Roller Derby: the trans-gender solution

Imagine that you are a male grandmaster and wanted to win the women’s world chess title. Rules clearly prevent you from qualifying (even though women can qualify for the men’s world championship cycle!)

HOWEVER, if FIDE were to adopt the internationally accepted Roller Derby rules about gender segregation, then all you would need to do is get a doctor’s letter indicating that you have started to take hormone therapy and another letter swearing that you considered yourself a woman, then PRESTO: a man would be able to fight for the women’s world championship title!

If this sounds ridiculous, then read below about the wild and wackey changes that have been effected in Roller Derby…

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The traditional image of women’s Roller Derby as being sex on wheels might be coming to an end.

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Incredibly popular and attracting millions of fans around the world, the sport is also attracting many trans-genders.  You would think-instinctively-that this would not be allowed (or atleast resisted), but in a sport where physical violence already is one of its raison d’etre, Roller Derby has welcomed the change with open arms. Infact, organizers encourage it!

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Body By Derby is a figure study of active derby athletes to show the different body types of active skaters and the physical effects derby has on the players. This entry features derby athletes who identify as butch, trans*, gender non-conforming, or intersex of any variance.  These skaters represent Ann Arbor Derby Dimes, Bleeding Heartland Roller Derby, Ohio Roller Girls, Providence Roller Derby, and our hosts Windy City Rollers. More pictures can be found at Cory’s website. Get future updates on Facebook by following The Rollergirl Project.   LINK

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By Alex Hanna, for the Guardian, August 19,2015  LINK

«We live in a world of deep gender segregation and sports are no different: from elementary school, we’re taught that there are boys teams, and there are girls teams, and that the two can’t play together. In the grown-up sports world, gender segregation is maintained in most sports, both amateur and professional.

But roller derby is breaking the mold. From the beginning, roller derby has broken the acceptable boundaries of who gets to participate in sports and what it means to be feminine and masculine – and its “do-it-yourself” and “for the skaters, by the skaters” ethos has fostered a wide-ranging inclusivity in the sport.

Modern roller derby has grown at an incredible rate since what’s known as the “flat track revival” of the mid-2000s: what was once a spinoff of the outlandish pro wrestling-inspired derby of the mid-century has turned into a full-fledged amateur sport, producing real and elite athletic competition. And, at the forefront of derby’s growth have been queer folks and their allies, creating fertile ground for the fostering of queer athletes and especially for transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex ones.

The movement for gender inclusivity within roller derby is growing a breakneck pace. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the largest governing body of roller derby in the world, and its member leagues are pioneers of sport and, in many ways, are enacting queer politics in very real and substantive way. It’s a movement desperately needs to take hold of the rest of the sports world.

In 2011, the WFTDA unveiled  a gender policy which aimed to improve upon the Stockholm Consensus.

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The Stockholm Consensus  (On 28 October 2003, an ad-hoc committee convened by the IOC Medical Commission met in Stockholm to discuss and issue recommendations on the participation of individuals who have undergone sex reassignment (male to female and converse) in sport.-editor) governs Olympic competition and requires that athletes have undergone hormone replacement therapy for at least two years, obtained legal recognition of a gender change, and went through sexual reassignment surgery. Under the WFTDA policy, players would only need to meet a hormone requirement. While a huge improvement over the current Olympic requirements, gender is not reducible to hormones, and the new policy doesn’t account for people who don’t fit within the gender binary, such as non-binary, genderqueer, and agender folks.

And although one major benefit of the standard gender segregation in sports can be to empower women to generate their own sports organizations, that’s a very charitable interpretation of their function. The discussion of gender segregation tends to pivot on the question of “competitive advantage”, an argument which says that higher levels of testosterone produces bodies that are more muscular, have higher bone density, have larger frames and are ultimately better in athletic competitions. While the argument is intended to prevent men from competing with women, the same argument has been applied to trans women, gender non-conforming and intersex folks, and women with higher-than-average testosterone levels.

The competitive advantage argument, however, is a fallacious one… READ MORE HERE.

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Maybe I am getting old…but it was all just good clean fun back then!

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