The Boston Athletic Association (“BAA”), the organization that plans and hosts the annual Boston Marathon, recently announced it will allow transgender individuals to compete “according to the gender with which they identify.” Registrants will be required to show their government-issued ID when registering for the race, which will be compared to the registrant’s self-reported gender. In response to an inquiry regarding what might happen if there is a discrepancy between a registrant’s government-issued ID and self-reported gender, the BAA stated, “we would make every effort to address it in a manner intended to be fair to all concerned, with a strong emphasis on inclusion.”
According to Tom Grilk, CEO of the BAA, “Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.” Grilk fails to understand that women, including lesbian and bisexual women, have historically been excluded from participating in sporting events such as the Boston Marathon, and that allowing “transwomen” to compete as women “add[s] to that burden” by reducing the number of opportunities available for women to participate in the event. Further, the policy forces women to compete against male runners, who have a physiological advantage over female runners.
At least five runners who identify as transgender women have signed up for the race, including Stevie Romer, who has done nothing to lower his testosterone levels but registered as a woman on the basis that he grew his hair out and “started living openly as a woman,” whatever that means.