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Equitable and Inclusive Solutions for Transgender Women in Sport

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Donna Lopiano and Mariah Burton Nelson

Include or Exclude? That is the issue at the heart of the debate about trans women in sports. But it is an alternative way of thinking about a non-alternative situation. It assumes only two types of her, male and female. People are more diverse than that.

Trans women themselves suggest a third option because it transcends conventional thinking about how individuals fit into female or male biological categories. The fact that transgender girls and women were born in biologically male bodies means that even after taking hormones, undergoing surgery, or both, they are biologically female. Or means it doesn’t fit neatly into the men’s category.

Therefore, our policy should not be either/or. We need creative solutions.

Fair competition is why another women’s sport was created. Competitive sports (not including recreational sports, physical education, or intramural sports) are ultimately physical tests to which post-adolescent males have a significant advantage. During puberty, boys generally develop longer and denser bones, more musculature, greater strength, faster speed, greater height, and greater lung capacity than girls. improves men’s performance by 8-50%. This is why men’s and women’s golf tee boxes are different. His three-point arc in basketball variety. Different net heights in volleyball. Different hurdle heights in the track.

Performance benefits (including musculoskeletal characteristics and lung capacity) persist even after transgender women have their testosterone levels suppressed or their bodies surgically altered.

“What’s fair is fair!” tweeted transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, praising swimming’s global governing body (FINA)’s recent decision to ban adolescent men from female competition did. She wrote, “Once a man hits puberty, she shouldn’t be able to take away a medal from a woman.”

But transgender girls and women should not be left on the sidelines. Despite widespread discrimination and even threats of violence, these brave athletes who come out as transgender must be welcomed into the women’s team. Given their grace and determination under pressure, who wouldn’t want a trans woman as a teammate?

On one side of the dichotomy debate are those who believe trans women should be left out in order to be fair to cisgender women. When signing Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “We want every girl in Florida to compete on a level playing field.” Her other 17 states also ban transgender female athletes from competing on women’s and women’s sports teams.

On the other side, there are those who believe that transgender women should be allowed to compete unconditionally. They argue that there are relatively few transgender female athletes, so joining a women’s team does not have a significant impact. girls claim to be a vulnerable minority. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the anti-trans sports bill “represents a brutal effort to further stigmatize and discriminate against LGBTQ+ people across the country.”

But the inclusion of transgender women in favor of performance at the expense of cisgender women (who also face persistent discrimination) violates another primary reason for women’s competitions.

The question is, how can we include trans women without hurting cis women who deserve fair and safe competition?

Our non-binary solution is called Women’s Sports Umbrella. Under this umbrella, anyone who identifies as a woman is invited to try out for her team in women’s sports, but with one caveat. It’s competition.

Most of my team experience revolves around practices, meetings, weightlifting, team trips, social activities, and more. There is no reason why this environment should not include everyone who identifies as female.

Trans women transitioning before male puberty have no performance advantage. If they choose, they will be allowed to compete on the women’s team without restrictions. However, in individual sports, trans women who have gone through male puberty are allowed to practice, travel, and interact with women’s teams as needed, but are scored individually. Thomas continued to swim in team competitions and postseason women’s championships, but her times were recorded in a separate trance division.

In team sports, transgender women with post-adolescent performance advantages can also practice, travel, and socialize with female teammates. They then compete in the transgender category.If there are not enough trans women in the field team, teams can be formed for all districts or all conferences. In contact sports such as basketball and rugby, this model can also prevent cisgender women from being injured by their large, dense bodies after puberty.

Under the Women’s Sports Umbrella, the legitimacy of a separate women’s sports category is preserved – the physical and physiological differences between the relevant biological sexes.

An essential aspect is training coaches, administrators and athletes on diversity, equity and inclusion. This will ensure that individual scoring results are equally respected and valued by all team members, as is the case with lightweights today. Different weight classes for wrestlers. Junior national team and national team. athletes with disabilities; and athletes of various age groups.

The achievements of transgender and other athletes are similarly celebrated. Biological differences are accepted as natural human variations, along with differences in gender identity, race, culture, religion, and sexual orientation.

Women’s Sports Umbrella also provides solutions for others outside the female/male binary: intersex, non-binary, and gender-fluid people. These athletes only enter the transgender scoring her category if they choose to join the women’s team and have a male adolescent performance advantage.

As with any compromise, a women’s sports umbrella isn’t going to make everyone happy. Open-minded administrators, coaches, and trans and non-trans athletes should work together to fine-tune the best options for each sport to change details over time. However, this model provides a starting point. It transcends irrelevant binary choices. You don’t have to treat the fewest people the same, welcoming everyone as much as possible. It helps her imagine a sporting arena where every person who identifies as a woman can experience a fair, safe, and proper playing field. It is inclusive and fair.

Mariah Barton Nelson is a former Stanford University professional basketball player. The stronger women get, the more men love soccer and six other books.she too Co-authorStaying in Bounds: An NCAA Model Policy to Prevent Incorporated Relationships between Student-Athletes and Athletics Department PersonnelShe can be reached on Facebook or Instagram @MariahBurtonNelson or on her website