During this month of celebrating International Womens’ Day, we are turning our attention to the latest iteration of policing transgender bodies, as trans athletes are coming under attack by people who think they have an unfair advantage in sports. Ever since the International Olympic Committee drew up guidelines for the inclusion of trans participants, British citizens are demanding research to prove the competitive advantages trans women may have. This nonsensical demand comes while very few trans people have ever qualified for the Olympic Games, let alone won a medal. Since this argument doesn’t hold up then, we can confirm that the obsession with investigating and dissecting the functions of trans bodies is rooted in harmful ideas that trans people are pretending to be something they’re not, and that it is therefore justifiable to dehumanise them.
[Image description: Two girls run in a track and field competition in New Britain in 2019. Photo by Hartford Courant]
Schools in the US are taking this exclusion further by prohibiting trans girls from joining girls’ sports teams, in an effort to ‘protect’ cis women from trans women. By painting trans women as perverse, they spread an irrational and cissexist fear of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender norms. The ugly irony of these efforts is that they serve to invisibilise the actual threat to girls in sports, and where their fear should be targetted: their male coaches. While there has been case after case of coaches sexually abusing girls as young as six years old, there has been no institutional change to prevent this violent consequence of sexism in our society. Instead, trans girls and women are scapegoated for being a threat in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, with no evidence of harm.
Meanwhile, as cisgender folks spend their time and energy debating the existance of certain human beings in the sports realm, trans women of colour are being murdered around the world. Yet again, the most marginalised people in the LGBTQ+ community are left to protect themselves from oppressive workplaces and medical institutions, homelessness, and violence because of tokenistic prioritisation of white affluent LGBTQ+ people.