Trans Guy Plays Ball

A trans man is playing on a women’s basketball team:

But Monday was anything but ordinary because it was the day the world would learn about the decision Allums had embarked on one year earlier: to come out as a transgender man playing on a women’s basketball team.

He noted that he was biologically identical to any other female, but said, “I just would prefer for people to call me a he.”

“I decided to do it because I was uncomfortable not being able to be myself,” Allums, 21, said in a telephone interview Monday, hours after an article about his experience was published on the Web site “Just having to hear the words ‘she’ and ‘her,’ it was really starting to bother me.”

NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights) has a piece about the Trans Student Athlete Guide, as does the NCAA (National College Athletic Association).

The Guide itself can be found in .pdf format on the NCLR’s site.

For those of you who know anything about sports, and/or are trans yourselves, I’d love to hear your take on this report.

Semenya’s Return

And another via my friend Matty, with whom I will be team teaching Gender Studies 100 this fall, about Caster Semenya’s return.

She added: “Even if she is a female, she’s on the very fringe of the normal athlete female biological composition from what I understand of hormone testing. So, from that perspective, most of us just feel that we are literally running against a man.”

To which I might say: isn’t the whole point of athletic competition pushing the envleope / finding the fringe of “normal”?

Tragedy, Again

If you can bear to read it, there’s a long story about Christine Daniels / Mike Penner in The LA Times. The whole thing is so fucking tragic, a huge waste. There are times I get so pissed off about how euphoric people get about transition that I want to spit nails.

Toward the end there’s this soulless quote by Marci Bowers:

Bowers believes Penner put one foot in the grave by abandoning the transition. “If we had done surgery, it probably would have saved her life. Now she died as an unhappy soul who never got a chance to align her body and soul, and that’s the greatest tragedy about her.”

I’m not sure that doesn’t win an award for most self-serving pile of crap I’ve ever seen.

Her whole story, I’m going to say, makes me want to scream. PEOPLE CAN AND DO CHOOSE TO TRANSITION. People can and do choose not to when what they might lose is a too much to lose. It is not “transition or die.” Sometimes it’s “transition and die.” That does not mean I’m saying people shouldn’t transition, or that late transitioners shouldn’t transition. What I’m saying is that the larger trans community – and especially the gender therapists who “serve” this community – have got to get it through their heads that someone who has lived a long time in one gender & who has had something like a good life, career, and marriage, might want to think long & hard before deciding to transition.

Or, as we were told, DO AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN to relieve the gender dyphoria.

World Man Cup

No, really: why do so many cool people watch World Cup? There isn’t one woman on a team anywhere, & if any other industry were so blatant in its discrimination, so many people wouldn’t watch, & might actually be out protesting.

Not having women on World Cup teams isn’t discrimination, you say? How, exactly? Are the try-outs open to women? As far as I know (& I’m willing to stand corrected), there is no “separate but equal” league, or set of teams, that gets the same kind of attention, that represents their home countries on the world stage.

I will confess that it’s no skin off my nose not to watch because I don’t really like sports (and I’ve certainly got no truck with a field full of athletic men in shorts).

I’m not for quotas or lowering standards – though I’d ask my liberal friends to consider how full of shit that argument is when you apply it to any other category of human competition – just for opening the try-outs to women.

All Wood Paroxysm

Here’s a cool article about women being sports fans AND consumers. The way she describes things is exactly the way I feel, as a musichead, reading something like Rolling Stone, which is still aimed at the guys.

It becomes a vicious circle: you have female fans of whatever sport/band/computer game, but when they go online & try to find more information, or community, they’re smacked down with some incredibly sexist image of women that puts them off. So they don’t join the forums, and the only woman who got past the stupid sexist image of women on the main page feels like she’s the only one around.

Weir: Fabulous & Smart

The flamboyant skater told reporters Wednesday he wants the sportscasters to “think twice before they speak in the future,” but he said he isn’t interested in apologies.

Weir said he found the comments “offensive” but that they didn’t matter much to him. He did say he worried about what effect such comments might have on kids and other athletes.

I love it.

Transgender College Athletes

An interesting article from Inside College Ed on trans athletes at the college level states:

For the most part, athletic teams at high schools and colleges are segregated by sex and divided into men’s and women’s teams. For transgender students, determining on which gender’s team, if any, they will be allowed to play can be a difficult process fraught with misconceptions, ignorance and discrimination. Few high school or collegiate athletic programs, administrators or coaches are prepared to address a transgender student’s interest in participating in athletics in a systematic, fair and effective manner. Few athletes have been given the information that would prepare them to participate on a team with a teammate whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Stupid Tests

In an article detailing how some of Ms. Semenya’s people knew there might be something up about her gender, a CNN article blithely describes the history of gender testing:

The process of gender verification has undergone big changes since it was first introduced for international competition in the 1960s, the IAAF said.

The first mechanism involved “rather crude and perhaps humiliating physical examinations,” which soon gave way to mouth swabs to collect chromosomes.

There were too many uncertainties with mouth swabs, so the IAAF abandoned them in 1991 and the International Olympic Committee discontinued them in 2000.

A proper test has yet to be found, the IAAF said, and the current tests are considered a good interim solution.

Apparently it’s not at all a good interim solution, if an athlete that just won a race is now on suicide watch. Well done, assholes.