A new petition urging the Olympic Committee to revoke Caitlyn Jenner’s Olympic decathlon medal is missing one crucial element: human decency.
Though the petition tries to say nice things about her transition — for example, “We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best” — comments like that don’t negate the mean spirit in the intention of petition creator, Jennifer Bradford.
Nor does it make up for Bradford’s ignorance.
“… this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men’s sports and vice versa,” Bradford writes on change.org.
Yahoo! writer Robert Kessler said it perfectly in his article about this ridiculous initiative. Caitlyn Jenner wasn’t on hormone therapy at the time she competed. And even if she had been, it would have given her a significant disadvantage against her competition.
Just because she admitted that she has always identified more as female does not in any way, shape or form negate her accomplishments. And, last we checked, your personal thoughts and feelings don’t make you a cheater because they don’t line up with the way someone else believes you should think and feel. The whole idea of it is just absolutely despicable. And Bradford should be embarrassed for publicly saying such ill-thought-out sentiments.
OK, so that’s the disappointing news.
On the upside, this petition — while misplaced — starts an important discussion about trans athletes who want to compete. Kessler brings up athletes like Spanish hurdler Maria José Martínez-Patiño, who was ruled ineligible to compete as a woman because she has and X and Y chromosomes, even though she has a syndrome that caused her to develop as a female. If that doesn’t prove gender isn’t black and white, I don’t know what will. And it is so sad that there have been instances where athletes have been discounted because we as a society weren’t/aren’t progressive enough yet to know how to deal with these situations.
If anything good can come out of this petition, it’s education and a discussion among the Olympic Committee that recognizes the need for change to better accommodate transgender athletes.