Transgender athletes have been a controversial topic in the sports world over the last few years. What are their rights? Who is allowed to compete as a woman in women’s sports? Is it fair for a transgender woman to compete in female categories? These are the questions that are prevalent in professional sports today.
What the Gender Inclusion Policy Says
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) states in its Transgender Inclusion Policy that trans athletes should be included and not blocked from playing the sport of tennis.
The document reads, “It is necessary to ensure, insofar as possible, that transgender athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competitions.”
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After Alicia Rowley, a transgender tennis player, became the latest player to win a Women’s National Tennis Championship and the coveted “Gold Ball,” tennis fans are calling for the policy to be changed.
Tennis Is a Laughing Stock
Retired tennis player, Kim Shasby Jones, wrote in a tweet that “Women’s tennis is turning into a laughing stock because of these terrible policies prioritizing the mental health and identity of men over women who have discovered a love of tennis.”
Women Want The Game to Be Fair
Kim Shasby Jones is co-founder of Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS), which is a network of women athletes who advocate for female protected categories in sports.
Shasby Jones also said in her tweet that the women are “calling and begging for help” to be allowed to play fairly.
Men Are Winning National Titles
Other players have complained because they say “men are winning national titles, taking the place of women on team tennis, and competing in women’s tournaments across the country” and they don’t know where else to turn for help.
USTA Doesn’t Want to Be an Obstacle
When it comes to league playing and recreational purposes, the USTA doesn’t require transgender athletes to confirm their gender identity status, but those who play professionally do have to meet certain conditions.
The USTA Transgender Inclusion Policy states, “Above all, we do not want to be an obstacle to recreational participation.”
It’s Not Right and It’s Not Fair
Former professional tennis player, Martina Navratilova, also spoke out against the USTA’s Transgender Inclusion Policy claiming the sport of tennis is “not for failed male athletes.”
Her view on the policy is that it is not right and it is not fair. She is calling for the USTA to change their policy.
The Unfair Physical Advantages
Navratilova’s argument is that transgender women have unfair physical advantages over those who are born female due to the impacts of testosterone on their bodies, even if they are on medications to suppress their testosterone levels.
Fulkrod Resigns Amid Policy Changes
The president of a Wyoming tennis association, Jackie Fulkrod, resigned from her position in protest against a decision to allow a transgender female player to participate in the women’s singles category of the Governor’s cup.
In an interview, Fulkrod said her decision to resign was because there was no way to protect the organization or the female athletes competing in tournaments.
She also added, “I think a man playing against a woman is a very unfair matchup when it’s specifically meant for women in that specific draw.
Bans On Transgender Athletes
Tennis has a policy that allows transgender women to compete in women’s categories, but some sports have banned transgender athletes from competing at all.
The International Rugby League announced an outright ban on transfeminine athlete participation.
More Research Is Required
The International Rugby League believes “there is a requirement and responsibility to further consult and complete additional research” before allowing transgender athletes to compete.
Swimming Creates an “Open” Category for Transgender Athletes
Previously, World Aquatics announced a ban on transgender women competing in female events.
This ban was recently modified to allow transgender athletes to compete in an “open” category. Competitors whose gender differs from their sex at birth can compete against each other in the “open” category.
Bans Are Discriminatory
Transgender athletes and activists have described the bans as discriminatory and fear-mongering.
A spokesperson for a charity that supports transgender youth said the bans “dangerously contribute to an existing climate of hostility already directed towards the trans community.”
The Competition Isn’t Fair
The controversy is typically seen when it’s a transgender woman competing in a female category.
Very rarely is it about a transgender male competing in a male category. Women athletes don’t feel like they can fairly compete against transgender women.
Sports Have Always Been Male-Dominated
Competitive sport has always been a male-dominated arena. Female sports did not exist in an organized or formal fashion until the twentieth century.
Many female athletes don’t feel they are being given a fair chance to compete when transgender women are competing against them in their same categories.
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