Thursday, March 17, 2011

GLSEN Sports Project
This is the link to the GLSEN Sports Project, PLEASE check it out. This is an amazing project and awesome work done to protect Student athletes that Identify under the GLBTQQAI spectrum. I can not emphasize enough the importance of this and how crucial the Work of Pat Griffin

Friday, March 11, 2011

Competing as a non-passing person without the comforts of a team

I compete as an unattached athlete. What that means is that I am not affiliated with any team, and since I am no longer in College I am obviously not associated with any college or university as far as who I affiliate with in my personal competition. The environment and relationships of a team can be amazingly helpful with trying to traverse the complexities of being a gender non-conforming person trying to survive in a binary world. Sometimes being part of a team is both a curse and a savior. The team can be a safety blanket that protects from the outside jerks. Sometimes a team though can be where all the hate, anxiety and issues come from and the fear that prevents people from coming out. When I was in College being a part of the team really helped me with navigating everything. One of most crucial things were bathrooms and locker rooms. I never really passed as female or as male since I was 18, and going off of campus was always difficult because of the danger of bathrooms and locker rooms and just dealing with ignorant fools. My team helped me a lot to go places and not have trouble using the bathrooms and protecting me from all the people who had issues with how I looked, was or whatever.
Currently I train with a team but I coach them and I don't really compete with them and when I do travel with them it is as their coach not their teammate which makes a big difference. Navigating track meets as a person that doesn't pass as either male or female without a team is a little hairy at times. For instance the bathroom/locker room. I am entered into the meet as female competitor, I do not bind and am generally wearing tighter clothes as a uniform underneath t-shirt and shorts but this doesn't change the fact that I have very short hair, and a relatively masculine build. I often have a lot of trouble going to track meets and using the bathroom and well holding it all day is that great either when you are trying to throw very far. :p It is really complicated going into bathrooms when my partner isn't there to help either. It always causes drama because a "boy" is in the women's bathroom, and I really don't feel comfortable at meets going into the men's room because I don't have the confidence that I pass at all. Then to compete unattached, I am the man throwing with the women especially when people don't know me or I go to a new meet around unfamiliar teams that haven't been around me since college. It is hard, sometimes it is hard to keep in the competition mind set when you are the "tranny-it" the "he-she" the "man" trying to compete with the women. It is times like that when having supportive teammates really help, you are no longer an individual you are part of a team something bigger than the I. I am often competing with just me my coach doesn't often travel with me and it makes it hard to navigate the dilemmas of when I am confronted with people trying to get at me being like I am on steroids, I am using T I am cheating in some way because visibly I don't fit the mold of what they think a female athlete should fit in. I often find myself wishing there were more resources and help for us athletes out of college, and highschool that identify under the gender-queer transgender spectrum to navigate the sporting world and act as a security blanket when our identity our abilities to compete fairly and our safety is being jeopardized by the coaches, spectators and athletes around us.