No League of Their Own (Transgender Athletes)

no_league_of_their_own__transgender_athl1Fab is an athlete.  She has the potential to be great at whatever sport she chooses to play.  She was a phenomenal young gymnast before transitioning, and while her mother and I are open to her competing as a female gymnast (US Gymnastics is inclusive), gymnastics still serves as a reminder of her life as a boy.  We can see she misses it terribly, but if she goes back, that will be her decision to make.  She will play soccer in the fall on a coed team with the YMCA.  It will be a safe space for her, because I coach the team, her brother plays for it, and I have changed her gender marker with the Y.  However, it does give us pause as we contemplate her playing on all girl teams.  Unlike most parents, parents of transgender youth have to consider a sport’s governing body’s policy, or that of a school, school district, athletic organization, etc.  Some simply refuse to let our kids compete out of some misguided, false belief.  It is especially bad for MtF youth, where misguided notions are the worst.  Of course, then there are also the parent’s to consider and how they will take it if found out.  The solution is to stay stealth, but this is not always a possibility, and if your child becomes an elite athlete, then it will be very likely that they will have come out or risk being banned from the sport they love.

I just watched a great documentary on transgender athletes that was put together before the 2016 Olympics.  I thought it was well done, and did a good job of explaining the realities for transgender athletes, and more importantly how athletics can serve to be inclusive, not exclusive if we are willing to let it. Anyways, I wanted to share that documentary here for anyone else who has a budding athlete, or simply just because it is a chance to educate yourself on reality.  Hope you enjoy!

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