Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Silently Screaming for a Voice

More recently I have been throwing myself into the trans community at least the online version of the community. I have given information on FTM groups that are supposed to be all encompassing and showing all sides and variations of FTMs out there. Except I never really feel like I find me, or any sort of person or group anything like me. I want to meet more FTM athletes I want there to be more of a voice. I have tried to widen the voice at various "all-inclusive" FTM groups and sites being rejected, being informed that the trans-guys don't need anything to do about athletics because there isn't a big enough or significant amount of trans men that do it or participate in athletics. I find this ridiculous, it shouldn't matter if it is 1 or 1,000; I understand logistically that not often can anything be all encompassing, but to blantantly shoot down a member of the community because they are an athlete and being so misinformed on the amount of FTM athletes there are is appalling. There needs to be a larger voice. The trans community can not just throw us away because we are athletes. Too often I feel like the same trans guy is shown but never do I see the guy trying to be an athlete in whatever fashion, working out trying to accomplish a physical feat. I feel like this lack of voice makes it sound like trans men shouldn't be athletes or want to work out. I have been from other trans men in heated discussions I have had that to be an athlete especially me is trying to have the best of both worlds. Or trans men that want to be athletes are reinforcing the binary and further emphasizing that men are only men when muscular and doing manly shit like working out. These arguments are not only ridiculous but completely hateful. Men are men in their own right. There is no right or wrong way to be a man, only the man you are talking to can tell you how being a man is for them. Working out and being an athlete does not reinforce the binary it is close-minded thinking like that that reinforces the binary. Not all men athletes are "manly", or act like the "brawny" paper towel man. I coach men who read poetry and paint and actually do a lot of stereotypical unmanly things. I am athlete who loves project runway and the opera. I write poetry and love working with my hands but none of those things make me any more or less a man. I wish the voice of trans men athletes was not tainted with disdain from our own community. I hope that more people will be able to to be out as trans-men athletes in any stage of transition. We FTM athletes deserve a voice and be a part of community and see ourselves represented within our community.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for saying this. This needs to be said far more often by more people. As a trans male athlete myself, it is incredibly irksome that many people trans and cis alike will dismiss us because our "numbers are so few." Just because there are not a huge number of us out in the spotlight doesn't mean that our needs as athletes for safe places to compete can be dismissed. I'm very glad that there was a recent think tank about transgender athletes, but I think more needs to be done (as can be said of many many things). To some extent it seems like most people either have an unhealthy relationship with gender or assume that most people (i.e. society) has an unhealthy relationship with gender. I think this is especially evident in the assumptions held in the sporting world. It's a pity that many people don't realize that (1) everybody (yes, everybody) should have equal access to all areas of the sporting world regardless of gender and that (2) making this possible will help cis and trans, athletes and non-athletes. It would be interesting if a group of FTM athletes both out and not out made some noise, whether that be a blog, mini-conference, or the rumblings of dissent that are present now. I don't know what it will take to change the status quo, but I wish our trans brothers and sisters would support their athletes.