Sports Illustrated on Trans Athletes

Posted by – May 25, 2012

I have to say that this is kind of amazing: Sports Illustrated has taken on the topic of trans athletes.

For transgender men and women, the physiological traits that distinguish them as male or female don’t conform to how they feel about themselves. Some have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to make their biological and gender identities match. Others, such as the 28-year-old Godsey, have not: He was born as a female and therefore competes as a female, but he identifies as male. Imagine a body, especially one as finely tuned as an elite athlete’s, feeling inescapably foreign—as if it were intended for the opposite sex. “I take a lot of pride in the fact that I have a good amount of muscle mass, and I’ve done it naturally,” says Godsey. “But in some ways, this is the last body I would ever want.”

. . .

Consider something as simple as going to the bathroom. When using men’s rooms—his preference—Godsey usually tries to conceal his chest; in women’s rooms he accentuates it by wearing what he calls tight “girl shirts.” Still, he has been escorted out of an airport ladies’ room by security, interrogated at restaurants and once had to flee a group of snarling men at a truck-stop bathroom in Nebraska.

The world is a-changing. Maybe not fast enough, but faster than I expected.

1 Comment on Sports Illustrated on Trans Athletes

  1. Donna says:

    Thanks for this, Helen. That’s a really well-done article. Somebody should go back and try to dig up their coverage of Renee Richards 35 years ago, and compare it. I remember standing at newsstands back then reading magazine articles about Richards, the flames of envy and self-hatred simultaneously licking at my heart. Times have changed.

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