Thursday, March 7, 2013

MMA Fighter Forced to Reveal She's Transgender

[Content note: trans* bigotry, homobigotry, psychological abuse]

Via Outsports:

"Fallon Fox never wanted to talk about being transsexual. The professional MMA fighter who's been tearing through opponents has been a woman to her training partners and opponents for the last five years. Now, due to circumstances beyond her control, she's being forced out of the closet well before she was ready.

'For years I've known at some point it's very likely the shoe would drop,' Fox told Outsports in a phone interview Tuesday. 'Maybe someone would guess that I'm trans. Maybe they would know me from my life before I transitioned. I've been waiting for that phone call to happen. And Saturday night, it happened.'

Fox was at dinner celebrating a victory when a call came through. It was from a reporter who asked probing questions that clearly lead to one conclusion: The reporter knew Fox's secret past. Within 48 hours she got a call from a former trainer who had been interviewed by the same reporter with the same questions. The secret of Fallon Fox was about to come out."
First, how unfortunate that Fox couldn't discuss her identity completely on her own terms. Reading through the article, she discusses being rejected by her family, who first put her in abusive "therapy" to first try to change her into a gay man so she could then turn into a straight man. She then took up Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and describes it as "the reason she gets up in the morning."

She talks of being scared that she won't be able to participate in MMA anymore. I sincerely hope she gets to continue, and in the women's division. Not only because the sport is her "life's passion," but because contrary to some ignorance and misconceptions (and, yeah, probably outright bigotry), "after 10 years of hormone therapy, and six years after gender reassignment surgery, any advantage she had after being born in a male body have been erased."

Were MMA an Olympic sport, she would be eligible to compete as a woman under the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Medical Commission's Stockholm Consensus (PDF).  This rule recognizes the medical opinion that any competitive advantage of a person who transitions from male to female does not exist after sexual reassignment surgery, gonadectomy more than 2 years ago, and hormone therapy "appropriate for the assigned sex."  (The rule also requires legal recognition of the athlete's assigned sex, but that seems tangentially relevant to athletic advantage/disadvantage).

Many articles describe her as being "dominant," but currently Fox's professional record is currently "just" 2-0, so I think it's a little too early to tell.  Nonetheless, I hope she gets the chance to continue her career and work her way up to some high-profile fights.

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