To the Contrary
One of the ways that you can get yourself in trouble when commenting on trans related stories is to give the appearance of being less than absolutely inclusive, or ‘policing’ the way that anyone else ‘does trans.” Nevertheless, in my opinion, there ARE in fact examples of people and situations that are “a bridge too far” and it does the overall campaign for legal equality no good to tolerate just anything that someone slaps the trans sticker on. For an extreme example, there’s Stefonknee Wolscht (Google it, I don’t want to go on a tangent explaining it). This person does real harm to all trans people by allowing our hateful opponents to associate her with the trans movement.
It is with this in mind that I introduce an opinion which will no doubt bring me criticism (if anyone were to notice), particularly as the story involves a minor. Trans girl Andreya Yearwood, 15, from Connecticut, competed in and won the 100meter and 200meter dashes at the Class M state track and field championship on May 30. In so doing she earned the chance to move on to the state championships where she placed 3rd in the 100m dash. Now she moves on to compete in the New England regionals. What’s wrong with this? Why am I not celebrating? Because Yearwood has yet to undergo any hormone replacement therapy.
If you are not picking up on the problem here then I promise you the Pharisees at AFA and their various allies have. Without HRT, Yearwood brings to the competition all the physical advantages of a male physiology which, on average, are significant. Studies have demonstrated conclusively that a year of consistent HRT (which brings the subjects blood hormone levels into alignment with their identified gender) normalize the former competitive advantage so that the trans athlete can compete on an even footing with the cis competition. Both the International Olympic Committee and the NCAA have established guidelines for trans competitors based on this research. It’s scientifically sound, completely fair, and a reasonable accommodation for competitors dealing with the medical condition we know as being trans.
For some years now one of the major talking points from our Religious Right oppressors revolves around the notion that trans girls (whom they refer to as boys) will enter into competition with cis-girls and dominate because of their testosterone fueled physiology. Until now, they’ve not been able to cite any actual examples of this happening ever, largely because of guidelines which rely on a history of HRT to qualify for competition. The state of Connecticut, however, has no such requirements and Yearwood now provides a gift to the Pharisees – an example of the sort of coming apocalypse for women’s athelete’s that they have been predicting.
To be clear, it is still an outlier case, and she still only finished third at state, but such details won’t matter at all to our critics, and frankly in this case as an individual situation, they have a point which is the very last thing we want then to have. I do not blame the child for playing according to the rules, but anyone who had a hand in establishing rules which do not control for situations like this has erred. While they may think they have been progressive towards trans people, they have (likely unintentionally) done us a grave disservice.
This is but one example of a phenomena which has occurred with more frequency in internal discussions among trans people. In a bid to be “more inclusive than thou” anyone who says “yes but…” is shamed out of the discussion. To e clear, this is not a shot at legitimate non-binary persons or anything like that. The various shades of being trans is a discussion for another time. Rather, what I object to is the fuzziness between “expression” and identity which leads to a reluctance to make a legal distinction between the transsexual and the crossdresser. I do not mean to shame or disrespect crossdressers, this site was founded on serving them after all. But as a matter of legality, there is every reason to make a distinction and say “this is not like that.” (i.e., if you advocate for the right of a trans woman to transition at work and not lose her job, you are not at the same time advocating that the weekend crossdresser can wear his skirt to work on Monday and his employer has to put up with it).
It must be said, if we do not help lawmakers and policy makers to clearly define terms and policies, they will do it for us to our detriment because our haters outnumber us. We cannot simply take an “anything goes” attitude, even if we imagine some future society with no gender distinctions at all because such will create more blowback than we can possibly overcome. So, at the risk of being the grump – Connecticut should establish HRT related restrictions around trans athlete competition, as
should all school, amateur, and professional athletic organizations. Such standards are not oppressive.
Photo by: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann