Flippin' through the boob tube last night, I came across a documentary on Logo about an MtF transgendered woman (Michelle something) competing on a women's mountain biking competition circuit, and it got me thinking.
First of all, let me say this -- I've never understood gender-segregating non-contact sports. I mean, golf? Really? We're gender-segregating golf? I understand the line of thinking behind it; "women aren't as strong as men, they'd never make it to the finals, they probably wouldn't even place, so they need their own league." Granted, it's true that in golf, male professionals have better yardage than female on average, and this is true in most non-contact sports that are nevertheless gender-segregated, like tennis (male professionals tend to hit the ball a lot harder, if the MPH gauge is anything to go by), but I think in practice, things would work out such that there'd be a mix even in the very finals. People tend to blow the differences between the sexes way out of the water when talking about sports.
The logic behind gender-segregating contact sports makes a lot more sense, even if it is still bullshit -- the vast majority of men wouldn't be able to bring themselves to be as rough with female competitors as male, not to mention would be deathly afraid of getting slapped with a sexual harassment suit if they grabbed female competitors the same way they grab male. This is me rolling my eyes. You can't see it, because this is a purely textual medium, but trust me; they're rolling.
Anyway, the documentary I mentioned started off with a bunch of clips from spur-of-the-moment interviews (i.e. outdoors during a competition, not in a traditional interview setting) with the mountain bikers, virtually all of whom expressed the sentiment that it wouldn't be "fair" if Michelle (who, hearteningly, they did refer to as "she") competed. That seems to be the general consensus behind issues of MtF women competing in sporting events with born-female women, which strikes me as amazingly self-sexist. So what, all these professional atheletes are outright admitting that men are, by default, more athletic than women? Depressing.
What do you think? I haven't really made up my mind (though I never really "make up my mind" about things so much as I "tentatively hold favor with a given position because it seems to me, given my current information, to be the most sensible"), but what would help would be if someone could answer this question for me -- the hormone therapy and so forth during the gender reassignment process. How extensive is it? I mean, yes, it's true that it's easier for men than women to build muscle mass, in a general sense. Does an individual born male, becoming female, lose that ability during the process of gender reassignment?
Also, I've never once heard of a FtM transsexual trying to participate in a male-only gendered competition of any sort and having problems. I don't know whether that's because it's never happened or what. I don't think it'd be as big a problem in terms of "wah, it's not fair," though there'd probably be major harassment issues, if not outright violence. We can discuss that here, too, and if anyone has any examples, be sure to post 'em.
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