I have a small collection of mind games I keep neatly folded behind my left ear, ready to fill any idle time too often dedicated to cookies and porn. In one I reach back to my university days and attempt to recite Shakespeare’s Macbeth (with realistic thunder, lightening, and rain). In another I build a sturdy workbench in my garage from a random stack of two-by-fours and a small bag of nails. Sadly, I even mentally recreate various failed or disappointing elements of my long struggling sex life, mentally fulfilling my fallow lust.
But those are too easy: transgender participation in organized sports is hard.
Yet, let’s rephrase the problem. why are some sports indexed by potential and others by gender?
Let’s look at boxing. Take the average boxing heavyweight champion and match him up with a top female boxer of any classification. Too brutal to even contemplate, right? However, if I were to enter the ring against that same female boxer I would be rapidly destroyed. If classified by gender, a transgender female would score heavily in women’s boxing but if classified by potential, would only fight against those boxers who were of the same size and relative strength.
Another tactic is to form an open classification. Here anyone who wants to compete can do so, regardless of gender, size, or strength. For a sport like golf, the men’s and women’s division would be maintained by gender but the open would allow transgender athletes. Also, like golf, horse racing, or Go, a system of handicapping could even the field
What about Mia Brahe-Pedersen?
The fans packed into the high school track meet stands stared at the start line. The discus throwers paused. And the sprinter everyone was watching, a 17-year-old girl, burst from the starting blocks, strided neck-and-neck with her competitors, then surged across the finish line ahead of them all—including four boys. — Rachel Bachman, WSJ
What-do-you-know: a competition based on potential rather than gender … and the woman wins!
Boxing, golf, swimming, running, baseball, football, tennis, curling. Men’s, women’s, mixed, open, trans. So many combinations to consider. Next time I’m sitting quietly at the clinic waiting for my doctor appointment, I just might figure it out.