Friday, September 10, 2010

Taking gender away from athlete

I was having a discussion with some people most of whom are on the trans-spectrum and I was asked how can I compete as woman and not have that innately bother me and destroy my self-image anymore. I never really thought of it as that. For me I am not a female athlete, I am just an athlete, a thrower. I never really thought of myself as a female or a male thrower only as a thrower. When I enter that circle it is the only time I can be completely gender-free and be completely free of the gender stigmatizations. While I may compete in the female division, most of us aren't there trying to prove our femininism or our status as a woman we are trying to be great athletes. I have had to prove my "femaleness" at meets but even with that the circle and the competition are my forms of heaven. I am free to be what I want to be, I control everything in that space, I can be me without any worry of what is "it".
For me sports were always my way of getting away. I had trouble dealing with my identity because I didn't know what was "wrong" with me until I was much older and until then I felt alone, helpless and completely lost and disgusted with what I saw myself as. No matter what the sport I was competing in I was able to escape during those moments, because I could be seen as an athlete and nothing else. I am an athlete, and when i am seen as such I feel whole. Being an athlete is gender-less to me, it is my way is stepping away from the constraints of being male or female or being lost in translation somewhere in between. An athlete is so much more then male or female it is character description, a sign of passion, a way of life, a religon, a cult it is so much more than male or female.
An Athlete is an athlete simply put and for me that is freedom.

2 comments:

  1. I really like this explanation :)

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  2. I appreciate your articulation of athletic identity feeling gender-less to you. Growing up sport was just that for me, an escape. Playing collegiate soccer at a 7 Sisters School with a transphobic coach and a lack of team support for my identity transformed what had been my escape and passion, into an experience of being othered.

    I'm post-top surgery, no-ho, and after three years I have just begun playing, in a women's league. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work to heal from my negative college experiences, but I feel the same freedom you describe once I get a ball at my feet.

    Stay up in the struggle.

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