Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Transgender Olympics

               International Olympic Committee officials have announced a change to IOC rules that will allow transgender athletes to compete without having gender reassignment surgery. Under the previous IOC guidelines, athletes who transitioned from male to female or vice versa were required to have reassignment surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy in order to be eligible to compete. Now, surgery will no longer be required, with female-to-male transgender athletes eligible to take part in men’s competitions “without restriction,” while male-to-female transgender athletes will only need to demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain cutoff point for at least one year before their first competition. (What does this say about gender/sex differences?!)
The new guidelines are designed as recommendations for international sports federations and other bodies to follow, as many of these organizations don’t have rules defining the eligibility of transgender athletes. The IOC changed the policy to adapt to current scientific, social and legal attitudes on transgender issues. Scientific attitudes? The operative word is attitudes. The IOC deemed the change “necessary to ensure insofar as possible that trans athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in sporting competition.” It added, “To require surgical anatomical changes as a precondition to participation is not necessary to preserve fair competition and may be inconsistent with developing legislation and notions of human rights.”
This will certainly enhance the Olympic viewing experience, if making for some confusion. I can’t help but wonder what effect trans athletes would have had on the outcomes of the ancient Greek Olympiads, which were largely performed in the nude:
“Polydamas now, with a splendid dash! His shoulder muscles rippling as he runs, his vagina…what the-?”
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games should be interesting. Swimming contestants will compete in the breaststroke, in which some women won’t have breasts and some men will. Others will vie for “freestyle” supremacy, a term given a whole new meaning. Perhaps there will be a “500-Meter Race for Women with Penises.”
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing should be fascinating, too. I can’t wait for the pairs ice dancing. Who doesn’t want to see a 5’ 4” woman, identifying and competing as a man, try to execute a throw jump of a 6’ 1” man-- in a silky see-through chiffon outfit and tights-- identifying and competing as a woman?
But back to the summer games again. I’m guessing we won’t see too many women identifying as men sign up for the boxing competition. We may, however, see quite a few men self-identifying as women competing in any number of women’s sports. Is this a good thing? For anybody? In light of the new rules dispensing with the erstwhile surgical requirements, I picture the following scenario taking place at the medal ceremony for the 2020 “women’s” weightlifting competition:
“The bronze medal goes to Olga Aksana Ikanstillwankov. The silver medal goes to Svetlana Fukov, and the gold medal goes to…Alexandra Ididnot Kutmykokov! A clean sweep for the Russian team! Well, that’s reminiscent of the success the old East German swimming teams had prior to the 1990’s. Remarkable! Back to you, Jim!”
There is no doubt we will hear something very like the following at the track and field competition: “Welcome those of you just tuning in to the women’s discus throw. Next up, the two American women. Amber Johnson is from Newark, New Jersey, where she works as a correctional officer. She is six-feet two-inches tall and weighs 235 pounds. She recently set the American and world records in the discus throw, besting the previous world’s record of 76.80 meters, set by Gabriele Reinsch of East Germany in 1988, by an incredible 13.10 meters. Emily Smith hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she works in a steel foundry. The six-foot four-inch Iron City resident weighs 260 pounds and is fond of Jameson whiskey and Cuban cigars. She’s stepping into the circle now……she starts her rotation……and her throw…and what a throw! Holy cow! Anything that flies that far should have to have a stewardess—I mean ‘flight attendant’—on it! That is going to be a new world record! We’re waiting for the official call. Here it is…92.35 meters. Incredible! Besting her teammates former world record by all of 2.45 meters! Is there anything these women can’t achieve?! We now go over to the hammer toe, umm, camel toe competition…strike that…I mean the hammer throw competition, where the Greek gals are heavy favorites.”
The IOC also announced that it was changing the Olympic Games’ long-time motto of “faster, higher, stronger” to, “queerer, more androgynous, less binary.”  
Moreover, the iconic five overlapping multi-colored Olympic rings logo will be replaced by one consisting of a male symbol, female symbol, double male symbol, double female symbol and transgender symbol, all overlapping. And, the traditional IOC flag will be replaced by the transgender flag going forward.
In related news, it was just announced that the Olympic mascot for the 2020 Tokyo Games will be “Tranny,” the Trans-Pan-gender Bear.  

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