Transsexuals in MMA
This has been a hot topic on the forum for the last few days, so I thought I'd offer up my two cents.
I'm sure by now that the MMAF community is aware that I am a transsexual, bisexual woman, and some of you may know that I am a Thai Boxer, and BJJ practitioner. This gives me a unique perspective on a lot of things, but in particular on the issue of transsexuals in combat sports. To clarify, I train in the gym but I do not fight, because of the controversy surrounding this whole issue.
The first thing to clear up is the differences between the terms 'transgender' and 'transsexual.' This seems like splitting hairs here, however, I feel it is vitally important to the issue. The UFC will most likely never have a transgender fighter or a transgender division, as the term refers to a person who identifies as a different gender than their body indicates they are. Essentially these are people who don't identify with their body's sex organs but either don't plan to take surgical action, or are in the process of it, meaning they are still wholly their original sex. The UFC may have transsexual fighters in its lifetime however. A transsexual person is going through hormone replacement therapy, has undergone SRS, and is in a position to legally change their gender on official government documents. Therefore, legally speaking, a transsexual is whichever gender they have transitioned to.
Now, the tricky part is where do transsexual fighters fit in the broad MMA scene. This blog post attempts to figure that out. As a trans person myself, I believe I have a bias on this topic, I will try to leave that bias out of this post. A lot of the buzz around the forum has created a divide amongst the posters. This divide is not a clear, down the middle, split however. Opinions vary as much as night varies from day, and everything in between. The gray area is as wide as it is due to a lack of scientific evidence. A few members of the MMAF community have pointed out that as long as they can prove they have no advantage over the other woman/man they are facing, then they have no issues with it. Following that logic, the commission's decision is basically the end of the discussion and I believe that is a good way for the system to be. The people who sit on these athletic commissions are the trusted experts for these types of decisions, and I don't think anyone should question who they license, this certainly isn't their first time around the block and it won't be their last.
Another possible 'solution' that is being thrown around the community, is that there should be a transsexual division or organization on it's own. I've made my stance on that quite clear over the last few days, but I'll reiterate it once again here. There simply won't be enough fighters to fill out their own division, much less their own organization. Most of the trans community strives so hard to be viewed as the gender that they have transitioned to, and fighting under a banner that broadcasts to the world that they were not born as the gender they are now, is a terrible way to achieve this goal. Personally, if I was told tomorrow that they were starting a professional transsexual division and I was getting called up to the big leagues, I would turn them down because it's the mainstream's attempt at inclusion while actually marginalizing a group of people.
As I mentioned previously, there is a real lack of proven scientific evidence on this matter. To this end, I can speak only on personal experience. I mentioned in a thread a few days ago when asked how much I can bench press, I used to be able to bench 150 pounds, now after hormones and other aspects of transitioning, I'm lucky to get 95 pounds. Contrary to what appears to be popular belief in this community, HRT and SRS are not just for feminizing looks, but also for changing other important biological aspects of the body as well.
In conclusion, I feel that if the commission, who gets paid to decide these things, says it's okay then who am I to argue that fact.