A common trend in most societies has been to segregate athletes using the sex/gender variable with the view to ensuring fairness in sports and other physical competitions (Bialystok, 2016). However, this perception is increasingly losing currency as transgender and intersex individuals are now competing in sports and other recreational activities more than ever before (Oakleaf, 2015). The case example provided underscores the importance of drafting a policy aimed at directing the participation of transgender individuals in recreational sports leagues in Los Angeles.
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The best way to go about drafting the policy is to relax perceptions of sex segregation in recreational sports leagues by virtue of the fact that these sports are more about fun than about ensuring fair competition. Available literature underscores the “growing recognition that strict sex segregation threatens to exclude from competition those who are transgender, transsexual, or intersex, which is itself a form of unfairness” (Bialystok, 2016, p. 605). Drawing from this elucidation, the proposed policy statement on transgender participation in mixed leagues will not require transgender athletes to prove their gender identity through the testimony of professional experts and psychologists; on the contrary, the policy will aim to address the rights of transgender players by adopting a more inclusive approach to participation in recreational sports leagues. Specifically, the proposed policy will encourage transgender players to participate in the recreational sports leagues based on how they identify with their respective genders in order to reduce any perceptions of discrimination or unfair treatment (Bialystok, 2016).
In instances where the decision to participate based on how transgender players identify with their respective genders may conflict with the interests of other “normal” players, the proposed policy will follow a set of predetermined standards to decide the issues on a case-by-case basis. This will entail making a determination on whether the sex change is a result of hormone treatments or surgery, the length or duration of hormonal treatments, and the inspection of birth certificates to determine gender at birth. Under the proposed policy, male-to-female or female-to-male transgender players under medically prescribed hormonal treatment for the desired sex change will be allowed to participate in mixed leagues at any time since the games are not competitive in nature (Wahlert & Fiester, 2012). Lastly, the proposed policy will underscore the need to not only preserve the medical privacy of transgender players within the community but also to treat them with kindness, dignity, and respect (Bialystok, 2016). As such, the policy will have educational and awareness-creation components to ensure that these needs are successfully met.
The factors that need to be considered in drafting the policy include making a determination of how the transgender status was reached, exploring the possibility of holding several “mixed” sports disciplines to deal with the issue of fairness, identifying ways through which safe and healthy recreation opportunities could be provided to all citizens regardless of their sex/gender, and reaching out to the local members of the transgender community to understand their needs and expectations (Wahlert & Fiester, 2012). In resources, it is important to evaluate how the locker rooms and restrooms in the parks are able to handle the needs of transgender individuals during recreational competitions (Oakleaf, 2015). It is also important to make a consideration of how transgender athletes will be accommodated in competitions and what educational materials may be used to address the issue of gender stereotypes.
Bialystok, L. (2016). Transgender inclusion in single-sex competition: The case of beauty pageants. Social Theory & Practice, 42(3), 605-635. Web.
Oakleaf, L. (2015). Social equity in parks for the transgender community. Parks & Recreation, 50(10), 46-49. Web.
Wahlert, L., & Fiester, A. (2012). Gender transports: Privileging the natural in gender testing debates for intersex and transgender athletes. American Journal of Bioethics, 12(7), 19-21. Web.