I just want to race my bicycle. And, I want to do it fairly, on a proverbially level playing field.
That’s what I said in the beginning, when I petitioned USA Cycling for a change of my competitive license to reflect my being physiologically female.
I do still want to race my bicycle. And, I’m now ready to more publicly enter into the conversation about trans inclusive policy in cycling and sports.
When I came out as trans*, it turned the sleepy murmurs of future policy and inclusion from abstract thoughts to real and imminent needs. Yet, at that time, I felt it was best to pursue the issue primarily as a personal concern, keep as low of a profile as possible, and keep it about the cycling. After all, that is what I want; to ride and race my bicycle. I love cycling. Anyone who has spent any amount of time around me knows I have a one track mind; cycling, bicycles, riding, racing. I dream of bicycles and I daydream of bicycles. I don’t have similar warm fuzzy fantasies about fine print and policy, but I need it if I am to have the same opportunities to race my bicycle as non-trans* people.
My interactions with USA Cycling leading up to my change of licence were largely pleasant, if sometimes anxiety provoking. I provided the necessary information for legal and physician review, and with those documents shared my hopes for a transparent and publicly searchable national policy. Yet, while I provided feedback, I largely stayed out of the meat of the policy conversations of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. And, I have thus far not entered into the public conversation on the issues, outside of my personal statement in the blog post, “Not a Lady“. I enjoy my privacy, and whatever modicum of discretion I’ve managed to hold onto over the course of the year. As stated in the above blog post, I don’t even particularly enjoy talking about trans* issues.
Why do I want to enter into the conversation now?
Because policy change is important. USA Cycling has made an important step in the right direction with their adjudication of my license change. And, we need to continue the conversation about trans* inclusive policies if we are to continue moving forward in a meaningful way. And, there must be trans* voices included in that conversation. A policy that is created in the absence of key stakeholders is unlikely to be a valid policy. Too often, policy about and for the inclusion/exclusion or regulation of trans* bodies are drafted by cisgender people, with only a convenient sampling of trans* people’s feedback.
So, lets keep this conversation moving in the right direction. It’s time to stop letting others speak for us, and start doing the talking ourselves. If there’s a conversation about trans* bodies in sport, it ought to feature trans* people as prominent voices.
I would ideally like this blog to feature other trans* voices on the topic, in addition to my own. I may not perfectly agree with all trans* opinions, but I want them heard.
So, if you’ve got something to say on the topic of trans* people’s participation in competitive cycling, please:
1. Read up on the progress thus far, and try to understand some of the issues inherent in this sport.
2. Use the attached form to tell me in brief about what you’d like to write about.