American Women Athletes Part Three: Trans women edition

First thing we need to do is define the word Transgender

Transgriot as usual leads off: Transgender Athletes Get Into The Game

So as a transgender sports fan I was pleased to hear about the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow transgender athletes to participate in the Olympics starting with the 2004 Athens Games. Under the Stockholm Consensus, the IOC allows transgender athletes to participate in their new gender two years after they’ve undergone genital surgery. If the operation took place before puberty, the athlete’s gender will be respected.

In the case of a post-puberty gender transition, the athlete must undergo complete genital surgery and get their gonads (their ovaries or testes) removed before they can compete. They also have to get legal recognition of their chosen gender, complete hormone therapy to minimize any sex-related advantages and wait two years before they can become eligible to apply for a confidential IOC evaluation.

While most transwomen are okay with the new policy, transmen understandably bristled at the genital reconstruction requirement. Jamison Green in a 2004 CNN.com interview criticized the genital reconstruction completion requirement.

“I don’t think that needs to be a criteria,” said Green, who sits on the board of directors of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. “Many female-to-male people can’t afford to have genital reconstruction, so I think that’s an unreasonable penalty.”

The ‘unfair advantage’ argument is actually a bogus one and medical science is increasingly backing that up. Even though a transwomen grows up with testosterone coursing through her body, hormone replacement therapy takes the muscle building advantage away over time. A genetic female skeleton is lighter, so a transwoman has the handicap of lugging around basically a heavier skeleton with FEMALE musculature.

One should note that as she gives a thumbnail sketch of teh history of trans women athltes,. she inculdes some intersexed individuals as well.

Bitch Magazine Out of Bounds :Do Transsexual Athletes Throw Like Girls?

Still, the competitive sports world remained largely closed to transsexual athletes until 2004, when the International Olympic Com­mittee (IOC) ruled that they be allowed to compete under strict guidelines. (Among them: Those who have undergone sex reassignment and associated hormone therapy prior to puberty can now compete; those who begin their transition after puberty are eligible for participation if surgical anatomical changes and hormone therapy have been completed.)

Though not meant to be discriminatory, the IOC’s ruling includes requirements that make complying easier for mtfs than ftms. Many ftms, for instance, do not have the complicated and expensive genital surgeries that would give them the “proper” anatomical equipment required to compete; those who live in states (like Ohio and Idaho) or nations that do not allow a person to change their sex on official documentation would also be excluded. Furthermore, intersexed, transgendered, or gender­­queer individuals who may not have or want the IOC-required surgical anatomical changes or hormone therapy are subject to disqualification under these new rules. (Recently one of Zimbabwe’s leading junior athletes was outed as intersexed, legally declared a man, and subsequently charged with “impersonation” for competing as a woman in regional tournaments.) MORE

Women’s Sports Foundation Inclusion of Transgender Athletes on Sports Teams

The International Olympic Committee became the first mainstream sport governing body to develop a policy governing the participation of transgender athletes in the Olympic Games. This policy, known as the Stockholm Consensus, became effective at the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Based on a report and recommendations from a committee of medical doctors, the IOC policy includes a list of three criteria for approval of transsexual athlete participation.

Since the IOC policy went into effect, the Ladies Golf Union (Great Britain), the Ladies European Golf Tour, Women’s Golf Australia, the United States Golf Association, USA Track and Field, and the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association have created policies governing transgender athlete participation in events sponsored by their organizations. In addition, the Women’s Sports Foundation, United Kingdom and the United States-based Women’s Sports Foundation issued policy statements supporting the inclusion of transgender athletes in sport.

Most of these organizations have used the IOC standards as a guide for the development of their policies. In contrast, the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires that athletes compete in the gender designated on their official government documents, for example, driver’s license, birth certificate or passport (This policy is currently under review). To date, no high school governing bodies have announced policies addressing the participation of transgender athletes. However, it is clear that the issue of transgender athlete eligibility to participate in school-based sports will need to be addressed in the near future.MORE

They then go on to give a nice and useful summary and definition of terminology and some recommendations.

Washington State Support Policy for Participation of Transgender Athletes

Renee Richards Tennis Player

Mianne Bagger Golfer

Michelle Dumeresq Cyclist

Kristen Worley Cyclist

By the way this part of the article is super important:

“It’s the age-old phenomenon of people fearing what they don’t know,” said Jill Pilgrim, general counsel and director of business affairs for USA Track and Field Inc., who teamed up with a physician to do research on transsexual athletes. “When a male-to-female transsexual undergoes hormone therapy, they are reducing their testosterone levels and taking female hormones. They lose muscle mass, which is the advantage testosterone gives you.”


Pilgrim said she believes the only sport in which men-to-women transsexuals might have an advantage is swimming, because these athletes gain body fat, which assists buoyancy.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Terri O Connel Motorsports racing champion

Jennifer McCreath Marathon Runner Her blog

And because they kept showing up during my search…

Parinya Kiatbusaba or Parinya Charoenphol Thai boxing champion Beautiful boxer Film made about her.

And a Thai vollyeball team which has been immortalised in film Iron Ladies

And Andreas Paredes Chilean tennis Player

There were other articles, but they touch on a subject that I am not quite ready to introduce yet. Give me two weeks. In the mean time: we shall hit disabled women athletes next week!

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4 Responses to American Women Athletes Part Three: Trans women edition

  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    This issue has always been pretty important to me as a trans woman and a runner. I doubt I will ever compete in the Olympics but most sports governing bodies tend to go by the Olympics policy if they do not have their own policy and they usually do not.

    I started transitioning right before I started college and was interested in running on the cross country team but was told I would have had to run on the men’s team. So I joined Crew, which was only a club at the school, since the only requirement the coach had was a drivers license that had an F. But then I also got a rather trans misogynistic speech from him the day of our last and biggest race in Sacramento about how to make sure no one clocks me.

    I recently got an orchiectomy, removing the organs which cause so much controversy about how much benefits they give, but still wouldn’t be able to compete in the Olympics because of entirely cosmetic (for the purpose of exercise) difference in genitals. I do suppose my body does give me a bit of an advantage in a way. Every race, no matter how big or small, is 100% easier for me since I blend and no one challenges my right to be there.

  2. 2
    Monica Roberts says:

    Thanks again for the link love.

    I’m looking forward to the day when a trans athlete is standing at the top step of the Olympic victory platform, receiving a gold medal and hearing their country’s national anthem.

  3. 3
    Haddayr says:

    I do not understand the requirement for genital surgery. What on EARTH difference does it make?!?!?

  4. 4
    Joshua says:

    “The ‘unfair advantage’ argument is actually a bogus one and medical science is increasingly backing that up. Even though a transwomen grows up with testosterone coursing through her body, hormone replacement therapy takes the muscle building advantage away over time. A genetic female skeleton is lighter, so a transwoman has the handicap of lugging around basically a heavier skeleton with FEMALE musculature.”

    No it isn’t. Males generally have larger lung and heart capacities as well. Look at endurance runners. The men are not all that different then the women in build yet so much faster. The mens hearts are working slower for the same percentage of work and there VO2 Max is greater. Even in sprint or power training this still provides advantage. When you are trying to gain muscle mass repetition is your friend and that requires a good cardio vascular system to keep you going.

    The nonsense about the skeletal system is still an advantage in most cases. whilst heavier its also more robust and able to support more stress for longer periods. Good for anyone doing large amounts of training or where high loads are involved (weight lifting).

    Do more research before creating facts

    I don’t know where/how these people fit in.