Transexuals in women's sport

(63 Posts)
Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 02:40:11

We have started a netball group. Very casual and just for fun. All ages from 13 to 66 and all shapes, sizes and abilities. Just for fun, once a week. No leagues or teams, literally just a game with other women who want to keep a bit fitter and have fun. We aren't great but we have a laugh. There have been a fair few minor injuries, particularly because we are skilled and we get carried away. One of the ladies has asked if her two transsexual friends can join us. One post op, one rpe op. They are both at least 5'10'' and of heavy builds. A few people are worries about the physical safety of them playing. - bearing in mind that we have two or 3 quite tiny women playing.
Personally, I wouldn't like dh for example to play because physically I think he is mismatched to our group and it could be dangerous. However, these women are essentially women and in a perfect world they would be welcomed with open arms but I'm not sure people who are built like grown men should play such a physical sport alongside us. I am prepared to be told I'm wrong and it is purely the physical aspect that worries me - there is a reason men's and women's sports are separate. How would you approach this with the other women who play and what are your thoughts?

Giyadas Sat 02-Nov-13 02:44:57

Netball is a non-contact sport, so you'd only really get a few accidental bumps. Can't see how they'd pose any physical threat. The more the merrier, surely?

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 02:49:17

*aren't skilled that should read!

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 02:50:13

Well it's supposed to be non-contact but because we aren't great it is actually pretty physical

There are many different shapes and sizes of women who play Netball. Just introduce them to the rest of the team as you would any other new team member. Have you met them? smile

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:04:09

Yes, I know both of them reasonably well. It's something I'm really struggling with, I met one after she was post op and I've known the other since before she started living as a woman. I have no issue with their transition or their female identity. I do see them both as women and think of them as women in the main. However, if a male friend asked if they could join us, we would say no because it would change the physical dynamic. I could play 5 a side football with a group if women but to play it with a group of men, I would struggle physically. A man on our netball court would be physically different. It is a fact that on the whole, men are bigger and stronger physically and sports are divided for this reason. Through no fault of their own, these women are built like men. Not just the size but the physique and the strength. They are both as unfit as the rest of us and the lack of control would be there as it is with all of us. I am scared of a 45 year old, 17 stone woman who is physically built as a man knocking into a 17 year old 8 stone girl. I feel unreasonable and it doesn't sit well with me but the fear is there all the same.

HHmm. Well I can understand your concerns but until you try it out it will be difficult to judge the real level is injury risk. They may not work out to be long term members or they may turn out to be a great asset. Do you offer a trial for new team members first?

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:18:53

No we don't because it's not a team as such, just a group of mainly unfit women with a few good players ( the younger ones really) who hired a school sports hall once a week for fun. I feel unreasonable in saying no (it's not necessarily down to me) but I also don't feel comfortable with it, even though I feel I should do (does that make sense?)

Giyadas Sat 02-Nov-13 03:23:24

I know you said that a few had voiced doubts, have you had any positive responses?

It's a new situation and that could be why you are feeling a bit conflicted. smile

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:25:57

Not really, no said they had no problem with it, they mainly had the same concerns as me (which I didn't voice - I've tried to stay neutral to gauge opinion) or said nothing at all

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:26:40

Sorry - that should be - no-one said they had no problem

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:30:51

I often work with quite marginalised groups and consider myself to be inclusive and liberal-minded but I am so unsure about this. It makes me feel crap that I feel like this and that others are so against but I'm not sure I have enough combo conviction that it right to allow it to even fight the corner if these women (which ordinarily I would have no problem with if I felt someone was being unfairly treated) I'm a NIMBY aren't I sad

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 03:31:39

Sorry for rubbish typing - am on phone

bookishandblondish Sat 02-Nov-13 04:28:09

Well I know 45 year old women who weigh approx 17/18 stone and to be honest, 17/18 stone bumping into you feels pretty much the same.

I think the concern may be relevant if you were playing rugby but why not give it a try.

After all if you weren't aware they were transsexual, you wouldn't be saying to" actually Doris, we have a weight limit of 10 stone"

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 08:56:18

I know bookish, that is an argument going through my own head. Maybe I will talk to the others.

123bucklemyshoe Sat 02-Nov-13 09:02:46

I would let them.. .women come in all shapes & sizes as do men. My betting is they would be gentler then some of the fully fledged women you play with...do they know what they would be letting themselves in for!

msrisotto Sat 02-Nov-13 09:03:22

Meh, I'm 5'10" and born female, I don't think that's a good reason to exclude them.

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 09:27:37

I do understand what you are all saying and it's seems pretty unanimous on here. I'm not entirely sure a lot of the other players will see it like that though. This was just supposed to be a bit of light-hearted fun, not sure I want to get into a big debate with them all over it. Maybe we just put it to a vote. I also don't want people to walk over it. I know I sound unreasonable and selfish and I'm disappointed with myself really but I love playing and selfishly I don't want it to cause an issue that will mean either the atmosphere changes because people are unhappy or that people stop coming and we don't have enough players. I do know how I sound and I don't feel great about it but it is how I feel.

Clowdy Sat 02-Nov-13 09:28:18

I do understand what you are all saying and it's seems pretty unanimous on here. I'm not entirely sure a lot of the other players will see it like that though. This was just supposed to be a bit of light-hearted fun, not sure I want to get into a big debate with them all over it. Maybe we just put it to a vote. I also don't want people to walk over it. I know I sound unreasonable and selfish and I'm disappointed with myself really but I love playing and selfishly I don't want it to cause an issue that will mean either the atmosphere changes because people are unhappy or that people stop coming and we don't have enough players. I do know how I sound and I don't feel great about it but it is how I feel.

17leftfeet Sat 02-Nov-13 09:31:49

I'm a woman

I'm 6ft tall, size 10 feet 'a mans build'

Would I be excluded?

AuntieStella Sat 02-Nov-13 09:32:36

The UK Netball Association has rules about this.

Perhaps you simply need to consult them and do whatever they set out.

NotCitrus Sat 02-Nov-13 09:34:30

You say you accept them as the women they are - so there's no issue, just like any other tall large woman. And certainly don't spread confidential medical info to the rest of the team - it's up to these women if and how they want to come out as trans.

Unless you have a weight limit in place already then just give these new players the same warm welcome you'd give to anyone else. If your team might qualify for national championships or the Olympics then the sport's governing body might need to know I suppose.

WriteRight Sat 02-Nov-13 09:35:46

My DP is female, tall and weighs a fair bit. More than some men. Let them play, they are women. And that's all that matters. Shape and size wouldn't matter, unless you put a height and weight limit on all women who join. I really am failing to see the issue at all because the concerns you have would exclude my DP. She is literally a big strong women.

AlexaChelsea Sat 02-Nov-13 09:36:03

Um, if they identify as women, then they are women.

Why would you exclude them?

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