Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Like Sports And I Need To Write About Sports

When I'm out and about in our community and the subject turns to what I write about on TransGriot, I have people tell me that they love it when the Shut Up Fool Awards pop up every Friday.  They are appreciative of the hard work I put in and long hours to keep up with all things trans here and around the world.

They enjoy my Ten Questions interviews and love it that I break down politics and how it impacts this community as well.  They love my Black trans history posts and for the most part me discussing race and class and how it affects our TBLG community.   They love my motivational posts and also want to hear my views and analysis on whatever subject I feel like talking about.   

But every now and then I get some pushback as to why I discuss sports on this blog.  

Well, frankly, because it's my blog and if I want to talk sports on it, I can.   Second, because TBLG sports fans exist, I'm one of them and they need love and content to read, too.  I write about my local Houston teams.   I have opinions I want to express about developments in the collegiate and professional ranks from time to time.   And because female athletes don't get much ink or love in an arena dominated by male sports writers, I'll comment on developments in women's sports that pique my interest.

Far too often female athletes and their athletic achievements are belittled by male sports writers and male sports fans.  Women's sports leagues like the WNBA, women's international sports and women's collegiate sports are seen as not deserving of media attention like 'the menz.' until some controversy pops up

If we don't talk about female athletes, their accomplishments and the issues that impact them, who will?  

I like discussing my fave tennis playing siblings the Williams Sisters, who get far too much disrespect from the media, their fellow players and knuckle dragging racist idiots in comment threads despite having Tennis Hall of Fame level careers. 

Serena and Venus will always get love here and when deserved, some WTF's.  And yes, the 2014 Australian Open starts January 13-26.      

Third, keeping up with all things trans means that I need to be talking about trans athletes, our history and how developments in the sports world like the LGBT Sports Coalition and Nike LGBT Sports Summits affect our community. 

As Kye Allums, Fallon Fox, Michelle Dumaresq, Christina Kahrl, Keelin Godsey  and others prove, trans people are also breaking ground and making history in the sports world as Renee Richards once did when she sued the USTA in 1976 for the right to play in the US open and won.  

As a blog that seeks to chronicle trans people making history, that means you readers need to see their stories.  They are also trailblazing leaders and pioneers in the sports world that are busting stereotypes about us and they deserve our community's love, understanding, appreciation and support.

Speaking of stereotypes, just as we do so as a community when it comes to doing Trans 101 mythbusting about transpeople in the rest of society, there is just as much disinformation, mythbusting and Trans 101 that needs to be done about transpeople in the sports world.  

There are also sports related issues that we need as a community to be paying attention to and be able to discuss authoritatively like the NCAA rules for trans athletes.  We need to be able to talk about the International Olympic Committee's Stockholm Consensus that allow trans people to compete in the Olympic Games.   We need to be aware about Jazz's successful two year fight with the US Soccer Association to allow trans kids to play and be working on getting FIFA to allow trans athletes to play on international soccer teams like cis people can.  

We also need to as a community need to be keeping up with the states that allow trans kids to compete at the high school level in the gender they present to the world and fight for their right to compete.   

I also see the parallels between transpeople making groundbreaking strides in athletic competition and the African-American human rights struggle.   It's no accident that with the successes of Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympic Games, boxer Joe Louis, and Jackie Robinson smashing baseball's color line in 1947 among our countless other sporting achievements that African-Americans also gained increased acceptance of our humanity and advancement in our human rights struggle. 

I submit that as more out trans athletes make their mark in the sporting world, we'll see less hatred and drama directed at us as a community as a result of their athletic competition success, and it will pave the way for other trans athletes to exceed what the pioneers accomplished. 

Christina KahrlWe transpeeps not only increasingly play the games, we have people like Christina Kahrl, who is breaking ground by writing about the athletes who play them as an ESPN.com columnist and a member of the Baseball Writers Hall of Fame.  

I have TBLG sports fans and trans athletes who thank me for writing about them, standing up for their humanity against the transphobic haters and using my TransGriot platform to talk about being a sports personality who happens to be trans.   That will continue because trans athletes have an important role to play in our ongoing trans human rights struggle.

Trans athletes not only excel on the field of play to prove we can do so just like any other cis person, we love the various games we play.   As they play the games they love, they demolish stereotypes and advance trans human rights at the same time for all of us, even for you trans peeps who hate sports.   

So yeah, I like sports, I write about sports and need to continue doing so.   

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