Excluding Trans Individuals from Specific Sports: Not as Problematic as it Seems


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Tiana Meador

We seem to live in a time so shaped around the idea that we must prevent any form of unnecessary oppression As we are finding, our fight for inclusiveness in sports is actually oppressing the individuals in those sports, especially when it comes to women competing with male-to-female transgender individuals.

I am not transphobic, who you  are is who you are- and nobody can take that from you. However this topic may be skewed to seem as though I am, and I will make this very clear: I am not transphobic, homophobic or anti- LGBTQ+. I am pro-human, and I do believe we must highlight the risks of chemically altering a biological-chemical makeup, and what that means for other humans in their respective space.

The quote I love to begin this argument off with is when  Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), asked Keith Ellison to investigate USA Powerlifting for the ban on biological male-to-females competing against biological females. We all know Ellison and Omar are controversial, but the crazy part of Omar’s argument is this narrative she pushes.

Omar said, “direct competitive advantage” was a “myth.”

How? For this I want to specifically focus on male-to-female transgender individuals. Think of this holistically- you take a body, that is biologically built differently, larger blood volume, different muscle build, bigger bone structure, strength advantages…and you put in testosterone blockers, and use synthetic estrogen as a hormone replacement therapy.

Yes, this will soften up features, prevent the deepening of voices, make skin smoother, thin hair follicles in certain areas, and even promote breast development- but it will not reverse the biological development that has already taken place. Yes- this is a sad fact for those facing gender dysmorphia, but it is a fact that needs to be considered.

Martina Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon singles champion and longtime LGBT advocate wrote, “A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies.”

It is important to note this is not common, and only an extremist view, but the possibility of it must be weighted. If one individual does this, we must treat every individual situation equally.

This issue is so dividing that individuals of this community of acceptance, become extremely alienating- and THAT is where I draw my line in supporting the movement. I will support a group UNTIL they alienate an individual for going against the masses.

Within days of Navratilova’s statement, Athlete Ally, a New York–based LGBT-rights organization, expelled Navratilova, stating, “recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths.”

Clearly not Athlete Ally- explain transgender athletes taking long time titles from girls in Connecticut- first and second are held by transgender individuals, who when they entered, took the title from girls who were competing to be accepted into intercollegiate athletics.

These individuals, fresh into their transition swiftly struck out all-female competition. Is that enough of a myth, Athlete Ally?

Will Athlete Ally take on the NCAA or The International Olympic Committee? Since 2003 the IOC has allowed trans athletes to compete, but until 2016 it required them to first undergo sex-reassignment surgery.

According to NBC News, “New rules allow transgender male athletes can enter men’s competitions without restrictions, while transgender female athletes need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain point for at least a year before their first competition.”

Furthermore, NBC went on to state, “While the trend in the U.S. clearly has been toward more inclusion for transgender athletes, USA Powerlifting has incurred recent criticism for sticking by its policy of banning trans women from its competitions. The organization contends that regardless of testosterone levels, transgender women competitors generally have significant advantages in regard to bone density and muscle mass.”

I think the dangers of this causing oppression of women is unavoidable. I am pissed that Navratilova’s opinion got her alienated from her community. #WalkAway movement anyone? These communities that tag themselves with inclusiveness are ending up to be the most oppressive.

“These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away,” the USA Powerlifting organization said. “While MTF [male-to-female] may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over that of a female.”

And that is on that.