Monday, August 6, 2012

McCreath reviews 2014 Gay Games gender policy

Ok folks, the Gay Games 2014 gender policy might not be perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than the 2003 Stockholm Consensus policy currently in place for the International Olympic Committee. Obviously, the issues here are to find a balance between respecting the dignity and identity of the athletes vs ensuring a fair competition. 

the IOC essentially requires the following:

- gonadectomy not less than 2 years prior to competing
- consistent hormone therapy within so-called normal ranges for not less than 2 years
- an independent medical review by IOC officials to ascertain that no competitive advantage exists
- full genital sex reassignment surgery performed
- sex/gender change legally recognized by government officials

Bottom line, the last 2 are totally unnecessary and have no barring on competition.

The gonadectomy is also NOT totally necessary to remove competitive advantage, nor is 2 years any particular type of magic number. as I have stated in this blog before, I was sufficiently disadvantaged within 1 year of hormones and just 6 months after gonadectomy.

As other trans activists have pointed out, this system also only addresses binary transsexuals and does not help resolve matters pertaining to transgender, non-op trans people, intersexxed, genderqueer, or cis athletes who have some sort of hormonal 'disorder'

So what the Gay Games have done to improve? well:

- full srs not necessary
- legal recognition of sex change not necessary
- gonadectomy not necessary

Right there, you've opened the door to include many athletes who do not have a competitive advantage, who would have been ineligible under IOC policy.

Furthermore, to quote:

- A participant may demonstrate his or her gender by providing proof in the form of a letter or certificate from the participant’s medical practitioner that he or she has been undergoing uninterrupted hormone treatment for at least one year unless there is a medical reason that may have resulted in short breaks from that treatment. Any breaks in treatment should be outlined in the medical practitioner’s letter;


- A participant may demonstrate his or her gender by providing documentation that he or she has been living as the chosen gender for at least two years. Proof may be provided by legal documents such as a driver’s license; evidence of employment as the chosen or self-identified gender; substantive personal letters, testimonials or statutory declarations; bank or brokerage accounts; or property-related documents such as leases, property titles, etc. The final decision about the participant’s gender status will be within the sole discretion of Gay Games 9., they are letting folks participate with one year of hormones, instead of two, which i think is more than reasonable.

Furthermore, they are also accepting trans people in the female category who have had absolutely no hormonal intervention, so long as they can demonstrate that they have been living life full time in the woman gender role for two years. this actually does open the door to problems. a male full of testosterone who is simply wearing women's clothing and has undergone a legal name change, does indeed have a competitive advantage!

However, having said that, I think the chances are very slim that one would show up using this policy without at least having started hormones. and if not, you know what? I don't care.... competitive advantage or not, I'd rather allow these transwomen to compete as females, rather than force them to compete as males, or not attend at all. Furthermore, there could be other medical reasons for why they can't take hormones, hence, perhaps a disadvantage.

I still think the 3rd category is a fair and reasonable compromise. then again, not all athletes want to be outed as trans, and for that, I can see why most would like to fit into the male/female binary - and be specifically fitted into their desired sex category.

So who's being left out? who's at an unfair advantage? Well, I'm sure there may be someone coming forward with a complaint - not much dissimilar to how I came forward to IGLA in 2008, but I honestly think the Gay Games have done a great job, not only with this policy, but with the fact that they were very open and inclusive of obtaining feedback from all athletes, into this process.

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