Social Issues

Trans People Exist, Sport is For All, the Elite need to get real.

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Sport England have a vision for sport and physical activity.  

Sport England: towardS an activE nation Sport England Strategy 2016 – 21 introduction In December 2015 the Government published Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation.It sets a bold aand ambitious direction for sport policy which is documented at www.sportengland.org

They have grouped the strategy into five key areas:

Physical wellbeing
Mental wellbeing
Individual development
Social and community development
Economic development

These five areas are important to the whole population, but for the LGBT+ community they are critical. 

Grass Roots sport is powerful and belongs to erveryone.

Elite Sport exists in a toxic Ivory Tower, of misplaced National Pride, Financial abuse, Medical Abuse.  Elite Sport creates arrogant athletes, who are disrespectful to their Governing Bodies and the International Olympic Committee.  I’ve been in governing body meeting where retiring athletes think they should be handed High Level Coaching Qualifications, without the underpinning education.  Now, we have ex elite athletes who think their limited existence allows them to comment on wider society.  They have a right to an opinion just like everyone else, and like everyone else they need to recognise the difference between hate speech and free speech.

There is clearly some work to be done at elite level for some LGBT+ athletes.  But, we need to remember that all elite athletes, are either genetically gifted or enhanced by Sports Science.  Elite level is not a level playing field of clones.

In the current environment, the majority of us need grass roots sport, so lets not destroy that while the governing bodies resolve the elite level issues.

La Miranda , lifelong LGBT+ activist, and at one time I spent 10 years working for a governing body as a development officer.

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2 thoughts on “Trans People Exist, Sport is For All, the Elite need to get real.

  1. This is a complex and nuanced subject, yes sport is for all.
    However I’m not seeing a solution to the complex issues around trans competitors.
    If you allow MTF transgender persons to enter strength bases contests they are going to have an advantage assuming both people are equally skilled ie MMA.
    Conversely there is an issue regarding a FtM transgender person in Texas competing in wrestling, he wants to wrestle men but the board of Texas force competitors to compete based on biological sex.
    This actually unintentionally puts him at an advantage compared to other athlete’s.
    So he has two choices wrestle women or quit and I don’t think that’s fair on him either.

    So I don’t know what to suggest, maybe with more research or trans only events but that seems somewhat exclusionary.

    1. The trouble with those complex issues is that they are largely an invention. Going with the premise that trans women are ‘male-bodied’ (so, setting aside for now the changes to muscle, fat, etc experienced in hormone replacement therapy) we would expect to see trans women appearing with some regularity at Olympic level. And yet – tumbleweed. Sport should be fair, yes – but the issues in (that particular) question are philosophical, rather than actual.

      In dealing with elite sports, we have to remember we are dealing with the upper 5%, at most, of sportspeople. These are exceptional athletes. To encourage fairness in competitive sport, there are categories that measure tangible differences between athletes, so that they are fairly matched in height, speed, strength, weight – depending on the sport and the qualities that it most relies upon.

      For the rest of us, the issues are about access to play for recreation, recognition of achievements, categorisation (as in the trans man you mentioned), and perhaps most importantly, health, wellbeing, and visibility – to see people like oneself engaging and competing in sport, at all levels. That helps to cultivate true equality.

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