What are your suggestions to encourage a transgender athlete to compete in events segregated by male and female divisions?
Recently it has been brought to my attention that transgender athletes are discouraged from competing in many competitions due to picking a category of male or female and the dispute and unwanted attention it can bring. I do not believe anyone should feel uncompelled to compete due to his or her sexual identification. How do you feel events should handle this controversial topic and how would you inspire these athletes, some of which are very talented, to continue their desire to compete?
There is an association called GLAD that can provide both support and assistance to members of the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities and their families.
There are real issues to be resolved, given the nature of human physiology“ men have differences in muscle mass, and so on. Generally though the simplest solution, and the one most people I know adopt is this: the gender the person identifies with is their gender. Thus whether one is a born male or a transgendered one is moot. There was a really good article here in Rhode Island about a transgendered school coach who is very popular and very successful, so I would say there is some progress being made, but still a long way to go.
Thank you for bringing up this important topic.
this is really an interesting question, and I was reminded of the controversy of the South African athlete Caster Senenya even though she may not be described as a transgender person.
It appears that this is mainly controversial when persons with male physiology but female gender identity compete in women's sports where they may stand a good chance of winning if greater strength may be the deciding factor. I am pretty sure that no such controversy would ensue the other way around. Transgender or not, exceptionally strong women have sometimes tried to break into the 'bastions of male occupations', and their success was usually rather moderate, simply because of the different physiology.
While I hate the thought of anybody being discouraged to do what they enjoy doing, I also see the flip side of it. Having competed in a gender-segregated sport myself years ago where the only reward was a trophy of very little material value, I would have felt very strange to compete against another person of my own gender identity when her physiology gave her an unfair competitive advantage. However, on a casual level outside of a tournament or competition, I would most certainly have welcomed the challenge as I used to play against men and women alike.
Competitive athletics, however, has a lot more at the financial stake, and I am wondering whether it would not subject a transgender person to such a degree of animosity that the enjoyment of the competition would be completely overshadowed by those issues.
In one word: I have no idea how event organizers can handle this and be fair to all. But I thank you for bringing this up.