Transgender People Deserve to Compete

This is a symbol for the want for equality when it comes to Transgender people and their rights.

This is a symbol for the want for equality when it comes to Transgender people and their rights.

Liz Odife, Writer

A highly controversial topic that has been brought into the spotlight is whether or not transgender people should be allowed to compete in sports. Mainly concerning transgender women and their eligibility to compete in women’s sports, most fearing that they may have biological advantages that could take away opportunities for other women. The concern is valid, however it often stems from misconceptions and misinformation about transgender women in general.

Most people do not realize  that trans women undergo feminizing hormone therapy to become more feminine. Therapy may include three different types of medicine: estrogen and progesterone hormones, and testosterone blockers. Estrogen is the sex hormone in women that is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics and maintenance of the reproductive system. Testosterone blockers assist in  suppressing masculine traits. Progesterone is a hormone present in women that helps support pregnancy and maintenance of the uterine lining, but can act as a partial blocker of testosterone. Hormone therapy results in physical changes of the body, such as redistribution of body fat, decrease in muscle mass, decreased facial and body hair growth, breast development, and more.

To further ensure that the playing field for both trans and cis women are equal there are rules and regulations put in place, depending on the sport, but some universal guidelines most follow are provided by the International Olympic Committee when it comes to sex-reassignment. The IOC states that for a trans female to compete, “The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition.” As well, the testosterone level must be kept under that requirement for the desired competing time. Trans women are monitored for their compliance, and if they fail their eligibility will be suspended for 12 months. These explicit guidelines assist in making the competition against cis women more fair.

It is important to keep in mind that some rules also require sex surgery and depending on the sport either no policies are implemented or transgender people are banned from competing in general.

Transgender people are just like anybody else; the only difference is that they do not identify with their biological sex, and that is completely okay. To exclude them from competing in general is discriminatory and insensitive. To ensure equal competition for both trans and cis people more rules and regulations must be provided for each sport. Ultimately, every person should be given the opportunity to compete with others at the same performance level, free of discrimination and hatred.