Podcast: How can sports be more inclusive of transgender athletes?

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 30, 2021

On Her Turf

With each passing year and new athletic evolutions, the Olympics have evolved to reflect those changes. Sports have been added, new venues have been built and safety precautions have been increased to protect the health of all those involved. But there are areas where the Olympics — and sports in general — still need to make progress. Hosts M.J. Acosta-Ruiz and Lindsay Czarniak welcome journalist Britni de la Cretaz and professional triathlete Rach McBride to the podcast to have a conversation about how the structure of sporting events and the language used to describe them can be changed to more actively include athletes who identify as transgender or non-binary.

Before the roundtable begins, bronze medalist Mackenzie Brown joins On Her Turf for a quick chat about how she got started in archery, the experience of competing with Brady Ellison in the Olympic debut of mixed team archery and what it takes to be an Olympic archer. 

Acosta-Ruiz and Czarniak then open the floor to de la Cretaz and McBride, discussing why sports are divided by sex and the lack of evidence supporting the validity of testing testosterone levels. 

McBride addresses the argument that excluding transgender women from competing in women's sports will somehow protect cis-gender female athletes and lists the changes that can be made in and around sports to include athletes of all gender identities. One step they emphasize is respecting all athletes' pronouns and being sure to not misgender them.

The group then turns its attention to the transgender and non-binary athletes who are in Tokyo. Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard of New Zealand is the first and only transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics, while Canadian soccer player Quinn and American skateboarder Alana Smith are non-binary.

De la Cretaz takes a moment to celebrate these three athletes. "It's a huge deal to be able to see queer and trans athletes competing," they say, adding that Smith's "pure trans joy emanating from them as they competed on the biggest stage in sports with their pronouns on their grip tape of their skateboard" was a moment worth remembering when talking about trans inclusion.

Both McBride and de la Cretaz wrap up the talk with suggestions of what to do if someone gets mistakenly misgendered and how to show the utmost respect when referring to someone's identity. 

Acosta-Ruiz closes the episode by saying her farewell to the On her Turf podcast, which you can listen to on Apple Podcasts or below:

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