As a transgender woman who is dedicated to preserving and protecting fairness in sports, I have decided I can no longer remain silent in the face of injustice, outright discrimination and bigotry. It is time we end what basically amounts to a ban on cisgender and straight athletes from competing in sports.
Yes, we’ve seen a few “Cis/Het” players in the WNBA, one in the NBA and a handful in the MLS. But can you imagine a team of them competing on Monday Night Football? Not likely.
I know this is an unpopular stand, and I risk everything in making my case. But if you think about it, prohibiting athletes from competing with our gay, lesbian, trans, non-binary, bisexual, asexual and pansexual players just because of who they love, or how they were raised, is wrong. It was wrong to discriminate against Americans based on the color of their skin or the religion they practice, as well as those who choose not to worship at all.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, I realize this dream of mine for total equality in sports cannot be achieved now. But now is the time to start talking about how to implement fairness for Cis/Hets.
First, look at the science! Researchers have shown that cisgender athletes can compete and even outlast and defeat transgender competitors in some competitions. The same is true for heterosexuals. They should not be held back just because they find only the opposite sex attractive, or because of their upbringing.
The stories you may have heard are true. Some of these athletes were forced to live their entire lives in the gender they were assigned at birth, from infancy to adulthood. This may seem strange and even perverted to some, but as the song goes, they were born this way!
It’s not their fault they are prevented from finding happiness as gay, lesbian, bi, queer, or by transitioning, and achieving the authenticity, congruity and overall happiness experienced by the majority of Americans.
Studies show Cis/Hets face so much discrimination — in education, employment, housing and so much more — that they are at greater risk for suicide compared to average Americans like us.
Yes, there are opponents to equality who question the mental health of Cis/Hets. But according to researchers, the truth is it’s this lack of acceptance that drives their depression and anxiety. Imagine the hurt and pain they feel each time they are turned away from a field or a locker room because they are so marginalized. Imagine if the situation were reversed; wouldn’t cisgender and straight athletes give us that equal opportunity?
Despite allies like me, the status quo keeps Cis/Hets from achieving the human right set forth in the Olympic charter: the right to compete. These opponents of equality are few in number, but they are loud. Some call them SERFs – Straight Exclusionary Radical Feminists.
Some people choose to call us “normal;” the Cis/Hets have come to call us, “LGBTQ.” I just think of us, as us. And being who we are is a gift. It seems wrong to block those deprived of this gift, our good fortune, from benefiting from all of its rewards.
Let all teen athletes compete with our queer AF kids. Let’s see straight competitors eligible to qualify for the next Olympic Games. And maybe, just maybe, the NFL, NHL and MLB will join the NBA, WNBA and MLS in finally welcoming a Cis/Het athlete among their ranks.
It may seem impossible right now, but I dare to think trans fans as well as those who are gay, lesbian and bi will cheer them for their courage and bravery. Let’s not wait for the resumption of Straight Pride parades to show the world we truly are their allies.
I hope you’ll join me in this movement to achieve equality for all athletes!
This is the inaugural installment of a week-long theme for Outsports and all your favorite SB Nation sites: “What If? Week.” We’re looking at alternate realities, what could have been, should have been or, might be if we could wish it. Share your comments below and be sure to send us your ideas for our next “What If?”