Transgendered Athletes in Professional Sports
If you were born a man and then had a sex change operation to become a woman, should you be allowed to compete at the professional level in women’s sports? I’d like to say yes, but thinking this person would have an unfair advantage.
I’m pondering this issues as Outside Magazine has an interesting article in April 2004 issue (unfortunately not yet available online) about Michelle Dumaresq a Canadian transsexual athlete who was initially embraced but is now being shunned by other female competitors once she started winning some of the premier biking races.
I should also note that in the article, Michelle claims “to correspond with some 115 transgender athletes from all over the world, including a top NCAA women’s basketball player and two women competing on a world-class level in Olympic events.” She goes on to assert that there are “hundreds of athletes out there who have a trans history.” Not sure I really believe that, but I’m assuming this issue won’t come to head until as the article points out we have a transgendered person on the podium at the Olympic Games.
Update [3/17/04 @ 6pm]: For anyone who was curious as to the official policy of the Olympics re transgendered athletes, see below.
Olympics to allow transsexuals to participate
Panel lifts ban on post-surgery trans athletes
By LOU CHIBBARO Friday, December 05, 2003
The International Olympic Committee agreed to allow transsexuals who have undergone sex change surgery to compete in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, and in all future Olympics competitions.
According to the Associated Press, the decision came after the Olympic committee convened an October meeting in Sweden of medical specialists in the field of gender reassignment surgery. The committee was expected to issue an official announcement about the change in the next few weeks, the AP reported.
October 26, 2007 at 1:31 am
It’s the 21st century, the shakles of gender stereotyping are slowly being battered down and it’s thanks to battles like this being won -great! Ursula show them you always knew you belonged in the women’s race. Good luck
GLTB equality ;o)
March 14, 2007 at 4:59 am
Hi, there…just thought I’d share my experiences as a transsexual woman.
Here are a few diary excerpts:
June 2004: Began HRT
August 2004: My last job as a stonemason. The stones weighed about 30 kg each, but there were only half a thousand of them (grin).
Sept 2004: Finished job…neighbors thought it was *too* cool that a woman was doing the job…
Sept 2005: I met a woman 30 years older than me on my way home from the grocery store. She offered to carry one of my bags for me. I was grateful…
The idea that we have advantages over nontrans women is absurd. If anything, we have to put up with bad sportsmanship like the sore losers that Dumaresq had to deal with. At least one of them was censured for her tactless “100% Real woman” T shirt.
What whiny, sore losers! Puleez!
September 15, 2005 at 9:12 am
Well: I believe that she should be welcome to compete professionally as a woman. I am FTM. I am very muscular and am stronger than the average man. I am a man’s man. I can hold my own at the weight rack, BBall court or where ever. My performance same as always. The results are amplified by male hormone. (Arms only went from 16″ to 17″ by-the-way). If she lacks testostrone it will all be up to her ability as an athelete. She is the same “chemically” as her opponents. We should celebrate her not hinder her. And that is all I have to say!
August 21, 2004 at 8:53 pm
Having been on female hormones for over 16 years I can attest to the fact that you DO lose muscle mass and strength. As a male athlete I once had biceps of 16″, could run the 100 yds, (dating myself) in 10 seconds and long jump 22’6″. Since on hormones (without SRS) I have lost over 4 inches of biceps, lost considerable strength and speed. Yet at 51 I can still run and hit a softball for an old lady.
Couldn’t afford the surgery. Have been living full time as a female for over 4 years undetected. I played on Womens and Coed softball and volleyball teams undetected. Even old I still have a competitive drive to play sports, although I will never be able to compete on a level such as the olympics, I do know that a male to female does loose the physic of a male. Been there done that. Anyone want to volunteer the $50,000.00 needed for peace of mind. (SRS)
March 20, 2004 at 2:53 pm
I think this issue is going to become more common, as gender reassignment surgery becomes more commonplace. For most sports, female-to-male does not give a competitive advantage, whereas male-to-female does. I believe the Olympic committee has been somewhat behind the science–benchmarking hormone levels, for example, on very young athletes. If I am not mistaken, there were episodes wherein some birth control pill formulations would land the athlete in trouble (I can’t remember if would be for too much estrogen or not enough).
March 18, 2004 at 4:36 pm
they do keep their muscle strength. changing their genitalia and popping hormone pills doesnt change that.
i just read the update. i would like to read a synopsis of what went on in that meeting.
March 17, 2004 at 11:39 am
I’d definately give this topic more thought. My intial reaction is that it’s not fair for transgendered men to compete in female sports. I don’t know all the facts about men that go through sex transformations, however I think they still keep the muscle strength and overall physiology of being a male. That would be an unfair advantage of naturally-born females competing in that sport.
March 17, 2004 at 12:29 am
hollup….. was that mike aparicio saying sports are unimportant? he must have a fever. get that boy an aspirin.
personally, i don’t think women should be competing in men’s sports and vice versa, however, physically we females are supposed to be weaker. i know we’re not but men are built for power and speed. we have endurance and strength. there’s no damn way it’s fair to have a man playing in a women’s tennis, track, or bball. haven’t they see juwana mann?
March 16, 2004 at 10:41 pm
Hey, if women want to play on the men’s tour without getting a sex change, who’s to keep a man who has a sex change from being on the women’s tour? It’s not like he thought to himself, “you know, I’m not doing too well on the men’s tour, but if I got a sex change, I’d really kick ass!”
It’s definitely a delicate issue, but in the end we have to remind ourselves how unimportant sports are in the grand scheme of things.