USA Gymnastics, the official governing body for competitive gymnastics in the U.S., has released new “inclusion” policies for athletes who identify as trans or non-binary.
Among these new policies, which they claim are based on “current medical science” and are “consistent with anti-discrimination legislation,” is the removal of any requirements for surgical sex reassignment, legal gender recognition, and hormone therapy to participate in the discipline that aligns with their “gender identity.”
“Our top priority is and must always be the safety of our athletes, including their emotional and psychological safety,” says USA Gymnastics CEO Li Li Leung.
“Inclusivity plays an important role in creating safe and welcoming environments for our community members, and this policy will help ensure athletes who identify as transgender or non-binary feel at home in our sport.”
Trans or non-binary athletes are also no longer required to apply to compete as the gender they identify as and one assumes, based on what else is no longer required of them, will be accepted with no questions asked.
Officials and members of USA Gymnastics’ Athlete Health and Wellness Council arrived at these new policies after conducting a review of available research on transgender athletes as well as the “best practices and existing inclusion policies adopted by national and international sport bodies.”
They also “solicited input directly from the transgender athlete community.”
“We are grateful to the members of the Athlete Health and Wellness Council as well as those in our gymnastics community who contributed their time and expertise to this policy,” said Kim Kranz, USA Gymnastics’ Chief of Athlete Wellness.
“This policy is part of our commitment to help create an inclusive environment within our sport. Everyone should have the opportunity to participate in gymnastics with the knowledge that they will be safe and have their dignity respected.”
It would be easy to take the cynical perspective and argue that athletics aren’t about safety or feelings, but about competition and pushing the human body to its highest potential.
However, it’s rather ironic that, if USA Gymnastics is so invested in the safety and wellbeing of their athletes, they’d be so lenient to introduce policy that will place biologically male athletes in potentially very close and inappropriate contact with biologically female athletes.
You may recall that USA Gymnastics was, not too long ago, enthralled in a sex abuse scandal spanning two decades in which over 300 child athletes claimed to have been sexually harassed or even assaulted by gym owners, coaches, and staff from the organization.
In 2016, Vice explained, “Not only did top officials at USA Gymnastics—the Olympic arm of the sport—fail to report many of the allegations to police, but in some cases, its lack of systematic oversight allowed predatory coaches and staff to move from one gym to the next.”
Does anyone have a hard time believing that an organization that has received so much scrutiny for failing to keep child athletes safe from predators for two decades will continue to do so as gender-specific disciplines no longer seem relevant?
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