100% Pure Transphobia

Debbie says:

Michelle Dumaresq has won the Canadian mountain biking championships three years in a row. This year, she finished one second ahead of Danika Schroeter, so she won the gold medal and Schroeter won the silver medal.

But you can’t see Schroeter’s medal in the winners’ picture … because she covered it by a t-shirt (handed to her by her boyfriend) that says “100% Pure Woman Champ 2006.” You see, Dumaresq is a transwoman.

Schroeter was suspended for three months for wearing that t-shirt at the winners’ ceremony … and Body Impolitic agrees that the suspension was an appropriate punishment. However, it came too late to protect Dumaresq from “”a bunch of people out in the audience who were obviously [Schroeter’s] friends, or her boyfriend’s friends, who were screaming really nasty comments while the general public was there.” Dumaresq said, “They were very, very inappropriate comments which I felt were sick, really in poor taste.”

Two issues are in play here: one is simple politeness and respect. By agreeing to compete in the event, Schroeter agreed to compete with Dumaresq on equal terms. And by my lights, she agreed to accept defeat as graciously as one hopes she would have accepted victory. That means no rude comments about the winner, either with her mouth or with her apparel. Enough said.

The other issue is the place for transwomen in sports. Here, Dumaresq seems to be short on supporters. Rumors are magnifying her height (from her actual 5’9″ to 6’1″), her weight, and her sports history. As was pointed out in a blog comment on the subject, if Schroeter lost by one second, it hardly seems that she was very physically outclassed. Although she wins in Canada on a regular basis, she was 26th the last time she competed internationally. This all seems to argue logically for what I believe anyway: transwomen are women, should be welcome to compete as women, and have no more of an unfair advantage than women who happen to be 6’1″ and 210 pounds. (I know women that big, and I bet you do too.)

Thanks to stringer Steven S. for more than one link on this topic.

sports, biking, mountain biking, transsexual, transwoman, Body Impolitic

2 thoughts on “100% Pure Transphobia

  1. I’m not disagreeing, I’m asking: do men “outclass” women in sports, or not? That they do seems to be the generally-accepted wisdom, or at least the pravda, on the subject, and the rationale/reason/excuse for separate womens’ and mens’ events in just about everything in the wonderful(?) world of pro-am athletics.

    (Pardon me while I flash back to 1976’s matchup of “women’s tennis champion” Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King…)

    I guess what I’m asking is, is there any excuse for a LPGA, a WNBA, etc., or should they be merged with their male and generally higher-profile counterparts? Why or why not?

    This is real curiosity, but I admit there’s a bit of mischief here also; if they should remain separate, then I don’t see the logic of allowing a transwoman whose body developed as a male body does to compete equally with women. But since in fact I don’t think they should remain separate, I’m in agreement with your original point.

    Call it a “check for consistency,” perhaps?

  2. Two things seem to be true here: 1) Men do have more (or at least different) muscle mass than women, and there is a genuine difference in male sports ability and female. Male speed records are faster than female speed records; male boxers have an edge over female boxers, etc. 2) Transwomen are not men. Transwomen lose on the average something like 20-30% of their body weight when they transition. Estrogen taken in the large doses that transwomen take it has a significant effect on the differences. There aren’t enough transwomen athletes for real statistics, but it would seem that how your body is born is only part of the story, and how your body is now is much more relevant to the issue.

    I take your point about getting rid of the LPGA, WNBA, etc. On the other hand, I am not interested in a sports world where women always lose and men always win, and right now it seems that’s what we’d have if the competition was even. In team sports, I think mixed teams would be very interesting.

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