the sports infrastructure should ask them important and relevant questions about their transition process. This, he said, would help them determine whether or not the individual is qualified to participate in women's sports.
"Why not rise to that occasion and solve it rather than take your older view of the world and force modern emergent conduct of people to fit that?"
When Tyson was asked how some might argue that trans women have an undue advantage over women in sports, the astrophysicist suggested that raising “hormonal levels” was a potential way to determine who gets included in women’s sports and who gets left out.
The host, Kisin, countered him by saying that physiological differences between biological males and females were not just hormonal but had other criteria such as different bone density, heart and lung capacities, hip angle, and more. Tyson replied that weight and other metrics can be introduced in the topic. He even gave an example of how it would be unfair for a 190-pound man to wrestle a 120-pound woman.
In that context, Kisin pointed out that it is also unfair for a 190-pound man to wrestle a 190-pound woman, citing other physiological differences. To this, Neil said how we were going through a “transitional period,” and the goal was to figure out things progressively and creatively.
He also drew a parallel between the trans-inclusion movement and the historical marginalization of women. He said if times hadn’t changed, men would still be drinking from a segregated water fountain than women, as was the case in the 19th and 20th centuries when the Jim Crow racist and s*xist policies and laws were in effect in the USA.
Neil deGrasse Tyson also suggested that it is always a good sign to look back on shortsighted things, find a progressive solution to them, and try to implement them.
Foster, the co-host, said that Neil deGrasse Tyson’s views might not be acceptable to everyone and could imply that women were deprived of their rightful opportunities. This seemed to trigger Tyson, who raised his voice, stating that as long as the playing field is fixed, such conversations would never need to come up again.