How to do it

Moments ago, the governing body of women's flat track roller derby (appropriately enough, it's named WFTDA, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association) issued its gender policy. The policy's not perfect (efforts to police gender aren't), but there's a lot I like.
Female[:] Living as a woman and having sex hormones that are within the medically acceptable range for a female.
I still giggle every time I see the phrase "living as a woman", but wev. Females are people who identify as being female (i.e., females are people who are female).

The "acceptable range" is designed to have a certain amount of wiggle room. Again, WFTDA's policing gender (hence the "W"), but within that paradigm there are most certainly doctors that acknowledge that women (indeed, individual women over the course of time) have a wide-range of hormonal concentrations, all of which are "acceptable."

I'm not over the moon with this, but in my experience (n=1), cutting the amount of testosterone in my body cut into my strength and/or endurance. Of course, I'd been on anti-androgens for about six months when my daughter was born, so maybe getting fifteen minutes of sleep a night was part of it. In any case, WFTDA is operating under the standard assumption that large doses of testosterone increase one's athletic performance, and I don't feel like I'm in a position to argue with them.

There's no timeline here-- no six or twenty-four month waiting period.

Last but not least: genitals? WFTDA does not mention genitals. The International Olympic Committee could learn a thing or two here.
To participate on the chartered teams in WFTDA-sanctioned games, an athlete must be Female, as defined herein. Male athletes may not participate, nor can those born female or Intersex who identify as male.

Transgender or Intersex athletes who meet the definition of Female, as defined herein, are eligible to compete provided that, upon request, the athlete can produce a signed original statement, on office letterhead, from the athlete’s attending healthcare provider.
Hey look, people who identify as men don't get to simultaneously claim to be women as a result of 'underlying biology'!

The testing is also "upon request", not as a bar for entry. My reading of the policy is basically that if someone's being a pain in the ass about a skater's gender, a quick letter from a doctor will take care of things, but really, teams shouldn't question the gender of skaters other teams' rosters.

It's also not clear to me how much of an external push there was for WFTDA to develop this policy. They just did it, which most certainly will make most trans skaters feel welcome.

As I said, gender policy is ugly, particularly where athletics is concerned. However, this is by far the most inclusive policy I've seen to date from a sport's governing body. That governing body, as well as its member organizations, are women-run, BTW. Good on WFTDA, and good on derby.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus