Last month the movie made a splash on the gay film-festival circuit, opening Outfest in Los Angeles and closing Newfest in New York. It opens commercially in New York on Aug. 5.
The Outgames Human Rights Conference is a three-day series of presentations taking place during the second annual GLISA North America Outgames – “a celebration of sport, culture and human rights” — held in Vancouver, BC, Canada, between July 25 – 31, 2011. On July 26, I joined a group of more than 20 leaders from athletics and academia at an all-day session on homophobia in sports and transgender athletes.
The topic is timely: 2011 has already proven to be a watershed period for LGBT visibility in athletics, with more than 25 sports figures publicly coming out before June.
The morning workshop was facilitated by Jennifer Birch-Jones, Lead for the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sports and Physical Activity (CAAWS)Addressing Homophobia in Sports program. High-level executives, LGBT athletes and organizers of recreational leagues engaged in frank discussion and interactive exercises, and at the end of three hours, two things were clear: the sporting world is increasingly looking for ways to include its lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes; and the issue of transgender athletes is more complicated.
First, the good news. In the working groups I participated in, the topic of trans athletes came up organically, the product of genuine curiosity and a desire to improve policy. The issue of trans participation is complex because of the physiological changes associated with sex reassignment. Put simply, testosterone is a banned substance, so beyond discrimination and transphobia, female to male (FTM) athletes face performance restrictions. The very process of transitioning requires attention to competitive advantage and sporting fairness.
Sports organizations may have an easier policy position in including male to female (MTF) transgender athletes, and those who do not seek hormone treatment. The presenters characterized this latter group as undergoing a “social transition” – they present themselves as the gender with which they identify, but don’t take hormones or undergo surgery. A recent example is Kye Allums, a transgender FTM basketball player on the women’s team at George Washington University, who came out in 2010 and with the support of his team, finished the season.
The inclusion of trans athletes is going to take time, education, and a policy shift but the push for a working model has begun. Afternoon session facilitators Dr. Pat Griffin and Helen J. Carroll presented their report, “On the Team: Equal Opportunity for Transgender Student Athletes”, which documents policy recommendations and best practices for transgender inclusion in student athletics.
The sports programs at high schools and colleges feed into professional sporting associations. The inclusion of trans athletes at the school level bodes well for inclusive policies shifts in the future.
Read more HERE
Certainly there are some good developments though slow in coming overseas in the transgender arena, we are yet to see any major thrusts locally, our leading transgender activist is not getting the desired support as expected despite eloquent lip service from the antiquated and politically twisted advocacy structure in various press releases and reports but no direct engagement or interventions to include that demographic in LGBT rights and forumatic activity. Some engagement has come from a small entity that being in the form of Couture Elements/The Underlined Response but not as nearly as enough to bring the issues squarely in the public domain.
Also see a recent radio discussion linked below with the leading voice locally "Laura" on NEWSTALK 93FM's "Love and Sex" with Dr. Karen Carpenter who is an internationally respected Clinical Sexologist who has been sympathetic to the cause, also on that program which was entitiled "Was I Born in The Wrong Body? was world reknowned Dr. Susam Volker:Radio program "Love & Sex" on Sexual Identities & Transgenderism (Were you born in the wrong body?)
Peace and tolerance