Thursday, April 11, 2013

Let My People Participate In Sports Without Drama

One of the other issues that been blowing up over the last few years and especially in the women's sports ranks is trans people participating in the sport they like as the person they are and project to the world and some cis people having a problem with that.

The latest example is all the hateraid and drama blowing up around Fallon Fox, but this is nothing new.  It goes back to when Renee Richards sued the USTA in 1976 and won a year later in order to play in the US Open as a female.   

Jazz was barred for two years from playing youth soccer because of the irrational fears about her playing with cis girls that plague Fallon Fox and other trans feminine athletes.  She ended up fighting her local youth soccer association and taking that fight all the way to the US Soccer Federation for her right to play soccer.   The USSF unanimously voted to allow her to play, then subsequently crafted a policy that allows future trans athletes to do so as well.

Unfortunately as currently constructed, it would not allow Jazz or any trans person who has the talent to do so to play on US national or Olympic teams unless they have genital surgery.

Transpeople since 2004 have been able to compete in the Olympic Games thanks to the Stockholm Consensus.   It requires surgery, being on hormones for at least two years before the Olympiad you wish to compete in and consistent gender presentation and legal recognition of your gender.   As of yet three summer Olympiads (2004, 2008 and 2012) and two winter ones (2006, 2010) have come and gone without a girl or guy like us proudly representing their nation in Olympic competition and worldwide trans community will be watching to see if a trans athlete marches into Sochi next February with their national team..

Kristen Worley But it wasn't without trying from our side. Canadian cyclist Kristin Worley attempted to qualify for the Beijing Games and had to battle not only her fellow cyclists for a spot on the team but the Canadian Cycling Association as well.  

Keelin Godsey made the 2011 Pan Am Games team and has come agonizingly close twice to qualifying for Beijing and London

He is debating whether he'll make another attempt to realize his Olympic dream and attempt to qualify to go to Rio in 2016 or retire from elite athletics and move on with his life.   

The IOC's Stockholm Consensus is used by many international sporting authorities as their guideline to setting rules for trans people competing in sport but the NCAA took a different path.  

In the wake of an October 2009 think tank on the issues of transgender athletes conducted by the NCAA, the National High School Federation, The Women's Sports Foundation, the National Center For Lesbian Rights, Dr. Pat Griffin, the former director of It Takes a Team!, trans athletes and experts on transgender issues from the legal, medical, advocacy groups and athletics, a report was generated a year later that led to the 2011 adoption of NCAA policies on trans athletic participation that don't require genital surgery.  

But one of the problems we still have to overcome is widespread transphobic ignorance and people ignoring the science involved with transition. 

Those peeps who've forgotten (or conveniently ignore) their science courses continue to ignore the fact that there are more than just the XX and XY chromosome combinations the haters cite, there are women on this planet who are XY and men who are XX (there are also peeps with XO, XXY...).  

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) works rather expeditiously in terms of how it affects trans women.   No matter how long a trans woman was on the masculine side on the gender fence, once she starts taking estrogen, she loses whatever strength advantage she had from teenage development of muscles under the influence of testosterone in less than a year.  Once that transwoman has SRS and has the testes removes, she is no longer producing testosterone.  

Now that trans kids are transitioning earlier and using puberty blockers to do so, that argument will become even more specious than it already is.

The myth that a trans woman is a better athlete than a cis woman is off the mark, erases our femininity and is blatantly disrespectful and insulting to the abilities of a cis female athlete.  It also doesn't take into account the wide variances in talent, body builds and athletic ability of those trans and cis athletes.

Renee Richards' highest ranking on the WTA tour was 21 and she won the same number of Grand Slam tournaments as Anna Kournikova: zero.

Mianne Bagger hasn't exactly dominated the women's golf tour ranks as was feared when she was allowed to play.  I played varsity tennis in high school, but there is no way in Hades that if you put me on the court right now with an elite cis female tennis player and Olympian like Serena Williams, she wouldn't beat me in straight sets and yawn in boredom while doing so. 

All trans people want is when we show the desire, ability and talent to play a sport, we get an equal and fair opportunity to play it and test ourselves with the people in the gender we identify with and are a part of. 

So let my people participate in sports without drama.

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