Jenna Weiner, a twenty-seven-year-old education and training coordinator working for a nonprofit that engages with LGBTQ+ youth, has expressed her feelings on transgender people competing in the Olympics by saying they do not have a competitive advantage.
In college, Weiner - a transgender woman - played ultimate frisbee before she transitioned in 2016, just as she started to graduate school in Nevada. She didn't come out publically until the first few months of 2017 as she felt as though she "didn't quite fit into the male sports culture because there was something different about her."
Ultimate frisbee was her primary extracurricular activity throughout her transition for years and she had to navigate what it meant to be a woman in women's sports culture - thankfully, she was accepted by her teammates very quickly.
But sadly, this isn't the case with all transgender people and actually, very recently, a petition has circulated attempting to ban transgender athletes competing in the women's weightlifting division of the 2020 Toyko Olympics, as well as all-female sports.
The International Olympic Committee has issued guidelines that allow transgender athletes to compete in women's events if they agree to have their testosterone levels monitored monthly, proving controversial with people signing a petition to end the policy.
The petition argues that the ruling is unfair to women due to the "incontrovertible physical advantage that transwomen have," and that it "completely ignores the physical advantages in speed, height, stamina and strength that a male-born athlete will have."
This comes after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was praised for becoming the first transgender athlete competing in the Olympics. But, her past history as a male weightlifter left people to question whether it's really fair to compete alongside women.
Weiner, on the other, hand believes that trans people should be able to take part in sports as they identify.
Talking to UNILAD she said: "Young trans people should play as they identify and should be able to change what teams they play with as they wish. playing sports is important to young people's growth and development and that applies to young trans people just like everybody else."
"Trans people should be able to compete in the Olympics for the gender with which they identify full-stop."
She also expressed that trans people do not have a physical advantage: "If they are good enough to qualify for the Olympics then they should be able to compete in the Olympics in alignment with their gender identity."
"Transgender people do not have competitive advantages due to their sex assigned at birth and the variety of human bodies and experiences means that assumptions that certain genders have strengths that might make them better in a sport are unfounded."
Joanna Harper, a researcher on transitioning athletes, also spoke out on Twitter: "Sports have always been a field of physical advantages so to say that trans women should be barred from women's sports is transphobic. There are cis women with heavy mass, higher testosterone levels, different bone density but they are not banned from women's sports, so???"
sports has always been a field of physical advantages so to say that trans women should be barred from women's sports is transphobic.
there are cis women with heavy mass, higher testosterone levels, different bone density but they are not banned from women's sports, so???
— x (@missleidemin) July 10, 2021
Harper went on to explain to ABC News that the hormonal replacement therapy in which trans women go through is responsible for changing the body in a way that allows "trans women and cisgender women to compete against one another in a meaningful fashion in most sports."
Weiner knows that there's still a lot to do in order to make trans people feel less excluded in sport, including coaches undergoing training to help handle situations involving trans people in sports.
What do you think?