Monday, March 11, 2013

Fallon Fox Excels-People Hate

One of the ongoing arguments that has occurred ever since Renee Richards sued the USTA and in 1977 won the right to play in the US Open and on the women's professional tennis tour is carping about the 'unfair advantage' trans women have over their cis female counterparts in sporting events.

Trans teen Jazz was barred for two years from playing in her youth soccer league because of those same fears. She and her parents had to appeal the decision of the Florida Youth Soccer Association through various administrative levels until the US Soccer Federation board of directors not only unanimously agreed to let her play as a girl, they got busy devising policies to cover future trans soccer athletes.   

Canadian downhill mountain biker Michelle Dumaresq went through the same drama in the 2K's when she started winning races and the cis women bikers who once encouraged her to compete in their ranks started hatin'.  

Now comes the latest gender sporting kerfluffle involving mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox.  She's been kicking butt and taking names in the MMA ranks with a 5-0 record.  In her last bout she knocked out her opponent Erica Newsome 39 seconds into the first round.

But after revealing in a Sports Illustrated interview she's trans, there is now drama concerning her fighting license.


"The medical community stands behind me in that in there's no unfair competitive advantage, like my competition have said," Fox said. "I started training in 2008, which is about two years after my gender reassignment surgery. My first MMA match was about a year and a half ago."

So what's the fuss?  There is a perception that a transfeminine athlete has an advantage when she competes against cis feminine athletes because her teen body developmental years were influenced by testosterone.  It's also marked by a flawed assumption that all trans feminine athletes are tall and have exceptional sports skills.

It's flawed because trans women come in all shapes, sizes and sporting ability levels.  That specious argument is not borne out by scientific evidence, research or the results on the playing fields either.

Renee Richards while a decent player and excellent coach, had the same number of career Grand Slam tournament wins as Anna Kournikova did during her career (zero).

Mianne Bagger so far isn't dominating the women's professional ranks as was hysterically feared when she was allowed to play after the LPGA scrapped its 'female at birth' rule.

But Fallon Fox is correct in one regard.  The international athletic and world community needs to educate itself about transgender athletes.  It also needs to create competition rules based on scientific evidence and not emotion that allow trans athletes to get in the game and compete.


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