Neil deGrasse Tyson explodes during debate about trans women competing in women sports

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was confronted on his support for gender ideology concepts, including that biological males who identify as transgender should be able to compete in women’s sports in some circumstances. 

Tyson discussed transgenderism on TRIGGERnometry, a free speech YouTube show run by British satirist Konstantin Kisin. Kisin pressed Tyson on criticism posed by the idea of biological males competing on women’s teams. At one point, Tyson spoke in an elevated tone, appearing to state that the entire sports infrastructure should be reconsidered to ensure inclusion and fairness for all. 

“One of your functions over time has been to communicate scientific knowledge to the public,” Kisin said. And then asked deGrasse Tyson about his belief that gender exists “on a spectrum.” 

Kisin was referring to Tyson stating on TikTok, “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. Suppose no matter my chromosomes today I feel 80% female, 20% male. Now I’m going to I’m going to put on makeup. Tomorrow. I might feel 80% male; I’ll remove the makeup, and I’ll wear a muscle shirt… What business is it of yours to require that I fulfill your inability to think of gender on a spectrum?” 


During the show, Tyson said the biological differences between males and females in sports are a “solvable problem” for transgender inclusion. He said excluding biological males from women’s teams carte blanche was an “older view of the world.”

“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. “And is it a combination of did you go through puberty as a male and then transition? Did you have puberty blockers? What is your hormone level now… if you want to compete?”

“So it requires more creative thought rather than saying no to at all,” he continued. “It’s an unsolved problem. Yes, but it’s not unsolvable given what we know about human physiology. So 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?”

Tyson then drew a parallel between the trans-inclusion movement with the historical marginalization of women with separate entrances and the Jim Crow racist policies for separate water fountains. 

“So it is possible to look back on whatever you were doing and say, my gosh, that was really shortsighted and look at the solution that was proposed and implemented. That was a good idea. We moved on from that,” he said.


When asked specifically what some argue is the unfair advantage biological males will have over women, Tyson raised hormonal levels as a potential method to decide who gets included. 

“Well, hold on a second. The difference is the difference is physiologically between men and women is not just hormonal. Women have a different hip angle. They have different heart capacities. They have different lung capacity. I mean, there are profound physiological differences, different bone density,” Kisin countered. 

Tyson responded that there are already sports that separate based on weight, and that a similar metric can be considered in the discussion on including trans women in female sports. 

“Then you find ways to slice the population so that whatever the event is interestingly contested,” he said. “So, for example, I wrestled in my life. I was captain of my high school wrestling team. It would be unfair for me at 190 pounds, which is what I was back then, to wrestle someone 120 pounds.”


“Hold on. It would actually be unfair for you to wrestle a woman who is also 190 pounds,” Kisin said. “But there are women whose opportunities are being curtailed today because they are being forced to compete, whether in sports or elsewhere, against people who have some kind of advantage.”

“We’re in a transitional period. So we have to figure that out. But the way to figure out things that require solutions to progressive change is not to regress it to how things once were. If that were the case, I would still be drinking from a segregated water fountain,” Tyson responded. 

Kisin’s co-host said, “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.”

Tyson, responded in an elevated tone, 

“So fix the playing field, damn it!” he shot back. “Well, don’t say it’s an unfair playing field so all of a sudden, the big issue is trans women taking the slot of a woman in an unfair playing field. Fix the playing field! 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.”

Tyson didn’t immediately respond for comment. 

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